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Listed Building

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site only. All other information in the record is not statutory.


Status: Designated


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  • Category: A
  • Date Added: 01/03/1984


  • Local Authority: Fife
  • Planning Authority: Fife
  • Parish: Monimail

National Grid Reference

  • NGRNO 29839 14092
  • Coordinates329839, 714092


Dated 1578 on parapet (lower part possibly earlier). 4-storey square-plan small tower, with basement. Fragment of larger, earlier structure, (ragged stonework at south east and south west where latter adjoined) and now incorporated in garden walls, with former garden buildings to south, and slate-roofed lean-to shed against east wall. Tower rubble-built, with ashlar dressings. 3 doors to north elevation;

square-headed and mostly roll-moulded windows to each elevation, some blocked, some altered; single central Gothic-traceried window high on east and west walls (nests in parapet above); blocked segmental opening to south over basement. Moulded cill band to north and to west elevations, additional string to west. Continuous corbelled parapet with

gun ports, gargoyles and angle turrets; octagonal turrets (each with sculptured head in circular panel) over south east and north east latter above newel stair and capped by pointed, faceted low spire with lucarnes (now lowered in height, with lead covering) and 'sunburst' finial (circular turrets over remaining corners). Single coped wall-head stack; flat roof. Interior is altered; basement has later vaulting, and

apparently used as an ice house, probably in 19th century. Upper chamber has 18th century pine panelling. 2 large rectangular-plan garden enclosures in L-plan and sharing common wall dated 1825; larger enclosure is to south of Monimail Tower, smaller to west of tower. Rubble-built, with ashlar dressings and flat coping, stepped to slopes.

Statement of Special Interest

Scheduled monument. Scheduled Area 6 December 2000.

The bishop of St Andrews has a residence at Monimail since the 14th century tradition ascribed this tower to Cardinal Beaton (assassinated 1546), but the charter granting Monimail House to James Balfour (later to Pittendreich) describes it as being then ruinous (1564); the tower bears the initials and arms of Balfour of Pittendreich and is dated 1578, the year it was granted to James Balfour, son of the abvoe so the restoration/rebuilding work must in fact have been done for the younger James Balfour. 1969 drawing included in Gillespie and Scott drawings index in SNMR. The Agricultural survey of Fife (1800) states that this tower had "evidently been a part of a much more extensive building, the remains of which can, at this day, be easily traced". Small rubble- built vaulted structure (possible icehouse?) to north is open at west end, and has gun-port on south wall. Dated lintel, in common wall, also inscribed with initials of David, Earl of Leven and Melville.



RCAHMS INVENTORY OF FIRE 1933. pp 212-4 (No 428) MacGibbon and Ross, CASTELLATED AND DOMESTIC ARCHITECTURE vol III pp 448-9 A H Millar, FIFE... 1895. Vol I pp 199-201.

About Designations

Listed Buildings

We list buildings of special architectural or historic interest and these are selected according to criteria published in the, Annex 2, pp74-76.

The information in the listed building record gives an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building(s). It is not a definitive historical account or a complete description of the building(s). The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

Enquiries relating to works to listed buildings should be made to the local authority in the first instance. Listed building consent is required for works which a local authority considers will affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest and local authorities also decide if listed building consent is required.

Listing covers both the exterior and the interior. Listing can cover structures not mentioned which are part of the curtilage of the building, such as boundary walls, gates, gatepiers, ancillary buildings etc. The local authority is responsible for advising on what is covered by the listing including the curtilage of a listed building. For information about curtilage see

Legislation introduced on 1 October 2015 allows us to state that: an object or structure fixed to the listed building; any object or structure within the curtilage of the listed building; and, any part or feature of the listed building that is not of architectural or historic interest may be excluded from a listing. If part of your building is not listed under the new legislation, the part will be excluded in the statutory address and in the statement of special interest. The statement will use the word 'excluding' and quote the relevant section of the Historic Environment Scotland Act 2014. Some earlier listed building records may use the word 'excluding', but if the Act is not quoted, the record has not been revised to reflect current legislation.

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