Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing under the Planning (Listing Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing – see 'About Listed Buildings' below for more information. The further details below the 'Address/Name of Site' are provided for information purposes only.

Address/Name of Site


Status: Designated


There are no additional online documents for this record.


Date Added
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NT 22868 85789
322868, 685789


16th century, incorporating 13th century ground floor. 4-storey, T-plan tower house, top remodelled and raised to 4-storeys with garret and W wing added 17th century, enlarged 19th century; refurbished and converted to offices 1977 by Hurd Rolland Partnership, with addition of W stair tower and glass-gabled caphouse. Harled with dressed stone margins; battered base course, corbel table and chamfered arrises.

N (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: projecting face to left with timber door in roll-moulded doorcase in bay to right of centre, armorial panel of canopied plaque with barley-twist columns bearing Arms of Abbot George Durie dated 1554 above adjacent to base of 1st floor window with further window above; small stair window off-set to outer right between ground and 1st floor and further window above at 3rd floor; bay at centre with small window off-set to right at 1st floor, narrow window above at 2nd and 3rd floor, latter below inset window pediment with initials 'SJ' and 'W' dated 1665; bay to outer left with small window at 2nd and 3rd floor. Return wall to right and recessed wing with irregular-sized windows disposed at intervals, 3rd floor of wing with finialled pedimented dormerhead breaking eaves to right of centre and chimneybreast to left.

S ELEVATION: recessed wing with blocked gunloop at centre flanked by small irregular gunloops close to base course, small lancet to right of centre and small window to outer right abutting underside of forestair in re-entrant, further small lancet to left; forestair with small platform leading to 1st floor timber door at right, irregular windows disposed at intervals at all floors. Tower to outer right with window at centre ground; 1st floor with window at centre and to right, small opening to left; 2nd floor window at centre below corbel table with angle-rounds and centre window above below further corbel table and crenellated parapet. Return face to left with timber door to right and small opening to left on forestair, window at 1st floor centre with small window at 2nd floor left close to corbel table, centre window above and further corbel table giving way to crenellated parapet.

E ELEVATION: small window to right of centre close to ground; 1st floor with window at centre and further window in bay to right, panel bearing Arms of Margaret of Scotland in canopied plaque with barley-twist columns centrally positioned above and between; window to centre at 2nd floor with window to right and in bay to outer right, further window to left below corbel table; 3rd floor as 2nd and with crenellated parapet to left.

W ELEVATION: timber door to left at ground with window to each floor in bay above, modern round stair tower to right with timber door on return to left.

Small-pane glazing pattern in timber sash and case and casement windows. Clay pantiles and graded grey slates. Harled, shouldered stacks with some cans, coped ashlar skews, skewputts and finials.

INTERIOR: broad turnpike stair with stucco panel of upright thistle and mirrored flanking fish (dolphins?). All ground floor rooms tunnel-vaulted, kitchen (now office) with massive segmental-arched fireplace. Small circular stair at ground floor SE leading to Queen Mary's room.

1st floor Great Hall, fireplace to W and bolection-moulded fireplace to N, similar fireplace in office to E; painted ceiling of 1616 removed from this room (see Notes). Queen Mary's Room (SE office) fine pine panelling with 2 secret doors (working), architraved doors, timber cornicing and Corinthian pilasters all imported from Polton House (Lothian) in 1970s, basket-arched marble fireplace and decorative plasterwork at ceiling corners. Fielded panelling to timber door of each office (see Notes). Various masons marks.

2nd floor office with segmental-arched windowheads. Office with decorative ceiling corners (casts taken from mouldings in Castle 1990s).

BOUNDARY WALLS AND RAILINGS: square-coped rubble boundary walls with decorative cast-iron railings immediately to S and to Sailor's Walk. Rubble bastions also to S.

Statement of Special Interest

MacGibbon & Ross give a detailed account of the Castle, placing it in the Fourth Period (1542-1700). Young reports the existence of an earlier Keep or Central Tower dating from 1119 and known as the Tower of Kingorne Wester, later referred to in old title deeds (prior to 1382) as Burntisland Castle. By 1382 it seems to be called Abbot's Hall with Durie of Durie an abbot of Dunfermline in possession, Peter Durie of Durie began rebuilding 1552. An ornate tempera painted timber ceiling was installed in 1616, this was discovered in 1957 beneath a later plaster ceiling, and is now preserved in the National Museum, Edinburgh. Sir James Melville died 1664 and the Barony was acquired by Sir James Wemyss 1666, toward the end of the century the Wemyss family remodelled the top of the Castle.

Murdoch Campbell from Skye was owner by 1765 and probably responsible for the Celtic name of Rossend. James Shepherd purchased the building in 1873 and it eventually passed to the Town Council in 1952 at which time it was in poor condition. Saved from demolition through intervention by the Secretary of State, it was purchased by Robert Hurd & Partners 1975. During restoration 2 secret stairs and ground floor stone vaults were discovered, it was re-opened on St Andrews Day, 30th November 1977.

The timber doors to Queen Mary's Room and office at 1st floor were returned by the owners of nearby Easterheughs Castle who purchased them together with the original panelling when the Castle was due for demolition.

Former gate lodge (1-6 Melville Gardens) and gazebo listed separately.



MacGibbon & Ross CASTELLATED AND DOMESTIC ARCHITECTURE OF SCOTLAND (1887), Vol III p559. Margaret W W Boyd 'Memories of Rossend Castle' SCOTSMAN August 1970. Young HISTORY OF BURNTISLAND. Groome GAZETTEER (1882). Blyth BURNTISLAND, EARLY HISTORY AND PEOPLE (1948).

About Listed Buildings

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Listing is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for buildings of special architectural or historic interest as set out in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings which are found to be of special architectural or historic interest using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Listed building records provide an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building which has been identified by its statutory address. The description and additional information provided are supplementary and have no legal weight.

These records are not definitive historical accounts or a complete description of the building(s). If part of a building is not described it does not mean it is not listed. The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site which is known as the statutory address. Other than the name or address of a listed building, further details are provided for information purposes only. Historic Environment Scotland does not accept any liability for any loss or damage suffered as a consequence of inaccuracies in the information provided. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing. Even if a number or name is missing from a listing address it will still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing also applies to buildings or structures not physically attached but which are part of the curtilage (or land) of the listed building as long as they were erected before 1 July 1948.

While Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating listed buildings, the planning authority is responsible for determining what is covered by the listing, including what is listed through curtilage. However, for listed buildings designated or for listings amended from 1 October 2015, legal exclusions to the listing may apply.

If part of a building is not listed, it will say that it is excluded in the statutory address and in the statement of special interest in the listed building record. The statement will use the word 'excluding' and quote the relevant section of the 1997 Act. Some earlier listed building records may use the word 'excluding', but if the Act is not quoted, the record has not been revised to reflect subsequent legislation.

Listed building consent is required for changes to a listed building which affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest. The relevant planning authority is the point of contact for applications for listed building consent.

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Printed: 25/07/2024 10:36