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Strathenry Castle

Tower House (16th Century)

Site Name Strathenry Castle

Classification Tower House (16th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Strathendry Old House; Strathenry House Policies

Canmore ID 30012

Site Number NO20SW 4

NGR NO 22538 01947

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Fife
  • Parish Leslie (Kirkcaldy)
  • Former Region Fife
  • Former District Kirkcaldy
  • Former County Fife

Archaeology Notes

NO20SW 4.00 22538 01947

(NO 2253 0194) Strathendry Castle (NR).

OS 6" map (1959).

NO20SW 4.01 NO 22539 01930 South Wing

NO20SW 4.02 NO 22545 01953 East Wing

NO20SW 4.03 NO 22545 01989 Steading

NO20SW 4.04 NO 22534 01982 East Garden House

NO20SW 4.05 NO 22529 01978 West Garden House

NO20SW 4.06 NO 22517 01982 Gig House

ARCHITECT: William Burn - small additions to existing house, c.1824 - attributed - not executed.

David Bryce - remodelled office range, 1845


Sketch of old house included in portfolio of Miscellaneous drawings.

N.D. GD 24/5/175

(Undated) information in NMRS.

Strathendry Castle, now superseded by a modern mansion, is a late 16th century tower which has been restored, occupied, and in a good state of preservation. It is oblong on plan, measuring 39' by 26' externally, with a circular stair tower projecting 13 1/2' from the centre of the N wall; it probably replaces an earlier, smaller stair in the same position.

The building stands 3 storeys and an attic high. There is a draw-well in the courtyard to the S of the tower.

The property was owned by Strathendry of that Ilk from an early date, till 1496, when it passed to the Forresters, and 200 years later, to the Douglases, then to the Clephanes in 1882.

RCAHMS 1933, visited 1927; N Tranter 1963

The tower is generally as described. The draw-well is now covered over.

Visited by OS (RD), 13 April 1972.


Field Visit (10 June 1927)

Strathendry Castle.

Behind Strathendry House, a mile and a half west of Leslie, is a good late 16th-century tower, which has been restored and is still occupied. It is oblong on plan, measuring 39 by 26 feet externally, and contains three storeys and an attic. The stair-tower, which projects 13 ½ feet from the middle of the north wall, probably replaces an original but smaller stair in the same position. The masonry is of rubble with dressings at quoins and voids. Most of the windows have at some time or other been enlarged. The eastern gable is surmounted by a bartizan, with open rounds at the angles, set forward on a corbel table of later 16th-century type. The gables are crow-stepped.

There are two entrances, one from the north and the other from the south. The latter, which is obviously not original, is surmounted by a panel, halved horizontally and containing in the upper part, as a charge, three hunting horns flanked by the initials T. and F., the latter for Forrester; the lower part now contains a shield, the under part of which is indented and bears: On a chevron(?) three buckles, while the upper part shows the initials I.L., the latter probably for Lumsden. This arrangement no doubt represents a marriage. The northern entrance, set in the western side of the stair tower, displays a monogram of the initials S.E.D., probably for Sir E. Douglas, a younger son of Douglas of Kirkness, who married the Forrester heiress and so acquired the property. The monogram is flanked by the date 1699.

The basement floor has been a single vaulted chamber, but has latterly been divided into three parts, while the vault above the central division has been removed. The western division shows traces of two original windows – mere slits, while in the eastern gable there seems to have been a kitchen fireplace. On each of the upper floors - save the third which has been thrown into a single chamber - are two rooms, both modernised, the only features of interest left being a moulded fireplace of stone and a wooden moulded mantelshelf, both of which date from the end of the 17th century.

DRAW-WELL. In the courtyard on the southern side of the tower is a draw-well.

DOVECOT. An oblong late 17th-century dovecot, built of rubble, stands 100 yards north-east of the tower. It measures 20 ¼ by 14 feet externally.

HISTORICAL NOTE. "Strathendry an old building, the possession antiently of the Strathenries of that Ilk. Then anno 1496, Forrester, a son of Carden's married the heiress, and it continued in the name of Forrester, till King Charles II's time, that a younger son of Kirkness married the heiress and got the estate: and his son Mr. John Douglass is the present possessor” (1). Thomas Forrester of "Strathanrye" is on record in 1516 as sheriff-depute of Fife (2).

RCAHMS 1933, visited 10 June 1927.

(1) Sibbald's History of Fife, etc. (ed. 1803), pp.372-3. (2) Sheriff Court Book of Fife (S.H.S.), p.40 .


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