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- Category: A
- Group Category Details: A
- (see NOTES)
- Date Added: 12/08/2003
- Local Authority: Scottish Borders
- Planning Authority: Scottish Borders
- Parish: Traquair
National Grid Reference
- NGR: NT 29657 32412
- Coordinates: 329657, 632412
William Playfair, 1822; later alterations; engraved glass by Luke Dickinson, 1997. Classical temple-style former portico of early farmhouse (later a summerhouse) converted to form memorial to Tennant Family. Polished ashlar portico with random whinstone rubble rear.
NE (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: crepidoma, paired Tuscan columns to outer front angle (with pilaster to rear behind outer columns) supporting pediment with mutuled cornice.
SE AND NW (SIDE) ELEVATIONS: plain whinstone rubble walls with side of portico to front.
SW (REAR) ELEVATION: plain whinstone rubble wall with evidence of former central window (lintel still in place), much later ashlar block inset (see INTERIOR) with rubble in-fill above.
Engraved turquoise stained glass window to rear (see INTERIOR). Shallow pitched roof of unknown material (likely to be slate) with timber boarded ceiling to interior, stone ridging.
INTERIOR: central ashlar block on rear wall inscribed CHARLES TENNANT 1957 1996 and HENRY TENNANT 1960 1990 (also containing turquoise stain glass in the shape of overlaid stylised teardrops engraved with the words LIKE BRIGHT SHINING COMETS THEY BURNT OUT SO YOUNG TOUCHING EVERYONE THEY MET); timber ceiling and later rough timber rustic bench.
Statement of Special Interest
Part of an A-Group with all other Glen estate buildings. The Glen estate can be traced as far back as 1296 when Sarra of the Glen swore allegiance to King Edward I of England. The estate remained in the family's hands until around 1512, when the grounds became fragmented and parts were sold to neighbouring landowners and families. By the 1700's, there were 2 main parts of the estate, Easter and Wester Glen. Easter Glen was sold to Alexander Allan (an Edinburgh banker) in 1796 for #10,500. At this point, the house was a fairly small plain farmhouse. His son, William Allan (Lord Provost of Edinburgh) was responsible for enlarging and extending the house, the architect being his friend William Playfair; even after improvement it was still not regarded as being fit for a landowner's principal residence. It was during this time that picturesque-style designed landscaping was carried out which included clumps of trees in the park, a canalised section of the Quair Water, wooding of the valley sides and an avenue of Douglas Firs adjacent to the canalled river. The 3.500-acre estate was bought in 1852/3 by Sir Charles Tennant, owner of the chemical works of St. Rollox, Glasgow, for #33,140. The house was by then outdated and not suited to modern family life; Tennant commissioned David Bryce to design a baronial style house, to which a tower (also by Bryce) was added in 1874. The Bryce house is believed to stand on the site of the earlier house, as records show the Tennants stayed in Prestonfield House, (Priestfield Road, Edinburgh) during the construction of Glen House. The Edgar and Thomson maps also show the older house as standing on the site of the present house. There is a possibility that the portico may not have been moved and that older farmhouse was actually sited adjacent to the Quair Water as the Ainslie map shows the house in a different site. This is unlikely as the Quair Water curves behind the portico and an extended farmhouse would have had to straddle the Quair; there is also no evidence of the meandering Quair being re-routed along this stretch. On the 1st Edition O.S. map, it is called a summerhouse and it stands as the focal point at the end of long avenue of mature Douglas Firs (part of an earlier landscape which run adjacent to the canal). Now called 'The Temple' it has been transformed into a memorial for Henry and Charles, the late sons of Colin Tennant, 3rd Baron Glenconner. Listed as a good example of a (now free standing) Playfair entrance portico and its historical importance in the development of The Glen estate.
William Edgar, SHIRE OF PEEBLES OR TWEEDDALE (1741) for older house. J Ainslie, THE ENVIRONS OF EDINBURGH, HADDINGTON, DUNS, KELSO, JEDBURGH, HAWICK, SELKIRK, PEEBLES, LANGHOLM AND ANNAN (1821 ? Edinburgh) showing farmhouse in different position. John Thomson, PEEBLES-SHIRE (1821) showing earlier house on site of Bryce house. 1st Edition ORDNANCE SURVEY MAP (circa 1857) showing Bryce house and associated estate buildings. William Chambers, HISTORY OF PEEBLESHIRE (1864). J Buchan, HISTORY OF PEEBLESSHIRE (1925) pp537-541. Nancy Crathorne, TENNANT'S STALK (1972) for the history of the Tennant family. Valerie Fiddes, (Ed), DAVID BRYCE (1803-1876) for further information on Bryce works. INVENTORY OF GARDENS AND DESIGNED LANDSCAPES, VOL V ? The Borders, pp311-316. Charles Strang, BORDERS AND BERWICK (1994) p227. Additional information courtesy of The Buildings of Scotland, Kitty Cruft. For further information see www.glenhouse.com
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