Malcolm's Tower consists of the foundations of a rubble built, rectangular tower enclosed by an oval shaped modern wall.

The tower stood on a highly defensible peninsular outcrop of rock above a deep ravine and is the site from which the city derives its name. It was effectively the seat of royal power in Scotland after Malcolm III of Scotland shifted the centre of government from Forteviot to Dunfermline in the mid 11th century. The site was also close to a religious centre which had begun as a Culdee establishment in the 9th century. The first mention of the tower in the historical record is from 1070 when Malcolm III married his queen, Princess Margaret. As queen, Margaret introduced innovations which changed the course and identity of the Church in Scotland. Not far to the east of the tower's location are the remains of Dunfermline Abbey and later royal palace.

All that survives of the tower today are foundational fragments of wall, but an image of the building was adopted at an early date as the burgh arms for Dunfermline. Old wax seals suggest it to have been a building of two storeys with an attic. It might have contained around twenty small apartments. Before the western access road to Dunfermline was built, Malcolm's Tower would have been an almost impregnable fortress, perhaps rather like a broch, and this almost certainly explains Dunfermline's motto Esto rupes inaccessa (Be an inaccessible rock).

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Founded: 11th century
Category: Ruins in United Kingdom

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