Old Lochore Castle (site of)
The original Lochore Castle, and predecessor of Lochore Castle, may have been on this site however the history isn’t clear. I have named it Old Lochore Castle to distinguish it from the other Lochore (also known as Inchgall Castle).
The first owner of the lands of what was known as Lochoreshire was Robert de Burguinn or Bourguignon in the first quarter of the 12th century. It’s likely that he was a French knight and received a grant of the lands from either Alexander I or perhaps David I. He witnessed several charters during the reign of David I (1124 to 1153). Robert was succeeded by his son who, as Constantine of Lochore, was the first of the family to use the designation “of Lochore”. Constantine was also the name of the McDuff Earl of Fife during this period and it has been speculated that Robert had married a local heiress, perhaps a sister or daughter of the Earl.
At that time the extent of Loch Ore was much greater and this site would have been closer to the north shore of the loch. It was thought for a long time to be the remains of a Roman camp, and Alexander Gordon described it in 1726 as consisting of an enclosure measuring 616 metres in circumference, and “on the West Side of it, three Rows of Ditches, and as many Ramparts of Stone and Earth, and on the Side towards the Loch, is a round Turret”. An entrance and causeway through the ditches were identified on the east side. Gordon stated that it was around 400m from Sir John Malcolm’s house, presumably Lochore House.
In 1757 William Maitland described it as around 230 metres long by around 70 metres wide. By 1789 Sir Michael Malcolm, 3rd Bt., had sold the estate to Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Park who in 1792 drained the loch, at a cost of almost £1000, so that he would have more grazing land for his cattle. Cuttings were made through this site which revealed “several antiquities” including a spearhead.
According to a Lieutenant Colonel Miller, writing in 1857, the ditches were levelled during the building of Chapel Farm in 1817, and “the burnt ends of the pallisades were found” which may suggest that old Lochore Castle was built from wood, or at least surrounded by a timber stockade. In 1925 traces of the ditches were still visible as cropmarks and slight depressions in the ground however later mine works and land redevelopments have obliterated any traces.
It is now generally thought that the site wasn’t Roman but was in fact a medieval moated site, which would fit with it possibly being a castle from the Norman (early medieval) period. Whether this was a Lochore Castle‘s predecessor or the two co-existed, perhaps owned by different branches of the family, is not clear.
A David de Lochor was Chamberlain in 1294 or 1295 and he is said to have been the last of the main line of the Lochore family having two daughters who were his co-heiresses (for a full history please see the Lochore Castle page). The barony of Lochoreshire was split into the baronies of East Lochoreshire or simply Lochoreshire, annexed to the barony of East Wemyss, and of Westerlochorshire or Inchgall.
The younger daughter, Agnes, married Sir Michael Wemyss of Wemyss and the eastern half of the barony went to them. The elder daughter married Adam de Valognes or de Valloniis and they received the western part of the barony along with the castle. John de Valognes was sheriff of Fife in 1292 and 1296 although I haven’t been able to establish his relationship with Adam.
Adam de Valognes is said to have set about building a new castle on a possible crannog in the loch and it is suggested that he may have lived for a short time at the old Lochore Castle which was “becoming obsolete”. However it is also possible that the work at the new castle, which was completed around 1308, was a remodelling or replacement of an older castle.
The new castle was known as the Castle of Inchgall and Adam was the first to take the designation “of Inchgall”, and the old castle may have fallen out of use at this time. Later the Chapel of Inchgall was built within the earthworks and dedicated to St Andrew.
It is first mentioned 1511 when the patronage of the chapel was granted to Sir Henry Wardlaw by James IV and was probably built to serve the lords of Lochore some time before this. The barony was later sold to John Malcolm of Balbedie, Chamberlain of Fife, in 1656 who was responsible for changing many of the names on the estate from Inchgall to Lochore which has confused matter slightly. A full history of the estate’s later ownership can be found on the Lochore Castle page.
Nothing now remains of the old castle, the chapel or the farm and the site is located in the middle of a field.
Alternative names for Old Lochore Castle
Chapel Farm; Lochore Castle