#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 building!
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.
Drone view of the current castle And from the northwest.
The front from the lawn... ...and the drone's eye view. The view from the west. And the NNE, from above.

 

Ground Floor Plan
late 16th century
First Floor Plan
late 16th century
Ground Floor Plan
mid-17th century
First Floor Plan
mid-17th century
Current Basement Floor Plan Current Ground Floor Plan Current First Floor Plan

 

Photos 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
The layouts are similar,
with the center three adding
space for the 17th C tower.
By the end of the day
the five identical slopes
begin to take form.
On April 6, 2022, the five landscaped
plots are ready
to accept a pleasant
tower house! For each, see below:
Here is the 16th c L-plan
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 that
the Balfours have a huge job
ahead, harling their entire
castle!
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 adds
the second tower to the
front of the castle.
The ground floor is almost
complete on April 10.
The 17th century Pitcullo
has a much more finished
appearance.

By April 17, the U-plan
tower is complete to
the proposed roof line.
The 17th century castle is
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.
Building the ruined interior
promises to be a unique
challenge...
On April 14 there's more
to be seen of the abandoned
U-plan tower house.
Three days later I got a bit
carried away as I framed
the deteriorating castle...
...and actually roofed the
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
Restoration
By April 10 the ground floor
is done, with the remnant of
the second tower still visible.
The restored castle looks
more and more like a
white-washed version of
the original on April 13.

The April 18 model is just
about ready for a roof.
The 1971 restoration is
acquiring a roof of April
23. The completed model
is below.
The 1980s Gentrification by
Ian Begg will look a lot like
the first Restoration - at the
base of the castle.
Here is the progress on
April 10.
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.

 

Photos of the Lego Models
Built April, 2022
Soon
And Very Soon
Or Maybe Even Sooner!

 

Build Your Own
Lego Top Down Plan 17th
Lego Top Down Plan 1971
Lego Top Down Plan 1980s
Lego Ground Floor Plan 17th C
Lego Ground Floor Plan 1971
Lego First Floor Plan 1971
South Elevation 17th Century
East Elevation 16th Century
South Elevation 1980s
(including undercroft [basement])
West Elevation 1980s


Other Pitcullo Castle pages:
https://scottishcastlesassociation.com/about-us/associated-castles/pitcullo-castle.htm
https://canmore.org.uk/site/32902/pitcullo-castle
https://www.flickr.com/photos/62445171@N00/49784451748/in/photostream/

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Castles created by Robert Carney
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Robert Carney