#176 - 180 Pitcullo Castle
Near Leuchars, Fife, Scotland
Late 16th century and later
This is NOT an official Lego site
|Pitcullo Castle may
be a surprising choice for this castle project I am creating for
Brickworld Chicago 2022. It is a fine but uninspiring Scottish
L-plan tower house, built near the end of the 16th century, in Fife,
less than 5 miles from Cupar and less than 7 miles from St. Andrews.
However, with a finite number of years to recreate castle models in
Lego, I try not to repeat my castle projects, unless I feel a newer
model would be significantly more accurate or striking. That said,
I wanted to create an example of what has happened to hundreds of
Scottish towers and other castles over the centuries, and Pitcullo was
in the right place at the right time. There are to be five models of
Pitcullo: the original L-plan, the conversion to a U-plan in the 17th
century, the abandoned ruin, the 1971 restoration, and finally the 1980s
embellishment. It will be a fun project, both in the research and
|The land upon which
Pitcullo Castle rests was originally the property of the Sybbalds (or
Sibbalds). It was acquired by the Balfours around the beginning of the 16th
century. According to MacGibbon and Ross, The Castellated and
Domestic Architecture of Scotland (1892), the initials "D.B." above
the entrance door refer to a grandson or great-grandson of one "David
Balfour of 'Petcullo' (who) was dead before January 1514/5." The
original tower house was a classic L-plan with a single stair block wing
protruding from the southwest corner of the roughly 22 by 51 foot main
block. The walls are about four feet thick. The entrance of
the three story castle was in the re-entrant angle at the base of the
stair wing. The main circular stair rose only to the main floor,
with access to the second floor and attic via a corbelled-out stair
turret above the door, and a service stair turret near the middle of the
north side. The castle had an undercroft [basement] at the east
end of the main block. I can find no images of this tower [my
#176]. The castle was harled and likely washed in an ochre color.
At some point in the next century, the decision was made to create
additional space with a second wing, but placing it symmetrically at the
east end of the south face would have interfered with existing windows,
so the roughly 15 foot square tower was placed against the angle of the
SE corner, creating a trio of unheated rooms in the shape of a five foot
wide backward "L" [see plans below]. The function of
these odd rooms is unknown - cold bedrooms perhaps [my #177].
By 1707 the castle
was in the hands of the Trents, as Last Will and Testaments of a William
Trent, another William Trent and a Maurice Trent, all "of Pitcullo", are registered
in May 1707, August 1726 and January 1787. However, by the early
nineteenth century, the castle was the property of the 'Pitcairns of
Pitcullo'. Andrew Pitcairn, of Pitcullo Castle, [b. March 1767]
fourth son of Provost John Pitcairn, and his wife Janet, gave birth to
ten sons and one daughter. The second son, John [b. 1807] married Cecillia Paterson, who died in April 1897 'at Pitcullo'. Lieut.
Col. Andrew Pitcairn [b. April 1822], of Pitcullo Castle, died in 1892,
'at Pitcullo'; and his son Ronald Andrew Pitcairn [b. October 1858] is
listed as 'the present owner of Pitcullo Castle'. However, note that the
pair of pencil drawing by Alexander Archer are dated "5th Septr 1838"
and show not only significant deterioration of the protective harl, but
numerous broken window panes, strongly suggesting the castle itself was
abandoned by that time! The photographs of the Pitcullo ruin flanking the second paragraph
are dated about 1888, indicating that the castle was derelict and
roofless by the time Ronald Andrew acquired it! [my #178] The castle was rescued in 1971 by R.
C. Spence, of Cunningham, Jack, Fisher & Purdom, Architects, and
restored to much like it's original form [my #179][photo to the right]. It was purchased as a
private residence by merchant banker Angus Grossart, and his artist wife
Gay, in 1977, and gentrified in the
early 1980's by Ian McKerron Begg, architect with L. A. Rolland &
Partners [my #180]. It is currently occupied.
|The front from the lawn...||...and the drone's eye view.||The view from the west.||And the NNE, from above.|
late 16th century
late 16th century
|Current Basement Floor Plan||Current Ground Floor Plan||Current First Floor Plan|
of the five Lego Models
Under construction in early April, 2022
On April 4, construction
begins with the five bases
laid out in a row
with the center three adding
space for the 17th C tower.
By the end of
the five identical slopes
begin to take form.
6, 2022, the five landscaped
plots are ready to accept a pleasant
tower house! For each, see below:
Here is the 16th
on April 7, ready to build.
On April 10
the ground floor
is almost complete, with the
Balfours starting the protective
lime and pebble wash.
|By April 13 it's obvious
the Balfours have a huge job
ahead, harling their entire
|The tower is at three
stories on April 16, and
ready for roofing to begin.
By April 20,
roofing is well
underway. The next photos
will be of the completed model.
The 17th C U-plan
the second tower to the
front of the castle.
floor is almost
complete on April 10.
has a much more finished
By April 17, the U-plan
tower is complete to
the proposed roof line.
|The 17th century castle
being roofed on April 20.
See below for finished castle.
I will do my
best to mimic the
deterioration of the late-19th
and early 20th centuries.
promises to be a unique
|On April 14 there's more
to be seen of the abandoned
U-plan tower house.
|Three days later I got a
carried away as I framed
the deteriorating castle...
...and actually roofed
stair tower, adding some
weeds as well. Fine tuning
will follow. See below.
Here is the
April 7 outline
of R. C. Spence's 1971
By April 10
the ground floor
is done, with the remnant of
the second tower still visible.
more and more like a
white-washed version of
the original on April 13.
|The April 18 model is
about ready for a roof.
|The 1971 restoration is
acquiring a roof of April
23. The completed model
Ian Begg will look a lot like
the first Restoration - at the
base of the castle.
Here is the
|And we can begin to see
the results of Ian Begg's
gentrification of the 1980s.
On April 18,
the tower is
ready to be roofed. Note
the subtle differences
added by Ian Begg.
More differences become
evident as roofing and
corbelling begin on April
23. Final photos below.
|Lego Top Down Plan 17th
||Lego Top Down Plan 1971
||Lego Top Down Plan 1980s
|Lego Ground Floor Plan
||Lego Ground Floor Plan
||Lego First Floor Plan
South Elevation 17th
East Elevation 16th
South Elevation 1980s
(including undercroft [basement])
West Elevation 1980s
Other Pitcullo Castle pages:
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