Fenton Tower

Fenton Tower
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Fenton Tower

Lying immediately to the south of the hamlet of Kingston, in East Lothian, and 2 miles (3 km) south of North Berwick is Fenton Tower. Built in 1550 for Patrick Whytelaw, son of Lord Ruthven, this Grade-A listed building comprises a square tower and a half-round turret, with walls reaching 1.2m (4 feet) in thickness.

In 1587, the tower became the property of Sir John Carmichael and in 1591 became the refuge of King James VI (1566 - 1625) who had sailed across the Firth of Forth from Fife when faced by one of several attempts to usurp his power. James later gave the tower to his friend Sir Thomas Erskine who became Lord Dirleton (1604), Viscount Fenton (1606) and the Earl of Kellie (1619).

In 1631, the Tower passed to Sir John Maxwell of Innerwick, who became Earl of Dirleton in 1646. In 1650, the puritan army of Oliver Cromwell invaded Scotland and destroyed many properties, including Fenton Tower, Dirleton and Tantallon Castles. The ruin passed to the Nisbets of Dirleton and Archerfield in 1663 and finally to the Simpson family around 1850. Having lain a ruin for 350 years, the castle was subject to an award-winning restoration in 2000 by architect Nicholas Groves-Raines to be used for premium holiday and business meeting accommodation.

Adjacent to the Tower are the remains of a mediaeval Christian Chapel.

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