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- Category: A
- Date Added: 05/10/1971
- Local Authority: Stirling
- Planning Authority: Stirling
- Burgh: Dunblane
National Grid Reference
- NGR: NN 78185 1292
- Coordinates: 278185, 701292
James Robinson of Park of Keir (Chamberlain to Lord Strathallan), Clerk of Works, 1684-87; restored by Honeyman, Jack and Robertson, mid 1980's. Single storey and basement; rectangular-plan; former clerics' library; with crowstepped gables; large round-arched windows to ground floor and vesica-shaped panel to E elevation; basement vaulted. Harled with sandstone ashlar dressings. 2 windows to W side with moulded architraves.
E (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: forestair to architraved entrance to right of library (railings late 20th century); oak door (presented 1924). Entrance to left return of forestair and adjacent basement entrance set back to left; both with boarded timber doors. Near-central vesica-shaped panel with moulded architrave to principal floor; containing marble cartouche and coat-of-arms of Bishop Leighton.
W ELEVATION: projecting ledge above most of basement; entrance to right of centre; boundary wall of manse projects at right angles to right. 2 large round-arched windows to principal floor.
S ELEVATION: round-arched window to left of principal elevation. 2 small lights to gable.
N ELEVATION: blank gable end. Boundary wall of manse projects at right angles to left of basement.
INTERIOR: single-roomed main floor lined with book cases, some fitted. Boarded timber ceiling with decorative timber air vents. Vaulted basement appears to originally have contained windows.
15-pane timber sash and case windows. Grey slate roof. Gablehead stack; both coped; one gabled; cans missing.
Statement of Special Interest
Thought to be the oldest extant purpose-built library in Scotland. A well-preserved late 17th century building, incorporating some interesting features, notably the vesica-shaped plaque with its sophisticated marble Baroque inset on the E elevation and the round-arched windows. It is unusual that the collection it houses has been preserved largely intact and many of its library furnishings also. It was built as a bequest of Robert Leighton, a former Bishop of Dunblane, who died in 1684. He left his book collection 'to the Cathedrall of Dunblane in Scotland to remain there for the use of the Clergie of the diocese', together with a sum of ?100 to provide a room to house them. Lord Strathallan assisted with the practical arrangements, including the transportation of materials, and his chamberlain, James Robison, was responsible for the overall design of the building and settling the contracts for the work. The marble tablet (originally inscribed 'Bibliotheca Leightoniana') however appears to have been Lord Strathallan's idea. The final cost of the building was just over ?162, the balance being made up by Bishop Leighton's sister, Sapphira Lightmaker and her son, Edward. They subsequently contributed a further ?300 to provide a salary for the librarian and money for repair and maintenance. The vaulted basement was to be the librarian's house. The first librarian was Robert Douglas, a former minister and the son of the last Bishop of Dunblane. Most subsequent librarians appear to have also been parish schoolmasters. From 1734 until around the mid 19th century, when demand ceased, it functioned as a subscription lending library (according to the New Statistical Account of 1845 it had 'recently been refitted as a subscription reading room'). It was closed from the mid 1850's until 1989, when it re-opened following its restoration. It continues to be run by Trustees. Bishop Leighton's original collection of approximately 1400 books increased over the years to about 4500 and the collection contains some very rare early printed books. 'Twelve chairs of turkie red lether' bought in 1688 still in situ; also early table with drawers.
THE NEW STATISTICAL ACCOUNT OF SCOTLAND, VOL X (1845) pp1039-1040. A Barty, THE HISTORY OF DUNBLANE, 1992, pp112-17. C McKean, STIRLING AND THE TROSSACHS, AN ILLUSTRATED ARCHITECTURAL GUIDE, 1994, p 85; undated leaflet by Trustees of Leighton Library.
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