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Pitcruvie Castle

Tower House (Medieval)

Site Name Pitcruvie Castle

Classification Tower House (Medieval)

Alternative Name(s) Balcruvie Castle

Canmore ID 32806

Site Number NO40SW 4

NGR NO 41356 04639

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

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

Architecture Notes

NO40SW 4 41356 04639

(NO 4135 0464) Pitcruvie Castle (NR) (Ruin)

OS 6" map (1938)

Pitcruivie Castle. This ruined tower has features which suggest that it has at some time been reconstructed though the difference in building style is so slight that it may indicate only changes made during building. The date of the original construction would seem to be a little before 1500.

On plan the tower is an oblong lying E-W and measuring 25 1/2ft by 38 1/4ft with the remains of a small stair-wing projecting from the north-west angle.


The tower is as described above except that the small stair-wing projects from the NE angle. It is constructed of dressed stone with rubble filling and is now much weathered.

Visited by OS (EGC) 16 October 1962


Field Visit (3 August 1927)

Pitcruivie Castle.

This ruined towers as high above the Keil Burn, on the left bank, 1 ¼ miles north of Largo Station. It has features which suggest that it has at some time been reconstructed. But the differences in the style of building are so slight, the secondary work pointing to about 1500 and the original work to a date only a little earlier, that the alterations may possibly represent no more than the result of changes decided upon while the work was still in progress. On plan the tower is an oblong, lying east and west and measuring externally 25 ½ by 38 ¼ feet, with the remains of a small stair-wing, which has been inserted, projecting from the north-west angle. At the opposite or south-east angle there appears to have been a corresponding but earlier projection, which may have been designed to contain the original stair, as a built-up access to the tower can be seen at the first-floor level.

In any event it is at this level that the tower has always been entered. The lowest storey, the sole access to which seems to have been a hatch, comprises two intercommunicating vaulted chambers each lit by a narrow window in the north wall. The more easterly of these two windows has been built up. The rear arches of both are of ashlar, and the daylights, which have been chamfered, have been only 3 to 4 inches in width. The hatch is in the ceiling of the western cellar.

On the first floor, which has been the hall, the entrance, an arched doorway with semi-circular head, is centred in the west wall, and has a bar-hole in the south jamb. Some four feet inside of it stood the 'screens,' in front of which was the hatch admitting to the floor below. Above them was a loft, lit by a small window over the entrance. The position of the ‘screens’ and loft can be traced on the sidewalls. At the south end of the 'screens' is a later basin contained within a small arched recess, and at the north end is the entrance to the later stair-now a mere fragment-which led from the first to the upper floors. Including the 'screens' the hall has measured 27 ½ by 14 ½ feet. It is ceiled with a barrel-vault, evidently an after-thought, since the wall on which it rests on the south is 10 ½ inches in advance of the wall containing the built-up doorway for the original stair. The east gable, too, has been thickened on the inner side, for it helps to block this doorway, and there are indications that the floor levels have been raised. The fireplace, now fragmentary, is centred in the east gable. In each of the sidewalls there has been a window with seats.

The second floor is inaccessible. The floor joists were carried on heavy corbels set in the side walls, and some 5 or 6 feet above are other corbels, apparently for the original joists of the third floor, which again points to an alteration in floor levels.

Externally there are traces of alteration at the lower part of the south-west angle, while the greater part of the south wall at that level seems to have been renewed. The masonry is of rubble. The voids are chamfered at the arris. The fabric of the building, although free from vegetation, is in bad repair.

HISTORICAL NOTE. - At the time of the erection of the tower Pitcruivie belonged to Lindsay of the Byres. Sir John Lindsay, eldest son of Patrick, 4th Lord Lindsay, is designated "of Pitcruvie" in 1511 (1) and 1524 (2).

RCAHMS 1933, visited 3 August 1927.

(1) Laing Charters, No. 282. (2) Reg. Mag. Sig .,s·a., No. 265. Cf. also Cast. and Dom. Arch., iii, p. 247.


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