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Field Visit

Date 16 January 1967

Event ID 547406

Category Recording

Type Field Visit


Of the old Palace, Tower and Fortalice of Fetternear, little now remains, except some foundations of what appears to be a small L-planned tower (noted as Fortress of Fetternear on OS 6" map) slightly S of the present house, known locally as the "Auld Founds" and said to be part of it. The walls show no trace of mortar and are up to 3.5m in width (Kelly 1909). It would seem to have been in existence prior to 1256, when there is a tradition that Peter de Ramsey, Bishop of Aberdeen, made additions to it.

This building, and not the Wallace Tower in the new house must have been where Sir William Wallace lay concealed when, by tradition, he was at Fetternear in 1297. Further alterations were made in the 1330s by Bishop Kyninmund, who completed Fetternear and used it as his summer home from 1329-1341. The remains of this were partly uncovered towards the end of the 19th century. By 1550, the Palace had become so ruinous as to be no longer habitable, and when, in 1566, William Leslie came into possession of the Barony, he built Fetternear House from the material available on the site. The original small tower house forms the SE part of the present building. The first additions were made in 1690-1693, the latter date being carved above the doorway in the S wall, and further additions and alterations were made in 1818-9 and 1841-4. The House was burned in 1919, and now stands three storeys high and roofless. The ruins are in an extremely dangerous condition, with sections of the walls in imminent danger of collapse, and the lower floors are cumbered with a heavy growth of young trees.

Revised at 1/2500.

Visited by OS (NKB) 16 January 1967.

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