Rockbank is an earlier/mid 19th century 2-storey, 3-bay gable-fronted villa, situated on the south side of Midge Lane and facing the Holy Loch, with a late 19th century single storey and attic, rectangular plan coach house to the rear. The house is constructed in harled rubble with sandstone dressings and has a slate roof and stone chimney stacks with polygonal clay cans at the gables. The windows are predominantly round-headed timber sash and case with lying-panes.
The principal (south) elevation has a gable to the left containing a hood-moulded window at the first floor and a framed window below. To the right is a pitch-roofed half-dormer and in the centre is a slated-cheek dormer. At the centre is a flat-roofed cast iron entrance porch with brattishing and fretwork arcades. The gables have decorative bargeboading. Some of the details at the rear of the house may be later, for example the wide tripartite dormers. The interior of the house was not seen in 2004 or 2016.
The coach house has a central gable with a square-headed cart door and hayloft above. The rear (south) elevation of the coach house has a pair of gables. It is constructed in rubble stone with some brick repairs to the rear openings and it has a piended roof that is slated. The windows are timber sash and case frames with a 12-pane glazing pattern. The interior of the coach house was seen in 2016 and is divided into two sections and has a loft with a timber floor.
There is rubble boundary wall to the east, west and south of the house. That to the south has a central opening with a gate providing access to the shore of the Holy Loch.
Statement of Special Interest
Rockbank is a well-preserved example of an earlier 19th century villa, which is indicative of the style and design quality of the villas in the area. The design and setting of the building with the principal elevation facing the loch and a coach house to the rear facing the road is distinctive to the villas in this part of Midge Lane. The surviving coach house is not original to the house but is not significantly later in date and is an important ancillary component that aids our understanding of the social history of Rockbank.
Age and Rarity
Rockbank is one of a series of villas built to the south of Midge Lane and facing the Holy Loch. These villas were built as a continuation of the development of the Kilmun shore after a long stretch of shoreline was feued from 1827 by the marine engineer David Napier from Campbell of Monzie. As a result of the establishment of a direct steamer route from Glasgow to Kilmun the area quickly became a popular resort for Glasgow merchants.
A newspaper notice in the Glasgow Herald of 4 December 1857 which advertises Rockbank for sale describes the accommodation as "consisting of dining room, parlour, six bedrooms, kitchen, scullery, two water closets and other conveniences…The garden is bounded by the beach, so that the premises afford every facility for sea bathing". Rockbank was therefore likely to have built between 1827 and 1857.
Rockbank is first shown on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey Map (surveyed 1864) as a rectangular plan house with a rectangular plan coach house to the rear which is shown directly adjacent to the road. On the 2nd Edition Ordnance Survey map (surveyed 1898) the house is shown with its central porch additions at the front and rear elevations and an addition to the west gable. The coach house on this map is set back from the line of the road and there are two side wings projecting from the north elevation. Map evidence suggests that the coach house at Rockbank was built between 1864 and 1898.
Earlier to mid-19th villas of this scale and architectural quality are not rare in an area which was a holiday resort for wealthy Glasgow merchants. What marks Rockbank out it is perhaps the best-preserved 19th century villa along the Kilmun/Strone shore.
Surviving contemporary or near contemporary ancillary buildings can enhance the interest of the principal listed building and their impact as a group may also be significant. It is typical for coastal villas in the West of Scotland, and in particular in this part of Argyll, to have been built with service buildings such as an ancillary coach house and these are important for the understanding of the status of these former holiday homes. Therefore where ancillary buildings survive they are also of interest in listing terms as they reflect the social status of the villas owners and occupants and are important in aiding our understanding of the social history of the area. Nearby examples of listed villas with listed ancillary buildings include Choillie Bheag (listed at category B, LB50440) and Dulselma (listed at A, LB5075). The surviving coach house is not original to the Rockbank but is not significantly later in date and is an important ancillary component to this house.
Architectural or Historic Interest
The interior of the house has not been seen and therefore has not been assessed. Photographs of the interior taken in 2016 show fire surrounds in ground floor principal rooms, panelled timber window architraves, panelled timber doors and an entrance hall with an egg and dart cornice.
In the coach house no fixtures and fittings that directly evidence its original function, such as horse stalls or hay troughs were seen at the visit in 2016.
The footprint of Rockbank villa is largely unaltered from that shown on the 2nd Edition Ordnance Survey map, whilst the coach house has been altered by the loss of the two side wings. The villas are designed with the principal elevation facing the loch in order to maximise the view from the key public rooms.
Technological excellence or innovation, material or design quality
Rockbank is a well-preserved example of an earlier 19th century villa, which is indicative of the style and design quality of the villas in the area which were built to accommodate wealthy holiday makers. It largely retains all of its 19th century exterior features, including the round-headed lying-pane windows, decorative bargeboarding and the cast iron porch to the front.
The surviving coach house is not original to the house but is not significantly later in date and it indicates that in the late 19th century Rockbank was a house of some status because it required a larger coach house. It is an important ancillary component of the property and its survival aids our understanding of the social history and development of Rockbank. The coach house has been altered by the loss of the side wings, which are shown on the 2nd Edition Ordnance Survey Map, however, in its present form the original function of the building remains clearly discernible because of the wide flat-arched opening and the door to the hay loft above. In design terms the coach house does not overtly reference the architecture of Rockbank and the coach house is relatively plain.
Rockbank is part of a pattern of adjacent villas that in plan form and setting are distinctive to this part of Midge Lane. Each house has a coach house to the rear overlooking Midge Lane representing the formal entrance to the property. Villas to the west in the village of Kilmun and those further along the peninsula to the west in the villages of Strone and Blairmore are all separated from the loch by the road and the principal elevations of these villas overlook and can be seen from the road with the ancillary building behind the villas.
With the exception of the loss of the side wings on the coach house, the setting of Rockbank House with its coach house to the rear has not changed significantly since the late 19th century and that shown on the 2nd Edition Ordnance Survey Map.
The shoreline of the peninsulas in Argyll and Bute are dominated by 19th century villas that were built as holiday homes for Glasgow merchants. This concentration of second homes in this part of Scotland is of some regional interest.
Close Historical Associations
There are no known associations with a person or event of national importance at present (2016).
Statutory address and listed building record revised in 2016. Previously listed as Strone, Midge Lane, Rockbank including Coach House and Boundary Walls .