Designed by Robert Adam, circa 1764; modified and built 1767; E wing added late 18th/early 19th century; W wing and further alterations early 19th century. 2-storey, basement and attic, 5-bay corps-de-logis, extended to E by 3-bay block; 2-storey, 4-bay E wing; 2-storey and basement 7-bay W wing. Coursed sandstone corps-de-logis with ashlar dressings; harled wings with sandstone ashlar dressings. Base course; dividing band course, modillion-moulded eaves course; eaves blocking course. Strip quoins; architraved windows, with entablatures to principal floor; attic windows predominantly recessed in roof to attic floor.
SW (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: corps-de-logis: 7-bay principal block arranged 2-3-2; pilastered, flat-roofed porch advanced to centre bay at ground floor, pilastered 2-leaf panelled and glazed timber door reached by 5 steps, flanked by 8-pane glazed panels, broad decoratively glazed fanlight above, windows to left and right returns at ground floor, decorative round-arched doorways with fluted pilastered and scrolled keystone motifs to basement floor; regular fenestration to flanking bays to left and right at ground floor and basement, 3 windows to 1st floor, 3 recessed windows to attic floor; 2-bay blocks to left and right slightly advanced, regular fenestration to all floors, rectangular dormer centred above bays to right. 3-bay block adjoining to right, blind oculus to left of basement floor flanked by window, regular fenestration to ground and 1st floors, rectangular dormer to centre of attic floor. E wing: 2 2-bay blocks, that to outer right slightly advanced, regular fenestration to each. W wing: arranged 2-2-3; 2-bay gabled block advanced to centre with regular fenestration, flat-roofed pilastered single storey porch to re-entrant angle to right, architraved doorway, panelled timber door, window to right return, louvred door to basement below, regular fenestration to remainder; regular fenestration to recessed bay to outer left.
SE ELEVATION: symmetrical; gabled bay advanced to centre with tripartite window set in gablehead, windows to returns, windows to flanking bays to left and right at 1st floor; ground floor obscured by 2-storey wing. Wing: symmetrical; entablatured pilastered doorway, flanked by 2 windows, panelled timber door to centre bay, window centred above; 2 2-bay blocks with paired pilasters slightly advanced to left and right, regular fenestration.
NE (REAR) ELEVATION: corps-de-logis: 7-bay principal block arranged 2-3-2; 3 broadly canted bays to centre, glazed timber door reached by swept flight of stone steps with decorative railings and trefoil-headed openings to returns, regular fenestration to remainder. 2 2-bay blocks to left and right, 3-light canted late 19th century windows through basement and ground floors, regular fenestration above; regularly spaced recessed window to attic floor. 3-bay block adjoining to left, window to centre of basement infilled, regular fenestration to remainder. E wing: 5-bay, 2 bays to left slightly advanced, regular fenestration. W wing: 5-bay; gabled 2-bay block to centre, regular fenestration, recessed 2-bay block adjoining to left, irregular fenestration to basement, regular fenestration to ground and 1st floors; 3-light canted bay advanced to outer right.
NW ELEVATION: near-regular fenestration, doorway to basement, 2 blind windows to right of 1st floor; bays to right and obscured by W wing. Single storey W wing: architraved panelled timber door with tall fanlight to left, flanked to right by 3 windows, doorway to penultimate bay to right, flanked to outer right by further single window.
Predominantly 12-pane and 15-pane timber sash and case windows. Piended grey slate roof with lead ridges. Coped skews. Coped wallhead and ridge stacks with octagonal and circular cans. Cast-iron rainwater goods.
INTERIOR: original Adam plasterwork and chimney-pieces survive in hall, dining room and drawing room. Variety of highly decorative timber doors. Decorative wrought-iron balusters to staircase. Later decorative plaster and timberwork throughout.
Statement of Special Interest
A-Group with East Lodge, Gibbsyard, Hanging Garden, Ice House, Oswald's Temple, Walled Garden, West Lodge and Wilson Hall (see separate listings). The Auchincruive Estate was owned by the Wallace family in the 13th century. There were a variety of owners until the 18th century when James Murray of Broughton sold it to Richard Oswald, entrepreneur and merchant, in 1764. The estate remained in the Oswald family until 1925, when they sold it to a local farmer John M Hannah, who gifted it to the West of Scotland Agricultural College in 1927, under whose ownership it remains (1999). Robert Adam is known to have designed a house "simple classical house with wings" (Sanderson, see above) for James Murray, the plans for which survive (see above). However Oswald and his family are responsible for the current house (originally harled), which bears only some resemblance to Adam's plans, and was clearly modified quite substantially. The window arrangement of the entrance elevation is vastly simplified, the pedimented entrance and Venetian windows being omitted. The quadrant links to kitchen and stable pavilions do not appear to have been built to Adam's design either. In the late 18th/early 19th century the E wing was added. In 1819 George Oswald inherited the estate, and later commissioned the building of the W wing and the raising of the E wing. The interiors designed by Adam were carried out as intended, some of their fine detailing borrowing from his English commissions such as the thyrsus and ivy in the hall, found also at Shardeloes (Sanderson, see above). The ceilings vary from the beam and panel ceiling of the hall to the geometric ceiling in the drawing room and foliate rococo inspired ceiling in the dining room.
ADAM DRAWINGS, SOANE MUSEUM, Vol. 2, Vol 11, Nos 219-23, Vol 22, Vol 44, Nos 60-65; Andrew Armstrong, A New Map of Ayr, 1775 (evident); THE NEW STATISTICAL ACCOUNT OF SCOTLAND, Vol 5, p120, 122; 1st (1860) and 2nd (1897) EDITION OS MAPS; FH Groome ORDNANCE GAZETTEER OF SCOTLAND, Vol 1 (1892), p82; SRO (GD 213/54, pp 23, 27, 39, 55, 59, 108-9); COUNTRY LIFE (1712/1932); K Andrew, AYRSHIRE: KYLE AND CARRICK DISTRICT, (1981), p87-88; J Macaulay THE CLASSICAL COUNTRY HOUSE IN SCOTLAND, 1680-1880 (1987), p144; AN INVENTORY OF GARDENS AND DESIGNED LANDSCAPES IN SCOTLAND, Vol 2 (1987), p155-6; Michael C Davis THE CASTLES AND MANSIONS OF AYRSHIRE (1991), pp43-5, 47, 156-7; D King, THE COMPLETE WORKS OF ROBERT AND JAMES ADAM, (1991), p225, 242, 245; Rob Close AYRSHIRE AND ARRAN (1992), pp40-1; M H B Sanderson, ROBERT ADAM IN AYRSHIRE, (1993), p12-15; NMRS Photographic Archive (A67694).
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Printed: 27/01/2021 22:01