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Publication Account

Date 1987

Event ID 1016872

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Publication Account

Permalink http://canmore.org.uk/event/1016872

Huntingtower comprises two medieval tower-houses standing close together on an east-west line and linked by a single volume oflate 17th century date. The towers were originally connected by a curtain wall on the line of the south wall of the eastern tower. On the north side the courtyard buildings have disappeared but as late as 1790 the ruins of a great hall were still visible. This was a single-storey building with large windows and a 16th century style fIreplace at the north end. This range abutted the north wall of the western tower and terminated at the north end in a two-storey building.

The oldest part of Huntingtower is the eastern tower. In its present form it dates from the late 15th or early 16th century and is remodelled from an early 15th century structure. The original hall was on the first floor of the eastern tower. It was remodelled when the underlying vault was introduced and again in the 17th century. These successive alterations resulted in the preservation of a painted wooden ceiling from about 1540. This may be the earliest tempera-painted ceiling surviving in a Scottish dwelling. The ceilings in the main are decorated with a knotwork pattern in black on a white ground. One shows a tendril and leaf pattern. The joists between these panels are decorated in three simple patterns in: black and white on yellow; black and white on red; and white on black. The main beams are more ornamental with leaf-work, fruit, scrolls and zoomorphic patterns. The painted decoration on the wall plaster is probably slightly earlier but less complete.

The western tower of three storeys and an attic is of similar height and width to the eastern tower but is much longer in total volume as it has its long axis running north and south. There are traces of mural painting on the plaster of the first-floor room. There has been more alteration to this tower with enlarged windows and fIreplace insertions. This possibly dates from the period when the buildings were linked.

The linked fortifIed houses of Huntingtower make an impressive building. The original organisation of the site when the towers were independently occupied is still unclear. Perhaps if the outer defensive works, the garden, and the orchard had survived they might have shed more light on this aspect of medieval life.

Information from ‘Exploring Scotland’s Heritage: Fife and Tayside’, (1987).

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