New articles on forgotten or overlooked castles, towers, old houses and other places as well as information on miscellaneous places.
Fife: About 3.5 miles west and north of Leven, on minor roads west of A916, 0.5 miles west of Kennoway, at or near Auchternairne.
Site of castle or old house, the location not certain. ‘Ochtermarny’ is marked on Blaeu’s map of Fife, then probably ‘Auchermenie’ on Adair‘s map when shown in wooded policies, then ‘Auchermarnie’ on Ainslie’s map of Fife, when a house is depicted.
This was a property of the Lundies (or Lundins) from the end of the 16th century. John Lundie of Auchternairnie is mentioned in 1650, then James in 1689 and 1690, then John Lundie of Auchternairnie in 1704 and later. The family held the property until the middle of the 19th century.
Fife: About 5 miles north and east of Leven, on minor roads north of A915 or east of A916, 1 mile north of Largo Law, at or near Baldastard.
Site of tower or old house, the location not certain. The place is marked on Blaeu’s map of the east part of Fife as ‘Baldasurd’, then on Adair’s map of the east part of Fife as ‘Baldastard’, where it is depicted in wooded policies.
This was a property of the church of St Andrews, but went to the Ireland family by 1659, then to the Lundies, and John Lundie of Baldastard is on record in 1689 and later. By 1817 the property had gone to the Steels.
Fife: About 4.5 miles north-east of Leven, on minor roads west of A915, 0.5 miles north of Largo Law, at or near Balhousie.
Site of tower or old house, the location not certain. The place does not appear to be marked on Blaeu’s map of Fife, but it is marked as ‘Bousi?’ on Adair’s map of the east part of Fife, although this part of the map is faint and difficult to decipher. Balhousie is a two-storey house, possibly dating from the 18th century, but substantially 19th century with later work.
The lands appear to have been held by the Borthwicks in 1527. Sir Philip Anstruther of the ilk had a ratification of 1669 which mentions the lands of Balhousie, with the manor place, dovecots etc, as well as the previous holder, Mr George Gibson of Balhousie (or Balhoussie), and the Gibsons held the property from the middle of the 17th century or earlier. John Pattullo of Balhousie signed Petition of the shire of Fife in 1701. The Pattullos were still in possession in 1793.
Lothians: About 2 miles east and south of Haddington, on minor roads south of A199 or east of B6369, south of River Tyne, at or near East or West Bearford.
Site of grange, and then tower or old house, the location not certain. ‘Barfoot’ is marked on Blaeu’s map of The Lothians, then probably ‘Barfoord?’ on Adair’s map of East Lothian. This part of the map is quite faint, but there appears to be a substantial building in wooded policies. There are farmhouses at both East and West Bearford.
The grange was a property of Newbattle Abbey, but passed to the Hepburns in the 17th century and James Hepburn of Bearford is on record in 1648. Robert Hepburn of Bearford is mentioned in 1678 and later, including an Act of 1690.
Lothians: About 3 miles west and south of Livingston, on minor roads south of A705, south-east of village of Blackburn, north of River Almond, at or near Blackburn House.
Probable site of tower or old house, the location not certain. Blackburn House is a compact but imposing classical house of two storeys with flanking pavilions joined to the main block by curving walls. The back of the edifice has two polyagonal projecting bays and rises to four storeys. The house was abandoned in the 1970s and became derelict, but was restored from 1998 to house offices and gallery space.
‘Blackburn’, ‘Mekle Blackburn’ and ‘Litle Blacburn’ are marked on Blaeu’s map of the Lothians, while ‘Blakburn’ is marked on Adair’s map of West Lothian, although this part of the map is very faint.
The lands were held by the Cunninghams of Kilmaurs, but in 1424 with to the Forresters of Corstorphine. The property appears to have gone to the Hamiltons, and Sir George Hamilton of Blackburn is on record in 1622. The town of Blackburn, then held by Patrick Murray of Livingston, had an Act granting the right to have three fairs and a market in 1696. George Moncrieff bought the property towards the end of the 18th century and he built the house and moved the village of Blackburn formerly near the house to its present location. Blackburn then went to Moncrieff’s nephew, Major Thomas Clarkson, then later to the Douglases. The house was occupied until the 1970s.
Lothians: About 5 miles west and north of Edinburgh Castle, on minor roads north of A90, east of Cramond Brig, at Braehead House.
