A history of Aberdour Castle, featured in Outlander as Sainte Anne de Beaurpe monastery


18 December 2017
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Aberdour Castle in Fife is one of Scotland’s two oldest dateable castles (alongside Castle Sween in Argyll) with part of the building dating back to the 12th century.
A history of Aberdour Castle, featured in Outlander as Sainte Anne de Beaurpe monastery Images

Aberdour Castle in Fife is one of Scotland’s two oldest dateable castles (alongside Castle Sween in Argyll) with part of the building dating back to the 12th century. Read History Scotland’s exclusive unofficial Outlander history guide.

The castle was originally a two-storey hall house, whose remains are still visible within the castle complex today. The building is believed to date from the early to mid 12th century and over the centuries has been the home of families including the Mortimers, Randolphs and Douglases.

Aberdour Castle has been altered many times over the centuries, as it evolved to suit various families, and additional buildings were added to the original hall house, to make the castle bigger and more suitable for domestic life. Of particular note is the east range, which was built by William Douglas, the 8th Earl of Morton in the 17th century.

There’s plenty to explore outside the castle building too, with an unusual beehive-shaped doocot built in the 16th century, with space for 600 doves, as well as extensive gardens, including a walled section.

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In the time-travel TV series Outlander, Aberdour Castle’s Old Kitchen and Long Gallery were the film locations when the castle doubled as Sainte Anne de Beaurpe monastery, the French location to which Jamie fled after his imprisonment.

Aberdour Castle is cared for by Historic Environment Scotland.

Aberdour Castle, Aberdour, Fife KY3 0SL; website.

Castle © Andy Hawkins; doocot © Kim Traynor