Scottish Castles Association

Preserving the Past for the Future

Old Tulliallan Castle (Fife) - Past and Present

This little known castle stands on the north side of the Kincardine Bridge close to the better known castle of that name, now a Police Scotland training centre.

tulliallan today
Tulliallan Castle pictured in 2017

It is not, in fact, a castle but a rare surviving example of a hall house – one of the best of its kind in Scotland.

Unlike most hall houses Tulliallan Castle was heavily defended. It is surrounded by a broad ditch of late 13th or early 14th century and the house itself stands firmly on a rocky outcrop. Its entrance was reached over the ditch by means of a drawbridge, pictured below, and by a door protected by a portcullis and sliding draw bars – whoever built Tulliallan Castle was taking no chances!

tulliallan 1903
Tulliallan Castle pictured in 1903
tulliallan 1904
Tulliallan Castle pictured in 1904

A jaw-dropping aspect of Tulliallan Castle is its vaulted undercroft. This is almost unique but nowhere equalled in quality. It is hard to make sense of the original arrangements as the upper levels were re-modelled in the 15th century and the wings appear to be additions.

tulliallan vault drawbridge
LEFT: Tulliallan Castle's vaulted undercroft
RIGHT: The drawbridge recess with gaff

Tulliallan Castle was smothered in vegetation until the 1990s when it was cleared and consolidated and is now privately maintained.

Article by Scottish Castles Association member Brian McGarrigle.

Added: 07 Nov 2017 Updated: 07 Nov 2017
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