History in Structure

East Entrance Gatepiers, Pitliver House

A Category B Listed Building in Dunfermline, Fife

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Latitude: 56.05 / 56°3'0"N

Longitude: -3.5056 / 3°30'20"W

OS Eastings: 306318

OS Northings: 685149

OS Grid: NT063851

Mapcode National: GBR 1W.QY46

Mapcode Global: WH5QY.36XB

Plus Code: 9C8R3F2V+2Q

Entry Name: East Entrance Gatepiers, Pitliver House

Listing Name: Pitliver House Including Estate Square, Tennis Pavilion, Polo Stables, Garden Walls and Gatepiers

Listing Date: 30 January 1978

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 334894

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB3757

Building Class: Cultural

ID on this website: 200334894

Location: Dunfermline

County: Fife

Electoral Ward: Rosyth

Parish: Dunfermline

Traditional County: Fife

Tagged with: Architectural structure

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17th century; enlarged into L-plan house, 18th century; embellished with Baronial tower, mid 19th century. 2-storey and basement with stairtower cap house. Pinned rubble; ashlar surrounds to openings, margins and cavetto moulded eaves course. Harled at 1st stage of larger NW stair tower, NE and SE elevations.

NW (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: 3-storey stairtower with cap house; ashlar base course and vertical margins; central timber door; decorative hinges and door furniture; radial, semi-circular fanlight; single step up to door; ashlar arched door surround; flanking ashlar pilasters; carriage lamp to left pilaster. Corniced entablature; curled pediment; shield within; ball finial. Iron boot scraper to left of door with decorative toad detail. Long linear windows flank doorway. 2 moulded string courses above, extending to left return. 1st floor window to right; linear window to left; paired 2nd floor windows at centre. Advanced corbelled parapet; corner battlements to tower. Central dormer window to cap house; tall pediment. Smaller stairtower set back to left; 3-storeys plus basement. Single window in basement, 1st and 2nd floors; moulded bipartite window at upper storey. Ashlar quoin; moulded string course between 2nd and 3rd floor; slightly advanced upper storey. Moulded parapet; corner battlements. 2-bay; 3-storey section set back to far left; 3 basement windows; 2 principal floor windows; 2 1st floor windows centred above with bracketed pediments. Gable wall of 18th century extension to far right; basement window to left; central plaque; moulded surrounds; carved tree in well decoration; cryptic inscription below: 'HE VHA VOD IN BYE BE VEL AYE MAVN TRVTH TO VEL-VOD TEL. TRVTH IN THAT VEL MAVN EVER BE FRAE VHILK DOTH GROV YE VELVOD TREE'.

SW ELEVATION: 4-bays. Basement window to left; door at 2nd bay; 2 windows to right. 4 symmetrically arranged windows at principal and 1st floors.

SE ELEVATION: 2-storey; 5-bay elevation. Glazed door to left; stone steps lead up to door; iron balustrade with owl and floral decoration; 1st floor window centred above door. 3 central lower and upper storey windows. 3-storeys to far right; bipartite ground floor window, single 1st and 2nd floor windows.

NE ELEVATION: 3-storey elevation. Central timber basement door; principal floor windows to right and left; 1st floor windows centred above with bracketed pediments.

Predominantly 16 and 12-pane timber sash and case windows. Grey slate roof; piended apart from NW gable with raised flat-head skews; flat roof to lower stairtower and gabled roof to larger stairtower caphouse. Corniced gable end stack to NW gable; corniced gable end stacks to caphouse; 2 corniced ridge stacks to SE roof; circular cans.

INTERIOR: not seen, 2000.


2-storey and single storey estate buildings enclose square-plan courtyard, situated to W of Pitliver House. Exposed rubble stone, ashlar surrounds to openings and quoins; corniced eaves course and rendered elevations.

NE ELEVATION: 2-storey, 7-bay elevation. Round-headed cart opening to far left; 2 windows to right. Central archway; advanced keystone and imposts. 3 windows to right. 7 1st floor windows centred above ground floor openings. Chamfered left quoin. 2 stone forestairs inside courtyard lead to 1st floor flats. Monogrammed bracket to E of archway inside courtyard.

NW ELEVATION: 2-storey, single-bay section to far left; central glazed door with rectangular fanlight; central, canted, breaking eaves, 1st floor oriel window. Single storey continuous garage to right; 6 up-and-over modern garage doors.

SW ELEVATION: large window in garage gable end wall, to far left. Single storey keeper's cottage to right; central glazed and timber door; 2 flanking windows. Infil wall; glazed canopy roof between garage and cottage; doorway to right leads into courtyard. Recessed, blocked archway to right, in courtyard elevation of keeper's cottage.

SE ELEVATION: 2-storey, 3-bay section to right; glazed door to left; central window (former door); window to right. 3 1st floor breaking eaves dormer windows centred above. Single storey keeper's cottage to far left; glazed door to left; 2 windows to right.

Predominantly 12-pane timber, sash and case windows. Piended slated roofs; ridge and wall end coped stacks, circular cans.

INTERIORS: not seen, 2000.


