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
Although the designers are unrecorded, the layout of the parklands and gardens gives Raehills high value as a Work of Art.
The early documentation of the estate's development and its associations with the Earls of Hopetoun and Annandale give it outstanding Historical value.
Horticultural, Arboricultural, Silvicultural
The fine parkland trees and conifer collection give Raehills some Horticultural value.
The unusual architectural features at Raehills are together of exceptional interest and give it outstanding Architectural value.
The designed landscape at Raehills provides an outstanding contribution to the surrounding scenery.
The extensive area of relatively undisturbed riverside and older woodland habitats provides Raehills with high Nature Conservation value.
- Not Assessed
Location and Setting
Raehills lies to the east of the Forest of Ae at St Ann's, 8 miles (13km) south of Moffat and 13 miles (21km) north of Dumfries. The A701(T) runs through the eastern half of the policies which are bounded by the policy woodlands and the higher ground of Mollin Moor to the west. The Duff Kinnel is one of several tributaries which flow through the policies to join the Kinnel Water which flows north/south through the designed landscape just to the east of the house. The river has cut its way down through the steeply inclined beds of rock, forming an attractive gorge to the south of the house. There are extensive views eastwards from the higher ground in the policies, and the parklands and woodlands are important in the views from the main A701(T).
Raehills is set amid an extensive designed landscape which was originally laid out in the late 18th century. Documentary evidence of the development of the landscape is provided by a series of estate maps, in particular the 1791 'Plan of the farms of Raehill, Crunziertoun and Mollens', and the 1793 'Plan of the House, Offices and Policy of Raehills' by Joseph Udny which show that, in the intervening two years, a mansion house had been built at Raehills, much of the marshy land had been drained, the parkland had been laid out as far south as Crunziertoun and planting of the policy woodlands had begun. By 1860, the 1st edition OS map shows that the area of woodlands had been extended and the parkland extended southwards; the kitchen garden had been laid out, the ponds joined and woodland walks and rides laid out through the policies and along the Kinnel Water to Lunny's Lodge and Heartfield Tower in the south. The layout of the designed landscape has remained similar but has been slightly reduced in extent and today contains some 544 acres (220ha).
The designed landscape was laid out c.1792 as shown on a plan by Joseph Udny of 1793.
The lands of Raehills and Crunziertoun belonged in the early 18th century to the 1st Marquess of Annandale. He resided at Lochwood Castle some 3.5 miles to the north- east of Raehills up to approximately 1720 when the old castle was abandoned and the family moved to Newbie Castle near Annan. He was succeeded in 1720 by the 2nd Marquess. His sister, Henrietta, married Charles Hope, the 1st Earl of Hopetoun, whose son, John, later 2nd Earl of Hopetoun, acted as Curator for his uncle, the 3rd Marquess, after 1747. He commissioned John Adam to build a new town house in Moffat in 1751 so that he could have a place to stay whilst supervising the Annandale Estates. The 2nd Earl of Hopetoun died in 1781 and was succeeded by his son James, as 3rd Earl of Hopetoun. James also succeeded as 5th Earl of Annandale and Hartfell in 1792 after the death of his great-uncle, and he took the additional surname of Hope Johnstone, which he was obliged to do under the Charter of 1662.
It was James who carried out the improvements to the Raehills estate and who commissioned Alexander Stevens to build him a new mansion house at Raehills. This impressive four-tiered design is said to have been based on an Italian villa seen by the 5th Earl while on his Grand Tour. The 5th Earl died in 1816 and was succeeded by his daughter Anne, as 6th Countess. The gardens at this time were recorded as extensive and beautiful, with walks laid out with taste. Anne married Captain William Hope, later Admiral Sir William Johnstone-Hope. Their son, John James Hope Johnstone, commissioned William Burn to carry out the extensive additions to the entrance front in c.1830. He was succeeded by his grandson, also John James, who carried out much of the ornamental planting of specimen trees and rhododendrons in the 1870s. In the mid-1880s, the estate was recorded as extending in excess of 80,000 acres (33,000ha). He was succeeded by his nephew in 1912. The estate has been well maintained since then and no major structural changes have been implemented. The present owner, Patrick, 11th Earl of Annandale and Hartfell, succeeded his father in 1983 and his claim to the Earldom was admitted in 1985.
Raehills is a mansion of three storeys and basement, designed c.1786-1792 by Alexander Stevens. Additions were proposed by Stevens in 1809 but eventually built to the designs of William Burn in 1829-34. It has an impressive colonnaded south front and is listed A. The two-section walled garden with its unusual circular turrets and bothies is listed B.
The Home Farm is composed of a single-storey cottage, listed B. The unusual, three- ended bridge built in the later 19th century across the Kinnel Water at Wallace's Loup, has a centre column surmounted by a pagoda, once thatched. It is listed B.
The parklands at Raehills are attractively laid out on the lower-lying land in the river valleys on either side of the A701(T). They were planted with both clumps and individual parkland trees of oak, lime, elm and beech, and the trees date from 1790 and c.1840. Gillen Moor Park and the park just to the south of the mansion house retain the most individual park trees. The parklands are grazed and provide a most attractive landscape feature along the A701(T). The mansion house is set on two bold grass terraces overlooking the loch, created from several ponds which predated the layout of the designed landscape. They were recorded as being stocked with fish in 1768. The main entrance drive is from the lodge at St Ann's Bridge although several other drives were laid out through the policies including the one from the south 'Pleasure Gates'.
The majority of the woodland plantations were planted from 1791 with mixed deciduous species. Further planting was undertaken in the 1830s and the plantations were thickened and strengthened to form the layout shown on the 1st edition map of 1860. Some replanting took place from c.1870 when conifers were introduced and the woodlands have continued to be managed on a commercial basis and also for game cover and amenity purposes. The estate was badly affected by gales in 1968 and 1971 and replanting has been undertaken since then with Sitka spruce, Douglas fir, larch, rowan and beech. There are some fine old oak, elm and beech in the policy woodlands.
Formal rose gardens were once planted round the house. An area of rose garden remains to the east of the house but the large terraces are currently being planted in a less formal plan, with Rhododendrons and Azaleas. The grassed, terrace bank extends down to the loch below.
The walled garden is an unusual lozenge shape and is shown on the 1st edition OS map of 1860 divided into two horseshoe-shaped walled compartments, separated by a service area, with turretted walls. The northern compartment has recently been ploughed and part of the walls have gone. The southern compartment is still maintained as a kitchen garden; new glasshouses have been constructed and the walls still support a range of fruit trees.