Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing under the Planning (Listing Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing – see 'About Listed Buildings' below for more information. The further details below the 'Address/Name of Site' are provided for information purposes only.

Address/Name of Site

MEIKLE KILDRUMMIELB14057

Status: Designated

Documents

There are no additional online documents for this record.

Summary

Category
B
Date Added
26/01/1971
Supplementary Information Updated
04/04/2024
Local Authority
Highland
Planning Authority
Highland
Parish
Nairn
NGR
NH 85556 53889
Coordinates
285556, 853889

Description

Meikle Kildrummie is an L-plan house built sometime between the later 17th century and mid-18th century, with 19th century additions. It comprises a two-storey, four-bay house with an early-19th century, single-storey, three-bay cottage at right angles. The whole is of stone construction and harled with painted margins. There is a slightly off-centre entrance opening to the main house with a cornice above and a round-headed entrance door with small, square windows flanking.

The window openings are in a variety of sizes with a mixture of glazing patterns, predominantly four-pane glazing to the front elevation. There are three dormer windows above the roof eaves on the rear (southwest) pitch of the single-storey cottage roof. The roofs throughout are covered in grey slates with crowstepped gables and end chimneystacks to the earlier section of the house. The single-storey cottage range has straight skews and end chimneystacks.

Historical background

East and West Kildrummy [sic] are both marked on Timothy Pont's map of around 1583-1614 and on Robert Gordon's map of around 1636-52. The slightly later Atlas of Scotland by Blaeu of 1654 shows a settlement marked S[outh] Kildrummy in roughly the same location as the house currently occupies, north of the River Nairn between Broadley and Kilravock. On William Roy's map of 1747-52, there is a house clearly marked as 'Kildrummie House' with accompanying grounds. This map evidence and the design and style of the house suggest Meikle Kildrummie was constructed sometime between the mid-17th century and the mid-18th century.

Meikle Kildrummie was historically part of the Kilravock estate and was owned by the Rose family. In the mid-18th century, it was used as a Dower House by the Roses (Bain, pp.421-425). The principal seat of the Rose family was Kilravock Castle to the west.

Robert Burns visited the area in the autumn of 1787 and, with a letter of introduction from Henry Mackenzie, visited Elizabeth Rose, 19th Baroness of Kilravock (1747-1815) at Kilravock Castle. She was a literary critic, author and prolific letter writer. Burns accompanied Elizabeth Rose and Mrs Grant, the wife of the minister of Cawdor, to Meikle Kildrummie where Lady Brae and Miss Rose (Elizabeth's mother-in-law and sister-in-law) lived (Bain, pp.423-25). An inventory taken a few years before Burns' visit lists the works held at the library at Kildrummie, including Pope's Letters, the Tatler, the works of Milton, Shenstone, Prior and Dryden, as well as plays, pamphlets and songs (Bain, p.425).

The 1851 census and contemporary newspaper reports show that Meikle Kildrummie was operating as a farm by the earlier decades of the 19th century (Ancestry; Glasgow Herald). It is recorded as the principal farm on the Kilravock estate in 1860 (Elgin Courant).

Meikle Kildrummie is first shown in detail on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map of 1866-68 as an L-shaped house with extensive farm buildings, over a track, to the northeast of the house. The 2nd Edition map of 1904 shows some infill at the corner where the single-storey cottage meets the earlier section of the house.

The Ordnance Survey Name Book of 1869 describes the property as one of the largest farm steadings in the area, a large site comprising a two-storey house with two Courts of Offices and some timber sheds, all owned by Major Rose of Kilravock Castle (OS1/22/6/19). The mid-19th century tenant of Meikle Kildrummie was Robert Anderson who, on an improving lease, converted the mossy land into arable fields. Anderson went on to become a leading agriculturalist in the County of Nairn (Bain, pp.479, 590; Inverness Courier, 1852). The census returns between 1871 and 1901 show the Macintyre family farmed Meikle Kildrummie for the latter half of the 19th century (Ancestry).

The house and farm remained part of the Kilravock estate until the 1970s, after which it was sold and became a private home (Press and Journal).

