Fyvie Castle, close to the village of Fyvie in a pleasant wooded vale of the river Ythan, was described by Sir Herbert Maxwell as ‘the crowning glory of Scottish baronial architecture", It has a south front l50 ft long with a full sized, angle turreted tower house at each end, and an immense gatehouse tower projecting from the centre.
This great facade has often been likened to that of a French chateau, and French influence in the design has been suggested, but there is no real evidence for this supposed borrowing.
Fyvie is a purely Scottish creation that took its ﬁnal form as the result of the combined inventions of ﬁve dynasties of lairds (the Prestons, the Meldrums, the Setons, the Gordons and the Leiths), each of which has a tower or wing named after it though it does not follow that they were its ‘onlie begetters‘.
- Fyvie Castle Postcode AB53 8JS
- Fyvie Castle Latitude 57.4434° N Longitude -2.3948° W
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Indeed, recent discoveries have shown that the architectural history of this impressive pile has in the course of centuries become extremely complicated.
The tradition is that the oldest part, the Preston Tower. was built about 1400 by Sir Harry Preston, who captured the English knight Ralph Percy at the Battle of Otterburn in 1388, and received the lands of Fyvie as part of the reward for the ransom of Percy.
As a result of discoveries made by Dr W. Douglas Simpson in 1962, it is now known that the lower part of the tower is much older than the Seton dynasty’s appearance. Many windows and gun-loops and a full range of battlements have been uncovered, which Alexander Seton, lst Earl of Dunfermline’s masterly reconstruction had hidden from view for over 300 years.
It was, however, Lord Dunfermline who gave the Castle the appearance that has made it architecturally renowned, and he also gave it the wonderful wheel stair that is the chief glory of the interior.
On the farm at Lewes near Fyvie is the Priory Cross, a monument erected in I868 to mark the site of the ancient Priory of St Mary, founded in ll79. In 1937 the aqueduct that carried the water supply of the monks of St Mary‘s was uncovered by workmen making an augmentation to the present village water-supply.