Castle Knowe

Castle Knowe LEU R NO454219 1 352 20m

    Castle Knowe  1855 OS 6 inch 1st edn [‘site of Leuchars Castle’]

Sc or SSE castle + Sc or SSE knowe

‘Castle hill(ock)’; the eponymous castle was that of Leuchars ‘originally a mote-hill with a summit 100 yds long by 60 yds wide and 25 ft high’ (NMRS NO42SE 5). The motte is probably of twelfth-century origin (Gifford 1988, 310), but the first explicit reference is to ‘the castle of Leuchars’ (castrum de Locres) in 1292 × 1296 (see Leuchars, below). There was presumably a high-status fortified residence on this site from at least the time of Ness son of William in the twelfth century. During the de Quincy lordship which followed, Elias Sweyn[273] appears as constable of Leuchars (1235 × 1260), itself a strong indication of the existence of a castle here (Swinton 1905, 174). Elias was succeeded in this office by Peter Basset, also referred to as the Clerk (Balm. Lib. nos. 13, 38; see Leuchars, early forms, below). Leighton claims that the castle was stormed, taken and demolished by the Earl of Pembroke in 1327 (1840 i, 37), though Bower notes that it was rebuilt in 1336, together with the castle of St Andrews, on the orders of Edward III of England, by Henry de Beaumont and Henry de Ferrers (Scotichron. Bk. 13, ch. 37 [vol. 7, 122–3]). However, these rebuilds were short-lived, the castles of both St Andrews and Leuchars (Lochrez) being razed to the ground the following year (February 1337) by the Scots under the command of Andrew of Moray, guardian of Scotland (ibid. ch. 38, [pp. 124–5]). In 1376 the earl of Fife granted the castle and all his lands in the barony of Leuchars to William Ramsay, who held it from him as part of the barony of Leuchars-Ramsay (Fraser, Southesk ii no. 40; see also LEU Intro., Lordship and Baronies, and Leuchars, early forms).

    The lands in the immediate vicinity of the castle are shown as Castle Meadow on RHP1684 (1785).

This place-name appeared in printed volume 4