FOWLIS EASTER CASTLE

Originally a quadrangular courtyard that was augmented with the addition of a substantial Tower House in the mid-seventeenth century, Fowlis Easter Castle was once at the centre of a large and heavily populated estate. Abandoned in the eighteenth century, it was later converted for use by farm workers and is now a private residence.

History

 

The earliest written reference to Fowlis Easter Castle is from a plan of 1696 which shows a quadrangular courtyard protected by a curtain wall and defended by towers with a singular gate barred by a portcullis. However, the presence of the stone built church dating from 1142 and upgraded in 1453, is evidence that Fowlis, which is a corruption of the original spelling of Foulis, was significantly larger than the small village seen today. The settlement was certainly of sufficient size to warrant some form of castle or high status residence. This supposition is further supported by a charter dated 1448, which was sealed by James I at Fowlis, and a visit by James IV in 1497. It is probable the castle hosted both these events.

 

The original north west tower, known as the Lady's Tower, was substantially upgraded during the seventeenth century. Andrew Gray, Lord Gray converted this element of the castle into a four storey, rectangular plan Tower House with a round stair turret. This work has generally been attributed to 1640 based on an engraved stone that was seemingly recycled and used in a much later building.

 

Despite the substantial rebuilding of the castle, the Gray family sold the site in 1667 to Sir William Murray of Ochtertyre who occupied it until the eighteenth century. However, around 1780 they shifted their main residence to Ochtertyre House leaving the castle abandoned until Sir Patrick Keith Murray extensively renovated and updated it in the mid-nineteenth century (another carved stone gives the date as 1862) to support farm workers on the adjacent estates. Later a modern extension was added to the north side of the Tower House whilst the cone shaped roof is also modern and unlikely to have represented the original design. Today the castle is a private residence with no public access.

 

 

Bibliography

 

Brennan-Inglis, J (2014). Scotland's Castles: Rescued, Rebuilt and Reoccupied. The History Press, Stroud.

Coventry, M (2008). Castles of the Clans: the strongholds and seats of 750 Scottish families and clans. Musselburgh.

Cruden, S (1960). The Scottish Castle. Edinburgh.

MacGibbon, D and Ross, T (1892). The castellated and domestic architecture of Scotland from the twelfth to the eighteenth centuries. Edinburgh.

Reid, S (2006). Castles and Tower Houses of the Scottish Clans 1450-1650. Osprey, Oxford.

Simpson, W.D (1959). Scottish Castles - An introduction to the Castles of Scotland. HM Stationery Office, Edinburgh.

Tabraham, C (2000). Scottish Castles and Fortifications. Historic Scotland, Haddington.

Tranter, N (1962). The fortified house in Scotland. Edinburgh.

What's There?

Fowlis Easter Castle is a heavily modified T-plan Tower House (originally rectangular) built on top of earlier foundations. The castle is a private residence with no public access.

Fowlis Easter Castle. The T-plan Tower House can be seen from the main road but its a private residence and accordingly there is no public access.

Fowlis Easter. The village was once a substantial medieval settlement. The 'Easter' in the title is derived from "Eastern", i.e. it is east of Perth. There is another settlement known as Fowlis Wester on the other side of that city.

View of the River Tay from Fowlis Easter Castle.

Getting There

Fowlis Easter Castle is located on Smiddy Brae near the junction with the main road to/from Fowlis (accessed from the A90). The castle is not open to the public and is not sign-posted but is clearly visible as you approach from the south. On-road parking possible.

Fowlis-Easter Castle

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