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Latitude: 55.6581 / 55°39'29"N
Longitude: -4.6004 / 4°36'1"W
OS Eastings: 236502
OS Northings: 643575
OS Grid: NS365435
Mapcode National: GBR 3B.JK8Q
Mapcode Global: WH3Q2.91KR
Entry Name: Girgenti Farm, Including Tower and Outbuildings
Listing Date: 14 April 1971
Source: Historic Scotland
Source ID: 352540
Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB18486
Building Class: Cultural
County: East Ayrshire
Electoral Ward: Annick
Traditional County: Ayrshire
Circa 1828 with 1843 tower. Single storey and attic farm comprising range of outbuildings, in 2 L-plan sections forming loose courtyard and incorporating prominent landmark polygonal tower to principal (SE) elevation. Rubble with some ashlar margins. Segmental-arched pend to SE elevation leading to courtyard. Later box dormer to farmhouse, incorporated in SE range.
FURTHER DESCRIPTION: tall polygonal tower within SE range to left of farmhouse. Coursed, squared and snecked sandstone rubble with ashlar margins. Deep, moulded cornice. 2 armorial shields, one with inscription (see Notes). Inset clocks to 4 faces with narrow round-arched louvred openings above. Tapered polygonal grey slated roof with skylights. Interior with cantilevered spiral staircase with metal balusters and handrail.
OUTBUILDINGS: L-plan byre to NE with part-glazed, sliding timber doors. Slated roof with regularly spaced skylights. Rubble SE range with piended roof to N end.
Predominantly replacement windows. Grey slates. Flat skews. Ridge stacks.
The distinctive and unusual tower incorporated into this farm forms a prominent landmark in the area. Reminiscent of an Italian campanile, it was built by John Cheape, a sea captain turned agricultural improver who bought this site in the 1820s. Cheape was particularly fond of Sicily and he may have taken the inspiration for the design of the tower from belltowers seen on his travels. The inscription to one of the armorial shields on the tower reads "designed and erected by Captain John Cheape, MDCCCXLIII".
When he bought the site, Cheape built a new house on it in 1828, in place of the previous Muirhead Farm. The house, called Girgenti after a town in Sicily, was described in the New Statistical Account as being "built in rather an uncommon style" and was demolished in the 1940s. Girgento is an older name for the current Sicilian town of Agrigento. The current Girgenti Farm is located in the former offices of this original Girgenti House which lay to the East.
Local knowledge suggests that he built the tower to enable him to look out to sea. Cheape died in 1850, leaving his house to the five principle Infirmaries of Scotland.
List description updated as part of Stewarton Parish resurvey, 2009.
Category changed from B to C(S), 2009.
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