Auchtermuchty, Cupar, KY14 7EW
Beautifully refurbished castle with notable gardens protected by extensive policies
Myres Castle is set on a rise just outside the village of Auchtermuchty in north Fife with panoramic views from the battlements over the surrounding countryside. The castle is given total privacy by 45 acres of its own grounds enclosed within a high stone wall.
Fife is famous for its golf courses with St Andrews, 'the Home of Golf' being only 19 miles away. Fife also boasts the most northern fox hunt in Great Britain and there are both a National Hunt race course and a polo field just to the north of Perth at Scone.
Local shops can be found in Auchtermuchty, with a wider range of services in Cupar and Perth. Edinburgh is also within easy reach. There are a number of private schools in the area including Glenalmond, Strathallan, Dollar Academy, Kilgraston (Girls) and St Leonards.
The castle has a highly accessible location with the M90 (7 miles) providing a fast road link south to Edinburgh and its airport. The nearest railway station is at Ladybank with services to Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen on the East Coast line.
The estate of 'The Myres' originally formed a part of the lands of the Earl of Fife, and passed by marriage to the Dukes of Albany until forfeited to the crown. Robert Coxwell, Mace Bearer and Sergeant at Arms to James 1 of Scotland, was granted lands including 'The Myres' in 1424. His widow married John Scrymgeour whose grandson, also called John, oversaw the refurbishment of both Holyrood Place and Falkland Palace for James V.
John Scrymgeour built the original Myres Castle. There is no record of the exact date but architectural historians consider it to be about 1530. The house was two storeys, probably with an attic and laid out in a z-plan. It had round towers with gun loops in the corners and a stair tower. A garderobe turret in the corner allowed a cart to be backed under it.
In 1611 the Scrymgeours sold Myres Castle to Stephen Paterson, town clerk of Falkland, who improved the castle. He heightened the main block to three storeys and corbelled out a rectangular, two storey addition on top of the tower. On the sides he had carved two shields and a garland within which are the monogram 'SPEM' and the date 1616.
Paterson's grandson sold Myres to the Covenanter, General John Leslie, whose daughter married Andrew Moncrieff from the neighbouring estate of Reedie. The combined Myres and Reedie estates remained in the Moncrieff family for nearly 200 years. Colonel George Moncrieff and his wife Helen built the north wing in about 1750 and perhaps made the present entrance hall and the front door. In those days Myres was called 'The House of Myres'.
In 1820 Myres was sold to Professor John Bruce, the King's Printer and Stationer, who also bought the neighbouring Falkland Palace Estate. Sir Walter Scott visited Falkland Palace several times and offered advice about the restoration. It was possibly on his suggestion that the House of Myres was changed to Myres Castle, in keeping with the Gothic revival period.
Professor Bruce's brother died in India,leaving an 8 year old illegitimate daughter called Margaret. The Professor acted as her guardian until his death in 1826 when she inherited the estates of Falkland and Myres. She married Onesiphorus Tyndall but had no children and the combined estates were inherited in 1869 by Colonel Walter Hamilton, who changed his name to Hamilton-Tyndall-Bruce. Myres Castle was rented out until 1872 when the building was renovated as a dower house to Falkland Palace.
In 1887 Myres Castle was sold to James Fairlie, who had been Private Chamberlain at the Vatican to three Popes, and the walled garden was laid out in the same style as one of the gardens of the Vatican. His son, Reginald Fairlie, inherited the property. The War Office then requisitioned Myres and used it to garrison soldiers from the Black Watch and then from the Polish Army during the war. No repairs and very little maintenance were carried out to the castle and the fabric suffered considerable damage.
Reginald Fairlie was a distinguished Scottish architect but had no use for the castle after the war and handed the castle over to his younger brother James, who began the task of making the castle habitable. James died in 1960 and left Myres to his son, David Fairlie, who supervised the complete restoration of the castle. Most of the roof was renewed and reslated with fine Ballachulish slates. All the old harling was removed and the rubble stone walls beneath were coated with an ochre colour cement.
Myres Castle was bought in 1999 by Mr and Mrs Jonathan White, who carried out substantial renovations to create the sumptuous private house which exists today. They have added en suite bathrooms to all ten bedrooms and have redecorated in great style. The castle is now a large but practical home, ideal both for entertaining and for everyday family life.
The accommodation includes an elegant drawing room, situated off the main hall, a dining room with a large bay window providing exceptional views across the walled garden and a library with all its historic character. The gardens and grounds have also been developed as per floor plans.
To the north of the courtyard is a range of stores comprising a dog run and garden sheds built of brick and stone under slate roofs. There is a range of brick and wooden garden sheds to the rear of the walled garden.
Myres Castle is set in beautiful and mature gardens and grounds which extend to about 45 acres.
An impressive gateway with automatic wrought iron gates leads to the driveway which sweeps around to the front of the castle. In front of the castle are extensive lawns interspersed with hardwood trees. An avenue of ornamental cherry trees has recently been planted. Adjacent is a small lake which has a wooden jetty, stone benches and is set off by banks of rhododendrons.
The principal gardens lie to the west of the house and were laid out as a copy of one of the private gardens in the Vatican. They are enclosed by the courtyard to the east and by stone walls and high hedges on the other sides. The gardens are laid out into different compartments divided by gravel paths and yew hedges. There is a terrace adjacent to the house. The rose gardens continue through the centre with a stone sundial as a focal point. There is a water garden with a fountain of cherubs in the centre. In the north east corner is a hidden garden with a water trough and an outdoor chess set. An archway leads through to the west garden which has a lawn laid out as a children's football pitch with a maze adjacent, soft fruit and vegetable beds and espaliered fruit trees.
Beyond the walled garden is an area of open woodland with an avenue of young copper beech. Wooden gates lead into the parkland where there is an all weather tennis court. A helicopter landing area lies beyond the tennis court.
Parkland fields lie beyond and are fringed with beautiful mature broad leaf trees. The trees carry on around the edge of the policies. To the north of the walled garden is a further paddock. The property includes a stretch of woodland to the far side of the burn with a wooden bridge with a metal hand rail over.
- Refurbished castle
- 6 reception rooms
- 10 bedrooms - all ensuite
- Conference Room
- Courtyard Cottage, Gate lodge
- 'Vatican' walled garden
- Formal gardens with pond
- Helicopter pad & tennis court
- Parkland & woods. 45 acres
- Energy Efficiency Rating E
+44 (0) 131 247 3700