History in Structure

Limekiln, Ceres, Craighall Den

A Category B Listed Building in Ceres, Fife

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Latitude: 56.2842 / 56°17'3"N

Longitude: -2.957 / 2°57'25"W

OS Eastings: 340850

OS Northings: 710608

OS Grid: NO408106

Mapcode National: GBR 2K.81LW

Mapcode Global: WH7S9.K93S

Plus Code: 9C8V72MV+M6

Entry Name: Limekiln, Ceres, Craighall Den

Listing Name: Craighall Den, Ceres, Limekiln

Listing Date: 8 July 2011

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 400716

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB51767

Building Class: Cultural

ID on this website: 200400716

Location: Ceres

County: Fife

Electoral Ward: Cupar

Parish: Ceres

Traditional County: Fife

Tagged with: Architectural structure

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Dated 1814. Increasingly rare survival of substantial, well-preserved rectangular-plan disused single pot limekiln with 4 draw arches, located close to footpath and site of Craighall Castle at Craighall Den. Typical in plan and size of many limekilns of this date, built into raised ground to allow vehicular access for ease of loading limestone from above, and with arched openings at exposed faces.

Snecked rubble incorporating some carved stones probably reclaimed from Castle ruin. Segmentally-headed, voussoired draw arches, through passage to rear, battered angles.

S elevation overlooking footpath with single arched entrance at centre

below moulded datestone.

Statement of Interest

The limekiln at Craighall Den is one of few surviving examples in anything like original condition. Fine, architecturally significant structures of this type and scale, with little or no apparent alterations, are important features in the landscape and are becoming increasingly rare. This example produced lime for fertiliser, and ceased production as early as 1837. Craighall Den, together with the site of the Craighall Castle, was gifted to Fife Council by Colonel Hope of Luffness.

Lime has been used in building for more than 7000 years. As a fertiliser for improving acid soils it came into common usage during the 18th century with improvement farming. Limestone was often locally sourced from small quarries, with major producers in Fife, Argyll and Dumfriesshire. Kilns ranged dramatically in size from the small-scale clamp kilns to the draw kilns of larger estates and by the early 19th century, monumental industrial scale multiple kilns such as those at Charlestown in Fife (HB 3741, listed at category A). Most large-scale limeworks were redundant by the early 20th century as modern fertilisers replaced lime and cement replaced lime-mortar for building.

The Craighall Den type of limekiln (large, rectangular-plan, single pot structures with 3 or 4 draw holes) is comparable with a number of other listed examples including Pitmedden Limekiln in Aberdeenshire (HB15926), Boddin Point Limekilns in Angus (HB4971) and Skateraw Limekiln in East Lothian (HB7707). All listed at category B.

Vertically constructed, draw kilns have arches to the outer faces giving access to the coal fire which was set at the base of the shaft beneath an iron grating. The limestone, loaded from the top of the kiln and layered in the shaft with peat, was slowly burned to remove the carbon dioxide, leaving calcium oxide or quicklime. This residue, which is pure enough for use, was then raked from the bottom of the fire. Some draw-kilns have vents pointing in different directions which can be opened or closed to take advantage of wind direction.

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