Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing – see ‘About Listed Buildings’ below for more information.


Status: Designated


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Group Category Details
100000020 - See Notes
Date Added
Supplementary Information Updated
Local Authority
Planning Authority
Old Deer
NJ 98131 47956
398131, 847956


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.



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).

About Listed Buildings

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Listing is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for buildings of special architectural or historic interest as set out in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings which are found to be of special architectural or historic interest using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Listed building records provide an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building which has been identified by its statutory address. The description and additional information provided are supplementary and have no legal weight.

These records are not definitive historical accounts or a complete description of the building(s). If part of a building is not described it does not mean it is not listed. The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site which is known as the statutory address. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing. Even if a number or name is missing from a listing address it will still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing also applies to buildings or structures not physically attached but which are part of the curtilage (or land) of the listed building as long as they were erected before 1 July 1948.

While Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating listed buildings, the planning authority is responsible for determining what is covered by the listing, including what is listed through curtilage. However, for listed buildings designated or for listings amended from 1 October 2015, legal exclusions to the listing may apply.

If part of a building is not listed, it will say that it is excluded in the statutory address and in the statement of special interest in the listed building record. The statement will use the word 'excluding' and quote the relevant section of the 1997 Act. Some earlier listed building records may use the word 'excluding', but if the Act is not quoted, the record has not been revised to reflect subsequent legislation.

Listed building consent is required for changes to a listed building which affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest. The relevant planning authority is the point of contact for applications for listed building consent.

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Printed: 06/06/2020 09:00