Mid 18th century with early 19th century alterations and additions (see Notes), and circa 1920 bathroom extension to rear. 2-storey, 3-bay farmhouse with pilastered doorpiece, scrolled skewputts and flanking byres forming courtyard to front. Sandstone and whinstone rubble with droved and undroved sandstone ashlar dressings; courtyard elevations of house and byres whitewashed; rear and side elevations of house cement-rendered. Eaves course; quoin strips; raised window margins to house. Eaves courses and long and short droved ashlar quoins to most byres.
HOUSE: off-centre timber panelled front door with brass letter and fanlight recessed in Doric-pilastered doorpiece with rosette carving to soffit; 3 arched decorative panels above with heraldic device to centre and rosettes to outer panels. Stone above inscribed AB-JA. Regular fenestration. 2 windows to right of S gable. Circa 1920 piend-roofed, roughcast bathroom extension to centre of rear elevation; window above; partially obscured window (formerly main door) to right with remains of classical architrave with prominent raised keystone. Earlier house (now part of byre) adjoining to N gable (see below and Notes).
Plate glass in timber sash and case windows to front; 4-pane glazing to sides and rear. Corniced gablehead stacks with thackstanes and some decorative clay cans. Ashlar-coped skews with scrolled skew-putts. Graded grey Scottish slate.
INTERIOR OF HOUSE AND N BYRE: central hall with dog-leg staircase through depressed arch. Drawing room to right with plain timber chimneypiece, roll-moulded cornice and timber shutters. Dining Room (former Kitchen) to left of hall: painted timber dresser with brass knobs on drawers; panelled cupboards and box beds along S wall. Kitchen (former Parlour) with roll-moulded cornicing and early 19th century doorpieces. Former dairy with cheese press housing dated 1760, and copper. Byre with working pump and internal window through to dairy with (reused?) datestone inscribed 16 ID BG 69. Timber stair to (later) upper floor of original house; circa 1900 tongue and groove panelling throughout upper floor. Fairly plain chimneypieces to both bedrooms in main house. Timber panelled doors throughout; some with paterae at upper corners of architraves.
CIRCA 1740 HOUSE AND N BYRE: circa 1740 single storey and attic building (formerly main house) adjoining N gable of present house; lower gabled barn adjoining to W. Courtyard elevation: timber-boarded door to right of byre with datestone inscribed AB IA 1748; single window to left of door. 2-leaf timber-boarded door with window above to W (gable) elevation of byre. Irregular fenestration to N (rear) elevation of byre; half glazed timber boarded door to left with lintel datestone inscribed JB GM 1813. Circa 1740 house to left with 2 windows; 1 with lintel datestone inscribed AB 1740. 2 windows to E elevation.
S BYRE: gabled byre with gablehead stack to W and stone skews. Timber boarded doors and irregular fenestration. Later vehicle entrance to E; 3-hole triangular dovecot above. Gateway linking byre with house.
E BYRE: former threshing barn to E of house. Depressed-arch entrance to S; slit windows; timber-boarded threshing door to N. Lower section adjoining to E; datestone inscribed JB 1803 at E gable of threshing barn, above roof ridge of adjoining section. 20th century water tower to E.
OUTBUILDING: possibly former mill house to N of N byre. Rectangular-plan; gabled. Random rubble with corrugated metal roof.
GATES, GATEPIERS AND BOUNDARY WALLS: low random rubble boundary walls with flat ashlar copes enclosing courtyard to W (front) of house; ashlar gatepiers with corniced caps and square urns above; urn to S gatepier dated 1817; decorative 2-leaf cast-iron gates. Random rubble boundary wall to rear garden; wrought-iron gate with plain ashlar gatepiers and stile in wall near water tower. Octagonal gatepiers with pyramidal caps at end of drive; 2-leaf iron gates; stepped stile to side.
Statement of Special Interest
An outstanding example of the 2-storey, 3-bay type Ayrshire farmhouse. It is believed to be the oldest surviving farmhouse of this type in Dunlop parish, and is particularly notable for its simple but excellent decorative detailing, and its unaltered state. The interior is especially fine, with almost all the original Georgian and early nineteenth century fireplaces, woodwork and cornicing still intact. This is a remarkable survival, as most of the similar farms in the area have been altered in the twentieth century: those farms that are still relatively unaltered are either less well-detailed (such as Over Borland), or substantially later in date (Craignaught). The lack of twentieth-century renovations means that the development of the farmstead is relatively easy to trace, and this makes it important as a guide to understanding the evolution of the other farms in the area.
The evolution of the building seems to be as follows:
1. The farm originally consisted of a single storey longhouse with byre attached; the two separated by a cross-passage. This still survives as the N byre and dairy, which were originally all the same height. They are believed to date from 1740, although the 1669 datestone indicates that there was an earlier building, which may be incorporated into the present fabric.
2. The dairy building (or old house) was extended eastwards, and had an attic added, probably in the mid-18th century.
3. A new 2-storey farmhouse was built at right-angles to the old house between 1744 and 1794, probably about 1760. The main entrance of the house was almost certainly on the East (now rear) elevation. The South range of byres is probably contemporary with the house, and was possibly originally used as a threshing barn and stables.
4. The East byre is dated 1803, which is presumably when it was built.
5. A link-room between the house and dairy is dated by Jennifer Deadman to 1855, but the interior woodwork appears to be early nineteenth century.
6. The gatepiers to the West are dated 1817; the same year that the road between Dunlop and Stewarton was upgraded to a turnpike.
It is generally thought that the orientation of the house was altered in 1817 when the post road was built. However, the situation of the East byre ' only about 4 feet away from the main house, and obscuring a third of its E elevation, suggests that the orientation of the house was changed before, or at the same time as this byre was built. It is likely that the parlour between the old kitchen and the dairy was also built at this time.
The Hill has historical importance as being the home of Barbara Gilmour, who invented Dunlop Cheese, having learnt the technique for making hard cheese in Ireland. The 1669 datestone in the N byre bears her initials, and those of her husband John Dunlop.