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Pitcairlie House

Country House (16th Century), Tower House (Medieval)

Site Name Pitcairlie House

Classification Country House (16th Century), Tower House (Medieval)

Canmore ID 30301

Site Number NO21SW 20

NGR NO 23855 14992

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

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

Archaeology Notes

NO21SW 20 23855 14992.

(NO 2385 1500) Pitcairlie House (NAT)

OS 6"map, (1959)

Pitcairlie House in a strong defensive position is in the main an 18th century mansion which was again altered about 1800. However there is a considerable 16th century nucleus with a 16th century tower projecting at the S angle. It is now difficult to judge the original plan and extent of the early house, but it is quite likely that it was of Z - plan, with this tower at one end of the main block, and another, containing the stair, projecting diagonally opposite. Three squared recesses, 5' above the ground were used to hold bee-skeps.

N Tranter 1962-70; RCAHMS 1933.

Pitcairlie House, name confirmed, and as described above, is still occupied.

Visited by OS (J L D) 15 October 1956 and (R D) 20 May 1970.


Field Visit (20 July 1925)

Pitcairlie House.

The estate of Pitcairlie lies a the western extremity of the county, on the Perthshire border, about 2 miles south of Newburgh. The mansion (SC 1108603), which stands on an eminence, is a composite structure, greatly altered in the 18th century and again about 1800, but still retaining a late 16th-century basis, the extent and arrangement of which cannot now be accurately determined. All that can be said is that the western part and a rectangular tower projecting from the southern angle are definitely of the earliest period. The house is three storeys in height, rubble-built and harled, except at the front, which has been refaced. The tower is surmounted by an ashlar parapet with rounds, and has a turret-stair corbelled out at second-floor level within the western re-entrant angle. In its lower part, on the south-west face, are three recesses, 22 inches high, 21 ½ inches broad, and 22 inches deep, set 5 feet 3 inches from the ground; their purpose is unknown. The present entrance faces northeast and opens into a modernised hall, which originally formed three apartments; beyond is a vaulted passage, from which are entered two vaulted chambers, the smaller opening into the lower part of the tower. The stair, which rises at the western end of the hall, is modern, and there is no trace of the original access to the upper floors. On the first floor, the drawing room, a modernised room, occupies the front of the house, and on the western side of the passage are three chambers, the two northern of which were originally one room. The southern chamber communicates with a chamber in the tower, which is panelled in Memel pine of theI8th century, and there are traces of a similar finish in the other rooms. On the second storey the tower-room and the smoking-room, which is above the drawing-room, are panelled; the other rooms have been modernised, but one contains a simply moulded stone fireplace, which is original.

HISTORICAL NOTE. - Pitcairlie was within the barony of Balmbreich [NO22SE 8], and so belonged to the family of Leslie, Earl of Rothes. The fourth earl bestowed Pitcairlie on his second son Patrick, who became Lord Lindores. Patrick Leslie, the second Lord Lindores, died at "Pitcartey " in 1649 (1). He had borrowed so heavily on the estate that after his death it passed to a creditor.

RCAHMS 1933, visited 20 July 1925.

(1) Balfour, Annales of Scotland, iii, p.


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