Breahead House, an attractive two storey and an attic edifice with corbiestepped gables and dormer windows, incorporates an L-plan tower or house, possibly dating from the 16th century or earlier. The building was remodelled at the end of the 17th century, in the 18th century and in 1877. It stands in fine gardens with a sundial, fountain and walled garden, and there is a stone with 1687.
There is a turnpike stair.
‘Ober Kramont’ and ‘Nether Kramont’ are marked on Blaeu’s map of The Lothians. ‘Ober Cramond’ is marked on Adair’s map of Midlothian, and is shown with wooded and enclosed policies. ‘Nedder Cramond’ is also marked, and is Cramond (also see that entry and also see Whitehouse). ‘Braehead’ is marked on Roy’s map of the mid 18th century.
This was held by the Howison (or Howieson) family, and Alexander and James Howison, portioners of Over Cramond, are on record in 1649 in the Act in favour of the kirk session of Cramond. The family were descendants of Jock Howison, who according to the old tale rescued James V, disguised as the ‘Gudeman of Ballengeich’, from a party of gypsies and were given the lands as reward. The family became Houison-Craufurd by marriage around the middle of the 18th century (and also held Craufurdland). Members of the family are buried in Cramond kirkyard [NT 190768].
The house is in good condition and still occupied.
Fife: About 2.5 miles east and north of Glenrothes, on minor roads east of B9130, west of Brunton Barns, at Brunton.
Site of tower or old house, which was replaced by a mansion, itself demolished. There is a small lean-to doocot [NO 306021], which dates from around the end of the 17th century. The house was a two-storey edifice with an attic with dormer windows, but has been demolished. A walled garden survives.
‘Bruntoun’ is marked on Blaeu’s map of Fife, then ‘Brountoun’ on Adair’s map of the east part of Fife, when depicted in enclosed and wooded policies.
The lands may have been a property of the Cockburns in the 15th century and the Wardlaws. In the late 17th century the property was held by the Laws, and James Law of Brunton is on record in 1678, 1690 and 1704. Brunton was held by the Paxtons of Barnslee in the middle of the 19th century.
Fife: To the west and south of Glenrothes, to west of B969, at Caskieberran.
Site of tower or old house, the location not certain. ‘Caskibarean?’ is marked on Blaeu’s map of Fife, then faintly on Adair’s map of the east part of Fife.
In 1482 in Judicial proceedings Master David Douglas was summoned for the spoilation of 31 oxen, 4 cows and a horse from the lands of Caskiebarran. By 1644 the lands were held by the Shoner family when James Shoner of Caskiebarran is mentioned. The manor place is mentioned in the ratification of 1672 in favour of John Leslie, Earl of Rothes and Lord High Chancellor. The location of the manor place is not certain, and the lands are now occupied by a housing scheme.
Fife: About 2.5 miles north of Glenrothes, on minor roads west of A92, at or near East Conland.
Site of tower or old house, the location not certain, possibly at East Conland. ‘Conlane’ is marked on Blaeu’s map of Fife, then ‘Conland’ on Adair’s map of the east part of Fife, then ‘Coanland’ on Ainslie’s map of Fife.
This was a property of the Lumsdens of Conland from the 14th century but passed to the Lundies, possibly by marriage, around the end of the 15th century. In 1681 the lands of Conland are mentioned in the raftification in favour of David Murray, Lord Stormont, but James White of Conland is on record in 1706.
Lothians: About 3.5 miles east and south of Pathhead, 2 miles west of Humbie, on minor roads east of A68, 1 mile north and east of Fala Dam, near Mains of Costerton.
Possible site of tower or old house. Costerton House dated from 1821, probably on the site of an older building, but was ruinous by the 1960s and has been demolished. All that remains is a derelict doocot, dating from the mid 18th century, an ice house, and some remains of a walled garden.
Costerton is marked on Blaeu’s map of Lothian, and ‘Costerstoun’ on Adair’s map of Haddingtonshire.
The estate appears to have been a property of Dunfermline Abbey, but was a property of the Balfours in the 16th century, then sold to the Maitlands of Thirlestane towards the end of that century. The lands were held by the Craigs in the early 18th century, one of whom was James Craig of Costerton, writer to the signet, but went by marriage to the Tytlers, who were later Lords Woodhouselee. Later it was owned by the Ainslies, and the Astley Ainslie Hospital in Edinburgh was founded by David Ainslie of Costerton, a wealthy sheep breeder and landowner, who died in 1900. It was later home to Rev. Francis Nichol, Principal of the United College of St Andrews.
