Monimail Tower

Bishops Palace (16th Century), Tower (16th Century)

Site Name Monimail Tower

Classification Bishops Palace (16th Century), Tower (16th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Cardinal Beaton's Tower; Monimail Castle; Monimail Palace; Melville House Policies

Canmore ID 30150

Site Number NO21SE 13

NGR NO 29839 14092

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

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

  • Council Fife
  • Parish Monimail
  • Former Region Fife
  • Former District North East Fife
  • Former County Fife

Archaeology Notes

NO21SE 13 29839 14092

(NO 2984 1409) Cardinal Beaton's Tower (NR)

(Remains of Old Palace of Monimail).

OS 6" map, Fife, (1921)

Monimail Tower (NR).

OS 6" map, (1959)

Monimail Tower. This small tower is all that remains of the former palace of the Archbishops of St Andrews. That part which has disappeared, seems to have been three storeys high, and abutted against the E and S faces of the tower, which is almost square on plan and four storeys high.

Cardinal Beaton (1539-46) is said to have built this tower, and the lower part may be his work, but the upper levels are of later construction and post-Reformation alteration, date 1578. There was an episcopal residence here reputedly as early as 1300, however. After the Reformation, the lands of the palace passed to the Balfours, and thence to the Melvilles.

RCAHMS 1933, visited 1925; N Tranter 1962-70.

Monimail Tower (name confirmed) is as described and planned. At NO 2983 1411 is a ruinous rubble built vaulted chamber with an oval horizontal gun-loop in the south wall, probably a fragment of the former palace.

Visited by OS (D S) 31 October 1956 and (W D J) 12 May 1970.

Architecture Notes




Memorandum of sums received by the laird of Pitcullo and James Balfour, prior of Charterhouse, from Sir Robert Melville or Murdocairny for Palace of Monimail.


GD 26/6/575

A note of the progress of the House of Monimail


GD 26/5/607

Note of the progress of the house from the Bishopric of St Andrews.

[Early 19th century.]

GD 26/5/576



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