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Loch Fad, Woodend House, Including Outbuilding

A Category B Listed Building in Isle of Bute, Argyll and Bute

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.8098 / 55°48'35"N

Longitude: -5.0732 / 5°4'23"W

OS Eastings: 207515

OS Northings: 661664

OS Grid: NS075616

Mapcode National: GBR FFVC.8XL

Mapcode Global: WH1LT.17GH

Entry Name: Loch Fad, Woodend House, Including Outbuilding

Listing Date: 20 July 1971

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 352325

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB18290

Building Class: Cultural

Location: North Bute

County: Argyll and Bute

Electoral Ward: Isle of Bute

Parish: North Bute

Traditional County: Buteshire

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Description

Edmund Kean, 1824. Symmetrical, 2-storey, 3-bay classical house with single storey, single bay piended wings recessed to outer left and right. Painted harl; painted sandstone dressings. Raised base course; eaves course beneath corniced eaves; painted blocking course. Narrow strip quoins; painted margins; projecting cills; columnar entrance. Single storey, 2-bay rectangular plan outbuilding to rear; whitewashed harl; painted margins.

SE (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: boarded doorway centred at ground; surrounding doorpiece comprising flanking detached columns, plain frieze, cornice, block pediment, raised keystone; single window aligned at 1st floor. Single windows at both floors in bays flanking entrance; single windows centred in piended wings recessed to outer left and right.

NW (REAR) ELEVATION: stair window off-set to right of centre; small opening centred at ground; single windows at both floors in bays to outer left and right. Boarded openings in piended wings to outer left and right.

Boarded openings at ground; 24-pane timber sash and case glazing at 1st floor. Graded grey slate piended roof; replacement rainwater goods. Coped, whitewashed wallhead stacks to NE and SW; octagonal cans; corniced wallhead stacks to piended wings; octagonal cans.

INTERIOR: interesting interior; particularly fine drawing room.

OUTBUILDING: single doors in both bays. Graded grey slate roof; lead flashings.

Statement of Interest

Empty 1996. A modestly detailed but high quality classical villa set on the banks of Loch Fad. Built as a sanctuary for Edmund Kean, a celebrated actor whose public image was permanently tarnished by a court case brought against him by his mistress' husband. Having discovered his wife's affair, Mr Alderman Cox sued Kean in January 1825 for ?2,000 as compensation for "...the loss of the affection and company of his wife." Cox was awarded damages and Kean's reputation suffered terribly. Bouts of depression and heavy drinking followed and Woodend quite literally, became his sanctuary. Although the house was a refuge for Kean, his wife, Mary, thought very differently - "...he took 22 acres of land from Lord Bute's Factor ... as sterile - as damp - as forlorn - as desolate as you can conceive - built and furnished a house in a spot where there was no road or any creature within three miles of the place - he paid two pound an acre for what was not worth five shillings ... it was a madness done by the desire of Mrs Cox to hide me in..." A more objective impression is given by Susan Chambers, Mary's sister, when in 1824, she assisted with the removal. "To say it is beautiful is not in my mind saying half enough ... the building ... consists of a pretty stone vestibule and hall, stone staircase, on one side a very good dining room, doors of communication to Edmund?s library ... - the windows of the whole are down to the ground - on the other side is a very pretty bedchamber ... next to it is a large kitchen, a water closet in the hall, a large landing place leads you on one side to a drawing room 30 feet by 20 and high in proportion ... On the other side of the landing place there are two excellent bedchambers ... the whole of these apartments are beautifully furnished and when papered and painted ... will be truly magnificent." Kean and his wife eventually separated and the actor died in poverty in 1833. That same year, Lord Bute purchased Woodend (or Kean's Cottage as it was sometimes known) so as to prevent "...its falling into the hands of any person" of whom he did not approve. Although the interior was not seen 1996, previous notes emphasise its interest, with particular reference to a painted drawing room. The estate?s coach-house, cottages, gatelodge and entrance gateway are listed separately.

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