Fife: About 2.5 miles west and south of St Andrews, on minor roads south of B939 or east of A915, at or near Denbrae.
Site of tower or old house. The place does not appear to be marked on Blaeu’s map of Fife, but is marked as ‘Dunbree’ on Adair’s map of the east part of Fife, where it is shown in wooded policies. A rectangular ruinous doocot has a panel with the date 1706.
Henry Balfour of Denbrae signed the Petition of the shire of Fife in 1701, as did James Preston of Denbrae.
There is, however, another Denbrae north of Cupar, also known as Nether Kedlock or Caithlock and was held by the Watsons in 1644. In the 19th century the property was held by the Wemyss family.
Fife: About 4.5 miles east and north of Leven, near A917, at or near Drumeldrie.
Site of tower or old house, the location not certain. The place is probably marked as ‘Drumalrik’ on Blaeu’s map of Fife, then as ‘Drumelri’ on Adair’s map of the east part of Fife, when a building in wooded policies is probably depicted.
The lands were a property of Sir William Bruce of Balcaskie in 1672, although the ratification does not mention a tower or a manor place. The property went to the Auchmuty (or Auchmutie) family by the middle of the 17th century when Margaret Auchmutie of Drumeldrie was married, and Daniel Auchmuty of Drumeldrie is on record in 1701.
Lothians: About 1.5 miles south-west of Loanhead, on minor roads and foot east of B7006, 1 mile north of Roslin village, at Dryden.
Site of tower or old house. This was replaced by Dryden House, which was a symmetrical mansion of three storeys with advanced wings and an off-centre pillared porch, but this was demolished in 1938.
Dryden Tower [NT 270646] stands in a prominent position in the former policies of the house, and is a tall gothic-style tower, datng from the middle of the 19th century.
‘Dryden’ is marked on Blaeu’s map of The Lothians, then ‘Drydune’ on Adair’s map of Midlothian, where the building is shown in enclosed and wooded policies.
The property was probably held by the Dryden family, but then by the Sinclairs in the 15th century, and Sir John Sinclair of Dryden, dubbed the Queen’s Knight by the poet William Dunbar, was killed at the Battle of Flodden in 1513. They held the property until the end of the 16th century. Sir Patrick Murray of Dryden is on record in the 17th century, but by 1686 had gone to the Lockharts when Sir George Lockhart of Dryden is mentioned. The held the estate until 1837 or later, but by the middle of the 19th century the property had been sold to the Trotters. As mentioned above the house was demolished in 1938 and much of the policies were swallowed up in the former Bilston Glen colliery.
Fife: About 2.0 miles west of Leven, on minor road just north of A915, 1 mile south of Kennoway, at or near Duniface.
Site of tower or old house, the location not certain. The place is not marked on Blaeu, but is on Adair’s map of the east part of Fife, although whether a house or settlement is depicted is not certain.
The lands were held by the Duries of Durie in 1621, but were acquired by John Ramsay of Duniface, who in 1681 bequeathed them to found bursaries to the United Colleges of St Andrews.
Lothians: About 3 miles east and south of Dunbar, on minor roads north of A1, north of railway line, east of cement works, at or near East Barns.
Site of tower or old house, and ‘E. Barns’ is depicted on Adair’s map of East Lothian and shown in wooded policies. The was a country house, but this was finally demolished in the 1980s, along with farm buildings in 2013 for quarrying. There was also a village, but this has gone.
This was a property of Robert Ramsay of Wyliecleugh in 1600, after Ramsay had helped James VI against the Ruthvens at Gowrie House in Perth the same year. He was also knighted. In 1606 he was nade Lord Ramsay of Barns. Later the property was held by the Inglis family, and Cornelius Inglis of East Barns is on record in 1661 and 1663. The lands appear to have been divided, but at least part were held by the Hays in the 19th century.
New sixth edition in preparation: more than 1,500 additional sites, hundreds more illustrations, comprehensive online maps and indexes, and much much more.
Due for 2024, and still a huge amount of work to do … more info to follow soon.
Check any and all opening and access information with the sites themselves…
22 Edinburgh Road
Or use our contact form.