Circa 1930. Small, single storey pavilion situated S of Pitliver House. Central glazed section with glazed doors to both elevations; rendered elsewhere; ashlar surrounds to glazing; plinth; steps to S to tennis courts. Piended slate roof; central weather-vane. Internal recesses with clothes hooks at gable ends; wall-mounted later 20th century telephone.


1937. U-plan stable block. Single storey with loft. Rendered walls; ashlar base course, window cills and central window surrounds.

SE (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: advanced switch room to left; window to left; arch-way to right. Large opening in right return forms porch; ashlar corbel; switch room door set to left; tack room door to right. Central stable block; door to far left under porch; 3 central windows. Advanced carriage house to right; small round-headed window; Y-tracery; large carriage opening in left return.

SW ELEVATION: window to right of stable gable wall; advanced section to far right; tack room window to left; wall end stack.

NW ELEVATION: 4 small regularly placed windows near eaves. Advanced shed runs along length of elevation; 3 windows; garage doors in right return.

NE ELEVATION: central window to carriage house. Stable set back to right; plank door to left; loft opening above to right.

Timber sash and case windows. 4 large rooflights to front and rear. Piended slate roof; central ventilation shaft, dated 1937. Paviers to front courtyard.

INTERIOR: ceramic sink; tapered legs; wooden draining boards in switch room. Fireplace in tack room; tongue and groove walls with metal harness brackets. 4 loose boxes in stable; teak panelling with iron railings, ball finials to columns; sliding doors. 2 mangers to each box. Walkway to front with drainage channel; water taps to SW.


1937. Linear range with central stables; tack room to NW; carriage house to SW. Rendered walls; ashlar base course, window cills and curved ends to partitions between stables.

SW (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: advanced tack room to far left; central window. Symmetrical block to right; 4 stables; advanced partition walls either side of each stable. Plank stable doors with large flanking window to each stable. Hoist door, wholly in roof, above far right stable. Carriage house set back to far right; 3 windows.

NW ELEVATION: 2 windows to tack room; chimney stack. Loft door, wholly in roof of stable gable; metal spiral staircase.

NE ELEVATION: 4 regularly placed windows to central stable block. Tack room set back to right; door to left; window to right flank. Carriage house set back to far left; window to right.

SE ELEVATION: garage door. Ashlar upper courses either side of door.

12-pane timber sash and case windows to principal elevation stables. 6-pane timber windows elsewhere. 2 rear rooflights, 1 to front. Piended slate roof. 2 metal ridge vents to stables.

INTERIOR: ceramic sink in tack room; tapered legs and wooden draining board.


Tall rubble walls enclose garden on 3 sides to SE of Estate Square. Doorways within; brick to SE; rounded corner at NW. SE wall connects with SW corner of Pitliver House; doorway leading into garden; timber door with geometric cut-away design. Water barrel and hand pump adjacent to door. Rubble wall extends NW-wards from SW corner incorporating archway and stone steps. Tall brick garden wall (rubble to exterior) extends from NE corner of Pitliver House running north eastwards, incorporating doorway; timber door with geometric cut-away design and stone lintel inscribed; 'THE LORD IS MY BEGINNER. IN CHRYST I TRUST ALWAYES'. Wall continues south eastwards; brick piers and timber roof to pergola; timber door with geometric cut-away design. Brackets carrying former protective canopy remain. Stone garden walls to SE, SW and brick and stone walls to NW. Terraced gardens, 4 sets of stone steps, centrally aligned with SE elevation. Iron gates with floral and bird decoration to lowest steps; ball finials to 2 other steps. Sundial base and shaft situated close to SE elevation (dial is missing). Entrance gatepiers to E of Pitliver House, adjacent to lodge; chamfered stone piers, corniced coping stones; decorative iron gates. Gatepiers to NE of house; plain columns; ball finial coping stones; timber gates.

Statement of Interest

Pitliver was probably built for James Leslie who was granted the lands in 1623, and enlarged in the 18th century with an L-plan extension wrapped around it to the SW and NE. The tower was added in the mid 19th century. In 1733, Henry Wellwood of Garvock bought Pitliver and it remained with this family until 1920; the large tablet on the gable wall commemorates the Wellwood family. Robert Watson McCrone lived at Pitliver from the 1930's to 1980's. He began a ship building industry which later became Metal Industries and used Charlestown and Rosyth Harbours; the interior is said to have items taken from scrapped boats. The house was restored by James Shearer, 1935-1936 who was possibly involved with the design for the stables and tennis pavilion. The 1st Edition OS Map shows that the Estate Square was open to the SW and that the keeper's cottage was not joined to the courtyard complex at that time. The Estate Square comprised of a laundry/store, washroom, fruit room, coach house, offices, garage wing, gardener's cottage, groom's flat and a chauffeur's flat. They continue to be used as garages, stores and accommodation for the estate keeper. The SW polo stables were able to accommodate 4 hunters or 8 polo ponies. The stables are currently not in use (2000). The inscribed stone which is situated above a doorway in the garden wall (The Lord is my beginner...) is said to have been discovered when the upper windows of the house were enlarged in 1935 (Bell-Ingram). The lodges do not form part of the Statutory List.

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