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Eastwemyss, Macduff's Castle

A Category B Listed Building in Buckhaven, Methil and Wemyss Villages, Fife

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Coordinates

Latitude: 56.1627 / 56°9'45"N

Longitude: -3.0578 / 3°3'28"W

OS Eastings: 334399

OS Northings: 697170

OS Grid: NT343971

Mapcode National: GBR 2F.HNZD

Mapcode Global: WH7SV.0C5G

Entry Name: Eastwemyss, Macduff's Castle

Listing Date: 11 December 1972

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 350506

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB16707

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Wemyss

County: Fife

Electoral Ward: Buckhaven, Methil and Wemyss Villages

Traditional County: Fife

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Description

16th century, surviving walls of rectangular-plan E tower (formerly 5-storey) with turnpike stair tower to NE angle; and ruins of late 14th century W tower (formerly 4-storey) with ruins of 16th and 17th century linking gatehouse range, within enclosure. Squared red sandstone and snecked rubble. String courses, gunloops and hoodmoulds to stair tower. Voussoired segmentally-arched openings and evidence of barrel vaults at ground floor. Outer courtyard wall to NW (landward) with wide-mouthed shot holes.

Statement of Interest

Property of Wemyss Estate Trustees. Scheduled Ancient Monument. The name 'Macduff's' derives from an 11th century association with the Thane of Fife, but nothing survives from that date. MacGibbon and Ross say that the building was also known as Kennoway Castle and Thanes Castle. East Wemyss village, including the castle, was purchased by Sir John Wemyss of West Wemyss in 1637 from Lord Colville of Culross, and in 1651 the lands of East and West Wemyss were united as one Barony of Wemyss. Fawcett says that MacDuff Castle "eventually had what were in essence two tower-houses, but there the towers were carefully linked into a unified composition by the gatehouse range that ran between them ... the appearance may have shown similarities with a 14th century courtyard castle of the type seen in St Andrews". The aforementioned gatehouse range was built by the Colvilles, with a great hall above which according to MacGibbon and Ross had "an open wooden roof, the marks of which are visible against the towers at each end", and later in the 16th century the outer courtyard wall with shot holes was added. The courtyard enclosed ranges of ancillary buildings, and a further lower courtyard on a seaward terrace. In 1666 the Countess of Sutherland (daughter of the 2nd Earl of Wemyss) sent her children here to escape the plague in Edinburgh.

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