The original Knockbrex House, (from a pre-1900 photograph),
was a plain harled house of circa 1820, 3-bay and 2-storey
with tripartite ground-plan, piended slate roof and 2 axial
stacks, to the W was a single storey L-plan service range.
In 1900 it was refaced and incorporated in a large
asymmetrical country house built for James Brown of
Knockbrex. The core of the older house lies now to the SE
with an additional bay to the E; the W range was raised to
2-storeys and attics, rubble walling with granite margins to
angles and openings. Moulded granite eaves cornice, slate
N ELEVATION: long 2-storey elevation with refaced early
19th-century 3-bay block to E. 3-bay original part; the
centre bay has been shallow advanced and given a broad gable,
pedimented porch with granite columns, double-leaf panelled
doors retained from earlier house. Flanking porch, blocked
sidelights, above, tripartite window. Otherwise all windows
single light, that to ground right now door, all sash and
case with small-pane upper sashes, plate glass lower.
To the left 2-storey recessed bay added in 1900 with single
storey timber and glass conservatory. To the right, 2 boldly
projecting gabled bays with blind oculus to gables. Single
light and bipartite windows, all glazing as above. To extreme
W of this range small walled service court with 2-storey
buildings recently altered to give garage at ground floor
with sliding timber doors.
S ELEVATION: long asymmetrical range, canted bay to centre of
original house, linked to single storey projection to W with
balustraded parapet. 2 advanced gabled bays to W. Slate
roofs, axial corniced stacks, piended roof to original part.
Some 3-light timber 1900 dormers.
INTERIOR: largely redesigned in 1900 alterations in
neo-Georgian and Arts and Crafts style. Impressive timber
panelled hall with embossed ?leather frieze, beaten copper
chimneypiece, scale and platt stair. Drawingroom to S with
panelling, door and plasterwork retained from original house.
To E room of original house enlarged billiard room created
with glazed brick chimneypiece and panelling all of 1900.
Small water closet off billiard room with elaborate tiling
SUNDIAL AND WALLED GARDEN: to N of house, sunken formal
garden with centrally placed sundial of 1900 date. Simple
octagonal base and shaft with carved near hemispherical
horizontal-faced dial, dial and gnomon metal. Rubble walled
coped garden wall to N of house, pair of rubble gatepiers
with ball finials and cast and wrought-iron gates.
HAHA, ORNAMENTAL WALLS AND TURRETS: to S of house haha with
ditch. Centrally placed rubble bridge with cast-iron gate
spans haha, coped parapet. To ends of haha squat rubble built
drum turrets with castellated parapets, joining these tall
rubble curved garden walls.
GATES, GATEPIERS AND BOUNDARY WALLS: pairs of square rubble
gatepiers with ball-finials and elaborate cast- and
wrought-iron gates of 1900 to E and S of house, linked by
ornamental rubble walls, parts with decorative pebble coping.
Statement of Special Interest
James Brown was a wealthy Manchester merchant, chairman of
the retail and wholesale drapery firm of Affleck and Brown.
He retired to Knockbrex and began an extensive building
programme on the house and estate from 1895 until his death
in 1920. Apart from Knockbrex House itself which is
comparatively sober in design, the other estate buildings are characterised by a stylistic individuality bordering on the idiosyncratic, and always a careful attention to detail using
the highest quality materials. For other estate buildings see
entries for Corseyard, Kirkandrews Chapel, Kirkandrews
Cottages, Knockbrex Bathing Hut, Chapelton Row, Knockbrex
B Group with Knockbrex Stables and "Toy Fort".