Myres Castle is a Scottish castle situated in Fife near the village of Auchtermuchty. Its history is interleaved with that of nearby Falkland Palace with present-day castle construction dating to 1530. The castle and magnificent Scottish garden are now operated as a private conference centre with lodging.
Name derivation and early history
Its history is intertwined with the nearby Falkland Palace, since Myres was the heritary home of the Macers, or Sergeants of Arms, of Falkland. The word "myres" is associated with a boggy place; in fact, Myres Castle is located within fields and policies with marginal drainage. Further drainage improvements to the fields were made as late as the 1970s. There exists an attractive pond in front of the Castle, which also serves to collect runoff. The lands of the present Myres estate originally part of the extensive properties of the Earl of Fife, the Myres portion being converyed by marriage to Robert, Duke of Albany. In the year 1425, Murdoch, the son of Robert, forfeited the holding to the crown. From that time until the 16th century, the tenant farmers rents are recording in the rolls of the Royal Exchequer, indicating continuing ownership of the king. The first recorded tenant of the south quarter of Auchtermuchty, known as "the myres", was Robert Coxwell who resided at the Scottish Royal Court.
Architectural history from 1530
The castle itself originated circa 1530 as a Z-plan fortress, perhaps designed by its owner John Scrimgeour, and has an ochre harled exterior with some exposed grey ashlar stonework on its square tower added in 1616. The tower is adorned with garland stonework, heraldic relief with carved initials and a parapet. The basement course appears to be an older, possibly 14th-century piece, due to its Romanesque barrel-vaulted construction, and clear architecture of a medieval kitchen. Further modifications took place in the 17th and 18th centuries. In 1872 the building was repaired and slightly remodelled, Scots Baronial touches being added by James Campbell Walker.
At the property entrance there is a detached Victorian stone gatehouse, which was inhabited as a residence up to at least 1997. The prize of Myres is a spectacular walled garden featuring gigantic topiary yew trees, elaborate herbaceous borders and a small fishpond. The garden walls exceed three metres in height and are probably of 17th-century origin.
20th century events
Myres is embedded among 44 acres (18 ha) of gardens, farmlands and policies. The Fairlie family has been associated with Myres for some time. There are Fairlie memorabilia at Myres including shooting diaries as far back as 1903. A recording is noted in the year 1915 that James Olgilvy Reginald Fairlie, Chamberlain to His Majesty, resident of Myres was killed in action in World War I. His son was the distinguished Scot architect Reginald Fairlie. The castle was the home of the Fairlie family up until 1997; moreover, the policies, or wooded perimeter, were augmented with the prudent planting by Captain Reginald Rairlie in the early 1980s. At present Myres serves as an exclusive let and wedding venue.
- Nigel Tranter, History of the Fortified House in Scotland, Five Volumes (1962-1971)
- The Catholic Who's Who and Yearbook 1916, and Burns and Oates
- Dictionary of Scottish Architects: Walker