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Stronvar House

A Category B Listed Building in Balquhidder, Stirling

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Latitude: 56.3522 / 56°21'7"N

Longitude: -4.3822 / 4°22'55"W

OS Eastings: 252894

OS Northings: 720308

OS Grid: NN528203

Mapcode National: GBR 0T.3RJB

Mapcode Global: WH3LP.NLGP

Plus Code: 9C8Q9J29+V4

Entry Name: Stronvar House

Listing Name: Stronvar House

Listing Date: 5 September 1973

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 335416

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB4188

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Balquhidder

County: Stirling

Electoral Ward: Trossachs and Teith

Parish: Balquhidder

Traditional County: Perthshire

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Loch Lomond And Trossachs National Park Planning Authority

David Bryce, dated 1850, incorporating circa 1825 fabric (see Interior and Notes). Baronial style house with a 3-storey circular turret to the N, crowstepped gables, pedimented dormers, canted bay windows and prominent chimney stacks. The house has 2 principal storeys, a basement and attic; it is roughly 4 bays square with a single storey service wing extending from NW corner. The house is one of the principal mansions of the parish, and has significant architectural importance as an example of the work of the leading Victorian architect David Bryce who was one of the earliest and leading exponents of the Scottish Baronial style.

The house is composed of 3 adjoining gabled blocks orientated N-S with cross-gables on the E and W elevations. The main entrance is on the E elevation, and the principal rooms mostly face S and E. 3 steps lead to the front door, which is set in an advanced gable, has a roll-moulded architrave and tripartite mullioned window and datestone above. To the right of this is another gable and a bartizan is corbelled out from the re-entrant angle. A large canted window is corbelled out from the basement to the left of the entrance. The North elevation is the most imposing as the fall of the land leaves the basement fully exposed. At the centre is a conical tower; to the left corner is a 2-storey canted window that rises from the basement and is corbelled out at the top to form a gable; to the right is another gable; a large chimney stack, rising from the right-hand corner, balances the composition. A gabled, single-storey L-plan service wing projects from the NW corner. The S (garden) elevation presents a much more domestic appearance with a broad M-gable to the right containing a canted bay window; the remodelled remains of the previous house is recessed to the left. The windows have chamfered margins.

Interior: it is inside the house that the two building phases are most apparent. The front part of the house, which was built by Bryce, is characterised by impressively large rooms, very decorative cornicing and heavily moulded door frames and other woodwork. The front door opens into an outer hall, through which a stair leads up to the main hall. The main hall contains the principal staircase, which has turned wooden balusters and rises to a galleried 1st floor landing. In the drawing and dining rooms are marble fireplaces with Arts and Crafts tile insets; the drawing room is panelled to dado height. In the former library is a carved timber fireplace with a hammered copper hood containing a shipping scene. The rear part of the house has smaller rooms and late Georgian fixtures including a central stone cantilevered staircase rising through 2 floors with cast-iron balusters and mahogany hand-rail. Over the stair is a saucer-dome with oculus. The doors have Soanian architraves and the cornicing is more delicate than in the front part of the house. The house has timber-panelled interior doors, working timber shutters and decorative plasterwork throughout. The basement floor is partially flagged.

Materials: 2-leaf timber panelled front door. Sash and case windows with predominantly 12-pane glazing; some plate glass. Sandstone ashlar. Graded grey slate. Coped ashlar stacks with yellow clay cans.

Statement of Interest

Built for David Carnegie who had made his fortune from banking, sugar refining and brewing in Sweden. Carnegie was related to the Earl of Southesk and one of his ancestors had fled to Sweden after Culloden and prospered greatly there as a merchant. His uncle (also David) founded the Carnegie Bank in Gothenburg and Carnegie Jnr ran this for a while before coming to Scotland in about 1845. In 1848 he purchased the Glenbuckie / Stronvar estate and commenced to make a number of improvements in the area, including rebuilding several farms, Balquhidder Parish Church, Balquhidder school and opening the small library.

When David Carnegie purchased the estate, a house called Glenbuckie existed on the site of the present house. This was built in about 1825-7 (New Statistical Account) and replaced an even earlier castle. In 1850 Carnegie commissioned the famous Edinburgh architect, David Bryce, to extend and remodel Glenbuckie House, and renamed it Stronvar. From the outside it is almost impossible to distinguish between Bryce's work and the earlier house, and is almost certain that the exterior of Glenbuckie house was completely refaced. The old house was not, however, altered much internally and there is a sharp contrast in style between the two building phases (See above under Interior). Glenbuckie House is shown in the background of the engraving of Balquhidder (1844) that is used as the frontispiece of 'Settlements of Western Perthshire'.

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