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Culzean Castle Estate, Swan Pond, Ice House

A Category C Listed Building in Kirkoswald, South Ayrshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.3504 / 55°21'1"N

Longitude: -4.7977 / 4°47'51"W

OS Eastings: 222718

OS Northings: 609832

OS Grid: NS227098

Mapcode National: GBR 42.4ZJR

Mapcode Global: WH2Q6.8SN4

Entry Name: Culzean Castle Estate, Swan Pond, Ice House

Listing Date: 22 October 2007

Category: C

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 339557

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB7611

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Kirkoswald

County: South Ayrshire

Electoral Ward: Girvan and South Carrick

Parish: Kirkoswald

Traditional County: Ayrshire

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Description

Late 18th or early 19th century. Barrel-vaulted, rectangular-plan ice house. Planted roof swept down to ground. Rectangular entrance aperture, flagstone pavement and low wing wall to E. Random rubble, with tooled Maybole ashlar at entrance and squared rubble to vault. The original external door, as indicated by incisions in the stonework, is no longer extant.

INTERIOR: entrance passageway, with flat ceiling and iron yett, leading to square plan ice chamber with vaulted ceiling and flat floor.

Statement of Interest

Part of an A-group at Culzean Castle Estate comprising: Culzean Castle; Castle Walls etc; Fountain Court etc; Ruined Arch and Viaduct; Stable Block etc; Camellia House; Cat Gates; Home Farm; Powder House; Ardlochan Lodge; Dolphin House; Hoolity Ha'; Swan Pond Complex; Swan Pond Ice House; Walled Garden; Bathing Complex; Water Works; Shore Boat House; Battery and Mast House; Main Drive Walls and Piers; Gas Works.

The Swan Pond was built in 1788-90, for the 10th Earl of Cassillis, and rebuilt in 1814-16, for the 12th Earl, as a habitat for wild and domestic fowl, and as an ornamental feature of the landscape. The landscape consultants were Thomas White (1736-1811), pupil of 'Capability' Brown, and his son Thomas (1764-1831). This ice house probably dates from either 1790 or 1816.

Ice houses were integral features of country estates in the 18th and 19th centuries. They served as cold stores for food, which would be hung on hooks above packed ice collected from ponds and rivers. This one is unusual in having a flat floor, rather than the concave floor, to facilitate drainage, found in most Scottish examples. Another, presumably earlier, ice house is located within the N arch of the viaduct beside Culzean Castle, but this site was closer to the source of both ice and fowl. The remains of what appears to have been yet another ice house lie a short distance to the SE.

Together with the outstanding ornamental landscape of its estate, Culzean Castle is acknowledged as the epitome of the Picturesque movement in Scotland, in its own right and is a work of international importance. Culzean, at one time the largest estate in Ayrshire, has been associated with the Kennedy family since the Middle Ages. It was gifted by Gilbert the 4th Earl of Cassillis to his brother Thomas Kennedy, in 1569. In the 1660s, the barmekin around the tower house was breached to create the terraced gardens, orchards, and walled garden for which Culzean was notable, while the caves beneath the castle (a Scheduled Monument) were fortified to serve as secure stores. Culzean Castle became the principal family seat when Sir Thomas Kennedy (1726-75) became the 9th Earl of Cassillis, in 1759. A continuing programme of improvements was undertaken by Sir Thomas and his successors during the 18th and 19th centuries. The 10th Earl began rebuilding the Castle to designs by Robert Adam. This work was continued by Archibald (1770-1846), the 12th Earl, later the 1st Marquess of Ailsa. From about 1810 onwards he commissioned numerous structures, both practical and ornamental, and several important architects and landscape designers were engaged to embellish the gardens and grounds with ponds, gates, lodges and pavilions, resulting in several key works of the Picturesque era. The 3rd Marquess undertook the modernisation and enlargement of the Castle in the 1870s. In 1945, the 5th Marquess of Ailsa divided the property, making over the Castle, and the policies immediately surrounding it, to the National Trust for Scotland.

Originally listed as 'Culzean Estate Icehouse'. List description revised as part of the Culzean Castle Estate Review 2010-11.

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