The first thing that strikes you about Culross Palace is its colour. Rich mustard yellow walls beneath an orange pantiled roof glow with warmth even on overcast days, making you wonder if you’ve have strayed down to the Mediterranean instead of crossing the Forth Bridge into Fife.
In the late 16th century, this covering of ‘king’s gold’ – limewash mixed with yellow ochre – would have spoken clearly of status and wealth.
In particular, it spoke of the wealth of Sir George Bruce, a landowner who struck on an ingenious way of extracting coal from under the sea bed: his Moat Pit, sunk in 1575 from an artificial island in the estuary, was the first of its kind, “using both water power… and a horse-gin to enable bucket and chain systems to drain the mine… It also provided perhaps the first example in Britain of the direct shipping of coal…
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