Statement of Special Interest

Meikle Kildrummie meets the criteria for listing for the following reasons:

  • The historic 17th and early 18th century architectural design of Meikle Kildrummie is largely retained, particularly to its external elevations. This includes its distinctive, earlier vernacular detailing, such as its crowstepped gables, its window openings of different sizes and its first floor windows set close to the roof eaves.
  • The plan form and setting of the house survives largely as it was shown on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map of 1866-68, incorporating the earlier house and the 19th century additions when Meikle Kildrummie operated as a tenanted farm.
  • In terms of its setting, it remains a distinctive historic building within the landscape and is visible from the road.
  • It is an early surviving example of its building type.
  • It has social historical interest for its contribution to the area's agricultural history.
  • It has an association with a person of national importance.

Architectural interest

Design

The design and style of Meikle Kildrummie indicates it was a house of some status in the parish, such as a Dower House and, later, a large, tenanted farm on the Kilravock estate. It is a good quality, well-detailed example of a later 17th century or early to mid-18th century Scots vernacular house. It is a multiphase house which retains its distinctive, earlier vernacular detailing, including its crowstepped gables, its window openings of differing proportions and its first floor windows set close to the roof eaves.

As a site, it developed from a private house (in the late-17th and 18th century) to a large, tenanted farm (in the 19th century) and back to a private home (by the late-20th century). As such, the building has undergone some additions as the needs of the accommodation have changed over time, including the addition of the later, single-storey cottage which was probably added in the early-19th century when Meikle Kildrummie became a tenanted farm. The single-storey extension on the northeast end of the earlier part of the house appears to date from the late-19th century (it is shown on the 2nd Edition map of 1904) and was later converted to a garage (it is shown as such on photographs taken in 1981 (Canmore

.

The footprint of the house survives largely as it is shown on the 1st Edition map of 1866-68. There has been some minor change, such as the low infill addition at the southwest corner of the building where the single-storey cottage juts at right angles, however this has not detracted from the overall later 17th or 18th century form of the house. While the property has undergone incremental refurbishment since the 1970s, including the addition of replacement windows, the replacement of interior materials and the reconfiguration of interior spaces, its historic character is largely retained and its exterior design is largely intact.

Meikle Kildrummie continues to demonstrate quality of design and construction in the Scots vernacular style. The house retains much of its later 17th to mid-18th century architectural interest, including its footprint, external detailing and overall historic character.

Setting

Meikle Kildrummie is in a rural, roadside position, southwest of the centre of Nairn. It remains a distinctive building within the landscape and is visible from the road that runs past the entrance to the property and from higher ground to the northwest. The immediate historic setting of the house itself is largely retained as it is surrounded by mature trees and garden ground and its layout is largely the same as that shown on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map of 1866-68. The loss of the historically and functionally related farming buildings and steading to the northeast has changed the wider setting as it appeared in the 19th century, however the loss of these buildings and their replacement with later structures hasn't adversely affected the overall historic character of the earlier house.

Historic interest

Age and rarity

The older a building is, and the fewer of its type that survive, the more likely it is to be of special interest. Meikle Kildrummie was built sometime between the later 17th century and the early to mid-18th century by the Kilravock estate and was known to have been used as a Dower House by the Rose family in the mid-18th century.

Houses built on landed estates, such as Laird's houses or Dower houses, are not a rare building type in Scotland, however Meikle Kildrummie is an early surviving example of a 17th century house. It is a well-detailed example of a once common Scots vernacular building type which survives largely in its original form externally. The later cottage addition further contributes to the historic character, setting and significance of the site by showing how it evolved over time from a private residence in the 17th and 18th centuries to a large, tenanted farm in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Social historical interest

From the mid-18th to the mid-19th century, agriculture in Scotland was transformed as small-scale subsistence farming gave way to the creation of larger, commercial farming practices. This radical change in farming, known as the Improvement or Agricultural Improvement period, saw the construction of new farmhouses and associated buildings and many of these vernacular buildings would have been replaced or 'improved'.

