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- Category: B
- Date Added: 09/12/1970
- Local Authority: Fife
- Planning Authority: Fife
- Burgh: Burntisland
National Grid Reference
- NGR: NT 22868 85789
- Coordinates: 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).
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