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Pitreavie Castle - History and Legend

Andrew Nelson

The Pitreavie Estate

Early records reveal that in the 14th century, the Pitreavie (or Pittrevie) estate was owned by Lady Christina Bruce, sister of King Robert the Bruce; by the beginning of the 17th century, the lands were owned by the Kello or Kellock family from whom Sir Henry Wardlaw bought them In 1608 for "10,000 merks Scottish". Two years earlier, Henry had begun to extend his land holdings by adding the Pitbauchlie estate to the family lands at Balmulie at the cost of 7,600 merks. In l611 he acquired 25% of the lands of Maistertoun (now Masterton) "in return for a sum of money".
Throughout the 17th century, the family continued to add land to the estate until, by 1698, It comprised the lands of Prymrose (now Primrose), St Margaret's Stone, Easter and Wester Pittreavie, Pitbauchlie and Maistertoun. It was at Masterton in 1675 that Sir Henry Wardlaw "founded and built a hospital [almshouse] ... In favour of four widows ... women of honest fame, relics of honest men, who live on the lands of Pitreavie, or other land belonging to him and his successors. ... Each is to have a chamber or house, and six bolls of meal yearly or six bolls of oats and three bolls of bear (a form of barley, known to the Phoenicians and still grown in parts of Scotland), at the option of the patrons." The Masterton lands were burdened with the upkeep of the hospital.
Masterton, now reduced to the home farm and one or two other houses, was a thriving little hamlet up to the middle of the present century, home to some 70 - 80 people, estate workers and their families. There was a shop and even a church, the gift of Miss Maddox Blackwood of Pitreavie Castle.
By the early years of the present century, estate buildings were beginning to give way to the pressures of 20th century society; the Pitreavie Lodge and entrance gates were purchased for £750 and demolished to make way for the new tramway; in a similar fashion the Pitreavie Cottages were demolished to make way for the new Rosyth Halt roundabout.