Ravenscraig Castle on Flickr.
The construction of Ravenscraig Castle by the mason Henry Merlion and the master carpenter Friar Andres Lesouris was ordered by King James II (reigned 1437-1460) as a home for his wife, Mary of Guelders. The castle is considered one of the first - perhaps the very first - in Scotland to be built to withstand cannon fire and provide for artillery defence. The king was involved with the planning but, ironically, was killed in a tragic accident with a loaded cannon at the Siege of Roxburgh Castle near Floors Castle in the Scottish Borders. The castle was eventually started around 1460 by his wife, Mary of Guelders, as a memorial to him and as a dower house. Mary of Guelders lived in the castle until her death in 1463, when only the east tower and the basement of the central section were built. Ownership passed to her son James III (reigned 1460-1488) but in 1471 he gave the castle to William Sinclair, Earl of Orkney and Caithness in exchange for the Earldom of Orkneyand associated lands which James annexed from Norway to the Scottish Crown. After 1471 Ravenscraig was finally completed by the Sinclairs, who also had an interest in artillery fortifications.
During the 1650-51 invasion of Scotland by English forces under Oliver Cromwell, Ravenscraig was invaded, attacked and damaged. The castle remained in the ownership of the Sinclairs, who built nearby Dysart House (1755-1756) on the estate, and later passed to the Sinclair-Erskines, Earls of Rosslyn. The estate and castle remained in the family until sold in 1896, by the 5th Earl, to linoleum magnate Sir Michael Nairn.
The castle was used as an ammunition depot during the First World War. In 1929, 85 acres (34 ha) of the estate, including the castle, was given to the town of Kirkcaldy as a public park. Ravenscraig Castle was passed into state care in 1955 and has been open to the public by the owners Historic Scotland since 1971. It is now managed by Historic Scotland, and is protected as a Scheduled Ancient Monument, and a category A listed building.