Early 16th century, square plan tower house, built on site of motte, with steep banks falling to N and W, possibly incorporating earlier structure. Curtain walls and outbuildings to S and E forming courtyard. Originally 5-storey with parapet walk and angle bartizans; 2-storeys remain, lowered 1725, with pitched roof. Castle restored and re-roofed 1725. Stair tower reduced 1865, cap-house rebuilt circa 1927. Late 16th century 2-storey hall range to E with alterations of 1857. Further alterations 1923-39 with restoration. Harl pointed rubble, squared dressings, chamfered reveals.
S ELEVATION: Tower: 3-storey, 2-bay tower, 2 windows to each floor; some enlarged. 3-stage stair tower adjoining to W; door at ground floor, narrow window at 1st and 2nd floors, breaking eaves with corbel course (see notes) carrying 1927 cap-house; window with broad star-studded architrave; crowstepped gable with star finial. Late 16th century wing of 3 irregular bays adjoining to E. Ground floor altered; door at centre crica 1857, with roll-moulded surround dated 1935, 1925-39 tripartites flanking. 3 windows to 1st floor. Two 1925-39 catslide dormers to attic. Rubble curtain walls extending to S and E, incorporating lean-to outbuildings to S and square pyramidal roofed turret.
N ELEVATION: towerhouse blind to N except 1 small window at ground. Windows to outer bays at each floor of later wing, modern cat-slide dormer to attic.
W ELEVATION: stair tower advanced to W; small window at ground and 3rd stage, and to 1st and 2nd stages on N return. Window to each floor of towerhouse.
E ELEVATION: modern doorway and window at ground to right, window at 1st floor.
Sash and case windows with various glazing patterns. Some leaded small-pane glazing of 1925-39 to stair tower, cap-house and tripartites. Re-roofed in grey slate, crowstepped gables and ashlar corniced stacks to towerhouse, ashlar coped skews and stacks to wing.
INTERIOR: vaulted ground floor to tower house, some original roll-moulded fireplaces remain; in process of restoration (1990).
Circa 1500 carved oak aumbry, with portrait heads incorporated into modern panelling of 1st floor hall (see notes). Large hall to ground floor of later wing, panelling and cornices intact in 1st floor rooms.
OUTBUILDINGS: single storey and attic steading/stable range to S, harled. Former rectangular-plan gabled carriage house(?) to E, coursed rubble; both now converted to residential use.
Statement of Special Interest
The lands of Kinnairdy came into the possession of the Innes Family in the late 14th century, and the first tower was probably built circa 1420. The oak aumbry doors incorporating carved roundels and lozenges with portrait heads probably dates from circa 1500; representing Alexander Innes (laird 1491-1537) and his wife, it is one of the oldest pieces of oak carving in Scotland (see Richardson). In 1627 the estate was sold to Crichton of Frendraught, from whom it passed to the Gregory
family. Thomas Donaldson and his wife Elizabeth Duff bought the estate in 1704, and transformed the castle from fortress to country house; a plaque dated 1725, mounted in the stair tower commemorates their work. The estate was in the possession of the Fife Estates until 1897, passing again to the Innes Family in 1923 who began restoration. The dovecot and remains of the walled garden are listed separately, as is the Mill, Kinnairdy.