Fernie Castle

Fernie Castle Hotel
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Fernie Castle Hotel

A hotel occupying a fine old white-harled mansion in N Fife, Fernie Castle is surrounded by 6.9 ha (17 acres) of woodland, a half-mile (1 km) east northeast of Letham and 3¾ miles (6 km) west of Cupar. The mansion comprises a much-altered L-plan tower-house which was built c.1530. By the late 16th century, the tower had become T-plan, with the main block rising to four storeys, a massive crow-stepped five-storey jamb to the S containing the stair, and a round tower to the NW with a corbelled-out square cap-house, angled to the main block. To the east a three-storey extension was added in the early 18th C. A single-storey west wing was added c.1815, later doubled in height, and a porch added to the stair tower in the incongruous style of a toy-fort, decorated with crucifixes. The eastern extension was remodelled 1844-49 including the addition of another larger round tower in the Baronial style at the extreme corner and crow-steps to the gables.

There was probably a castle here in the 13th century, a property of the MacDuff Earls of Fife. The lands passed to the Balfours and then the Fernie family in the 15th C. Andrew Fernie obtained a charter in 1527 erecting Fernie into a barony. The castle was sold to the Arnots in 1586 but soon returned through marriage to the Balfour family but was forfeited by them after the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715. However, a son who had remained loyal to the Hanoverian government was able to recover the property five years later. The northwestern tower is said to be haunted by a green lady - the ghost of a girl who had run off with her lover, sought refuge in the castle but then fallen from the tower. The mansion became a hotel in the 1960s.

To the east northeast are classical stables and kennels dating from the early 19th C. while, to the northeast, is a lectern doo'cot dating from 1661. The Treehouse Suite lies a quarter-mile (0.4 km) from the castle and comprises multi-level tree-house accommodation suspended between six mature sycamore trees. A flight of stairs reaches a balcony which surrounds a solitary bedroom, linked to a round tower which contains a bathroom decorated with friezes of an enchanted forest.

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