Kellie Castle – Fine Restoration

Kellie Castle is a very fine example of the domestic architecture of Lowland Scotland. It lies two miles inland, northwest, from the charming coastal villages of Pittenweem and St Monan's. The land here rises gently from the north shore of the Firth of Forth to the cairn on top of Kellie Law with dense woods to the south of the castle.

Kellie Castle was built in1606 as an E plan tower on the site of a castle from the 1100s. One of the finest castles in Scotland, it consists of a three story main block with three large square towers that form the arms of the E. The towers are five stories, and two have bartizans. Two smaller stair towers project from the side of the main block.

In 1360, the estate passed from the Kellies to the Oliphant family, who owned Kellie Castle for over 250 years. They developed the castle over several generations. The 5th Lord Oliphant sold Kellie Castle to Sir Thomas Erskine in 1613 who became Earl of Kellie. In 1829, when there were no heirs, the contents of the castle were sold off and the castle abandoned. The title and estate were claimed in 1835 by John Erskine, 9th Earl of Mar.

In the 1870s Professor James Lorimer leased Kellie Castle from the Earl of Mar and restored it. Professor James Lorimer’s rescue is commemorated by a Latin inscription “This mansion snatched from rooks and owls is dedicated to honest ease amongst labours 1878”. After Prof.Lorrimer’s son died in 1936, the contents of Kellie Castle were auctioned off.

His nephew, Hew Lorimer, took over the lease in 1937 and refurbished it and finally bought the castle in 1957. Today the Great Hall is an immensely impressive drawing room with elegant plasterwork, paneling and grand fireplaces and furniture. Adjoining it is the tapestry-hung Dining Room with its painted doors and oak sideboards. The castle has its own tiny chapel. The old stables, now house an exhibition on Hew Lorimer’s sculpture.

The magical arts & crafts garden is filled with scent of roses and the beautiful herbaceous borders. The beautiful walled garden lies to the north and the east of Kellie Castle and includes formal gardens and orchards. The summerhouse exhibits a display on the history of walled garden.

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