Listed Building

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site only. All other information in the record is not statutory.

ADEN COUNTRY PARK, ABERDEENSHIRE FARMING MUSEUM FORMERLY ADEN HOUSE STABLESLB16096

Status: Designated

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Summary

Category
A
Group Category Details
100000020 - See Notes
Date Added
02/07/1976
Supplementary Information Updated
04/07/2007
Local Authority
Aberdeenshire
Planning Authority
Aberdeenshire
Parish
Old Deer
NGR
NJ 98131 47956
Coordinates
398131, 847956

Description

Circa 1800; coachman's house added 1830s, probably by John Smith; 1976-80 restored by McAdam Design Partnership, with Bain of Mintlaw, builders, now converted to museum. Exceptional 2-storey, semicircular-plan, steading at heart of Aden estate, with central 4-stage tower dovecot and dwellings retaining some interior detailing; circular court with 2-storey, 5-bay, rectangular-plan coachman's house converted to display centre and offices; and small single storey laundry and byre converted to shop and office. Steading harled with segmental-headed cart arches; coachman's house coursed granite rubble with squared rubble margins and lintels, band course and voussoired segmental cart arch.

SEMICIRCULAR RANGE: symmetrical principal elevation to S (fronting courtyard) comprising 2-storey, 11-bay (bays grouped 4-3-4) semicircular wings flanking 4-stage, square, centre tower with 2 cart arches at 1st stage, Venetian windows to 2nd and 3rd stages (that to 3rd blind), tripartite lunette with flight holes at 4th stage, and truncated pyramid roof surmounted by Roman Doric columned open cupola with weathervane-finialled dome. Each curved wing with paired cart arches flanking tower at centre, stone forestair beyond and various door and window openings to each floor of outer bays.

Rear (N) elevation with later single storey museum wing projecting from 1st stage of centre tower; 2 forestairs and variety of openings to right (W) and full-height, 3-bay wing projecting into higher ground at left (E) with 3 cart arches to left return and broad 1st floor door below stone bellcote at projecting gabled end; evidence of millwheel housing to set-back face at right. See Notes for plan detail. Interior retains some original detail including timber-lined horseman's house with fireplaces, and stone nesting boxes to dovecote.

COACHMAN'S HOUSE: 2-storey, 5-bay, rectangular-plan former

coachman's house and stables to S of courtyard opposite semicircular range. Slightly projecting centre bay to S elevation with voussoired, segmental cart arch below 3 pairs of arrow slits (centre pair glazed) and blind oculus in gablehead; flanking bays each with panelled timber door and 5-part fanlight and windows to outer bays, all below small horizontal windows at 1st floor. See Notes for plan detail. Interior with timber loose boxes, cobbled setts, iron feeding troughs and fireplaces.

CRAFT SHOP RANGE: small, single storey harled and slated former small byre and dairy with slightly lower store, to SW also curved corresponding with semicircular range, now converted to shop and Book of Deer Project office.

Multi-pane glazing patterns in timber sash and case and top-opening windows. Grey slates with some rooflights to lesser elevations. Ashlar and harled stacks, some with thackstanes and some shouldered, with polygonal cans. Ashlar-coped skews to semicircular range; plain bargeboarding to coachman's house. Doors of boarded or panelled timber.

Statement of Special Interest

B Group with Aden House, Icehouse, Former Laundry and Walled Garden. Sited a short distance to the east of the now ruinous Aden House at the heart of the Aden estate, this fine semicircular former steading, now a museum, is a rare example of its type. Only a handful of semicircular steadings exist in Scotland and the plan form, rarity and date of Aden contribute to its importance as a particularly good illustration of a post-Improvement Period steading. The 18th century Improvement Period had a significant impact on farms and farm buildings changing the face of agriculture and bringing with it rational and distinguished buildings like Aden steading.

The era of improvement farming began in the 1740s. The 'improvement' concept was introduced at Aden by Alexander Russell, a Banffshire laird who purchased the estate from James Ferguson of Pitfour. The second laird, also Alexander, built the semicircular range, at a time when 'Lairds and bigger farming tenants were smitten by an improvement fever' (Fenton). However, the improved farms themselves have generally been further improved to accommodate constantly changing farming equipment thus rendering the Aden survival all the more remarkable.

The simplicity of design, ornamented only at the central tower, belies careful planning to support the efficient functioning of daily and seasonal routines. The half round steading ranges to the north of the court are balanced by a semicircular wall at the south side which effectively completes the circle leaving just two easily surveyed points for ingress and egress at east and west.

The layout of farm buildings developed along with technological advances, and in Fenton's words 'new steadings, built to architects' specifications, were models of organisation and method for the horse era'. The original layout of the semicircular range reflects this organisation combining under one roof accommodation for men and animals, storage areas and haylofts as well as the dovecot.

A small number of semicircular steadings survive in Scotland, including the Round Square at Gordonstoun and the associated Dallas Lodge at Rhininver, both date from the late 17th century (see separate listings). Also at Dallas is the listed Cots of Rhininver, an unusual small-scale, mid 19th century example. Further south at Errol is a listed classically influenced, circular-plan stable of 1811 by John Paterson.

After falling into disrepair Aden Steading was restored in 1976-80. Aden Country Park (now owned by Aberdeenshire Council) was officially opened by the Rt Hon William S I Whitelaw, Home Secretary, on 21 June 1980. Upgraded to category A from C(S) in 2007. Appropriately, for an area which contains one quarter of Scotland's arable land, the steading now houses the Aberdeenshire Farming Museum.

References

Bibliography

Alexander Fenton North East Farming Life (1987). Charles McKean Banff & Buchan An Illustrated Architectural Guide (1990), p90. New Statistical Account Vol 12 (1834-45). 1st edition Ordnance Survey Map (1864-71). www.scran.com/database

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Printed: 16/11/2018 19:56