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Latitude: 55.7637 / 55°45'49"N
Longitude: -4.6353 / 4°38'7"W
OS Eastings: 234752
OS Northings: 655411
OS Grid: NS347554
Mapcode National: GBR 39.9WWT
Mapcode Global: WH2NB.RDW8
Entry Name: Woodside House, Including Boundary Walls and Gatepiers
Listing Date: 14 April 1971
Source: Historic Scotland
Source ID: 331388
Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB943
Building Class: Cultural
County: North Ayrshire
Electoral Ward: Kilbirnie and Beith
Traditional County: Ayrshire
Multi-phase, but largely 1759 and circa 1895; incorporating part of 1551 tower enlarged 1645. Turrets removed from tower, 3 additional bays added and all placed under one roof, 1759; large additional block to rear 1848; tower raised and further alterations, Charles S S Johnston of Edinburgh, circa 1895. Baronial-detailed 2-storey, attic and basement 7-bay mansion, on sloping ground to rear; symmetrical façade with classical doorpiece plus 3-storey and attic tower to SE; crowstepped gables, pedimented dormerheads and corbelled angle turrets. Harled sandstone rubble (exposed to rear); raised angle and window margins; moulded eaves cornice to 2-storey section of SE elevation.
SE (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: timber panelled outer doors with bosses in central porch with Gibbsian surround at head of splayed flying stair; stone balustrade terminating in ball-capped piers; stone and cast-iron balustrade in plain, geometric pattern over retaining wall; windows flanking entrance, 2 windows to each outer bay. 1st floor windows arranged 2-3-2. Small panel '1551 HR JH 1613' (see Notes) set between storeys to L of door. 3rd floor of tower with 3 windows; attic with segmental-pedimented dormer and 2 windows in raised, crowstepped wallhead gable; corbelled angle turret to L with conical roof. 3 pedimented dormers above mid 18th century bays (central dormer segmentally-pedimented) inscribed 'JE JS 1771', 'WR UM' with arms, and 'RWC-P EH 1866' (see Notes). Round-arched tablet supported by entablature, set into retaining wall return to front R of house carved '1674 WR JD' (see Notes).
NW (REAR) ELEVATION: central gabled bay, window to each floor, further small window to 1st floor; flanking bays set back with single windows to each floor, those to 1st floor with wallhead gables. Further bay set back to outer L; 2-storey entrance bay in re-entrant angle; timber panelled door and letterbox fanlight within. Round-arched stair window to 1st floor return cheese press against return wall.
NE ELEVATION: single window to ground R; plaques to gable at wallhead 'G 1759 R' and 'A 1759 P' (see Notes).
SW ELEVATION: 2 gables, that to R 4-storey with angle turrests to top, single windows to 2nd and 3rd floors, 2 windows to ground; raised ashlar platform projecting at ground (remains of former conservatory); L gable with canted 5-light bay window to elevated ground, 2 windows to 1st floor and central plaque above 'WCP AC WP 1848' with coat-of-arms (see Notes).
Predominantly timber sash and case 12-pane glazing; 1890s glazing 6-pane upper sashes. Grey slate roofs; corniced ashlar gable stacks with octagonal clay cans.
INTERIOR: good interior scheme in place with 17th, 18th and 19th century features including deep, timber panelled window embrasures and working shutters, moulded cornices and panelled doors. Hall: Roman Doric columned screen; stone chimneypiece; good cast-iron balustrade with anthemion pattern and mahogany handrail on scale-and-platt stair. Library (1759): (1 door now blocked); 2 mural landscapes, 1 overmantel in fixed frame (see Notes), the other (larger) opposite in painted illusionist frame; grey-veined carved marble chimneypiece; key-blocked arched niche (former buffet niche indicating dining room) with rococo plasterwork. Drawing room (1848): scrolled cornice, ceiling rose; timber 18th century copy chimneypiece with lugged surround, scrolls and shell below mantelpiece. Dining room (1848): large, rococo revival yellow-veined marble chimneypiece; square-ish rococo plaster-work frame above. Room to front L: replacement chimneypiece; 2 key-blocked round-arched timber panelled window embrasures to SW.
BOUNDARY WALLS AND GATEPIERS: prominent, grey sandstone rubble wall with fireclay coping (see Notes) running length of S boundary. Square-section ashlar gatepiers (1848, recently repositioned); inverted fan motifs and corniced, centrally raised caps; adjacent to Woodside South Lodge (separately listed). Modern gates and railings to low rebuilt section. Carved stone '1551 HR JH 1613' in columned surround reset on drive (2003).
Located to the north-west of the parish and set in wooded grounds, Woodside was the seat of the Ralstoun family from 1551-1771. Originating from the parish of Paisley, the Ralstouns were an ancient family with connections to Paisley Abbey from the 13th century (for a detailed account of the family, see Paterson above). Hew Ralstoun built the original tower house when he acquired the lands in 1551. The carved stones on the dormerheads, probably dating from 1890, and inset into the walls of Woodside House refer to the marriages of the Ralstouns and those of the subsequent owners, the Cochran-Patricks. Hew Ralstoun married Janet Hamilton of Torrance and died in 1613. William Ralston married Ursula Muir of Glanderstoun, then Jean Dunlop of Dunlop in 1674. In 1735 Gavin Ralstoun was born, marrying Annabella Pollock in 1758. In 1759 he 'made an addition to the old tower of Woodside, by erecting a square building at the east end, removing the old turrets, and giving a new roof to the whole, so that it has now the appearance of a very plain building' (Paterson p136). After some financial difficulties, Ralstoun sold the estate in 1771 to Dame Jean Stirling and her husband James Erskine of Alva, then succeeded to his father-in-law's estate of Artherlie in Neilston. In 1833, the estate was sold to William Patrick of Roughwood, grandson of Jean Ralstoun (aunt of the last laird). In 1841 William Patrick married Agnes Cochran of Ladyland and the family took the name Cochran-Patrick. In 1866 Robert William Cochran-Patrick married Eleanora Hunter of Hunter. He died in 1897. The Patricks were immensely well-connected, important landowners in the parish, particularly so in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, owning through various family connections estates at Waterside, Trearne, Ladyland, Hessilhead, Drumbuie, Roughwood, Grangehill and Woodside. The adjacent Woodside Farm, Woodside South Lodge and East Woodside Lodge (all separately listed) were built circa 1860 by Robert William Cochran-Patrick shortly after he inherited the estate. The initials RWCP are above the entrance to the stables.
Architecturally Woodside is successful in its unification of the various periods of execution. Johnston's Baronial scheme, reinstating a tower, recalls the early origins of the dwelling and complements the 1848 crowstepped additions to the rear. The harled frontages further consolidate the appearance. A photograph dating from circa 1885 (Davis p33) shows the house prior to Johnston's intervention, and here the classical symmetry of the 1759 scheme is patently obvious. The fireclay coped boundary wall gives character to the roadside and the copes may have been produced at the Mossneuk Tile Works which, until the mid to late 19th century, were located to the south-west of the grounds.
The interior displays an array of period features (including some modern alterations), a little less harmonious but of some interest for that reason. The remains of a painted scheme in the 1759 dining room are very much in the vein of the Norie family of decorators from Edinburgh. However, they are not considered to be from the Norie workshop but most likely by a rival company working in the west of Scotland. Nonetheless, these are important survivals of a tradition superseded by changing tastes. The scheme, typical of the period, now consists only of two large landscape scenes but was originally intended to extend throughout the room. Overdoors, painted panelling and possibly further landscape scenes remain hidden beneath successive layers of wallpaper and paint.
Changed from Category B to A - 5 October 2005.
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