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Gardens House and Walled Garden, Pitlour House, Strathmiglo

A Category B Listed Building in Strathmiglo, Fife

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Latitude: 56.2841 / 56°17'2"N

Longitude: -3.2837 / 3°17'1"W

OS Eastings: 320623

OS Northings: 710918

OS Grid: NO206109

Mapcode National: GBR 25.806W

Mapcode Global: WH6R0.J9JX

Entry Name: Gardens House and Walled Garden, Pitlour House, Strathmiglo

Listing Date: 17 October 1973

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 351359

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB17435

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Strathmiglo

County: Fife

Electoral Ward: Howe of Fife and Tay Coast

Parish: Strathmiglo

Traditional County: Fife

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GARDENS HOUSE: early 19th century. Single storey and attic, symmetrical 3-bay, rectangular-plan Gothick gardener's house with distinctive gothic-arched windows and deep eaves with exposed rafter ends to south of walled garden. Semi-circular arched doorways with 2-leaf timber doors to front and rear elevations with Gothic pointed lights in upper parts. Red dressed stone, cream freestone dressings to front and side elevations, rear elevation rubble with cherry cocking and red sandstone dressings. Situated to north of walled garden. Base course, eaves course, long and short quoins.

Pointed windows with Y-tracery, lying panes to timber casements in lower part, diagonal shafted stacks, grey slate roof.

WALLED GARDEN: mainly early 19th century, probably dating from 1802-3. Large, roughly square-plan walled garden with 4 ashlar chimneys, quatrefoil opening, and fragments of hot houses to north on raised terrace; timber doorway giving access to former potting sheds outside garden to north. Main entrance to south side; entrance for occupants of Pitlour House at east side through timber door. Droved red squared rubble with cream quoins and dressings and simple ashlar cope; partly brick to north elevation.

Statement of Interest

The Gardens House, designed in the contemporary Gothick or cottage ornée style, is a striking little-altered externally early 19th century cottage. It is located in a picturesque position adjacent to the walled garden dating to the same period. Both buildings are significant components of the group of late 18th and early 19th century Pitlour estate policies. Early maps show that the original approach to the house was via the west drive or ladies walk or from a small arched gate in the park wall.

Pitlour estate was entailed in 1787. Under the Montgomery Act of 1770 (c.51), owners of entailed estates were allowed to charge their estates with three-quarters of the cost of improvements which they made. Intimation of intended improvements and a record of expenditure on them had to be registered in sheriff courts. Various improvements were made between 1812 and 1822 under this Act and a number of the estate buildings including the Gardens House may date from this period

It is difficult to date the house precisely. The picturesque details are almost certainly derived from pattern books of rural cottages and villas, many of which were published in the first half of the 19th century. However these details continued to be used on lodges and other garden buildings throughout the 19th century. The OS 1st Edition map confirms that a building existed on this site by the mid-1850s. The building had a small wing at the rear at that time but this was removed and it is likely that the rear wall was rebuilt using the cherry cocking as an economical way of using a limited amount of stone. Possibly the embellishments were added at the same time as rebuilding the back wall, rather than their being part of the original building but there is no clear evidence to substantiate this.

Census records show that there was more than one house for gardeners on the estate by the 1870s at least if not before. In the 1830s Mr Berry was the gardener at Pitlour and was active in local horticultural shows both as an exhibitor and as a judge. It is not yet clear where he lived. He had moved to a different job by 1841. By the 1870s there was both 'Bothy Pitlour Gardens' and 'Pitlour Gardens House'. The bothy accommodated junior members of staff at this date until at least 1901. The Gardens House was the accommodation for more senior gardening staff. In 1851 Robert Whytock, master gardener, was living there with a journeyman and an apprentice. In the 1860s the Laing family were gardeners at Pitlour. However they also gardened at Wellfield to the W of Pitlour and lived at Wellfield Gardens House. In 1871 John Cunnison, the head gardener lived there with his wife and daughter. From 1881 William Law, head gardener was living there with his wife and continued to do so until his death in 1898. Law had worked at Pitlour from the 1870s, exhibiting at local horticultural shows from that date. In 1901 the Gardens House was home of the head gardener, William Letterson, with his wife and family.

The walled garden is substantial walls and probably dates from 1802-03 as indicated by the datestone above the timber door in the east wall. Although a walled garden may have existed from the time 16th century when the earlier Pitlour House was built, the present walled garden is likely to date from about 1802-03 when much other work was undertaken of the estate.

Another datestone (1503) is incorporated elsewhere in the garden walls and a stone with the initials of Patrick Moncrieff of Reidie & Myres taken for a chimneypiece at Myres Castle has also been incorporated. The connection between Myres and Pitlour came about because Helen Skene, who had married George Moncrieff of Reedie and Myres in 1746, inherited Pitlour in 1805. Their grandson, Patrick Moncrieff, inherited the estate in 1825. This part of the wall must have been rebuilt around or after this time.

The wall behind the raised terrace where the glasshouses stood is partly of brick (and incorporates a lozenge pattern). These brick sections were to accommodate unusual horizontal ashlar chimneys to provide heat for the glasshouses.

Listed building record and statutory address updated, 2014.

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