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Leggerdale

A Category C Listed Building in Westhill, Aberdeenshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 57.1829 / 57°10'58"N

Longitude: -2.4729 / 2°28'22"W

OS Eastings: 371513

OS Northings: 810326

OS Grid: NJ715103

Mapcode National: GBR X4.1BBF

Mapcode Global: WH8P6.ZQMD

Plus Code: 9C9V5GMG+4V

Entry Name: Leggerdale

Listing Name: Leggerdale Farmhouse including Leggerdale Steading North, and excluding the interior and detached garage of Leggerdale Steading North and the L-plan Leggerdale Steading to the south, Dunecht, Westhill

Listing Date: 11 September 1984

Last Amended: 9 January 2020

Category: C

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 333908

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB2933

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Cluny

County: Aberdeenshire

Electoral Ward: Westhill and District

Parish: Cluny

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire

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Description

Dating from the early-19th century, Leggerdale is an agricultural settlement comprising a farmhouse and two associated steadings. These buildings are located at the roadside of the A944 Aberdeen to Alford road between Old Kinnernie and Linton Mains.

Leggerdale is a detached two-storey, three-bay, roughly rectangular-plan and symmetrical former farmhouse with a single-storey, two-bay, rectangular-plan addition attached to the west gable. It is constructed in coursed, harl-pointed granite rubble with simple granite cills and lintels. Leggerdale has an enclosed front garden and is bounded from the road by low timber picket fencing and a stone wall projecting from the centre of the single-storey building.

The front (south) elevation of Leggerdale has a central timber entrance door with a replacement rectangular fanlight above. The rear (north) elevation has an arched rubble-built store (converted into a bathroom after 2011) protruding from the centre. This has been topped by turf and the arched opening infilled by an arched, glazed and timber door. There is also a single storey lean-to with a slate roof, to the left. The single storey wing attached to the west gable, has a later entrance door with a timber lintel in the rear elevation.

Leggerdale has a mixture of window designs. Those in the front elevation are predominantly a 12-pane glazing pattern in replacement timber sash and case frames. The remaining windows are smaller and there is a later window opening in the centre of the rear elevation.

The gabled roof is slated with straight skews. The building has coped, end chimneystacks with a tall projecting chimney on the west gable, which is incorporated into the attached single-storey building. There is a small central rooflight in the south roof pitch. The interior of Leggerdale was not seen (2019).

Leggerdale Steading North is a single-storey, U-plan former farm steading building, to the west of Leggerdale, that has been converted to a house. The west range of the steading has a hay loft, with a former opening (changed to a window) breaking the wallhead at the centre of its east side. The building is constructed in snecked and harl-pointed rubble. The main entrance is in the north elevation and has tooled granite stonework around the enlarged entrance opening. The openings have granite lintels and cills. Most of the former door openings have been changed to windows with timber boarding below the glazing. The windows and doors are timber replacements, predominantly with a four-pane glazing pattern. The roof is slated with replacement tiles and has a contrasting ridge. The west range of the steading has replacement rooflights.

The interior of Leggerdale Steading North was partially seen in 2019 and does not retain any early 19th century fixtures and fittings that relate to its previous agricultural use.

Leggerdale Steading North is accessed via a separate drive and there are metal gates and granite block gatepiers at the site entrance.

In accordance with Section 1 (4A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 the following are excluded from the listing: the interior and detached garage of Leggerdale Steading North and the L-plan Leggerdale Steading to the south.

Historical development

Leggerdale Farm was part of the tenanted farm holdings of the Cluny estate owned by John Gordon of Cluny Castle. Leggerdale is not shown on pre-19th century maps, however the design and form of Leggerdale farmhouse with its symmetrical front elevation, evenly spaced openings and first floor windows set close to the roof eaves indicates an early 19th century date. The U-shaped plan form of Leggerdale Steading North and separate farmhouse to the farmhouse is indicative of farm design of the late 18th century/early 19th century improvement period.

The farmhouse at Leggerdale was an inn in the 19th century, on the Aberdeen to Alford turnpike road. Cornwall's New Aberdeen Directory of 1853 shows the mail and stage coaches to and from Aberdeen passed Leggerdale twice a day, three times a week. As one of the 17 radial routes leading to Aberdeen, this turnpike road was constructed sometime between 1798 and around 1838. These dates support the design of the farm and confirm its early 19th century date.

The farm is first shown in detail on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map (surveyed 1865, published 1866) and the farmhouse is marked as the Gordon's Arms Inn. The Ordnance Survey Name Book, written between 1865 and 1871, describes Leggerdale as a large farmhouse that was used as a public house and the associated farm steadings are described as single-storey, partly slated and partly thatched buildings.

Leggerdale is shown on this map as a rectangular-plan building with two outshots at the rear, and a single-storey wing adjoining the west gable. One of the rear outshots is likely to be the arched granite rubble structure.

Leggerdale Steading North is shown with a horsemill attached to the west elevation, and the L-shaped south steading (excluded from the listing) over the road has some outbuildings. This map also shows a formal, laid-out garden to the northwest of the steading which was possibly a kitchen garden providing produce for the farm and inn.

By the late 19th century Leggerdale was operating as a farm only and had increased in size from 65 acres of arable land to 122 acres of arable land (Aberdeen Press and Journal, 1884). An advertisement from 1944 indicates the farm was still owned by Cluny estates and the land extended to 132 acres.

The 2nd Edition Ordnance Survey map (revised 1899, published 1900) shows the footprint of the farmhouse and adjacent U-shaped steading remain largely the same. By 1899 the south steading outbuildings have gone and the main range has been extended slightly.

