History in Structure

Culross Abbey Mansion House

A Category A Listed Building in Culross, Fife

More Photos »
Approximate Location Map
Large Map »


Latitude: 56.0584 / 56°3'30"N

Longitude: -3.6244 / 3°37'27"W

OS Eastings: 298942

OS Northings: 686251

OS Grid: NS989862

Mapcode National: GBR 1R.Q7QK

Mapcode Global: WH5QP.9ZBF

Plus Code: 9C8R395G+96

Entry Name: Culross Abbey Mansion House

Listing Name: Culross, Culross Abbey House

Listing Date: 12 January 1972

Category: A

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 359807

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB23964

Building Class: Cultural

ID on this website: 200359807

Location: Culross

County: Fife

Town: Culross

Electoral Ward: West Fife and Coastal Villages

Traditional County: Fife

Tagged with: Country house

Find accommodation in


1608; later developments (see Notes); remodelled 1952 Robert Hurd & Partners. 2-storey and attic; symmetrical 9-bay, rectangular-plan, classical house with later (1950's) flanking single storey wings and terminating single storey pavilions. 1830, 2-storey, 4-bay West Wing linked by curtain wall to single storey W wing of house. Main house: advanced, swept base course; moulded string course between ground and 1st floor to N; moulded cill course at 1st floor to S. Moulded eaves course and prominent cornice; low pediment. Moulded architraves to ground floor windows; pilastered and pedimented 1st floor windows. Carvings in pediments alternate between initials 'LEB' (Lord Edward Bruce) around central rose with thistle finial and initials 'DMB' (Dame Magdalen Bruce) around central rose with flower finial. 11 cannon water spouts extend from eaves cornice to N; 10 to S. Ashlar to all elevations but W. Rendered W elevation; ashlar quoins and 2 ashlar pilasters flank off-centre window.

S (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: symmetrical 9-bay elevation. Central door; initials 'EK' below coronet with flanking date '1955' carved above lintel. 4 ground floor windows to each flank. 9 1st floor windows. 3 attic floor windows to centre, wholly in roof; swept flanking wall. Pediments and finials to 2nd floor windows as with 1st floor. Corniced, single storey wall set back slightly to far left and far right of house connects to terminating pavilions. E pavilion: central window to S and E; door to W. W pavilion: central window to S, W and N; door to E; corbelled quoin below eaves cornice to NE quoin. Advanced, sloping base course; eaves cornice; ogee roof and surmounting unicorn within crown (from Preston crest) to both pavilions. Pediments to S facing pavilion windows (as with windows to 1st floor of house); moulded surround to other windows and doors.

W ELEVATION: 1st floor window off centre to left. Advanced ground floor wing currently being remodelled (2001).

N (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: entrance door at 5th bay; moulded surrounds; flanking fluted pilasters; floral motif to capital and carved base. Richly carved pediment surmounts doorpiece bearing Preston coat of arms with surmounting unicorn. 4 ground floor windows to left of door; 5 to right. Single storey garage to far left; 2 arches; moulded surrounds; modern timber boarded garage doors. Pavilion set back to left; plain elevation. Single storey wing to far right; single arch; moulded surround.

E ELEVATION: 1st floor window off centre to right. Stones to right dated '1608' and below, '1670'. Single storey wing at ground floor; window to left.

2-leaf timber panelled entrance door to N. Glazed door to S; 4-pane fanlight. 12-pane timber sash and case windows. Timber and glazed door to E pavilion; 9 panes. 3-paned fanlights with centre arches to each pane. Identical fanlights to W pavilion; timber and glazed door; glazed oval with radial astragals. Piended slate roof to house with flat ridge. 2 large corniced ridge stacks; circular clay cans. Rooflights to E and W. Flat roofs to flanking single storey wings. Ogee slate roofs to pavilions.

INTERIOR: partially seen, 2001. Moulded stone surround to fireplace in entrance hall. Decorative wrought-iron balustrade with floral motifs to staircase; timber handrail.


1830. 2-storey, 4-bay, L-plan house. Sloping base course; eaves cornice. Moulded architraves.

S ELEVATION: symmetrical elevation; door at 4th bay; 3 ground floor windows to right of door. 4 1st floor windows centred above. Stugged ashlar to elevation.

