Pittarthie Castle was a laird’s fortified house in Fife. The present house was built for James Monypenny of Pitmilly c. 1580. There are substantial remains of the hilltop house, which is built in an 'L' plan with the jamb, its northwest corner bowed, attached to the southwest of the main block, and a stair tower in the inner angle. The stonework is good quality rubble with ashlar dressings. but much coarser masonry appears at the bottom of the south wall, possibly evidence of an earlier building. It displays wonderfully decorative but now fairly useless defences—a gunloop beside the roll-moulded door, and pistol holes below all the window sills.

The date 1682 is carved, together with William Bruce's arms and initials, on a segmental pediment over the first floor hall's south window. This window, like most of the others, has typically late 17th century rounded arrises. The interior is derelict. In the tunnel-vaulted jamb, there is a kitchen with a huge north fireplace, and a water inlet in the west wall. Perhaps also of late 17th-century origin was the addition of a north stair turret.



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B940, Dunino, United Kingdom
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Founded: 1580
Category: Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom

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3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

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Jim (3 years ago)
Only accessible on foot if you like walking ,this is an old tower house / castle ruin . It appealed to me because it was not captured on Google maps and old places like this should be remembered
Jim (3 years ago)
Only accessible on foot if you like walking ,this is an old tower house / castle ruin . It appealed to me because it was not captured on Google maps and old places like this should be remembered
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Broch of Gurness

The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.

The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.

The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.

The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.

Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.

At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.

In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.