History in Structure

Gatepiers, Pitfirrane Castle

A Category A Listed Building in Dunfermline, Fife

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Latitude: 56.0627 / 56°3'45"N

Longitude: -3.5025 / 3°30'8"W

OS Eastings: 306545

OS Northings: 686562

OS Grid: NT065865

Mapcode National: GBR 1W.Q53F

Mapcode Global: WH5QR.5WF3

Plus Code: 9C8R3F7X+32

Entry Name: Gatepiers, Pitfirrane Castle

Listing Name: Pitfirrane Castle (Dunfermline Golf Club House) Including Gatepiers

Listing Date: 31 December 1971

Category: A

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 334899

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB3759

Building Class: Cultural

ID on this website: 200334899

Location: Dunfermline

County: Fife

Electoral Ward: Dunfermline Central

Parish: Dunfermline

Traditional County: Fife

Tagged with: Architectural structure

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15th century towerhouse, possibly incorporating earlier fabric and remodelled 1583 to create 4-storey L-plan towerhouse in parkland/golf course setting (golf course additions, 1953). Harled, ochre coloured limewash. Moulded eaves course to turrets. Later 19th century, additions by Wardrop and Hay and R L Hay to N and E; later 20th century, single storey, flat-roofed Golf Club House additions to E and S (see Notes).

W ELEVATION: central studded timber door with decorative hinges. Moulded ashlar door surround with horizontal hoodmould. Iron yett fixed to wall to right of door; later Golf Club House bar extends west from right wall end. Above door, armorial panel bearing Halkett coat of arms supported by 2 hawks and Latin label 'HONESTE VIVO' (BE HONEST IN LIFE). Central single 1st and 2nd floor windows. 3rd floor window to left and right. Corbelled corner turrets beyond with 3 windows in each. Central crowstepped gable wallhead and central corniced gable-end stack.

S ELEVATION: flat-roofed, single storey, glazed and rendered extension (Club House bar) obscuring ground floor. 3 windows to 1st floor, smaller window to right. 2 windows to 2nd floor. 3 dormer windows to 3rd floor with catslide roofs. Tall, advancing stair tower to far right, partially obscured by Club House bar; blocked window between 1st and 2nd floors; single 2nd, 3rd and 4th floor windows to left; crowstepped gable wallhead; corniced gable-end stack. In left return: single stained-glass window; armorial panel above to left with shield supported by 2 falcons, with motto 'FIDDES SUFICIT' (FAITH ALWAYS); moulded surround. Stained-glass window above to right; double coat of arms centred above window. Royal Arms of Scotland in upper panel; Halkett and Hepburn arms in lower panel with falcon and unicorn; 2 family mottoes FIDES SUFICIT and GO TILL IT. Initials 'GH' and 'IH' below (George Halket and Isabel Hepburn his wife); moulded surrounds; dated '1583' in bottom margin. Single 3rd floor window centred above armorial panel; 4th floor dormer window above with catslide roof. Stair-turret in re-entrant angle; 2 windows; corbelled base; grotesque head at lowest member.

E ELEVATION: advanced flat-roofed, single storey, glazed and rendered extension (Club House bar) obscuring ground floor. To left, stair tower with central catslide dormer window; crowstepped stairtower gable wallheads; gable end stacks. Crowstepped gable wall of house to right; 1st and 2nd floor windows to left; off-centre advanced circular stairtower to right; 1st floor stair tower window; 3rd floor stair tower window in N elevation; re-entrant window below. Corbelled base to small 3rd floor section in left re-entrant angle. Moulded eaves course to tower; slated pepper-pot roof; weather-vane. Section of wall; 3-stories high extends from stair-tower to left. Single storey section to right of Club House bar; door; break in flat wallhead above houses iron railing with bell attached; blocked window to right of door. Advanced single storey Club House shop to right; large inset window to centre; entrance door to right. Blocked gable window in left return. Dressed quoins, door and window surrounds; moulded skewputts.

N ELEVATION: shop to far left; central paired windows; small apex window above. Single storey connecting wing to right; pedimented central window; carved falcon in tympanum; carved flower finial. 3-storey, single bay crowstepped section to right; single central ground, 1st and 2nd floor windows. Rounded arises at ground and 1st floor; corbelled out at base of 2nd floor. 3-storey circular stair tower to right; 1st floor window; 2nd floor window to right; moulded eaves course; pepper-pot roof; ball and spike finial. Gabled, single storey porch to right; panel with moulded surround and carved falcon in apex; door in right return; chamfered surrounds; moulded eaves course. Single storey, balustraded section extends from porch to 3-storey crowstepped section; curved corners; 4 windows in N elevation; blocked window in right return; chamfered surrounds to all. Bipartite ground floor window to house; door to right; chamfered surrounds to both. 3 1st floor windows; 2 2nd floor windows to left; 2 dormer windows to 3rd floor; 1 dormer window to right; catslide roofs to all. 3rd storey angle turret to far right.