W ELEVATION: tooled, coursed sandstone; raised ashlar margins at base, eaves and quoins. Elevation projects into Culross Abbey Churchyard. Door to left.

N ELEVATION: 2 central ground floor windows; door to outer right; window (former door) to outer left. Droved ashlar to ground floor; band of tooled sandstone above with ashlar band course (formerly covered by canopy); ashlar at 1st floor; advanced eaves course. 1st floor window to right. Advanced wing to far right projects into Culross Abbey Churchyard. Tooled, coursed sandstone, raised ashlar margins at quoins and eaves. Central 1st floor window. Left return; ground floor door; rectangular fanlight; raggles of former porch canopy. Single storey coach house advanced right of door; former coach entrance to E (now blocked); door to N. Stugged stone; droved ashlar margins.

E ELEVATION: yellow coloured harling; ashlar eaves course; moulded string course; moulded window architraves. Door set within arch to left. 2 1st floor windows to left and right. Central stone plaque carved 'SRP' (Sir Robert Preston), 'DEP' (his wife, Dame Elizabeth), dated 1830; surmounting lion's head. Curtain wall links to W wing of house.

Replacement door to S; 2-leaf timber boarded door to N; timber and glazed door to E; oval and radial astragals. Predominantly 12-pane timber sash and case windows. Piended slate roof with platform ridge. Wallhead stack to E and W; 2 tall polygonal stacks on base to E; 3 to W, off centre to S.

INTERIOR: not seen, 2001.

Statement of Interest

B-Group with Culross Abbey House Policies, Garden House, Stables and East and West Lodges. Built in 1608 for Edward Bruce of Clackmannan, Commendator of Kinloss Abbey, Moray (from where the monks of Culross Abbey had come), later 1st Lord Bruce of Kinloss (the forebear of the Earls of Elgin) and a Privy Councillor of James VI. Edward Bruce's brother was George Bruce, who built Culross Palace in 1597. Culross Abbey House was built as a 2-storey, 13-bay L-plan house with short wings projecting at each end (although it was possibly intended as a quadrangle). Edward died in 1610 and in 1670 Alexander, 2nd Earl of Kincardine heightened the house by adding a second floor and turned the wings into 4-storey ogee-roofed corner towers. Slezer's view of Culross illustrates clearly the magnificence of Abbey House at this time, situated on high ground overlooking the smaller, vernacular buildings of the burgh. The house was passed by marriage to the Cochranes of Ochiltree, the Earls of Dundonald and then to Sir Robert Preston of Valleyfield. Ruined and roofless by the early 1800's; Sir Robert Preston, who had removed the roof, set about reconstructing the house in 1830. He added his coat of arms above the entrance door and replaced the NW servant's range with the current W wing. An 1855 ground floor plan of the Culross Abbey House stored at the NMRS shows the layout of the servant's wing and also a large stable and coach house block to the N. After the death of Sir Robert Preston, the estate reverted to the Earls of Elgin. The house, however, remained unoccupied and in a poor condition until 1952 when it was remodelled by Robert Hurd & Partners. The later upper floor was removed; the length was reduced from 13 to 9 bays; the end towers were reduced to single storey pavilions and the wings were built creating a single storey double garage and kitchen court. 3 windows from the towers were incorporated into the S elevation attic centrepiece and the interior was also altered. The 3 foot thick spine wall which runs along the length of the building and some 17th century stone chimney pieces were retained. The design of the 1950's wrought-iron balustrades was inspired by those at Caroline Park House, Edinburgh. Compared to his brother's house (Culross Palace) which was begun only 11 years previously to Edward Bruce's, Culross Abbey is of a much more advanced design, and it illustrates the influence of Edward's lifestyle as a member of the Royal Court. Although altered a number of times since its beginning, the house maintains some of its original splendour. Of outstanding interest, Culross Abbey House is one of the earliest classical houses in Scotland.

External Links

External links are from the relevant listing authority and, where applicable, Wikidata. Wikidata IDs may be related buildings as well as this specific building. If you want to add or update a link, you will need to do so by editing the Wikidata entry.

Recommended Books

Other nearby listed buildings

BritishListedBuildings.co.uk is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact BritishListedBuildings.co.uk for any queries related to any individual listed building, planning permission related to listed buildings or the listing process itself.

British Listed Buildings is a Good Stuff website.