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Corner House including mile post, boundary walls and railings, 65 Closeburn, Thornhill

A Category C Listed Building in Closeburn, Dumfries and Galloway

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.2125 / 55°12'44"N

Longitude: -3.7353 / 3°44'7"W

OS Eastings: 289683

OS Northings: 592288

OS Grid: NX896922

Mapcode National: GBR 28C5.38

Mapcode Global: WH5VW.L7HW

Entry Name: Corner House including mile post, boundary walls and railings, 65 Closeburn, Thornhill

Listing Date: 3 August 1971

Last Amended: 29 October 2018

Category: C

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 335189

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB4012

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Closeburn

County: Dumfries and Galloway

Electoral Ward: Mid and Upper Nithsdale

Traditional County: Dumfriesshire

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Closeburn

Description

Corner House is a late 18th century, symmetrical, end of terrace house, with later additions, located on the corner of two main streets at the southeast end of Closeburn Village. It is a two-storey, three-bay, L-plan building in a classical style with broadly spaced windows and it was formerly used a shop and public house. The side elevation is narrow with a single window at each floor.

The house is built of rubble (painted) and has droved quoins and projecting smooth margins at its corners and the door and window openings. There is also a smooth eaves band course on the street elevations. The entrance is at the centre of the principal elevation and has a two-leaf timber boarded door with a triple glazed fanlight above it.

The windows in the street elevations are timber sash and case with a twelve pane glazing pattern. There is a piended slate roof with stone ridge tiles, hips and a pair of rendered ridge chimney stacks.

There are two 20th century single storey pitched-roof additions to the rear, each with more steeply pitched, slate roofs than the house. The southernmost early 20th century addition is painted brick and the other late 20th century addition is smooth rendered.

At the south corner of the building is a stone milepost with an angled top that is inscribed '12'. An Ordnance Survey bench mark is inscribed on the stone corner margin next to the milepost. There is a low coped wall to the front elevation with plain iron railings. There is a rubble built wall enclosing the rear garden which has rounded stone copes sitting on a lying stone course.

The interior was seen in 2018 and has detailing dating to the late 18th century. The entrance hall runs along the front of the house and has a pair of archways. One archway leads to an enclosed staircase. There are six-panel doors with decorative moulded architraves and some plainer boarded doors. The windows have timber boarded shutters and fielded panelling below. There are some contemporary fire surrounds, plain cornicing and picture rails. The first floor bathroom has timber panelling and a bespoke timber cupboard and mirror detailing.

Statement of Interest

Dating from around 1780, Corner House was built as part of Closeburn, a village that was developed as part of late 19th century improvements to the nearby Closeburn Estate. The building is notable for its early date in the context of estate villages and relative lack of alteration. Its size, design and stonework detailing in comparison to the neighbouring houses and its prominent setting adds to its special architectural interest. It also has close historical, social and economic associations with the nearby Closeburn estate.

Age and Rarity

Corner House is a late 18th century house which is at the southeast end of the small village of Closeburn. The village developed to house the workers of the adjacent Closeburn Estate and its associated lime work industry.

Closeburn is a small rural village that lies 12 miles north of Dumfries on the A76 road which leads to Ayrshire and Glasgow. Closeburn is in the mid-Nithsdale River Valley, an area that includes the castles of Morton (scheduled monument SM90221), Drumlanrig (listed at category A, LB3886) and Closeburn (listed at category B, LB4004). The Closeburn settlement is thought to have origins in the 14th and 15th centuries and a group of early buildings still survive just to the east of the village. Closeburn Castle dates to the late 14th century and lies 1km to the east.

Nearer the village is Closeburn Church and Mausoleum (listed at category B, LB4008) which was rebuilt in 1741 and incorporates earlier fabric. The former Wallace Academy, an early endowed school founded by the Closeburn Estate in 1724, is next to the church (listed at category A, LB3953). There is also a large early 20th century village school (listed at category B, LB4011).

Moll's map of 1732 marks the 'Closburn' estate to the east of the current A76 road but the village is not yet marked. On Thompson's map of 1832 the full extent of Closeburn Estate is shown to the north and east of the village and includes the previously described buildings that date to before 1800.

This map shows a single building on the crossroads at the same location as Corner House. The village layout, of two linear streets, first appears on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey Map (surveyed 1856, published, 1861). The Corner House is shown at the junction of these two streets and forming the southeastern corner point of the village.