A 1967 Ordnance Survey map shows the horsemill was removed from Leggerdale Steading North sometime in the early to mid-20th century. Additional detached buildings are shown around the steading and two attached structures are shown on the north and west ranges, suggesting the site remained in use as a farm at this time.

In 2004 Leggerdale North Steading was converted to a house. Around 2010 work was carried out to the farmhouse. This included the conversion of the vaulted rubble store into a bathroom, the demolition of later additions at the rear, and the replacement of windows (Aberdeenshire Council Planning Portal).

Statement of Interest

Leggerdale Farmhouse and Leggerdale Steading North meet the criteria of special architectural or historic interest for the following reasons:

In accordance with Section 1 (4A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 the following are excluded from the listing: the interior and detached garage of Leggerdale Steading North and the L-plan Leggerdale Steading to the south.

Architectural interest:

Design

Leggerdale Farmhouse is a well-proportioned and restrained classical style farmhouse that is typical of Improvement period farmhouses of the late-18th to mid-19th century. It retains the symmetry of its principal elevation, including original openings that are spaced widely apart and an uninterrupted roofline. The windows have been replaced in a traditional style and material.

The granite rubble construction used in Leggerdale Farmhouse and its associated steading is characteristic of the northeast of Scotland, where granite is the abundant building material. Highly decorative stonework would not be expected on an early-19th century farmhouse, because it would be difficult and expensive to achieve this in granite at this time.

The distinctive arched store at the rear of the building is an interesting feature of Leggerdale Farmhouse. The purpose of this is unknown.

Photographs from 2008 show the interior of Leggerdale contained typical details for a farmhouse of an early-19th century date, such as timber window shutters and timber fire surrounds. It is not known if these interior features are still in place.

The U-plan arrangement of Leggerdale Steading North, in close proximity but detached from the farmhouse, follows the improvement farm courtyard steading pattern of this period and is a typical example of a medium-sized farm (Glendinning et al., p.121). A compact plan of barn, byres, stables and storage sheds arranged around a court was designed for efficiency.

After its conversion to a house the building has retained the 19th century plan form and historic character and the surviving fabric still continues to demonstrate its former use. The varying sizes of the openings have been retained and indicate the different sections and entrances of the steading. The parts of the steading that were accessed by large farm vehicles and machinery are particularly distinctive. The single-storey and attic west range would have been the granary and a hayloft because there is a large opening breaking the roof eaves, and the range is slightly taller compared with the rest of the steading. The removal of the horsemill has not had an adverse effect on the historic character of the steading. The loss of horsemills is not uncommon after their use became obsolete because of improvements in farming from the late 19th century.

Setting

Leggerdale is a small agricultural settlement in a prominent roadside position off the A944 road between Westhill and Alford, about 15 miles west of Aberdeen. The buildings remain surrounded by large areas of farmland.

The immediate setting of Leggerdale and Leggerdale Steading North largely remains the same as that shown on the 2nd Edition Ordnance Survey map. Outbuildings added in the 20th century have been removed as has the horsemill and kitchen garden. Such minor alterations are not unusual for a site that remained in use as a farm until the late 20th century.

In this period steadings were typically built very close to but separate from the farmhouse. The survival of Leggerdale Steading North is important in demonstrating how this building was functionally and historically related to the farmhouse, both as an ancillary component of the farm and as a store for coaches and horse tackle when the farmhouse was used as an inn.

Leggerdale farmhouse is slightly elevated, compared to Leggerdale Steading North which is just below the level of the road. This shows the importance of the farmhouse and the social status a farmer, as having a level of detachment from the work of the farm itself.

Leggerdale Farm is a prominent feature of the landscape, particularly when viewed from the road to the east and west. The raised setting of the farmhouse means it holds a commanding view of the surrounding farmland. The former use of Leggerdale farmhouse and its associated steading as an inn and prominent coaching stop along the historic turnpike road, is of further interest.

The historic and functional relationship of Leggerdale and Leggerdale Steading North, as well as the wider farm buildings (such as Leggerdale Steading), can still be seen and they aid our understanding of the operation and size of Leggerdale farm in the 19th century.

Historic interest:

Age and rarity

Leggerdale Farmhouse and Leggerdale Steading North are indicative of farm design of the late 18th century/early 19th century. Its roadside setting is of further interest because of its use as the Gordon's Arms Inn on the Aberdeen to Alford turnpike road during the 19th century.

The late-18th century/early-19th century was a period of significant improvement in farming practices across Scotland 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 innovations in land drainage, use of lime as a fertiliser, introduction of new crops and crop rotation, improved understanding of animal husbandry and increased length of farm tenancies. The rural landscape of Aberdeenshire is characterised by agricultural buildings and many 19th century farmhouses and steadings survive today.

Leggerdale Farmhouse and Leggerdale Steading North are of a prolific building type in Scotland, however they are of interest in listing terms because the early 19th century plan form, character and setting remain largely intact.

Social historical interest

Agriculture was, and continues to be, an important part of the economy of Aberdeenshire. Traditional agricultural buildings are an important historical record of Scotland's agricultural past. The survival of Leggerdale Farmhouse and steading is part of the area's agricultural history, particularly of the early-19th century Improvement period.

Leggerdale Farmhouse and Leggerdale Steading North are a good survival of a style and form that is typical of historic farmhouses and steadings in this area of Scotland. Its former use as an inn, along the turnpike road, adds to its interest and highlights the historic communications and travel network between Aberdeen and Alford before the arrival of motorised transport.

Statutory address, category of listing changed from B to C and listed building record revised in 2020. Previously listed as 'Leggerdale'.

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