Statement of Special Interest
This early 19th century walled garden is an ancillary component of Pittodrie House and it survives largely in its original form. It forms part of group of estate ancillary buildings some of which are also listed buildings and it contributes to our understanding of the arrangement and working of this small estate in the 19th century. It is relatively unaltered retaining its high walls, rectangular-plan form and associated structures including a glasshouse and sundial.
Age and Rarity
Pittodrie estate and its ancillary buildings largely date to the 19th century, when Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Knight was the owner. Knight took ownership of the estate when he married Miss Mary Erskine at the end of the 18th century. In 1841 he commissioned the Aberdeen architect, Archibald Simpson, to design substantial additions to Pittodrie House and it is likely that improvements were made to the wider estate around this time.
The extent of improvements Colonel Knight made to the estate of Pittodrie is unknown. However, a number of changes to the garden plan and new buildings had been erected by the second half of the 19th century during his ownership. This includes the walled garden and Gardener's Cottage (not listed) which are shown on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey Map (1867). The walled garden is shown as it largely appears in 2018, with its hedge division into six sections, a glasshouse attached to the north wall and a sundial in a circular bed in the centre of the garden. The 1867 map also shows the same four openings, including one at the centre of the south wall which also still survives.
Walled gardens are important yet common ancillaries of high status country houses or smaller houses within substantial landholdings and surviving examples range in date from the 16th to the 20th centuries. 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.
The produce would provide for the family and estate staff, with hardy crops generally grown in the open areas of the garden, fruit trees trained up the walls, and heated glasshouses to grow more delicate and exotic produce. The walled garden would have had a dedicated gardener and a gardener's cottage would often be located nearby.
In Scotland, important gardens had been established at its great houses from the late medieval and early Renaissance periods (15th to 16th centuries). As the interest in gardening and the science behind it grew, it became more common from around the 17th century to find a designed garden, often comprising a walled garden and a doocot at lesser houses and estates.
Early walled gardens, associated with pre- and post-Reformation period castles or lairds houses, are commonly found in close proximity to the house, forming part of a formal courtyard or enclosure of the house. By the 19th century walled gardens were typically located further away from the house. Walled gardens declined after the Second World War as fresh produce was becoming more accessible through imports.
The majority of surviving walled gardens date to the 18th and 19th centuries. Walled gardens will be considered of special interest in listing terms if they form part of a wider estate and often if the principal house survives. Over 750 walled gardens are listed and they are usually a component of an estate listing along with other ancillary structures. Some are listed in their own right. Examples which survive largely as they were first built are increasingly rare.
The walled garden at Pittodrie House is not an early surviving example and is of a typical layout and form. It is of interest in listing terms as an early 19th century walled garden that survives largely unaltered and as an important ancillary component which is functionally related to Pittodrie House and contributes to its special architectural and historic interest.
Architectural or Historic Interest
The plan form of the walled garden remains generally as shown on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map. Its rectangular plan form is a typical layout for walled gardens for all periods.
Technological excellence or innovation, material or design quality
The design of the walled garden is typical for a walled garden. It is functional in its simple rectangular layout and is plain with no architectural embellishments (such as bee boles, finials of dressed stone). Features shown on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map survive, including a glasshouse and a sundial. The sundial has been moved from its circular bed but it is located nearby and remains in the walled garden.
The walled garden is an important ancillary component of a small country estate landscape, largely dating from the 19th century. It is sited some distance from the house, which is typical for early 19th century walled gardens. At the centre of the estate is Pittodrie House (LB2853) with an 18th century gunroom (LB2854) and a sundial (LB2855) in its immediate setting all of which are listed buildings.
Other surviving ancillary buildings on the estate largely date to the 19th century, but all of them have substantial later additions and alterations. The walled garden is the exception as it survives largely in its 19th century form.
In a variety of 19th century descriptions the house is described as secluded by woodland and this remains the case today. The walled garden is similarly secluded by shelterbelts of trees and despite its high walls it cannot be seen from the house, the access drive or public roads surrounding the estate.
There are no known regional variations.
Close Historical Associations
There are no known associations with a person or event of national importance (2018).