Location and Setting
The Guynd is situated on the edge of the Kelly Moor, approximately 5 miles (8km) to the west of the town of Arbroath and 9.5 miles (15km) north-east of Dundee. The B9127 forms the northern boundary of the site. The surrounding landscape is agricultural with some forestry to the south-west on the Panmure Estate. The low- lying nature of the landscape restricts views from the site but sight of the North Sea can be gained from the top of the house. The Elliot Water and two of its tributaries flow through the policies of The Guynd in valleys which provide variation to the otherwise flat natural landscape. The surrounding woodlands and policy wall along the B9127 are of some significance in the local scenery. They serve to restrict views to the designed landscape within.
The house at The Guynd is situated within some 373 acres (153ha) of designed landscape which extends from the B9127 in the north, to the woodland along Hunters Path in the south, to Blackden in the east and the woodland to the west.
Documentary evidence of the development of the designed landscape is provided by General Roy's map of c.1750, an improvement plan of 1775 by James Abercrombie, an improvement plan of 1799 by Thomas White, the 1st edition OS map of c.1860 and the 2nd edition of c.1900. Comparison of this evidence confirms that the designed landscape was laid out between 1750-1860. The Abercrombie plan was not adopted. The White plan has not been seen in the course of the research for this report.
The designed landscape was laid out in the early 19th century although it would appear that the work had been planned for some time before, according to the presence of an improvement plan by James Abercrombie of 1775. Thomas White also prepared proposals in 1799. Neither of these plans appears to have been carried out in total.
The Ouchterlony family are known to have owned the lands at The Guynd since 1612 when they moved from their previous home at Kellie Castle. There has, however, been a settlement on the site for centuries before then: a Roman Camp was sited between Harbour Den and Blackden, to the east of the present house.
The Ouchterlonys built a mansion house on the site adjacent to the walled garden soon after their acquisition. Ann Ouchterlony (born 1743) appears to have been particularly enthusiastic about improving the estate. She kept records of the 18th century developments which are now housed in the Scottish Records Office. James Abercrombie Jnr was commissioned to prepare an improvement plan in 1775 and a scheme for a new house was prepared by John Paterson in 1799 in association with an improvement plan by Thomas White. It was not, however, until 1817 that John Ouchterlony finally built the present house, the architect for which is unknown. It would appear that the present designed landscape was laid out after this time. Additions were made to the landscape in later years of the 19th century, for example the Gazebo in 1853. Comparison of the 1st & 2nd edition OS maps shows that there was little change to the structure of the landscape in the second half of the 19th century.
During World War II, the house was requisitioned by the Admiralty when the estate inevitably became neglected although the walled garden was maintained. The family only regained possession of the house in 1955. Improvement works began but were set back by the death of Commander Ouchterlony in 1971. His son, the present owner, has begun the latest phase of improvements, primarily to the house. He hopes, in time, to extend these improvements throughout the policies.
Guynd House, listed category B, is a medium-sized classical mansion built c.1817. Unsigned documents relating to the construction of the house are held at the Scottish Record Office but these fail to confirm the identity of the architect. Much of the detail on the house which is shown on the drawings was omitted from the construction. Also omitted was a northern range of coach- house, stable, wash-house, hen-house and offices enclosing a back court around the north elevation of the house. The Dower House, listed category B, is situated by the walled garden to the south of the mansion house. The lintel in the garden wall is dated 1664. The house was remodelled in the cottage ornee style following the construction of the new house.
The Temple, listed B, is dated 1853 and is situated one mile away in the Harbour Den to the east of the house. The Lodge stands at the entrance to the west drive. The Boathouse stands on the southern edge of the loch.
The house at The Guynd is centrally situated amid attractive parkland which is enclosed by woodland on the north, south and west sides. Three driveways converge on the house from the west and east entrances from the Home Farm which lies north of the house, beyond the woodland. A laurel hedge, planted prior to World War II, separates the south front of the house from the park. Parkland trees, which include specimens of oak, beech and sycamore date from c.1820 with later additions dating from c.1890. The parkland is grazed by cattle.
The woodland forms the dominant component of the policies. The layout of the woods on plan remains consistent with that shown on the 1st edition OS map although two fields within the woods to the east of the east drive were planted up in the 1930s & 40s and in recent years an area of parkland between the Guynd Den and the east drive has also been planted up.
The original planting was predominantly beech and a number of trees remain of that species which dates from c.1820 and c.1860 in the Harbour Den, Guynd Den and around the walled garden. The other woodlands are predominantly coniferous planted between 1930-60 although a hardwood edge has been retained around the perimeter of the parkland. Approximately 1,800 trees were lost in the gales of 1953. Ornamental planting of shrubs includes Bamboo species, and other woodland plants such as Meconopsis have been established.
There are attractive woodland walks along Harbour Den and Blackden which incorporate the features such as the Temple and St John's Well.
The loch is situated to the north-west of the house and is surrounded by ornamental woodland varieties established in the late 19th century, including Monkey puzzle and yew. The loch itself has become extensively silted up and Rhododendron ponticum, alder (Alnus glutinosa) and other invasive species have become established on the banks which are steadily encroaching further towards the islands in the centre of the loch. An area of woodland between the west drive and the loch had been cleared by c.1900, probably to open up a view to the water and remains today as lawn. Records of the 19th century planting were kept by Miss Ann Mill, the aunt of John Ouchterlony who built the house in 1817, but these have since been lost.
The walled garden is situated to the south of the house between the park and the Elliot Water. It was built in 1665, as the garden of the previous house. The 1st edition OS map of c.1860 shows the internal layout of the garden to be conventional, with intersecting paths dividing the garden into quarters. In the early 1900s it had ornamental features such as a rose and clematis trellis walk down the centre and topiary yew hedges. In the 1920s, alpine and rock garden plants were collected and grown in it, some brought from British Columbia. The garden was maintained during the war until the death of the gardener. It lay neglected until 1955 when the parents of the present owner restored it to a market garden. Like many other market gardens, this venture failed and the garden has since been planted with Christmas trees. The glasshouses remain.