A beautiful site, with a long, illustrious history.
The following details have been documented by Historic Scotland:
Knockhall Castle, in the parish of Foveran, is situated near the mouth of the river Ythan and was probably built in 1565 as an L plan towerhouse of three stories and an attic with a projecting staircase tower on its northside. The tower does not have a parapet and the gables have skews rather than crowsteps. To the south of the castle there was an enclosed courtyard, but all that now remains of this is a fragmentary round tower at the south east angle of the enclosure which incorporated a dovecot on its upper level. The tower has undergone significant alteration, probably in the second quarter of the 17th century.
The tower is lit by large rectangular windows in the south and east walls. These are arranged more or less symmetrically and their raised margins suggest they are insertions dating to the mid 17th century. The earlier windows which have survived have a typical roll moulding of mid 16th century type, and some appear to have had gunloops in their sills. The basement is pierced by a number of wide-mouthed gunloops but also has some fairly large windows which have the raised margins of the 17th century windows.
The entrance is in the re-entrant angle and the lintel of the door is inscribed with the date 1565. Above this are two empty heraldic panels and at eaves level there is a projecting stone shelf which appears to have been intended to shed water away from the entrance doorway. The doorway gives access to a corridor running the length of the building and leads to the main stair. Entered off the corridor, on the left, is the kitchen, complete with fireplace, sink and drain. The main block contains a large cellar also with a sink and drain. Both spaces are vaulted although that over the kitchen has collapsed.
The circular stair is comfortably wide and provides access both to the principal upper floors in the main block and to those in the wing. It may be an addition, but if so the original access arrangements are unclear. The main block of the tower contained the hall and again there is evidence that this space was significantly re-ordered when the large windows were inserted. The second floor of the main block was divided into two, each chamber supplied with a latrine and fireplace. The attic floor was reached by a small internal staircase, with the space above the main stair being a small room with a fireplace.
The tower is externally complete and in an example such as this there is often sufficient evidence for a tower to be restored for modern occupation without detracting from its historic significance. The planning of this tower, with a large stair serving the two wings, and with ample light through the large rectangular windows, would also make its adaptive re-use possible. It should be noted that there is significant potential for associated archaeology surrounding the tower. In schemes of adaptive re-use, archaeology is an important issue to be addressed.
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The castle and site at Knockhall have been responsibly stabilised by the current owner, who is something of an expert on the restoration of ancient buildings; it now just remains for the right buyer to become inspired to create an amazing home and/or business.Fiona Gormley