Fyvie Castle

Castle, Country House

Site Name Fyvie Castle

Classification Castle, Country House

Canmore ID 19091

Site Number NJ73NE 9

NGR NJ 76390 39306

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Ordnance Survey licence number 100020548. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Aberdeenshire
  • Parish Fyvie
  • Former Region Grampian
  • Former District Banff And Buchan
  • Former County Aberdeenshire

Archaeology Notes

NJ73NE 9.00 76390 39306

NJ73NE 9.01 NJ 762 393 building

NJ73NE 9.02 Centred NJ 76669 39311 Old Home Farm, dovecot and stable block

NJ73NE 9.03 NJ 76197 38256 South Lodge and gates

NJ73NE 9.04 NJ 76668 39254 Walled garden

NJ73NE 9.05 NJ 76668 38872 Boat house

NJ73NE 9.06 NJ 76219 39850 North Lodge

NJ73NE 9.07 NJ 75945 38207 Maitland's Bridge

NJ73NE 9.08 NJ 76676 39595 Skeugh Bridge

NJ73NE 9.09 NJ 76320 39291 Racquets Court

NJ73NE 9.10 NJ 76689 39378 Laundry House

NJ73NE 9.13 NJ 76971 39141 Oldwood Cottage

NJ73NE 9.14 NJ 76249 39357 Ivy Bridge

NJ73NE 9.15 NJ 77165 39027 East Gate Lodge

NJ73NE 9.16 NJ 76289 39318 Privy

NJ73NE 9.17 NJ c. 766 391

For Montrose's Camp (at NJ 771 392, within the area of Fyvie Castle policies), see NJ73NE 10.

(NJ 7636 3928) Fyvie Castle (NR)

OS 6" map, (1959)

Fyvie Castle was mentioned in a charter of 1211 or 1214, on the occasion of a visit by William the Lion. The first mention of a stone building on the site was in 1395.

The castle now consists of two great ranges of building, forming an 'L-shaped' whole. The south-eastern and south-western towers are called the Preston (c. 1390-1433), and Meldrum (1433-1596) towers respectively; it is inferred their lower portions were built by these proprietors, although their upper parts were remodelled in the late 16th century (the gatehouse is dated 1599). The Gordon tower was erected in 1777, and other additions were made in 1890.

W D Simpson 1939.

Still occupied and in good condition.

Visited by OS (ISS) 6 February 1973.

Photographs and notes of observations made during the internal renovations and the stripping of the harling from the S front are in the Grampian Regional Council SMR.

I Shepherd 1987.

Photographs and notes of observations made during recent cable trenching at Fyvie Castle are in the Grampian Regional Council SMR.

I Shepherd 1988.

This castle is in the care of the National trust for Scotland. It comprises two great ranges of building: the SE and SW towers are called the Preston (c. 1390-1433) and Meldrum (1433-1596) towers respectively. It is inferred that their lower portions were built by these proprietors, although their upper parts were remodelled in the late 16th century. The gatehouse is dated 1599. The Gordon tower was erected in 1777 and other additions were made in 1890. The home farm, laundry and walled garden date from c. 1777.

Excavation 12m N of the Preston Tower revealed the footings of a massive wall of heathens set in grey mortar. This formed the E side of an early curtain wall. The outer face has been repaired. The footings of another wall, set in yellow clay and forming the W side of a range of buildings was located against the curtain-wall.

[Air and ground photographic imagery, and newspaper/periodical references listed].

NJMRS, MS/712/36.

NJ 763 392 In order to upgrade the wiring for the fire detection system and the emergency lighting provision, floorboards and flagstones were lifted in 12 locations throughout the castle, from the ground floor to the fourth floor, affording an opportunity to examine and record the fabric of the building below these areas. Although the areas available for examination were restricted, a profile series of the types of joists used, their dimensions and orientation now exists for many areas of the castle. In the entrance hallway on the ground floor, a brick-built conduit below the flagstones was fully recorded and demonstrates the scale of the 19th- and early 20th-century improvements to the castle carried out by Lord Leith.

Archive to be deposited in the NMRS.

Sponsor: NTS.

J C Murray 2002.

NJ 7636 3928 Analytical assessment and survey were undertaken in January 2003 of the ground and first floors of the Meldrum Tower, at the SW angle of Fyvie Castle, in an attempt to understand the reasons for structural movement within the tower. Evidence for a reputed sealed chamber at ground-floor level was not discovered following bore tests. It was concluded that the S and W walls of the existing ground-floor chamber within the tower represent the SW re-entrant angle of the early castle of enclosure wall of enceinte, and that the later Meldrum Tower had been built around and over the remains of this wall. It was felt probable that the structural movement (as seen in the first-floor Charter Room) relates to the `breaking the back' of the tower over the line of the earlier masonry.

Archive to be deposited in the NMRS.

Sponsor: NTS.

T Addyman 2003

NJ 763 393 During remedial conservation work in March 2003, a fire surround of Turriff sandstone was discovered in situ beneath the 18th-century marble fire surround in what was, in the 18th century, the Small Drawing Room. The simple moulded decoration of the fireplace suggests a date in the 16th or 17th century, and it is possible that it forms part of the major modifications to the castle initiated by Sir Alexander Seton (Chancellor of Scotland from 1601) at the very end of the 16th century and continuing into the early years of the 17th century. In this period, the room was the Withdrawing Room, lying between the Great Hall and the laird's private chamber.

The temporary dismantling of the 18th-century fireplace also revealed part of the surrounding stone wall, with remnants of plaster on-the-hard, washed in a sand-coloured distemper, overlaid by later linings. There is ingrained soot on the lintel moulding and the wall above, which also bears scorch marks.

Archive to be deposited in NTS SMR.

Sponsor: NTS.

S M Fraser an L Hesketh-Campbell 2003

Architecture Notes

See also:

Fyvie Castle, Building; NJ73NE, site 9 01.

Fyvie Castle, Old Home Farm; NJ73NE, site 9 02.

Fyvie Castle, South Gates; NJ73NE, site 9 03.

Fyvie Castle, Grounds; NJ73NE, site 9 04.


Preston Tower 1400.

Gordon Tower mid 18th C.

Meldrum Tower and South front 16th C. Additions by John Bryce 1889-91.

Seton Tower and on South front and Staircase c. 1600. Additions by A. Marshall Mackenzie.

Robert Whyte 1683 plaster decoration in Morning room.

Plans: R.I.B.A Drawings Collection. Measured by J.J.Joass, sketch of staircase. Unable to locate at time of update 20.10.1999.

'The Builders Journal and Architectural Record' March 4th 1903. Measured and drawn by David Thomson, one sheet printed drawing of main staircase. Unable to locate at time of upgrade 20.10.1999.

At 15, Desswood Place, Aberdeen; Survey by S.J.Watts and L. Cruikshanks, Aberdeen School of Architecture with A.G.R. MacKenzie, Bon Accord Square, Aberdeen. Drawings externally held.

Description in Burke's 'Visitations of Seats' 1854. Unable to locate at time of upgrade 21.10.1999.

London - Bedford Lemere Book no.5, 1907, 5 negatives.



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