Cleish Castle is a building of merit having gained the Saltire Award in 1973 for restoration followed by the Civic Trust Heritage Award in 1995. The castle and grounds are in magnificent condition. It, along with 26 acres of grounds, is now on the market at offers over £1.5million.
Much is made in the press regarding its connection with Mary Queen of Scots, insisting that she spent a night there on her escape from Loch Leven Castle. Headlines such as ‘Castle fit for an escaping Queen’ might attract attention but are wide off the mark. Mary did indeed pass near Cleish but she was riding hard and did not stop until she reached Niddrie Castle, Lothian for her first night of freedom. However, why spoil a good story with facts?
There is more to Cleish than meets the eye. It was ruinous until its first restoration in the mid-19th century and is much changed from the original, especially the removal of its vaults. It is a tall L-plan tower house of five storeys, built of freestone as opposed to the normal rubble. The more alert eye will note that the lower walls are rounded at the corners but not above. The gable, as can be seen in the photograph, has intakes which narrow the wall as it rises. This, along with large, regular fenestration, suggests that Cleish was built in the 16th century and brought up-to-date in the 17th.
The award-winning restoration removed much clutter and, today, Cleish Castle presents a splendid example of the late Scottish tower house.
To view the full sale particulars of Cleish Castle, click here .
Photographs courtesy of SCA member John Pringle. Article by SCA member Brian McGarrigle.
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