West Wemyss Castle is a ruined 16th century tower house, standing on the shore below high red sandstone cliffs, at the south-west extremity of the policies of Wemyss Castle.
Almost certainly built by the Wemyss family, it seems to have been associated in some way with a chapel and burial ground here. No evidence remains of the chapel in what is now known as the Chapel Garden, however above a pointed archway in the east wall of the burial enclosure is a pediment inscribed with “E D W 1776”, for David Wemyss, Lord Elcho and the 6th Earl of Wemyss.
The castle, sometimes referred to as Old Wemyss Castle (although Wemyss Castle itself is older), is rectangular in plan, with a round stair tower projecting from the south wall, and the remains of a small square tower at the south-west corner.
Originally consisting of four storeys topped off with a garret, the ground floor is vaulted and housed a kitchen at the eastern end. This floor is now partly below ground level, although the top of the vaulting is visible.
The head of the stair tower is corbelled-out to support a rectangular caphouse.
In front of the castle is a long 16th century wall with three circular towers. The one at the north-east corner of the wall is the largest, and at one time was used as a dovecot, although that may not have been its original purpose.
The tower in the centre of the wall appears to have been a bastion, being open at the rear, while the tower at the south-west corner is more slender in shape than the other two. The wall linking the three towers is topped off with decorative rounded arches, almost certainly a later addition.
Extensive redevelopments of the nearby Wemyss Castle were carried out in the 17th and 19th centuries, and it is likely that West Wemyss Castle fell out of use due to this.
Alternative names for West Wemyss Castle
Chapel Gardens House; Old Wemyss Castle; Weemis Chappell