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Latitude: 55.9706 / 55°58'14"N
Longitude: -4.6981 / 4°41'53"W
OS Eastings: 231714
OS Northings: 678572
OS Grid: NS317785
Mapcode National: GBR 0G.WSMR
Mapcode Global: WH2MB.T607
Entry Name: Cardross, Ardmore House with Observatory Tower and Circular Building
Listing Date: 14 May 1971
Source: Historic Scotland
Source ID: 331647
Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB1159
Building Class: Cultural
County: Argyll and Bute
Electoral Ward: Helensburgh and Lomond South
Traditional County: Dunbartonshire
1806 encasing of earlier house. 2-storey, 5-bay, T-plan house. Stucco with painted ashlar margins and dressings; eaves band; quoin strips; blocking course.
S (MAIN) ELEVATION: round tower at centre, crenellated parapet; door framed by bowed applied paired pilasters and entablature; 2-leaf panelled doors, large sunburst fanlight; tripartite window at 1st floor, Diocletian window at upper level, blind sidelights. Flanking bays slightly advanced, broad windows; broad bay to outer right and left; tripartite window at ground, Diocletian window above; blind sidelights.
W ELEVATION: 2 bays symmetrically disposed; 2 blind doors at ground, upper windows symmetrically disposed, 8-pane casement window to right.
E ELEVATION: 2 bays, blind doors at ground, windows symmetrically disposed at 1st floor.
N (REAR) ELEVATION: piend-roofed projecting wing at centre; tripartite window at ground, Diocletian window above. Lean-to infills in re-entrant angles masking link bays at ground to outer bays with tripartite window at ground, Diocletian window above
12-pane sash and case windows; 3-pane over 6-pane sash and case windows at 1st floor. Grey slate piend and platform roof, lead flashings. Broad coped ridge stacks.
INTERIOR: not seen 1995.
OBSERVATORY: early 19th century; located to N of house at end of former planned path; ruinous telescope tower of circular plan; centre tower with encircling wall. Red sandstone; joist sockets on external face of outer wall at ground, possibly originally wooden viewing platform at ground level. 3 concentric circles with central narrow tower, stone spiral stair to upper viewing room.
CIRCULAR BUILDING: low, circular-plan building on cliff top near edge to W of house; in line with roof of tall tower at base of cliff (listed separately). Original function unknown, horse-mill plan, now store. Rubble with harl-pointing; small rectangular windows regularly disposed directly below eaves, 1 blocked, remaining windows with modern glazing. Large modern boarded garage door on SE elevation to path. Small rectangular-plan opening above cliff edge (drainage outlet).
Deep grey slate conical roof, lead finial.
There was a house on Ardmore point from the mid 17th century shown on Bleau?s map of 1654 and also on General Roy?s military map circa 1750 as a house within a pale. In 1798 Ardmore was sold by the Noble family to General Geils. The Noble family returned to the estate circa 1890. The present house dates from the early 19th century, but likely encases part of the earlier house. The planned landscape features were laid out by General Thomas Geils at the end of the 18th century. The observatory tower is in a ruinous state. It is identified as Ardmore observatory on the map of the Clyde, 1842 and in the 19th century local newspapers reported the weather conditions from Ardmore. The exact function of the cliff-top circular store is not known. It may have some relation to the earlier tower at the base of the cliff, and may have had a function as a watch tower. This earlier tower is listed separately and is a scheduled monument. The picturesque landscape of Ardmore is important. The remains of the former flower and vegetable gardens at the base of the cliff can be traced. The lawn to the N is laid out as a bowling green and is shown as such on the OS 1st edition. The E lodge and stable block are listed separately. Ardmore estate is a nature reserve of the Scottish Wildlife Trust.
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