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Pittarthie Castle

Tower House (Medieval)

Site Name Pittarthie Castle

Classification Tower House (Medieval)

Canmore ID 34030

Site Number NO50NW 1

NGR NO 52129 09110

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

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

Archaeology Notes

NO50NW 1.00 52129 09110

NO50NW 1.01 5214 0915 Building

(NO 5212 0910) Pittarthie Castle (NR) (Ruins of)

OS 6" map (1919)

Pittarthie Castle dates from the close of the 16th century. It is three storeys in height and faces south, the wing projecting from the south west angle.


Pittairthy Castle appears to have been erected at two separate periods. The west or first built is a large square tower of uncertain date. The east part according to the inscription on it was built in 1653 by Sir William Bruce of Kinross.

NSA 1845 (J Roger)

Pittarthie Castle is as described by RCAHMS, but is in a ruinous condition. Above the windows in the south wall of the main block are two inscribed stones. The west stone bears a cherub, the other the initials W.B., a coat of arms, and the date 1682. The entrance, which appears to be the original one, is situated at the foot of the tower in the re-entrant angle.

Visited by OS (DS) 16 October 1956

As previously described.

Visited by OS (WDJ) 20 August 1968.

Scheduled as Pittarthie Castle... a defensible house of staggered L-shpaed plan and of largely domestic appearance, the initial construction of whichy dates from around the tome of a royal grant of the lands to Andrew Logan of Easter Granton in 1598. The house is built of coursed rubble and rises through three principal storeys.

Information from Historic Scotland, scheduling document dated 29 October 2003.


Field Visit (24 June 1927)

Pittarthie Castle.

The ruins of Pittarthie Castle stand on high ground at the southern end of the parish, 4 ¼ miles north of St. Ninians. While the outer walls are fairly complete, they are insecure and are covered with ivy. The building, which dates from the close of the 16th century, has been a house of fair size, three storeys in height, resembling in plan the smaller contemporary house of Randerston (NO61SW 5). It faces south, the wing projecting from the south-west angle in a manner that permitted of the main block being more adequately lighted than would have been possible with an L-shaped plan. The entrance is at the foot of the staircase, which is centrally situated within the southern re-entrant angle.

The masonry is rubble, but the stones are large and brought to courses. Two angles of the building are rounded off, as shown on the plan, and the north-west angle of the wing is circled. The window dressings are sometimes rounded at the arris, sometimes hollow-chamfered. There are numerous gun-holes placed usually in the window breasts. A small turret stair, apparently an addition, projects from the north wall on a corbelling of three members and gives access from the first to the upper floors. On the south front of the main block is a panel, surmounted by a cherub. The inscription on it is now indecipherable, but the workmanship recalls that of early 17th-century tombstones. The ground floor, which is vaulted, is only partially accessible as the vaults have fallen in places. But there have been at least three chambers, two of which lay in the wing, and it is obvious that the southern room there has been the kitchen, since it has had a water inlet in the west wall and a large fireplace, with an oven of later date, in the north wall. The arrangement of the main block at this level is doubtful.

On the first floor, the part of the wing overlying the kitchen is a living-room, which is entered from the main stair and is provided with a mural chamber and a close garderobe with lamp recess. In the main block there were latterly, if not originally, two apartments, that on the west being the Hall. Here the fireplace, now incomplete, immediately adjoins the stair, a position it frequently occupies in late 16th century work. A basin with outlet is fitted in the embrasure of the west window, and there is a buffet with moulded margin in the north wall. The Hall communicates with a small chamber in the north part of the wing, possibly a servery, from which a narrow service-stair, similar to one at Randerston, descends to the ground floor. The room to the east of the Hall has undergone some alteration, and the ceiling has apparently been lowered. The fireplace lies in the gable, and on the north is the entrance to a turret-stair leading to the second floor.

On the second floor the wing chamber opens into a small chamber above the service room, and there have been three chambers in the main block. Above the main stair, which terminates on the second floor, there is a small chamber, which is reached from a turret-stair partly corbelled out in the south wall.

HISTORICAL NOTE. In 1598 the King confirmed to Andrew Logan of Easter Granton and his heirs the lands of Pittarthie with certain others, including the fortalice, manor-place, &c., which had formerly been held of the Archbishop of St. Andrews by James Monypenny of Pitmelie and had been resigned by him in favour of the said Andrew (1). But in 1654 William Bruce was returned heir to his father, Andrew Bruce of Pittairthie, in these lands (2), and in 1700 there still were Bruces in Pittairthie (3).

RCAHMS 1933, visited 24 June 1927.

(1) Reg. Mag. Sig., s.a. No. 720 . (2) Inquis. Spec., Fife, No. 832. (3) Ibid., No. 1442.


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