Kellie Lodging, 23 High Street, Pittenweem, Fife

a reappraisal of its origins and history

R Anthony Lodge (Author)

Town-houses, Burgage plots, Projecting stair-towers, Burgesses, Social solidarity and conflict
23 High Street, Pittenweem, Fife, Scotland, UK
Late 16th Century


The widely held view that Kellie Lodging (23 High Street, Pittenweem) was built as a townhouse for the Earls of Kellie cannot be correct. The stability of burgage plots in this part of the street shows a reliable match with 16th-century archival data, allowing identification of the occupants of the house at the time it was built (c 1585). Drawings made by Reverend John Sime in 1829 reveal a close historical association between this house and its neighbour at 19–21 High Street, demolished soon after his survey. The occupants of both houses were burgesses, living at a time of acute tension in the town between members of the laird class and the merchants. The siting of the houses at the head of Water Wynd, leading directly to the mid shore, reflects a shift in the town’s focus from the defunct religious area in the Augustinian priory towards a trade-oriented zone around the harbour. Kellie Lodging was the first in the street to have a projecting stair-tower, built not just for display but also for protection in dangerous times. It was quickly followed (1590) by the building of 19–21 with its own stair-tower directly abutting that of Kellie Lodging. Sime’s side-by-side plans of the two houses show the simple L-plan house of Kellie Lodging to be a less ambitious structure than 19–21, which had space to incorporate an inner courtyard to the rear. The street frontage symmetry of the two gables, with an unusual abutment of projecting stair-towers, can be read as a display of solidarity and resolution, as the merchants emerged as the dominant force in the burgh. Canmore ID 34283


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How to Cite
Lodge, R. (2021). Kellie Lodging, 23 High Street, Pittenweem, Fife. Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 150, 63-79.