Ancient Monuments

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Seafield Tower

A Scheduled Monument in Burntisland, Kinghorn and Western Kirkcaldy, Fife

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Coordinates

Latitude: 56.0841 / 56°5'2"N

Longitude: -3.1593 / 3°9'33"W

OS Eastings: 327954

OS Northings: 688522

OS Grid: NT279885

Mapcode National: GBR 29.NQ61

Mapcode Global: WH6S1.FBTQ

Entry Name: Seafield Tower

Scheduled Date: 2 March 1937

Last Amended: 2 December 2003

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM873

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Secular: castle

Location: Kinghorn

County: Fife

Electoral Ward: Burntisland, Kinghorn and Western Kirkcaldy

Traditional County: Fife

Description

The monument consists of the remains of a tower house on a rock outcrop projecting into the sea. The tower house was enclosed on the three landward sides by a courtyard wall and had a second outer enclosure to the N. It was the residence of the Moultray of Seafield family from at least 1514, when the family first appears on record, until the Rising of 1715, when the last male member of the line is said to have been killed. The monument was first scheduled in 1937 but an inadequate area was included to protect all of the archaeological remains: the present re-scheduling rectifies this.

The tower house was a substantial structure built of red coursed sandstone rubble, which stands to virtually its full height on the N and W sides, but which has been greatly reduced on the E side and is largely destroyed on the S side. Above a basement vault, which also embraced an entresol floor, were three main floors, and there was presumably a garret in the roof space.

The original entrance was on the S side, and there was probably an extruded stair jamb adjacent to it to the E. However, a new larger stair jamb was added at some stage, which largely blocked the original doorway. A new doorway was then provided at the centre of the E wall, which (on the basis of a plan of 1774) appears to have been framed within a substantial portico. The evidence of dook holes indicates that the entresol floor was then removed, and suggests that a more imposing plastered entrance hall and stair were being created as a prelude to the principal rooms on the upper floors. A late 17th-century date is perhaps most likely for this work, at which time it is probable that a more elegant setting for the life of those occupying the castle was being sought.

The main courtyard around the tower was of irregular form, following the outline of the rock outcrop on which it was built. The rock itself was scarped, with the wall being built along the edge of that scarp. There was a circular tower at the NW angle, and a description of 1845 says that there were then the remains of a fosse and drawbridge. The plan of 1774 indicates that there was an outer courtyard to the N of the main enclosure and, although only slight remains of this can now be detected, the principal purpose of this re-scheduling is to protect the archaeological remains of that courtyard.

The area to be scheduled is irregular on plan, with maximum dimensions of 97m N-S by 44m E-W, as marked in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as a relatively complete tower house within a walled courtyard, and that was built to high architectural standards for a known family. There is an added dimension of significance in the documentary evidence for an associated outer courtyard and in the likelihood of there being archaeological remains associated both with the lost outer courtyard and with structures that must have stood within the main courtyard.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS records the monument as NT28NE 5.

References:

Sibbald R 1803, 'HISTORY OF FIFE', 314.

NEW STATISTICAL ACCOUNT, Vol. 9, 1845, 810.

MacGibbon D and Ross T, THE CASTELLATED AND DOMESTIC ARCHITECTURE OF SCOTLAND, 1889, 449-50.

RCAHMS 1933, ELEVENTH REPORT WITH INVENTORY OF MONUMENTS AND CONSTRUCTIONS IN THE COUNTIES OF FIFE, KINROSS, AND CLACKMANNAN, Edinburgh: HMSO, 173-4.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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