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Town House, Sandhaven, Culross

A Category A Listed Building in Culross, Fife

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Coordinates

Latitude: 56.0553 / 56°3'19"N

Longitude: -3.6302 / 3°37'48"W

OS Eastings: 298572

OS Northings: 685916

OS Grid: NS985859

Mapcode National: GBR 1R.QDDP

Mapcode Global: WH5QW.62L7

Plus Code: 9C8R3949+4W

Entry Name: Town House, Sandhaven, Culross

Listing Name: Culross, Sandhaven, Culross Town House

Listing Date: 12 January 1972

Category: A

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 359838

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB23994

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Culross

County: Fife

Town: Culross

Electoral Ward: West Fife and Coastal Villages

Traditional County: Fife

Tagged with: Tolbooth

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Culross

Description

1626; 1783 off-centre clock tower; refurbished Ian G Lindsay and Partners, 1957-1959. 2-storey with attic, 5-bay town-house. Ashlar sandstone; rusticated quoins; round-headed and keyblocked openings in tower. Central double forestair. Eaves course to principal elevation. Exposed sandstone ashlar; harled to rear.

SW (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: door at 1st bay; window to right flank. Inscription above left door 'Anno Domini 1626'. Door at far right; window to left flank. Double forestair to near centre; renewed stone steps. Blocked oculus in forestair; plaque above to commemorate John Alistair Erskine Cunninghame of Balgownie, Provost of Culross. Central 1st floor door; fanlight. Lamp above door; Culross Arms in glass, crown above. 2 windows to each flank. Roll-moulded surrounds to 1st floor openings. Small attic window to 2nd and 4th bay under eaves. Clock tower; band course at stages; round-headed window at 1st stage; clock at 2nd stage in circular recess; round-headed louvred opening at 3rd stage belfry to each face. Blocked stonework to louvres and window. Fluted frieze; prominent cornice.

NW ELEVATION: attached to Sandhaven, The Tron House. Plain gable elevation visible above The Tron House. Corniced chimney and bellcote to gable apex (bell missing).

NE ELEVATION: 2 ground floor windows to left. Small central stair window. 3 corbels project at 1st floor level. Rubble wall to right extends to The Tron House obscuring part of Town-House.

SE ELEVATION: plain elevation.

Replacement 24-pane timber sash and case 1st floor windows; 9-pane timber windows to ground floor. 2 roof lights to rear. Timber boarded doors. Steeply pitched roof, graded slate. Crowstepped NW gable. Corniced stack to SE. Slated ogee tower roof; weathervane surmounted by bird finial.

INTERIOR: ground floor houses shop and exhibition. Studded timber door to small stone-lined cell to N; flagstone floor. Studded timber door leads from shop to exhibition space; arched doorways. 1st floor interior; arched doorway to entrance; painted 1st floor hall timber ceiling (originally from W room). Bell pull in ceiling. Inscribed stone (former pediment) depicting Culross Abbey and inscribed SIGILLUM BURGI DE CULROSS ('Seal of the burgh of Culross') set into left wall. Newel stair opposite leads to attic; roll-moulded surround to blocked door to right. Lamp/candle niche set into blocked door; corbelled staircase visible above. Door to right leads into debtor's room. Painted timber ceiling; geometric design and putti heads. Fireplace in gable wall; stone panel to right of fireplace, carved with arms of Sir George Bruce and dated 1628. Timber panel painted with royal arms of Charles I, dated 1637, hangs over fireplace. Carved plaque in opposite wall recording Sir George Preston of Valleyfield's bequest, 1721. Arched doorway leads to council chamber in W room; Georgian panelling; dentil cornice. Fireplace in W gable; dentil cornice to timber mantel; cast-iron firegrate. Arch above windows. Cupboard to N.

Statement of Interest

Also known as Culross Tolbooth. Prior to the reclamation of the Sandhaven in the late 19th century, the town-house sat closer to the edge of the Forth. Culross was erected a Burgh of Barony in 1490 and a Royal Burgh in 1588. The town-house was built as a council chamber in 1626 (to replace an earlier one) and remained in use by the town council until 1975 when local government reorganisation made it redundant and it was passed to the National Trust for Scotland. The town-house continues to be used as a meeting house and is also open to the public. Town-houses, a typical building type found in burghs, performed many functions. They were the centre of local administration and justice and it was here that the town council would meet, records were kept and taxes and customs collected. They were also often used as courtrooms and prisons for criminals, debtors and witches and were therefore built with thick walls and sturdy doors (as at Culross). The standard measures and weights of the burgh were usually kept in the town-house, as they still are today in Culross. The Culross Town-house follows a pattern used for many other town-houses; prison and cells are found on the ground floor, the council chamber and court room on the principal 1st floor and further cells on the upper floor. By the early 17th century it was considered an obligation of every burgh to have a clock to call meetings and public events and to mark rising time and curfews (RCAHMS). The Culross clock mechanism was made by Laurence Dalgleish, 1783. At this time, the double forestair, clock tower and probably the council chamber panelling were added. The building was renovated by Ian G Lindsay and Partners in 1957-1959.

External Links

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