William Burn, 1839-44. 2-storey, 6- x 7- bay, L-plan, balustraded and crowstep-gabled Jacobean manor house with attached single-storey and attic servants' courtyard to NW (currently school, 2011). Sandstone ashlar with buckle quoins. Base course, band course, cornice. Bi- and tri-partite window openings with stone mullions and transoms. Some narrow slit windows. Moulded architraves; some windows with strapwork window heads and aprons. Square corner turrets with finialled ogee roofs. Tall chimneys with barley sugar decorative shafts.
N (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: asymmetrical, with advanced 7-bay former servants' courtyard to right. Recessed 6-bay entrance elevation with advanced, single-storey, flat-roofed porch and additional projecting Ionic-columned porch with 2-leaf timber door and part-glazed internal door. Decorative strapwork pediment above. Polygonal stair tower in re-entrant angle. Elevation to E with strapwork pedimented upper storey windows breaking wallhead.
S ELEVATION: symmetrical. 6 bays with pair of blocked segmental-arched openings to centre at ground; flanking canted bay-windows and blank outer bays.
E ELEVATION: symmetrical. 5 bays, with canted bay windows to outer bays.
W ELEVATION: asymmetrical. 7-bay former house to right with advanced and recessed bays. Advanced single-storey wing to left. Balustraded steps lead to off-centre, part-glazed 2-leaf timber door; bowed 4-light bay to ground at left. Canted bay to far right.
Predominantly plate glass timber sash and case windows with leaded panes. Grey slates. Cast-iron rainwater goods.
INTERIOR: (partially seen 2010): predominantly R W Schultz, 1890-1900 with some original 1840s decoration intact. Outstanding, multi-period decorative scheme with prominent Jacobean entrance hall and suite of public and private rooms in various styles. Original room lay out mostly intact with former public rooms to ground and private accommodation to upper storey; some later 20th century alteration to accommodate school. Panelled timber doors throughout. Entrance hall with decoratively carved Jacobean stone fire surround; compartmented ceiling with central dome supported by Corinthian columns. Stair to part glazed Jacobean timber screen leads to main corridor. Corridor with decorative plaster ceiling and oak panelling; timber dog-leg stair to upper floor with large, heraldic, stained glass stair window and painted tunnel-vaulted ceiling depicting the Eight Winds of Greek mythology. Number of rooms with elaborately carved plaster ceilings with pendants and decorative fire surrounds in variety of styles including one with Ionic columned canopy with overmantel. Timber panelling with inlaid mother-of-pearl designs to number of rooms, including former chapel. Some rooms with painted friezes; some with floral designs and one depicting Corpus Christi procession. Former public rooms to ground; library with timber bookcases and shell niches; painted frieze. Former boudoir at ground with full-height Mannerist style stucco plaster work with round-arched mirrors and decorative terms with fruit.
Upper corridor with timber panelling and coloured plaster relief above and to ceiling, depicting birds, fruit and leaves; 3 glass cupolas to ceiling with coloured glass inserted. Former private sitting room with life-size plaster relief seagull adorning walls.
TERRACES: stepped terraces to W. Stone steps with pierced balustrade and square-plan coped piers.
FOUNTAINS: to E and W. Pair of ornate, stone fountains with central urns and shallow quatrefoil basins. Tall central decorative urn and central spout to that at W. Square-plan plinth with lion head spouts and basins, surmounted by large urn with water spout to that at E.
Statement of Special Interest
House of Falkland is an outstanding example of a little externally altered mid 19th century country house by one of Scotland's leading architects and which contains an exceptional interior decorative scheme. The house exhibits rich architectural detailing, with a Jacobean design to the exterior and an eclectic combination of styles to the interior in one of Scotland's most significant multi-period interiors. The house occupies a prominent position within its 19th century estate and sits within an outstanding designed landscape. The interior decoration is intricate and remarkably intact, with little alteration to provide school accommodation.
The history of the House of Falkland Estate is linked to that of nearby Falkland Palace, which lies immediately to the east. In 1437, the Palace of Falkland became Crown property and was developed as a Hunting lodge. The House of Falkland Estate is formed by land that was gifted to the Keeper of Falkland Palace and land that was more generally acquired. In its present form, the estate dates from the early 19th century when it was acquired by John Bruce when he became Keeper of the Palace of Falkland in 1821. During his time at the estate, Bruce improved the lands around the existing estate house, Nuthill House (now demolished), built Stables, and cascades and bridges were erected over the Mill and Maspie Burns.
On his death in 1826, his niece Margaret Bruce inherited the Estate. She married Onesiphorus Tyndall Bruce in 1828 and they made the decision to demolish Nuthill House and to build a new residence. The architect for the new house was William Burn and the house was built in 1839-44. They also laid out the formal garden around the house, which is now grassed over. The 3rd Marquis of Bute bought the Estate in 1887 and he employed Robert Weir Schultz and William Frame to carry out interior work in the House. He also completed some Arts & Crafts landscaping to the estate. The house was used as a convalescent home in the First World War and as a home for Polish Airmen in the Second World War. The House of Falkland is currently House of Falkland School (2011).
William Burn (1789-1870) was one of Scotland's foremost architects in the 19th century. He began his career by designing public buildings, but he is particularly associated with country house design at which he was very successful and had a long list of clients, both in Scotland and England. He was skilled at the internal planning of country houses and his houses range from the Greek Revival style to the Scottish Baronial.
Robert Weir Schultz (1860-1951) a Scottish architect, particularly known for his Arts and Crafts work. He did a great deal of work for the Marquis of Bute, including work at Dumfries House and Mount Stuart (see separate listings).
(List description updated 2011).