Predominantly 12-pane glazing to timber sash and case windows. Grey slate roof. Pepper-pot roofs to all circular stair towers and turrets with ball finials to all except sloping roof to S re-entrant stair turret. 2 wallhead chimneys to N. Coped ridge stack to main house; circular cans throughout. Raised, flat-headed skew to S gable of Club House shop; moulded eaves course; crowstepped gable to N; moulded skewputts. Weather-vane to E circular stair tower bears initials PAH (Peter Arthur Halkett).

INTERIOR: vaulted ground floor. Arched door inserted into ceiling space of ground floor ladies' changing room, possibly led to former entresol level. Interior of 16th century stair tower at SE of house: stone spiral steps; green glass panel at foot of stairs; stained glass windows decorated with cherubs and other figures and Halkett coat of arms, one dated 1699; all set in late 19th century borders; richly carved panels in window splays with a small carved head in centre. Further panelling at entrance to 1st floor dining room; floral pattern which copies window splay panelling in dining room; and linen-fold pattern. Plaster falcon in roundel in staircase ceiling. Ornately decorated dining room (originally the hall). Later 16th century and 19th century oak panels in window splays; richly carved medallions with profiles of human heads in floral wreaths; gilded egg and dart margins to panels and at bracketed cornice; panelled shutters; carved female heads with swags on soffits. Arched panelled sideboard recess in E wall; carved with ram, goat and human heads, foliage and eagles and chimneypiece in W wall, decorated with female heads and dolphins on jambs; both circa 1880's. Ceiling covered in plaster roundels and pendants with painted heraldic shields of the Halketts and their spouses, probably dates from mid 19th century.

ENTRANCE GATEPIERS: situated to NE of Pitfirrane Castle. Rubble and harled quadrant walls; flat coping stones; terminates at W with scrolled stone detail and curvilinear wall. 2 corniced gatepiers; ashlar and faceted rustication to piers; surmounting swagged urns.

Statement of Interest

Pitfirrane is an outstanding and largely intact example of a predominantly 16th century Scottish tower house. It was the seat of the Halkett family and belonged to that family from the 15th century until 1951. The building became the Dunfermline Golf Club House in 1953 and the parkland is now a golf course.

In the 15th century, Pitfirrane was an oblong towerhouse with battlements and parapet walk. In 1573 George Halkett succeeded to the estate and made alterations which included removing the parapet walk, raising the walls and creating the L-plan shape by adding the square stair tower to SE (with carved panels dated 1583) and angle turrets to W gable. In the late 17th century, Sir Charles Halkett added a 4-storey L-shaped wing to the E which by 1975 was in a poor state of repair and was removed. In 1854, David Bryce added a 3-bay arched and balustraded porch in the S re-entrant (removed in 1975); and low servant's wing to N including another balustraded porch and round tower to NE. Further changes took place in the later 19th century and the 20th century; Sinclair and Watt added a flat roofed extension to E and S in 1975, which was altered and extended in 1980 to become an open-plan, L-shaped area (the Club House bar) and in the 1990's Pitfirrane was re-roofed. The iron yett on the W elevation probably dates from 1583 whilst the studded door, its surround, hoodmould and armorial panel above date from 1888, made to designs by R Rowand Anderson (Dewar). The weather-vane, which was probably added during the 1854 renovations, has been replaced with a modern replica. Late 17th century painted plasterwork was found in 3 rooms in the upper storey during repair work to the roof but it has been re-covered for protection. The Pitfirrane Goblet, supposedly used by James VI before leaving Dunfermline Palace in 1603 to travel to London to be crowned James I of England, was donated to the National Museums of Scotland by Madeline Halkett. It is a fine, ornate, late 16th century piece, probably made in S Netherlands by migrant Venetian glass-makers (Dewar). The gate piers probably date from 1770 and were moved further apart in 1995 to allow easier access. The remains of the former offices and stables to the E and the walled garden to the NW were not included in the listing at the point of the 2001 Dunfermline Parish resurvey.

Dunfermline Golf Club was formed in 1887 in Halbeath. The club moved to Torrie in 1929 before settling at Pitfirrane in 1953. Scotland is recognised by international golfers and historians as the cultural home of golf. Early versions of the game were being played in Scotland during the middle ages. The 'Articles and Laws in Playing Golf', drawn up by the Company of Gentleman Golfers in Edinburgh in 1744, underpin the regulations of the modern game played over 18 holes. Scotland has produced many pioneering names in golf including five times Open Championship winner and course architect James Braid (1870-1950), and the world-famous St Andrews club manufacturer and golfing professional, Old Tom Morris (1821-1908). The Scottish Golf Union have indicated there are currently around 550 golf courses in Scotland (2013) with a total membership of approximately 236,000.

List description updated as part of the Dunfermline Parish resurvey (2001), and as part of the sporting buildings thematic study (2012-13).

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