Ancient Monuments

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Kingsbarns Castle, 700m north east of Kingsbarns

A Scheduled Monument in East Neuk and Landward, Fife

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Latitude: 56.3047 / 56°18'17"N

Longitude: -2.6502 / 2°39'0"W

OS Eastings: 359866

OS Northings: 712668

OS Grid: NO598126

Mapcode National: GBR 2X.6QKF

Mapcode Global: WH8TD.8S8L

Entry Name: Kingsbarns Castle, 700m NE of Kingsbarns

Scheduled Date: 23 February 1998

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM7691

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Secular: castle

Location: Kingsbarns

County: Fife

Electoral Ward: East Neuk and Landward

Traditional County: Fife


The monument comprises the site of a medieval castle within concentric ditches, visible as a cropmark on vertical aerial photographs. The castle itself is no longer visible but is known from documentary evidence.

The monument lies in arable farmland at around 15m OD and is located on the top edge of a steep incline down towards the sea. It comprises a series of three concentric ditches each up to 3m wide, enclosing a semi-circular shaped area which lies on either side of a modern field boundary. The only visible break in the ditches coincides with the modern boundary and is unlikely to represent an entrance.

The remains of another semi-circular feature, about 25m in diameter, are visible within the enclosed area. This cropmark is fainter than the ditches, suggesting that it may represent a less substantial feature such as a palisaded enclosure. Overall, the monument has maximum measurements of about 85m NW-SE by about 40m wide NE-SW.

The castle is known from documentary sources. In 1836 the Reverend George Wright noted: 'the form of a moat is still discernible immediately above the sea-beach ... where what was called the castle of Kingsbarns once stood. The remains of its foundations, composed of large and mossy stones, regularly laid, were a few years ago removed by the present tenant'.

In 1845 it was reported that the moat was still visible and the site of the castle is shown as a circular ditched enclosure on the 1st edition Ordnance Survey map of 1855. It is very likely that archaeological traces of the castle survive below ground within the ditches, and possibly to the NE on the upper part of the steep incline.

The area proposed for scheduling comprises the remains described and an area around them within which related material may be expected to be found, together with the upper part of the steep incline to the NE. The area is approximately semi-circular in shape with maximum dimensions of 95m NW-SE by 70m NE-SW, as marked in red on the accompanying map extract.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance because of its potential to contribute to our understanding of the form, function and organisation of medieval castles, and to our understanding of medieval settlement and economy more generally. It may be expected to contain material relating to the structural history, economy and environment of the site.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NO 51 SE 21.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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