Thursday, 26 July 2007
Best Scottish Tours of Kellie Castle
Best Scottish Tours of Kellie Castle, East Neuk of Fife, Scotland. Just inland from the historic coastline of the East Neuk of Fife, Kellie has a long documented history dating back to the twelfth century. In 1150 Malmure, Thane of Kellie witnessed a charter for David I. The lands and original castle were held by Robert of London, an illegitimate son of William the Lion in the first half of the following century. In 1266 these were transferred to the Siwards, a Northumbrian family of ancient lineage that had aided Malcolm Canmore in his campaigns against Macbeth in the 1050s. The Siwards of Kellie chose poorly in the Wars for Scottish Independence however, siding with Edward Plantagenet and losing their Scottish lands as a result. Kellie passed to an Oliphant kinsman of the Siwards who enjoyed the diplomatic immunity afforded by being married to a daughter of the Bruce. Walter Oliphant and Elizabeth Bruce took possession of Kellie in 1360 but preferring to live on their Perthshire estates, gave it to a minor branch of the family. The Oliphants of Kellie built the oldest parts of the castle that now survive including the square fourteenth century tower on the north of the site. The 5th Lord Oliphant inherited the castle in 1593, adding the central block and the south tower. These Renaissance additions were carried out at a difficult time in the history of Scotland however. The departure of the Court for London in 1603 was a devastating blow to the Scottish economy for the Court was a great engine of patronage and consumption. Minor gentry suffered as the flow of royal posts and favours dried up and the economic recession affected farm rents and estate revenues. The Oliphants were bankrupted by spending heavily at the wrong time and had to sell the Kellie estate in 1613. It must have been little consolation to them that the castle's new owner. Sir Thomas Erskine, was host to the king himself when James VI and I made his only return visit to his homeland in 1617.
Later Erskine Earls of Kellie suffered for their loyalty to the Stewarts. Alexander was imprisoned in the Tower of London for supporting Charles II at Worcester in 1651 while the 5th Earl, also Alexander, supported Charles Edward Stewart together with a small contingent of Fife gentry in the 1745 Rebellion, receiving three years in Edinburgh Castle for his pains. Ruined by 1850, the restoration of Kellie owed much to the Lorimers, an Edinburgh family of academics who rented Kellie as a summer home between 1878 and 1948 and ultimately purchased it in that year. Best Scottish Tours of Fife.