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Field Visit

Date 1 June 1927

Event ID 1098967

Category Recording

Type Field Visit


Mountquhanie Castle.

Mountquhanie Castle is an ivy-clad ruin standing beside the home farm, 4 ½ miles north-north-west of Cupar. It has been an oblong tower of the 16th century*, measuring externally 43 ½ feet by 26 feet, and has had three storeys beneath the wall-head. The lowest storey is vaulted. The masonry is whin rubble with freestone dressings. The windows are unusually small, and one on the first floor, looking southward, has a broad chamfered margin and has been heightened. At each of the angles there is a turret supported on a corbel of four members. The parapet has only a slight projection over the wall face and is borne on small corbels, each of two members. The tower has been considerably altered, but full examination is at present impossible owing to the growth of ivy, which threatens the stability of the walls. West of the tower there has been a small courtyard open to the north. The western buildings are two-storeyed and have, at the south-west angle, a circular tower, the upper part of which is used as a dovecot. Although the southern buildings have been removed, the entrance remains, and its lintel is inscribed HIC…PONS ESTO I.C M.L 1682, which presumably records the date of the extension. The first pair of initials are for James Crawford, for whom see HISTORICAL NOTE. The entrance to the castle has been from the north, where part of a transe, dated 1683, is incorporated in the farm buildings.

HISTORICAL NOTE. George Balfour was in “Munquhane” in 1459 (1). In 1493 these Balfour lands were erected into a free barony in favour of Michael Balfour (2). A charter of 1547/8 specifies “the tower, fortalice, and manor-house”. The Balfours continued till the beginning of the 17th century, but in 1668 James Lumsden of Montquhanny was returned heir in these lands to his father General-Major Robert Lumsden of Montquhanny (3). Towards the close of the century the lands came into possession of James Crawford (4).

RCAHSM 1933, visited 1 June 1927

(1) Reg. Mag. Sig., s.a., No. 701. (2) Ibid., s.a., No. 2149. (3) Inquis. Spec., Fife, No. 1034. (4) Sibbald's Hist. of Fife, etc. (ed. 1803), p. 411.

*Macgibbon and Ross in Castellated and Domestic Architecture, vol. iv, p. 269, record a Balfour armorial stone, dated 1597, built upside down into an outbuilding. This is not now visible and may be concealed by the ivy.

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