17th century Mansion house with multi-period additions and incorporating 13th century fabric at core; outstanding 17th century interior features; at the centre of an estate predominantly developed from mid 18th century. Early 17th century S range incorporating earlier 2-storey vaulted tower house; earlier 17th century W range forming L-plan, extended mid 18th century; single storey lean-to at E (inner) elevation 1852; mid 18th century N range forming U-plan, enclosed to E by wall and gatepiers. Extensively repaired 1851, William Scott; further renovations 1923, J Donald Mills and Godfrey D B Shepherd, including reharling, opening of blocked W door and removal of centre door at S range, addition of dormers and internal alterations. Harled rubble; some irregular moulded architraves at earlier parts, margined at 18th century addition.
S ELEVATION: advanced off-centre gabled entrance tower with short buttresses at angles and moulded continuous corbel course at 1st and 2nd floor; timber boarded door set within moulded doorcase; 2 irregular windows at 1st floor, blocked window at right return; paired small windows at 2nd floor, window at left return; window at gable flanked by small shot-holes, further shot-hole at right return; scrolled apex finial. 3-storey, 2-bays to right of tower with 2 small windows with security bars at ground floor, 2 symmetrical windows at 1st and 2nd floor, 2nd floor slightly recessed. 2 storey and early 20th century attic, 4 bays to left of tower with advanced stack to left; door and window to left with moulded surrounds, former door to right changed to window; dormers with carved pediments, that to left with coat of arms and that to centre with marriage stone.
W ELEVATION: early 17th century advanced gable of S range to right with buttress at right, slightly recessed at 1st and 2nd floors. Bays to left of gable comprised of earlier 17th century 2-storey and dormered attic, 2-bays section and further mid 18th century 3 storey, 2 bays section to left with regular fenestration; wallhead stack at centre.
N ELEVATION: tall single storey range with 2 wide, stepped stacks, truncated at wallhead with later narrower stacks. 3-storey gable of W range to right.
E ELEVATION: corniced and channelled ashlar gatepiers at centre with adjoining courtyard walls. Gable of S range to left with small garderobe window at 2nd floor. Monopitch gable of N range at right.
COURTYARD: S elevation: door to centre; 2 corbel stones to left; early 17th century section slightly advanced to right; irregular fenestration. W elevation: openings to right with stone margins; 2 piended dormers to right; single storey lean-to spanning full width of elevation, advanced section to left with door to return, roof to lean-to partially cut down to right for original window. N elevation: windows to left with stone margins. E elevation: lean-tos flanking opening.
INTERIOR (seen 1991 and 2011): barrel-vaulted ground floor to E of S range with round-headed moulded ashlar doorpiece; richly decorated compartmentalised plaster ceilings circa 1620 in drawing (presently dining) room and ante room with large plaster pendants, monograms, floreate and foliate motifs; fine similarly detailed overmantle in drawing room with Buchan arrangement of arms and 3 Corinthiane colonettes at angles; library on 1st floor has fine but less detailed compartmentalised ceiling and Rococo fireplace; corbelled evidence of newel stairs in NW corner of library; 2 bedrooms with interesting 17th century plaster decorated ceilings, including effigy of Mary, daughter of 5th and wife of 6th Earl of Buchan; various moulded chimneypieces; garderobe within NE angle of 2nd floor bedroom at E of S range; some fielded panel doors.
Mostly 12-pane sash and case windows. Pitched grey slate roof. Flat-coped skews with moulded skew putts. Ashlar coped stacks ridge and end stacks with clay cans.
GAME STORE: circa late 19th century timber game store, approximately 3 metres high set on tapered and polished ashlar stilts. Curvilinear doors at front, louvred sides. Pyramidal roof
SUNDIAL: circa mid 17th century, card table type sundial. Moulded baluster shaft; moulded dial chamfered at angles with incised figures (much weathered), metal gnomon.
GARDEN AND ENCLOSING WALLS: various drystane walls and steps in garden; walls, steps and enclosing walls in landscaped den at E of house.
