Statement of Special Interest
Dating from 1708 and probably designed by one of the leading Scottish architects of the period, Alexander McGill, the walled garden and gatepiers at Craigiehall are early examples of their building type. The walled garden is situated to the immediate northeast of Craigiehall house and retains its close relationship with its associated country house. It is largely intact in its form and is an important part of the wider estate.
Age and Rarity
Craigiehall walled garden was laid out at the request of the 1st Marquis of Annandale and may have been designed by the architect Alexander McGill, who was one of Scotland's leading architects in the 18th century. Colvin (1995) notes that McGill designed ornamental gates for the 1st Marquis of Annandale and these are likely to be the ones to the southwest of the garden. It is possible that he also designed the garden, although Lowrie (1988) suggests that the Earl of Mar, a notable architect and garden designer of the period was also involved in the designing the gardens around the house around 1708.
The Roy map of 1747-55 shows Craigiehall house (LB45432) with two walled gardens; this one to the northeast of the house, which is rectangular in form, and another to the southwest. Each is divided into different planting areas.
By the date of the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey Map of 1856, only this walled garden to the northeast survives. By this time, the house has been extended and the southwest corner of the garden has been cut away to produce its current shape. The garden is shown as having a number of different planted areas within it and there are also some buildings shown, which are most likely to be greenhouses. These buildings no longer exist.
The current Craigiehall Estate dates predominantly to the construction of Craigiehall house, completed in 1699, by Sir William Bruce for Sophia, Countess of Annandale and her husband, William, Earl of Annandale. There had been an earlier tower house on the estate which was replaced with the current house.
The Earl of Annandale's son James took over the estate in 1715. In 1741, the estate was bought by the Hope-Weir family, who were connected to the estate through the marriage of the Earl of Annandale's daughter, Lady Henrietta Johnstone to Charles Hope, 1st Earl of Hopetoun. The Hon Charles Hope (later Hope-Weir) had completed a Grand Tour of France and Italy with Robert Adam and on his return in 1754-5, had ideas for some improvement at Craigiehall, particularly in the grounds, gathered from his tour. He planted trees along the River Almond and constructed Craigiehall Temple (1759, LB26928), Craigiehall Bridge (1757, LB5563), the Grotto and Bathhouse (circa 1755-60, LB5562) and an ornamental lake, around 1760.
Craigiehall was sold in 1933 to the 5th Earl of Roseberry, who owned the neighbouring Dalmeny estate and who bought it for his son. His son was killed in action in 1917 and the estate was eventually let in 1926 to James Morton, who was a textile merchant in Edinburgh. The house became a hotel and country club in 1933. Following requisitioning by the Army in 1939 it was bought by them in 1951.
In 1966 the Military of Defence built a military headquarters building within the walled garden and access openings were made in the east wall to allow access to and from this buildings. This building was demolished in the early 21st century. The interior of the walled garden is now grassed over.
The pair of gatepiers are situated between the southwest corner of the garden and Craigiehall house. It is not certain if this is their original position, as the image on the Roy map of 1747-55 is not clear about any path or driveway between the walled garden and the house at this corner. A staff wing was added to the house in 1853 and it is likely that the garden was reshaped at this southwest corner at the time to accommodate this new building. The gatepiers would then have formed an entrance to the north of the house and the new service court. They still form an entrance to the north part of the house, but are now largely covered by vegetation and are no longer a focal point in the property.
Walled gardens are important yet common ancillaries of country houses and surviving examples range in date from 16th to the 20th centuries. Medieval walled gardens evolved as an extension to agriculture and were often practical in their use, diversifying gradually into other uses for pleasure or contemplation. The walled kitchen garden was particularly important in Scotland where a harsh climate and unfavourable growing conditions prevailed and evolved as part of the typology of the fortified Scottish castle. Up to the 18th century, a kitchen garden was most usually found near the main house, as depicted in the Roy map here, but with the development of a more formal designed landscape, it was gradually moved further away from the main house.
While the majority of surviving walled gardens date to the 18th and 19th centuries, pre-18th century and early 18th century walled gardens are less common; nevertheless, many do survive and are included in the lists. All buildings erected before 1840 which are of notable quality and survive predominantly in their original form have a strong case for listing and their selection will depend on their date and architectural interest as well as their contextual character particularly in relation to an estate landscape or an associated house. Important examples of walled gardens which form significant components of large estates dating to the late 17th/early 18th centuries which are still intact include the William Bruce/Alexander Edward designed walled garden at Hopetoun House and the examples at Caroline Park (LB28139) and Newliston (LB27627).
The walled garden and gatepiers at Craigiehall, dating to the early part of the 18th century, are a largely intact, early example of their type and form an important component of the former Craigiehall estate The estate policies were designed shortly after the house and are directly associated with the Earl of Mar with the significant input of Alexander McGill, one of Scotland's preeminent architects and garden designers of the period.
Architectural or Historic Interest
A rectangular plan is not an unusual plan form for an early 18th century walled garden. The 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map of 1866 shows the garden divided into several different planting areas. There are now no longer any separate planting compartments within the garden and the area is now grassed over. It is functional in its rectangular layout comprising right angled walls with a concave corner to the southwest to accommodate the 1853 century additions to the service court of the house.
Technological excellence or innovation, material or design quality
The rubble and brick walls and the rectangular form are typical for gardens of this period. This garden has largely retained its 18th century form, and includes contemporary gatepiers likely designed by Alexander McGill that are intricately carved and retain their ball finials (except for the one located to the east).
The Earl of Mar (1675-1732) had a deep and long-lasting interest in architecture and garden design and his own estate at Alloa was well-known at the time for its gardens.
Alexander McGill (died 1734) was one of the leading architects in Scotland in the early 18th century. The two collaborated on a number of country house projects including at Craigiehall and at the House of Dun (LB4691)
The walled garden and the gatepiers lie to the northeast of the house. The walled garden is visible from the house and both are part of a group of associated estate structures which, although affected by later development, still visually conforms to innovative late 17th and 18th century ideals in landscape design which usually placed the walled garden near the house. Both the garden and the gatepiers form part an important group of estate buildings associated with the house including Craigiehall house (LB45432) the doocot (LB5560), the former stable court (LB5561), two sundials (LB5559), and a grotto (LB5562).
The majority of the estate to the north has been taken up by the various additional buildings constructed for the military headquarters since the 1950s.
There are no known regional variations.
Close Historical Associations
There are no known associations with a person or event of national importance at present (2016).
The 2nd Earl of Annandale, and later the Hope-Weir family are closely associated with Craigiehall.
Statutory address and listed building record revised in 2016. Previously listed as 'Craigiehall, Walled Garden, including Gatepiers'.