Listed Building

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

FOREST OF BIRSE, BIRSE CASTLE, INCLUDING BOUNDARY WALLS AND CHEESE PRESSLB3097

Status: Designated

Documents

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Summary

Category
B
Group Category Details
100000020 - see notes
Date Added
16/04/1971
Local Authority
Aberdeenshire
Planning Authority
Aberdeenshire
Parish
Birse
NGR
NO 52019 90560
Coordinates
352019, 790560

Description

Circa 1600; restored George Bennett Mitchell, 1905; E wing and SE angle turret by Dr William Kelly, 1930. 3-storey and attic, Z-plan tower house. Pink granite rubble finely finished to margins. Boarded timber doors; long and short dressings; key corbelling to angle turrets; roll-moulded eaves course to turrets; crowstepped gables.

S ELEVATION: asymmetrical; 3-bay; small bipartite window to centre of ground floor, flanked to left by arrow-slit opening, regular fenestration to ground and 1st floors of 2 bays to left, with round-arched niche to centre, angle turret to outer left with window and 3 elliptical openings below eaves course; circular angle tower corbelled to square to bay to right, dated "19 AC 30" (Annie Cowdray), door to ground floor surmounted by heraldic panel bearing thistle, rose and crown, irregularly placed arrow-slits with leaded diamond-pane glazing, regular fenestration to 2nd and attic floor; irregular fenestration to gabled right return, cheese press to ground floor; angle turret to re-entrant angle to right with regular fenestration and elliptical openings below eaves. 1930 addition adjoining to outer right (see below).

E ELEVATION: 1905 restoration obscured by 1930 wing; near symmetrical; advanced gabled 2-bay wing; single window off-centre to right of ground floor, regular fenestration to ground floor; tooled heraldic panel to centre of 3rd floor, window set in centre of gablehead, 2-storey angle turrets to left and right; left return 3-bay regular fenestration to ground, 1st and 2nd floors; Single storey addition to outer right with 2-leaf door, flanked by narrow openings, gabled to outer right with steps leading to rear.

N ELEVATION: asymmetrical; gabled bay to outer right; irregular door and window openings; single storey addition to N adjoining boundary walls (see below), with covered porch adjoining main block, irregular window and door openings.

W ELEVATION: asymmetrical; 4-bay; 2 gabled bays to right: panelled timber door flanked to left by window to bay to outer right at ground floor; regular fenestration to 1st floor, window off-centre to left of gablehead, symmetrically placed angle turrets to left and right. 2 recessed bays to left: near-regular fenestration to ground 1st and 2nd floors; 2-pane skylight to attic.

Variety of small-pane replacement timber sash and case windows. Grey slate roofs with stone ridges; conical roofs with lead spherical finials to turrets; decorative ironwork weathervane to re-entrant turret to S. Coped gablehead stacks with circular cans. Cast-iron rainwater goods.

INTERIOR: not seen 1999.

BOUNDARY WALLS: battered granite rubble boundary walls to N, S and E, decorative angle bastions to S wall, stone steps to S and E.

Statement of Special Interest

B-Group with Birse Castle Kennels (see separate listing). The Forest of Birse was originally Royal hunting forest. Sir William Gordon of Cluny feued the forest from the Bishop of Aberdeen in 1585 and built the original castle as a hunting seat or summer retreat; in 1636 it passed to Sir William Douglas of Glenbervie, then in 1666 to the Earl of Aboyne. The original castle was thought to have been "a plain keep in plan, with the addition of a round tower at one angle only" (M & R, p49), however its condition in 1892 was "a fragmentary ruin" (M & R, p49) with only E and N side walls surviving, and remained as such until it was restored by George Bennett Mitchell for J R Heaven, then Dr William Kelly for Annie, Lady Cowdray.

References

Bibliography

J Blaeu, ABERDONIA & BANFIA, (1654); J Thomson, ABERDEEN & BANFF SHIRES; J Giles, DRAWINGS OF ABERDEENSHIRE CASTLES, (1855), pLXXIX; R Dinnie, AN ACCOUNT OF THE PARISH OF BIRSE, HISTORICAL, STATISTICAL & ANTIQUARIAN, (1865), p72-73; 1st (1869) and 2nd (1903) EDITION OS MAPS; D MacGibbon & T Ross, THE CASTELLATED AND DOMESTIC ARCHITECTURE OF SCOTLAND, Vol II, (1892), p49; ABERDEEN DAILY JOURNAL, 26 OCTOBER 1905, 1 AUGUST 1906; PLANS AND SKETCHES BY DR WILLIAM KELLY, 3 OCTOBER 1931; NMRS Drawing of Birse Castle, ABD/512/1; ; F Wyness, ROYAL VALLEY: THE STORY OF THE ABERDEENSHIRE DEE, (1968), p201; R Callander, HISTORY IN BIRSE, Vol 1 (1981), p14, Vol 3 (1983), p102, 111-113.

About Listed Buildings

Listing is the way that a building or structure of special architectural or historic interest is recognised by law through the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings of special architectural or historic interest using the criteria published in the Historic Environment Scotland Policy Statement.

The statutory listing address is the legal part of the listing. The information in the listed building record gives an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building(s). It is not a definitive historical account or a complete description of the building(s). The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

Listing covers both the exterior and the interior. Listing can cover structures not mentioned which are part of the curtilage of the building, such as boundary walls, gates, gatepiers, ancillary buildings etc. The planning authority is responsible for advising on what is covered by the listing including the curtilage of a listed building. For information about curtilage see www.historicenvironment.scot. Since 1 October 2015 we have been able to exclude items from a listing. 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 Historic Environment Scotland Act 2014. 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 current legislation.

If you want to alter, extend or demolish a listed building you need to contact your planning authority to see if you need listed building consent. The planning authority is the main point of contact for all applications for listed building consent.

Find out more about listing and our other designations at www.historicenvironment.scot. You can contact us on 0131 668 8716 or at designations@hes.scot.

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Printed: 14/11/2018 08:40