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Killernie Castle

Tower House (Medieval)

Site Name Killernie Castle

Classification Tower House (Medieval)

Alternative Name(s) Killearnie Castle

Canmore ID 49708

Site Number NT09SW 7

NGR NT 0321 9243

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

  • Council Fife
  • Parish Saline
  • Former Region Fife
  • Former District Dunfermline
  • Former County Fife

Archaeology Notes

NT09SW 7 0321 9243.

(NT 0321 9243) Killernie Castle (NAT) (Ruins)

OS 6" map, (1948).

Killernie Castle was built in 1592.

Name Book 1854.

The remains of this Z- plan tower are as described by RCAHMS 1933. The walls are c 0.8m thick and 0.5m high, except for the angle towers which attain a height of 3-4 m. The remains of a strong enceinte wall run south from the tower for c 76 m and turns east for a short distance close to the crest of the steep river bank.

Visited by OS (JD) 3 July 1953.


Field Visit (22 June 1928)

Killernie Castle.

The remains of this building stand at the western edge of a small plateau, backed by rising ground, about half a mile east of Saline village. Although the structure is mainly represented by foundations, sufficient is left to indicate that it has been a tower of the late 16th century, oblong on plan but having circular towers projecting from the north-western and south-eastern angles. The main block has measured 41 feet 10 inches from east to west by 21 feet 6 inches from north to south, and the walls have been from 3 feet to 3 feet 3 inches in thickness. The western tower is ruinous, standing only to the height of the vault which covers its ground floor. It has a diameter of 10 feet 7 inches externally, and there are three oval gun-loops in the walls. The eastern tower, 12 feet 7 inches in external diameter, has contained a turnpike. Its wall is very incomplete, but at one point is still standing 15 feet high. Only the three lowest steps of the stair remain. This tower also has had gun-loops. On the south side of the Castle there appears to have been an enclosure, heavily revetted on the western side, where the ground falls.

HISTORICAL NOTE. - In 1540 Killernie was among the lands held on lease by Sir James Colville of East Wemyss but forfeited by him and conferred on Robert Dury of that ilk (1). According to the Statistical Account the "tower…consisted of two parts, called the N. and S. built at different times. The date of the S. or newest part, which consisted chiefly of one large room, all arched and very high, was 1592. That of the other, which probably was a cell or hermitage, is unknown. The estate on which it stands is said to have belonged formerly to one Scot of Balneiry" (2). (?"Balueiry" = Balweary).

RCAHMS 1933, visited 22 June 1928.

(1) Reg. Sec. Sig., ii, No. 3652. (2) Vol. x (1794), p.312.

Field Visit (October 1991)

NT09SW 7 0321 9243.

The ruins of Killearnie Castle are situated on a rise 250m SSE of Killearnie steading. All that survives is part of a rectangular block with towers at the NW and SE angles, and the entrance in the NE re-entrant angle. A revetment wall extends southwards from the castle, but it is not clear whether this was associated with the occupation of the building.

The rectangular block has 3 gun loops surviving at each of the NW, NE and SE angles respectively.

(Cleish91 520)

Visited by RCAHMS (SPH) October 1991.


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