The Agricultural Improvement period came later to the Highland region. The later use of Meikle Kildrummie as a large farm from the early to mid-19th century, although altered and now a private residence, is a tangible built reminder of the Improvement era and the impact this had on 19th century rural society.

Association with people or events of national importance

The house has an association with Scotland's most celebrated poet, Robert Burns. He visited Meikle Kildrummie in the autumn of 1787, accompanied by Elizabeth Rose of Kilravock Castle and Mrs Grant, the wife of the minister of Cawdor. The Rose family held a significant collection of books in the library at Meikle Kildrummie. An inventory taken a few years before Burns' visit showed the library included Pope's Letters, the works of Milton, Shenstone, Prior, Dryden and Voltaire among other books, pamphlets and traditional songs (Bain, p.425).

Listed building record revised in 2024.

References

Bibliography

Canmore: http://canmore.org.uk/ CANMORE ID 111365

Scottish Development Department images: https://canmore.org.uk/collection/1961310

https://canmore.org.uk/collection/1961309

Countryside Commission for Scotland image:

https://canmore.org.uk/collection/1619283

Maps

Pont, T. (c.1583-96) Moray and Nairn – Pont 8, at https://maps.nls.uk/view/00002297

Gordon, R. (c.1636-52) Aberdeen, Banf [sic], Murrey [sic] &c. to Inverness: [and] Fra the north water to Ross, at https://maps.nls.uk/view/00000356

Blaeu, J. (1654) Atlas of Scotland, Moravia Scotiae provincial, at https://maps.nls.uk/view/00000464

Roy, W. (1747-52) Military Survey of Scotland – Highlands.

Thomson, J. (1830) Atlas of Scotland: Nairn and Elgin, at https://maps.nls.uk/view/74400177

Ordnance Survey (surveyed 1866-68, published 1869) Nairnshire IV.3 (Nairn). 25 inches to the mile. 1st Edition. Southampton: Ordnance Survey.

Ordnance Survey (revised 1904, published 1905) Nairnshire IV.3. 25 inches to the mile. 2nd Edition. Southampton: Ordnance Survey.

Printed Sources

Bain, G. (1893) History of Nairnshire. Nairn: "Telegraph Office", pp.421-425; 479; 591.

Elgin Courant, and Morayshire Advertiser (14 December 1860) Muckle Kildrummie, p.6.

Glasgow Herald (11 August 1856), Highland and Agricultural Society's Show at Inverness, p.7.

Inverness Courier (28 October 1852), Notice to Creditors, p.1.

Online Sources

Ancestry. 1851 Census Transcription for William Simpson, at https://www.ancestry.co.uk/discoveryui-content/view/2945679:1076?tid=&pid=&queryId=581c5d45-595d-42fc-929e-b64367e6c47a&_phsrc=fXn16&_phstart=successSource [accessed 05/02/2024].

Ancestry. 1871 Census Transcription for John Macintyre, at https://www.ancestry.co.uk/discoveryui-content/view/1023593:1104 [accessed 06/02/2024].

Ancestry. 1881 Census Transcription for Donald Macintyre, at https://www.ancestry.co.uk/discoveryui-content/view/180666:1119?queryId=afa98ae3d85e80eaa454d3727a786f49&_phsrc=fXn19&_phstart=successSource [accessed 06/02/2024].

Ancestry. 1901 Census Transcription for Donald Macintyre, at https://www.ancestry.co.uk/discoveryui-content/view/151685:1101 [accessed 06/02/2024].

Ordnance Survey Name Book (1869) Nairnshire volume 6, OS1/22/6/19, p.19, at https://scotlandsplaces.gov.uk/digital-volumes/ordnance-survey-name-books/nairnshire-os-name-books-1869/nairnshire-volume-06/19 [accessed 12/01/2024].

Press and Journal (2018). Reluctant farewell to remarkable Meikle Kildrummie property, at https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/lifestyle/home-gardens/property/1516313/reluctant-farewell-to-remarkable-meikle-kildrummie-property/ [accessed 07/02/2024].

About Listed Buildings

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

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Printed: 22/05/2024 21:25