Closeburn Castle was occupied as the laird's seat of the Kirkpatrick and Stuart-Montieth families over the 17th and 18th centuries. In 1780 the family built Closeburn Hall, lodges and associated estate outbuildings around 600m north of the castle. The large house and its estate buildings are all shown on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey Map. A photograph in the 'Glimpses of Old Thornhill and District' shows the Closeburn Hall was built in a classical style with rusticated quoins, broadly spaced 12-pane windows and a shallow-pitched, piended roof. It was abandoned by 1900 and has since been demolished.

Closeburn Hall's South Lodge still survives and is stylistically similar to Corner House. The map evidence indicates that the lodge was built around the same time as Closeburn Hall, around 1780. The lodge is one room deep with a piended roof, central chimney stacks, eaves band course and the same stone corner and opening margins as Corner House. The similarities of architectural details and materials between the Corner House and South Lodge buildings is noticeable and suggests that Corner House was likely to have been built as an estate building for the Closeburn Hall around 1780.

Corner House is the only two storey house in the long run of cottages on the main street of the village. This, coupled with its more distinguished architectural style, the quality of stone detailing and its piended roof, sets it apart from the other cottages on the street, which are all single storey with pitched roofs. The Dumfriesshire Ordnance Survey Name Book of 1838-48 records that at that time there was only one building in the village taller than single storey. It also records that the village was known as 'Crossroads' because of the junction where the Shawsholm Road crosses the main road. It is likely that Corner House was the most significant building in the village when built and it continues to have more prominent status than its neighbours.

The footprint of Corner House is first shown in detail on a drawing entitled 'Plan of Closeburn Village – 1838'. It is marked as house No.1 at the end of the run of cottages on the main road, which suggests that it was the first building to have been built. The plan notes the residents of each of the houses, the earliest of which is 1811 and it is signed by William Coltart. William Coltart is also marked as the resident of both the Corner House and its neighbour (No.2.) His signature suggests that he may have been the estate factor at the time however the Ordnance Survey Namebook of 1838-48 records a Mr Adams of Nethermains was the factor for Closeburn Estate at the time. Corner House and its neighbouring cottage are the only two buildings in the run that have boundary walls and railings which suggests they are historically linked.

Closeburn was the link for the eastern settlements of the Closeburn Estate, its lime works and associated industries to join the main trade road between Dumfries and Ayrshire. The limeworks were founded in 1774, by Sir James Kirkpatrick who was the owner of the Closeburn Estate at that time. Glimpses of Old Thornhill records that the Closeburn Limeworks was the biggest lime works in Dumfries and Galloway (see Other Information Section below). The Glasgow and South Western Railway Branch opened in 1850 and Closeburn had a weighing station on this line to serve the estate's large lime works.

The 1st Edition Ordnance Survey Map (surveyed 1856, published, 1861) shows the route of the Glasgow and South Western Railway. Closeburn Station was built directly opposite the Corner House. The 2nd Edition Ordnance Survey Map (surveyed 1898, published 1900) marks a post office, a smithy and the mile post attached to the corner of the Corner House. This increase in trades and public travel to the village is likely to have further increased the importance of the house within its village setting as it is positioned close to the main transport routes.

The house was still occupied by the Coltart family during the second half of the 19th century. Newspaper accounts indicate that Corner House was used first as a shop and latterly a public house. An article in the Dumfries and Galloway Standard from 1851 notes that Mr John Coltart's shop in Closeburn was burgled. In April 1885 the Dundee Courier records the police objected to the renewal of William Coltart's application to renew his public house license. This refusal led to the end of the business and in July 1886 the Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser recorded the formal bankruptcy of 'William Coltart, Closeburn, Grocer etc.'

Watson records the social history of the region in his 1901 book 'Closeburn (Dumfriesshire) Reminiscent, Historic and Traditional'. In it he states the Corner House "was originally the dram-shop, where the village parliament was held, and where occasionally the village worthies congregated." This book also notes consumption of alcohol on the premises led to fights and its reputation as 'Coltart's Corner' which ultimately lead to the license renewal refusal.

