The Castle

15th Century Family Towerhouse

The lands wherein the towerhouse is built upon were given to Philip Halket in the 14th century by Sir William Scott of Balweary.

The house consists of a 15th century tower house, which was heightened in 1583 when a new wing was built to the south. A "yett", also dating 1583, has been set up across the path leading to the gardens. In the late 17th century, a further large addition, four storeys in height, was made on the east tower and wing. The name occurs as "Petfurnane" in a charter of 1437, and as several charters of this period were signed "apud Petfurnane".

 

The main stairway is flanked on either side by wonderful old oak panelling, the carving of which is of particular interest and beauty. In one panel appears the Halket arms with the date, 1533; and in another, the Halket arms impaled with those of Hepburn, a lovely record of the romantic marriage between George Halkett and Isabel 

Hepburn, which took place in 1576.

About Pitfirrane Castle

Pitfirrane is an outstanding and largely intact example of a predominantly 15th century Scottish towerhouse. It is the seat of the Halket family and has belonged to the family from the 15th century. The building became the home for Dunfermline Golf Club House in 1953 and the parkland is now a golf course.

In the 15th century, Pitfirrane was an oblong towerhouse with battlements and parapet walk. In 1573 George Halkett succeeded to the estate and made alterations which included removing the parapet walk, raising the walls and creating the L-plan shape by adding the square stair tower to the south-east (with carved panels dated 1583) and angle turrets to the west gable. In the late 17th century, Sir Charles Halkett added a 4-storey L-shaped wing to the east which by 1975 was in a poor state of repair and was removed.

 

In 1854, David Bryce added a 3-bay arched and balustraded porch in the south re-entrant (removed in 1975); and a low servant's wing to the North including another balustraded porch and round tower to north-east. Further changes took place in the later 19th century and the 20th century; Sinclair and Watt added a flat-roofed extension to east and south in 1975, which was altered and extended in 1980 to become an open-plan, L-shaped area (the Club House bar) and in the 1990's Pitfirrane was re-roofed. The iron yett on the west elevation dates from 1583 whilst the studded door, its surround, hoodmould and armorial panel above date from 1888, made to designs by R Rowand Anderson. The weather-vane, which was added during the 1854 renovations, has been replaced with a modern replica. Late 17th century painted plasterwork was found in 3 rooms in the upper storey during repair work to the roof but it has been re-covered for protection.

The gate piers date from 1770 and were moved further apart in 1995 to allow easier access. The remains of the former offices and stables to the east and the walled garden to the northwest were not included in the listing at the point of the 2001 Dunfermline Parish resurvey.

 

The Pitfirrane Goblet, used by James VI before leaving Dunfermline Palace in 1603 to travel to London to be crowned James I of England, was donated to the National Museums of Scotland by Madeline Halkett. It is a fine, ornate, late 16th century piece, made in the Netherlands by migrant Venetian glass-makers.

Pitfirrane Castle