Statement of Special Interest
A-Group consisting of Auchterhouse Old Mansion House; Auchterhouse Dovecot; Auchterhouse Laundry; Auchterhouse Lodge and Gatepiers; Auchterhouse Stable, Coach House and Squash Court; Road Bridge over Auchterhouse Burn and Weir Adjacent to Road Bridge (see separate list entries).
Auchterhouse Old Mansion House is a fine example of the gradual development of a Scottish country house in the 17th and 18th century, which incorporates an earlier fragment of a 13th century castle. The building retains fine original interior detailing from each era of its built history. The former drawing room (now dining room) and ante room in particular has elaborate plaster detailing to the overmantle and ceiling. Auchterhouse is also one of the earliest examples in Scotland of principal public rooms being located on the ground floor. In 1843 the building was described as "the best specimen now in this part of the country of an old baronial residence" (New Statistical Account).
Auchterhouse was an important country seat which passed successively by marriage through the families of the Ogilvys of Airlie, Earls of Buchan, Earls of Strathmore, and returning to the Ogilvys in 1715. James Stewart, 1st Earl of Buchan, was the nephew of James III of Scotland, who in 1469 was given the titles of Earl of Buchan and Lord Auchterhouse.
The 13th century castle is understood to have been a substantial fortified structure, consisting of a large courtyard with enclosing walls, towers and a keep. In the earlier 17th century the lower storey of the original keep was incorporated into the later house, as a vaulted ground floor. A gabled porch was added to the S, concealing the original doorway and the property was extended to the W forming an L-plan. In the mid 18th century the W range was extended and a north range added. A wall to the E created an internal courtyard completing the building.
In 1923 the property was sold to W H Valentine who commissioned Mills and Shepherd, a Dundee architectural practice, to prepare plans for a number of alterations. This included the addition of dormers to the S range. The tympanum of these dormers incorporate carved fragments of the 17th century house which were found lying within the grounds. These include a marriage stone with the initials PL and MC and dated 1703, celebrating the marriage of Partick Lyon of Auchterhouse to the daughter of Carnegie of Findhaven.
In 1979 the property was opened as Old Mansion House Hotel, but was converted back to a family home in the early 21st century.
Auchterhouse castle was owned by Sir John Ramsey, a close associate of William Wallace. In 1308 Ramsey entertained Wallace and 300 of his followers at the property when he returned to Scotland from Flanders. The ruinous tower to the SE of the house is called Wallace Tower (Scheduled Monument), in commemoration of this visit.
Statutory Address and list description revised 2012. Formerly listed as two separate listings "Auchterhouse Old Mansion House Hotel Including Game Store Garden and Enclosing Walls" and "Auchterhouse Old Mansion House Hotel Sundial".
Old Statistical Account (1795), vol.XIV, pp525-6. New Statistical Account (1845), vol.XI, p650; Rev W Mason Inglis, Annuls of an Angus Parish (1898). A Jervise, as rewritten and corrected by the Rev J Gammack, Memorials Of Angus and the Mearns (1885), vol.II, pp122-8. D MacGibbon and T Ross, The Castellated and Domestic Architecture of Scotland (1892), vol IV, pp376-7, Vol V, pp239-32 & 491. C McKean and D Walker Dundee: An Illustrated Architectural Guide (1993), pp165-66. A H Millar, The Historical Castles and Mansions of Perthshire and Forfarshire (1980). J Ochterlony, 'Account of the Shire of Forfar' (1684-5), as reprinted in A J Warden, Angus or Forfarshire (1881), vol.II, p262. A J Warden, Angus or Forfarshire (1881), vol.II, pp385-90. Valuation Rolls, 1890-91, 1900-01, 1902-3, 1908-9, 1923-4. Various Inventories of Furniture at Auchterhouse, 1727, 1731, 1764-1803, NAS GD16.33.35/37/39. Report by William Scott for Repairs of the Mansion House at Auchterhouse (3rd January 1851), NAS GD16.27.407. Plan of additions to inner courtyard elevations, 1852, NAS, RHP 43379. Survey Plans, 1920, RCAHMS AND/8/1.3.4; Alterations, 1923, RCAHMS AND/8/5-8.
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Printed: 20/04/2019 19:33