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

Former Kinnaird Head Lighthouse, including outbuildings and fog horn, Stevenson Road, FraserburghLB31888

Status: Designated


Where documents include maps, the use of this data is subject to terms and conditions (


Date Added
Last Date Amended
Supplementary Information Updated
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NJ 99864 67528
399864, 867528



A complex of buildings including a 4-storey tower house with integral lighthouse, three former keepers' cottages, an engine house and a fog horn, situated on a cliff site at the north of Fraserburgh. The site is now a museum (2016). The tower house is likely to have been built by Sir Alexander Fraser of Philorth around 1570 and contains a circular lighthouse within its northeast side with the domed lantern section projecting through the roof. The lighthouse was first built in 1787 by Thomas Smith and remodelled in 1824 by Robert Stevenson. The tower house is harled rubble with a corbelled parapet and with round bartizans at the corners and square bartizans at the centre of the elevations. The lighthouse is situated within the tower house and is a granite ashlar tower with a projecting lantern. The lantern has two encircling walkways above a ground floor, each with metal railings. The lower walkway is corbelled. The glass of the lantern above is diamond paned.

The window openings are irregularly spaced and there is a large window to the stair tower. The windows are mostly timber sash and case with 6-over 6-pane glazing pattern. There are some smaller windows.

The interior was seen in 2016. The lighthouse tower has an internal stone spiral staircase with metal balusters and a timber handrail. The lantern holds a large circular brass frame which supports the lens. The basement is vaulted. The other rooms were converted into keeper's accommodation in 1830s and have 6-panel timber doors.

The former keepers' cottages and the engine house lie to the north, southeast and south of the lighthouse. The pair of cottages to the southeast date from 1824 and the others from 1902. All are single-storey, symmetrical, flat-roofed buildings in white, harled, coursed rubble with contrasting mustard margins. All have a base course, blocking courses and quoins. The 1824 cottages have central, hexagonal chimney stacks.

A coped rubble boundary wall lies to the east, west and south of the keeper's cottage to the south.

The windows are mostly timber sash and case with a 4-pane glazing pattern.

The interiors were seen in 2016. The former houses retain small rooms with some 4-panel timber doors and carved fire surrounds.

A fog horn built in 1902 is situated to the north of the site, on the cliff edge, facing out to sea. It is a concrete semi-circular structure with a metal horn on its roof.

Statement of Special Interest

Kinnaird Head Castle was probably founded in the early 1570s by Sir Alexander Fraser, 8th Lord of Philorth to protect the new Fraserburgh harbour. It was acquired by the Northern Lighthouse Board in 1786 (Walker et al. 2015).

The former Kinnaird Head lighthouse was originally constructed in 1787 for the Northern Lighthouse Board by the Edinburgh engineer Thomas Smith. It is constructed within the northeast side of the tower house of the former Kinnaird Head Castle. The Canmore record notes that the older lighthouse was largely of a timber construction and the whale lamps within could cast light for up to 14 miles. The 18th century lighthouse was replaced in 1824 by Robert Stevenson, who built the current lantern and lamp and reconstructed the stair tower within the castle. The light was replaced in 1851 by Alan Stevenson and again in 1902 by David Stevenson.

David Stevenson also built the fog horn and the engine house which works it. He also built a new house for the principal keeper.

The lighthouse was decommissioned in 1991 and an automated light constructed to the north.

Statutory address revised in 2017. Previously listed as 'Kinnaird's Head Castle Lighthouse'.



Canmore: CANMORE ID 20778.


Ordnance Survey (Surveyed 1869, Published 1874) Aberdeen Sheet 111.1. 25 Inches to the mile map. 1st Edition. Southampton: Ordnance Survey.

Printed Sources

Cranna, J. (1914) Fraserburgh: Past and Present. Aberdeen: The Rosemount Press. pp.393.

MacGibbon, D., Ross, T. (1887) Castellated and Domestic Architecture of Scotland from the twelth to the eighteenth century. Edinburgh: David Douglas. p.31.

New Statistical Account (1834-45) Parish of Fraserburgh, Vol. 12. p.251

Paxton, R., Shipway, J. (2007) Civil Engineering Heritage: Scotland Highlands and Islands. London: Thomas Telford. pp.109.

Statistical Account (1791-99) Parish of Fraserburgh, Vol.6. p.13.

Walker, D., Woodworth, M. (2015) The Buildings of Scotland: Aberdeenshire: North and Moray. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. pp.199.

Online Sources

Northern Lighthouse Board. Kinnaird Head. (accessed 20/03/2017).

Historic Environment Scotland Properties

Kinkell Church

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Related Designations

  1. Kinkell Church and burial groundSM90188

    Designation Type
    Scheduled Monument

    Designation Type
    Listed Building (B)

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.

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Foghorn, Kinnaird Head Lighthouse, Fraserbirgh, looking north.
Kinnaird Head lighthouse and outbuildings, Fraserburgh, looking northeast, during daytime with blue, cloudy sky.



Printed: 03/07/2022 09:16