Probably Archibald Simpson, 1831 incorporating fabric of 1791. 2-storey and attic, 3-bay, rectangular-plan, M-gabled former manse with simple Tudor frontage, round headed doorway with decoratively astragalled semicircular fanlight and retaining much original interior detail, set within garden ground and forming unaltered group with nearby Parish Church and graveyard. Harled granite with margins.
FURTHER DESCRIPTION: symmetrical principal elevation to W with centre door below small window and large window to each floor of slightly projecting flanking gables. 1791 detail to rear elevation incorporating large centre stair window and bowed single storey flat-roofed projection at left .
12- and 18-pane glazing patterns in timber sash and case windows. Graded grey slates. Coped ashlar stacks with thackstanes and polygonal cans; ashlar-coped skews with block skewputts.
INTERIOR: fine decorative scheme in place incorporating moulded cornices, fine panelled timberwork throughout including shutters, soffits, reveals, and architraved doors; granite fireplace openings, some with timber surrounds. Winding stair with plain ironwork balusters leading to 1st floor with deeply coomed ceilings, evidence of window openings in centre hall (exterior of original manse); attic with servant quarters incorporating cupboard probably converted from box bed.
BOUNDARY WALLS: early flat-coped, high rubble boundary walls forming enclosed rear garden (see Notes).
Statement of Special Interest
A successful conversion of a fine early traditional parish manse extended to provide a fitting dwelling for the daughter of one of the leading glen families (Forbes of Newe) upon her marriage to the minister. The early 1830s work is attributed to Archibald Simpson as he was working at the Castle of Newe for the Forbes family in 1831. The single gabled rectangle forming the main block the original (probably L-plan) manse was doubled in size with the addition of a similar rectangle at the principal elevation, forming M-gabled sides. During the 19th century manses were being enlarged to provide increased accommodation as the Church of Scotland introduced the practice of taking in orphans. The orphaned child of a missionary family from the West Indies lived at Strathdon manse. Sold by the Church of Scotland in 1995, after remaining unoccupied for 18 months and falling into disrepair, the interior has subsequently been carefully restored. The manse would at some time have been an L-plan structure, with the rear wing removed toward the end of the 1940s. The former stable range, incorporated into the garden wall at the NW, was converted to a church hall by Rev John Matthew, minister of Strathdon 1926-32. An early photograph shows the principal elevation with timber transomed and mullioned windows. Heritors records note that these were originally painted and stippled to resemble granite. The early boundary walls have what appear to be fireplace openings and blocked windows to the west (outer) elevation facing the road. This probably indicates the presence of early cottar dwellings on the site, pre-dating the current church and manse group. Blaeu's Atlas shows a church here as early as 1654.