Early 19th century. 2-storey, 3-bay gardener's house incorporated into N wall of wedge shaped walled garden and with adjacent, later, large square-plan walled garden to E.
HOUSE: 2-storey, 3-bay, near symmetrical former gardener's house with advanced central Doric porch to N. Stugged, coursed sandstone with polished ashlar dressings. Base course; raised margins and cills; cornice. W elevation with 2-bay gable and 3 blocked openings.
ENTRANCE ELEVATION TO N: central, advanced, flat-roofed Doric orch. Corniced window opening to left; 2-light canted bay window to right. Single-storey, rubble section to far left with pair of window openings and arched ashlar opening.
REAR ELEVATION TO S: incorporated into N wall of walled garden. Brick with ashlar margins. 3 windows with ashlar margins to upper storey, above garden wall. Later brick single-storey conservatory.
INTERIOR: (partially seen, 2011). Original room plan largely extant. Curved stair with slender decorative iron balusters and fire-damaged banister.
Predominantly non-traditional replacement windows with lying'pane glazing pattern. Pitched roof with grey slates. Corniced gable stacks.
WALLED GARDEN TO S: (NS 37860 60439). Wedge shaped walled garden with coped rubble outer walls and brick to inner walls. Wall to W, stepped down at S with curved coping.
WALLED GARDEN TO E: (NS 37929 60446). John Hay, circa 1814. Large, near square-plan former walled garden on sloping site, subdivided into 3 sections and with long internal wall running E to W. Rubble, squared stone, ashlar and brick with slab coping; some sections with cornice and blocking course. Angle buttresses to S corners. Internal dividing wall with remains of 4 brick full-height furnace sheds to N elevation. Remains of former garden buildings to S wall.
Statement of Special Interest
This gardener's house and the accompanying pair of walled gardens are fine and interesting examples of these types of estate buildings. The house is well detailed, particularly to the front elevation and its incorporation into the walled garden to the rear is and interesting feature. The later walled garden is notable for its large size and the remains of the furnace sheds to the internal wall. This later walled garden was extended and developed by John Hay, circa 1821.
The house and the walled gardens were once part of the Castle Semple Estate. The gardens of the estate are described in the New Statistical Account of 1834 as 'one of the best features of the landscape' and goes on to note that they 'contain two large enclosures, surrounded and subdivided by high walls''.Along the cross walls in the centre there is a great extent of glass-house.' The large furnaces on the north side of the wall within the walled garden, would have been used for storing fuel and protecting the fireplaces which would have been used to heat the South facing wall to allow fruit trees to grow. High walls were required for fan-training the trees and other internal walls would have provided more growing space.
Castle Semple Estate has a long history, originally associated with the Semple family who built the first Castle Semple and the collegiate church (currently a scheduled monument) around 1504. In 1727, the Semples sold the estate to a sugar plantation owner, William McDowell. McDowell began a range of land improvements to the estate, which form the basis of the current estate, including building a new Castle Semple House and landscaping the grounds. The 2nd William MacDowell continued the improvements to the estate including erecting a Temple at the deer park in Kenmuir Hill (see separate listing) and he may have been responsible for the erection of the house and the initial walled garden. The Estate Map of circa 1785 depict a house and walled garden at this site. The Estate was sold in 1814 to a Major John Harvey who continued to improve the landscape, including the later walled garden. The family finances declined during the course of the 19th century and the estate was sold in 1908. After this, the house was converted to apartments and the land broken up into small holdings. The central section of the estate is currently a Regional Park.
List description updated, 2012. Walled garden to East previously listed with cascades and cave.
Castle Semple Estate Plan, (circa 1785), Renfrewshire Council. Design of a New Vegetable, fruit and Flower Garden at Castle Semple, John Hay 1821, NAS RHP 5342. 1st Edition Ordnance Survey Map, (1863). The New Statistical Account of Scotland, (1834-45), Vol 7 p77. F A Walker, The South Clyde Estuary, (1986) pf69. Susan Campbell, Walled Kitchen Gardens, (1998). The SCRANI Partnership, Conservation Statement and Management Proposals, prepared for Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park, 2008. Stuart Nisbet, Castle Semple Rediscovered, (2009). Other information from owner.
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Printed: 19/01/2019 00:05