Places to Visit in Scotland
- Kellie Castle, Fife
Early History of Kellie
The first record of Kellie dates as far back as 1150 when Malmure, thane of Kellie, witnessed a charter from King David I>. The next known owner was Robert of London, an illegitimate son of King William the Lion> (who was on the throne from 1165 to 1214). By 1266 Kellie had passed to the Siward family (who had earlier come from Northumbria and assisted King Malcolm> "Canmore" to overthrow Macbeth>). Richard Siward lost Kellie after supporting the English king but his daughter retained the castle. She signed over the estate to a relative, Walter Oliphant and that family lived in Kellie for 250 years, during which time additional apartments were added to the original tower house.
In 1613 the property was purchased by Sir Thomas Erskine - who had saved the life of King James VI> during the Gowrie Conspiracy by killing Sir Alexander Ruthven. The King stayed at Kellie in 1617 during his only visit to Scotland after the Union of the Crowns in 1603.
Recent History of Kellie
Kellie was abandoned early in the 19th century but a Professor James Lorimer took it over and his rescue is commemorated by a Latin inscription "This mansion snatched from rooks and owls is dedicated to honest ease amongst labours 1878" (see illustration). Members of the Lorimer family stayed in Kellie as tenants and eventually bought the castle in 1948.
Kellie Castle Today
The castle is now owned by the National Trust for Scotland> who have kept the building looking as it was during the Lorimer ownership. Unlike many a grand castle it looks like a family home - with toys and a rocking horse in the nursery and cooking pots in the kitchen as well as the grander apartments with lovely ceilings and paintings. There is a walled garden and the Trust are replanting this to be a charming Scottish Kitchen garden. While the castle itself is open at normal National Trust for Scotland hours, the garden is accessible for much longer hours - in the summer it is open until dusk.
Where to Find Kellie
Kellie is in the East Neuk of Fife, inland from the charming coastal villages of Pittenweem and St Monan's. For a detailed location map, see StreetMap UK. (Note that you can access a larger scale map of the area via this page).
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