Importance of Site
A site included in the Inventory is assessed for its condition and integrity and for its level of importance. The criteria used are set out in Annex 5 of the Scottish Historic Environment Policy (December 2011). The principles are represented by the following value-based criteria and we have assigned a value for each on a scale ranging from outstanding value to no value. Criteria not applicable to a particular site have been omitted. All sites included in the Inventory are considered to be of national importance.
Work of Art
The park and woodlands are extremely attractive today and the rock garden was thought to have been outstanding in the past but the overall condition has since declined.
There is some documentary evidence of the history of the landscape and physical evidence of the early landscape in the structure of the woodlands and the remaining shelter strips in the parkland. It has associations with the 8th Marquess of Queensberry who drew up the standard Rules of Boxing in 1867.
Horticultural, Arboricultural, Silvicultural
There is little Horticultural value, as the value of the collection of plants in the rock garden has been lost.
The house is listed category A and the landscape has thus outstanding Architectural value.
The woodlands make a significant contribution to the surrounding landscape.
The ancient woodlands and their associated ground flora are of high Nature Conservation value.
- Not Assessed
Location and Setting
Kinmount House stands some 2 miles (3.5km) inland from the Solway Firth and about 3.5 miles (6km) west of the town of Annan. The policies today lie between the A75(T) road in the north and the B724 to the south. The surrounding landscape is largely agricultural, although the estate's limestone quarry features prominently in the landscape of the north-eastern boundary. The house stands on a high point of the largely flat coastal plain. The woodlands associated with the designed landscape feature strongly in views from within the site looking out across the Solway Firth, and also make a significant contribution to the surrounding landscape.
The house stands just north of the centre of the site, surrounded to the north, west and east by woodland, and to the south by parkland. The woodland to the north of the site has been dissected by the A75(T). The northernmost section, Kelhead Moss and Flow Woods, are not now considered as part of the policies.
Reference to General Roy's map of c.1750 suggests a landscape more densely wooded to the south of the house than today, with avenues radiating from it. The landscape was remodelled following the construction of the present house in 1815 and the structure today is similar to that shown on the 1st edition OS map of c.1850. The designed landscape extends over some 823 acres (333 ha) today.
The estate is thought to have been granted to the Carlysle family in the early 13th century but the first known owner was Sir William Douglas who acquired the estate in 1633, the year in which he was created 1st Earl of Queensberry. Some of the original oaks planted by him remain today.
The title of Duke of Queensberry was conferred on the 3rd Earl in 1683. The 4th Duke acquired the estate in 1778 and between then and his death, in 1810, extensive planting was carried out. He was succeeded, in the absence of a direct heir, by Sir Charles Douglas, 4th Duke of Buccleuch, who became the 6th Marquess of Queensberry. He commissioned a new house by Smirke and planted around the house and in the parks. It was the 8th Marquess who devised the Queensberry Rules of Boxing in 1867. In 1896 he sold Kinmount to the proprietor of the adjacent Hoddam Castle Estate, Edward Brook, who extended the house to the present form, created the fish pond to the north of the house and established the woodland garden. In both the 1914-19 and 1939-45 wars, the house was used as a hospital. The house and 13 acres of garden were then bought by Mr Ivor Pogorelich in 1983. The house was not occupied and, in 1985, was sold again to K. Richardson. The remainder of the estate has been held in Captain Brook's family Trusts.
The present house, listed category A, is a three-storey mansion built in 1815 to designs by Robert Smirke with additions c.1900. The garden walls, urns and balustrades around the house, date from this later period. The stables, listed B, stand near the site of the former house burnt down in the late 18th century and which is now the cricket pitch. The stables were recently renovated to form a residence for Mrs Birkbeck, daughter of the late Captain E.W. Brook.
The East Lodge, listed C, stands at the entrance from the A75(T) and dates from the 1815 period. The North Lodge is baronial in style and was probably built c.1900. The Keepers Lodge and outbuildings stand at the entrance to an earlier drive which is no longer used and are listed C, dating from c.1815. The gateposts and walls at the entrance drives are listed C, the walls having been moved from the arboretum entrance at Hoddam Castle Estate in 1946.
The Douglas Monument stands on the parkland edge of Hollybush Wood. The Bathing House forms an eyecatching feature in the view across the loch on the parkland. It was brought by Edward Brook from Hoddam. Statues and sundials from the formal garden were disposed of in the sale of 1982.
The parkland extends to the south of the house, separated from the formal gardens by a ha-ha. There is also a smaller area of parkland by the east lodge.
The parkland was laid out c.1815 following the construction of the present house. The trees, mainly beech, date from this time. The older trees are remnants of the shelter strips which existed in 1750, as shown on General Roy's map. The loch, in its present form, was probably created c.1820, although reference to General Roy's map indicates the existence of a water body in a similar area of the site.
Gooley Hill, on the southern tip of the loch is the ancient burial ground of the Queensberry's. It was planted with mainly coniferous species in the mid- 19th century and forms a feature within the parkland. The parks are grazed with both cattle and horses.
The site is bounded by woodland on four sides. Kelhead Wood, Hollybush Wood and Quarry Park Wood are broadleaved ancient woodlands, predominantly of mature oak interplanted with beech and other deciduous trees. The oldest trees date from c.1630 with replanting c.1780-1800. They are well planted and spaced with rich ground flora. In some areas, the trees date from the early 19th century. Ornamental conifers were planted on the main drive c.1900.
The woodlands to the south of the site, Mackwhinny Park, Hannah Park, Beetylands Park, Laverockhaa Plantation and Backkerr Plantation were first planted between 1750 and 1850, probably by the 4th Duke. These woods are now largely coniferous, planted post-war, but they retain their deciduous edges.
A formal approach to the house is provided by sweeping lawns. The formal gardens are described in the 1896 sale catalogue but were remodelled c.1910 by Edward Brook. They extend to the south and west of the house and are separated from the parkland by a ha-ha wall. Their layout is shown clearly in an aerial photograph of c.1970. To the east of the house, three compartments are formed by evergreen and golden yew hedging: the first is a series of square parterres, the second a circular parterre, and both were designed to give slot views of the park beyond. The third compartment is a yew walk; the statue at the close of the vista was lost in the sale of 1982.
A wide herbaceous border lies along the south-west face of the house. The formal garden terminates at the west end of the house with a row of fastigiate yews, planted c.1900 to hide the paddock beyond.
The kitchen garden lies within the northern policy boundary and the eastern side of the north drive. It was built c.1815 on a south-facing slope, walled on the north and east sides only. The offices, glasshouses and frames were built c.1910-20. The old vines were taken out for tomato growing during World War II and were replanted in 1950. Between 1980-84, the area was leased as a market garden. It is presently used for commercial raspberry growing and some vegetables for the Stables House. Half the garden is due to be put down to root crops for fodder.