- Category: N/A
- Date Added: 30/04/1920
- Last Date Amended: 28/04/1999
- Supplementary Information Updated: 23/06/2015
- Type: Secular: castle; doocote, dovecote, pigeon loft
- Local Authority: Fife
- Parish: Aberdour (Fife)
National Grid Reference
- NGR: NT 192 854
- Coordinates: 319200, 685400
The monument forms the substantial remains of Aberdour Castle, the adjacent walled and terraced gardens and a dovecot.
The core of the castle is represented by the basement and a substantial part of the SE wall of a 2-storeyed hall house built ca.1200 for the De Mortimer family. This was raised in height and altered internally in the 15th century to create a tower house. In the mid 16th century, a central range was added, probably by Regent Morton, together with a back courtyard containing ancillary buildings.
The last major addition was the creation of an E range built for the 7th Earl in the early 17th century. The castle was damaged by fire in the late 18th century, only the E range subsequently being repaired. This continued in use as a barrack, school room, masonic hall and dwelling until 1924.
The terraced gardens to the S of the castle consist of 4 terraces linked by stone steps and probably date to the period of Regent Morton's rebuilding programme in the 1550s. The 'beehive' dovecot which stands at their SE corner was constructed in the later 16th century. The walled garden to the NE of the castle was built for the 7th Earl in 1630s.
The area to be scheduled is irregular in shape with maximum dimensions of 185m NNW-SSE by 200m ENE-WSW, to include the castle, terraced and walled gardens and the dovecot, plus the area of the driveway which extends 140m to the WSW of the W-most point of the castle grounds. The driveway is a uniform 10m in width.
The boundary of the scheduled area follows, and includes, existing boundary walls and is defined on the S side by the N bank of the Dour Burn: all as marked in red on the accompanying map extract. Excluded from this scheduling are the Custodian's building, the top 30cm of the driveway and the top 30cm of all pathways, to allow for maintenance.
Statement of National Importance
The monument is of national importance because of the information it can provide on the development of castleated architecture from the 12th to the 17th century and for the information it provides on the social standing of the families who occupied the castle throughout its use. In addition, the survival of important internal decoration, architectural and artefactual evidence of the use of the monument and important information about the garden and associated pleasure grounds adds to its importance.
RCAHMS records the monument as NT 18 NE 8
Apted, M. R. (1966) Aberdour Castle, Fife, Edinburgh, 20-1, 28-9.
CBA (1975) Archaeology in Britain 1974-5, Report No. 25 of the CBA for the year ended 30 June 1975, 55.
Mackay, J. (1970) 'Across to Aberdour', The Scots Mag, vol. 93, April, 76.
RCAHMS (1933) The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments and Constructions of Scotland. Eleventh report with inventory of monuments and constructions in the counties of Fife, Kinross, and Clackmannan Edinburgh, 21, No. 17.
Historic Environment Scotland Properties
Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for the designation of buildings, monuments, gardens and designed landscapes and historic battlefields. We also advise Scottish Ministers on the designation of historic marine protected areas.
Scheduling is the way that a monument or archaeological site of national importance is recognised by law through the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.
We schedule sites and monuments of national importance using the criteria published in the Historic Environment Scotland Policy Statement.
The description and map showing the scheduled area is the legal part of the scheduling. The additional information in the scheduled monument record gives an indication of the national importance of the monument(s). It is not a definitive account or a complete description of the monument(s). The format of scheduled monument records has changed over time. Earlier records will usually be brief and some information will not have been recorded. Scheduled monument consent is required to carry out certain work, including repairs, to scheduled monuments. Applications for scheduled monument consent are made to us. We are happy to discuss your proposals with you before you apply and we do not charge for advice or consent. More information about consent and how to apply for it can be found on our website at www.historicenvironment.scot.
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