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Auchincruive House, Ayr

A Category A Listed Building in Ayr, South Ayrshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.4784 / 55°28'42"N

Longitude: -4.5526 / 4°33'9"W

OS Eastings: 238773

OS Northings: 623468

OS Grid: NS387234

Mapcode National: GBR 3D.WXVM

Mapcode Global: WH3QW.1KCK

Plus Code: 9C7QFCHW+9X

Entry Name: Auchincruive House, Ayr

Listing Name: Auchincruive House, Auchincruive Estate, Ayr

Listing Date: 14 April 1971

Last Amended: 15 March 2021

Category: A

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 330299

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB99

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Ayr

County: South Ayrshire

Electoral Ward: Kyle

Parish: Ayr

Traditional County: Ayrshire

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Description

Auchincruive House was designed by Robert Adam around 1764, modified and built 1767. East wing added late-18th/early-19th century. West wing and further alterations early-19th century. The central block (corps de logis) is two-storey with basement and attic, and seven-bays wide, extended to east by three-bay block. Further two-storey, four-bay wing to east and two-storey and basement, seven-bay wing to west. Central block (corps de logis) constructed in coursed sandstone with ashlar dressings, harled wings with sandstone ashlar dressings. Detailing includes a base course, dividing band course, modillion-moulded eaves course and eaves blocking course. Strip quoins, architraved windows with entablatures to principal floor, and attic windows predominantly recessed in roof to attic floor.

Southwest (entrance) elevation has a seven-bay principal block arranged 2-3-2 with pilastered, flat-roofed porch advanced to centre bay at ground floor. Pilastered two-leaf panelled and glazed timber door reached by five steps, flanked by eight-pane glazed panels and a 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 glazing patterns to flanking bays to left and right at ground floor and basement, three windows to first floor, three recessed windows to attic floor. Two-bay blocks to left and right slightly advanced, regular glazing patterns to all floors, rectangular dormer windows centred above bays to right. Three-bay block adjoining to right, blind oculus to left of basement floor flanked by window, regular window openings to ground and first floors, rectangular dormer to centre of attic floor. The east wing has two two-bay blocks, that to outer right slightly advanced, regular window openings to each. West wing is arranged 2-2-3, two-bay gabled block advanced to centre with regular openings, flat-roofed pilastered single-storey porch to re-entrant angle to right. Architraved doorway with panelled timber door and window to right return. Louvred door to basement below, regular openings to remainder.

Southeast elevation is symmetrical, with gabled bay advanced to centre having tripartite window set in gablehead, windows to returns, windows to flanking bays to left and right at first floor. Ground floor obscured by two-storey wing. Wing is symmetrical with an entablatured pilastered doorway, flanked by two windows. Panelled timber door to centre bay, window centred above. Two two-bay blocks with paired pilasters slightly advanced to left and right.

Northeast (rear) elevation has a seven-bay principal block arranged 2-3-2 with three 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 openings to remainder. Two two-bay blocks to left and right with three-light canted late-19th century windows through basement and ground floors and regularly spaced recessed window to attic floor. Three-bay block adjoining to left, window to centre of basement infilled. East wing is five-bay, with two bays to left slightly advanced. West wing is five-bay with gabled two-bay block to centre. Recessed two-bay block adjoining to left, irregular openings to basement and regular to ground and first floors. Three-light canted bay advanced to outer right.

Northwest elevation has near-regular openings, with doorway to basement and two blind windows to right of first floor, bays to right and obscured by west wing. Single-storey west wing with architraved panelled timber door with tall fanlight to left, flanked to right by three 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 contains original Adam plasterwork and chimneypieces 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 Interest

Forms a group with East Lodge (LB997), Gibbsyard (former stables) (LB995), Hanging Garden (LB47000), Ice House (LB4873), Oswald's Temple (Tea House) (LB996), Dairy Research Department (LB50014), Dairy School (LB49838), Walled Garden (LB998), West Lodge (LB47001) and Wilson Hall (LB47006) - (see separate listings). The group is located within the Inventory Garden and Designed Landscape of Auchincruive (GDL00031).

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, colonial merchant and advisor to the British government, in 1764.

Richard Oswald of Auchincruive (1705-1784) was able to purchase the Auchincruive Estate and fund a series of improvements through the profits he derived from the transatlantic slave economy. Oswald made a vast private fortune through merchandise shipping and trading, the procurement and trading of enslaved people, plantation ownership and government contracting. From 1748 he was also the co-owner of the notorious trading fort of Bunce Island in Sierra Leone, used to imprison African people before their forced transportation to the Caribbean and Americas.

Robert Adam is known to have designed a "simple classical house with wings" (Sanderson, 1993) for James Murray, the plans for which survive. However, the Oswald family are responsible for the current house (originally harled), which bears only some resemblance to Adam's plans, and was modified quite substantially. The window arrangement of the entrance elevation is much 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. In the late-18th/early-19th century the east wing was added. In 1784 George Oswald (1735-1819) inherited the estate, and later commissioned the building of the west wing and the raising of the east 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). 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.

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. The house was renamed 'Oswald Hall'. The building is now occupied as commercial and residential premises and was recently renamed 'Auchincruive House' (2021).

Statutory address revised in 2021. Previously listed as 'Auchincruive Estate, Oswald Hall'.

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