At some point in the late 19th century Corner House reverted to residential use. There is a small painted brick extension at the south of the rear elevations which appears to date to the early 20th century. A further later 20th century addition was added to the rear. Such additions are not uncommon in domestic buildings throughout the 20th century because they were often required to increase accommodation for modern living. The additions to the rear of Corner House do not detract from the character and form of the late 18th century building, and the 18th century plan form continues to be readable.

In the 18th and 19th centuries landowners were keen to improve their estates in response to improvements in farming and the greater diversification of land use either for industry or leisure. Estate buildings were often given an architectural treatment that was repeated across the estate. Estate villages form an important part of the country's social and economic history. Although only a small settlement, the buildings in Closeburn were specifically designed as part of the improvement of James Kirkpatrick's estate.

All buildings erected before 1840 which are of notable quality and survive predominantly in their original form have a strong case for listing. Corner House is not a rare survival of a village house. However, dating to the late 18th century, it is notable as an earlier surviving example of estate architecture and for its relative lack of alteration.

Corner House is thought to date to around 1780 and largely retains its late 18th century design following some moderate alterations and changes of use over time. It has strong historical, social and economic associations with the large Closeburn Estate. Its distinctive design in comparison to neighbouring houses indicates it was a building of some status within the village and it remains a prominent building in the village because of its scale and corner location.

Architectural or Historic Interest

Interior

The interior of Corner House retains a large amount of good quality detailing that dates to the time when it was built. In particular the simply crafted joinery is of a high standard including the doors, windows and shutters. The architraves also notably have a greater level of detail than many domestic houses of the period. The bespoke timber fixtures and fittings in the bathroom survive intact after over a hundred years, which is unusual.

Corner House is likely to have been built as part of the Closeburn Estate. The quality of the interior detailing suggests that it was a house for a relatively important estate employee. The large main ground floor rooms were therefore easily adapted for uses as a shop, pub and meeting house in the latter half of the 19th century.

There is often significant change to the interiors of buildings of this age. The interior detailing of Corner House has largely survived since at least the 19th century. Its various former uses are still readable in its current interior and this also adds to the historical and social interest of the building.

Plan form

The house is unusual in the context of the village because it was the only two storey building in a row of single storey cottages. This resulted in a tall and thin southwest gable which is accentuated by the single windows showing the single room depth.

The southernmost room is relatively large in plan for a village house and has windows to both roads. This room was a suitable size for its uses as a shop, public house and location for village meetings in the later 19th century.

There is often significant change to buildings of this age through internal alterations and additions. In this case the two later additions at the rear are relatively small and do not significantly affect the plan form of the main part of the building. The interior plan form of Corner House has not been subdivided or significantly altered since the 19th century and the social interest of its former use as a pub and meeting house is still readable in its current plan form.

Technological excellence or innovation, material or design quality

As noted above the Corner House is likely to have been built as part of the Closeburn Estate in the late 18th century. The proportions and stonework detailing of its principal elevations are more refined than standard village houses of the time and are similar to the former estate's south gate lodge, demonstrating its relationship to the estate.

The symmetrical principal elevation has widely spaced windows, with the first floor windows just below the roof eaves, which are particularly characteristic of a late 18th or early 19th century date of construction. The exterior has droved stone quoins and margins and this a greater level of worked stonework than the other houses in the village.

The two later additions to the rear are not unusual in a building of this age. They are not considered to detract from the 18th century part of the house which is still clearly readable in its principal elevations. The previous listed building record, written in 1971, notes that the building had a diamond pattern roof which had been removed at some point before it was listed.

The quality of the design and materials to both the exterior and interior of the house, in comparison to the other village properties, show its status as part of a late 18th century estate development.

Setting

Corner House is the only two storey building on the village's main street which otherwise consists of low single storey cottages. It occupies the corner of the only two streets that are marked on the 19th century village plan. In this position it was and remains a prominent building when entering the village from the south.

The principal street through the village is part of the A76, the main trade road between Dumfries and Ayrshire. The arrival of the railway in 1850 and the train station built immediately opposite Corner House is likely to have increased trade and traffic at this junction. Corner House's size and position within the village meant it was conveniently located for use as both a public house, shop and a village meeting house over the 19th century.

Regional variations

There are no known regional variations.

Close Historical Associations

There are no known associations with a person or event of national importance at present (2018).

Statutory address, category of listing changed from B to C and listed building record revised in 2018. Previously listed as '64 Closeburn Village'.

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