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Richmond Farmhouse

A Category C Listed Building in Peterhead, Aberdeenshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 57.5026 / 57°30'9"N

Longitude: -1.8225 / 1°49'21"W

OS Eastings: 410734

OS Northings: 845833

OS Grid: NK107458

Mapcode National: GBR P8VW.X93

Mapcode Global: WHBQ7.ZP99

Entry Name: Richmond Farmhouse

Listing Date: 14 November 1990

Category: C

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 353182

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB18960

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Peterhead

County: Aberdeenshire

Electoral Ward: Peterhead North and Rattray

Parish: Peterhead

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire

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Description

Richmond Farmhouse is an early 19th century, single storey with basement and attic, three-bay, symmetrical farmhouse. The front (south) elevation has a channelled and rusticated basement, an ashlar string course between the basement and ground floor and squared and coursed granite above. The north, east and west elevations are rendered.

The front (south) elevation faces onto a large garden enclosed by a granite rubble stone wall. The central bay is advanced and gabled with a small blind arrowslit opening in the gable apex. Granite steps with replacement railings lead to this entrance, which has a replacement partially glazed timber door. The basement windows are sunk into semi-circular ashlar granite light wells.

The rear (north) elevation has a pair of attic dormer windows and a flat-roofed porch to the far right bay from which internal steps lead down into the basement floor. The east gable has a central, piended roof entrance porch.

The roof is pitched with grey slates and has a later central rooflight to the front and rear pitches. There are straight ashlar granite skews with cavetto skewputts. Each gable has a coped chimney stack both with 19th century octagonal cans and replacement cans. There are replacement timber sash and case lying pane windows throughout.

The interior of the farmhouse was seen in 2017. The raised ground floor is symmetrically arranged and has early 19th century skirting boards, dado rail, picture rail, timber doors with architraves, timber shutters and cornicing in all the rooms and hallway. The hallway also has decorative floral plaster mouldings to the ceiling. The living room has a chimneypiece with rounded timber mouldings to the edge. No features from the 19th century decorative scheme were seen in the basement and attic interiors.

Statement of Interest

Richmond Farmhouse is an early 19th century improvement period farmhouse in the classical style. The farmhouse s design quality is seen in its main (south) elevation facing away from the functional farm buildings. This elevation is symmetrical with distinguishing architectural features, including the channelled and rusticated granite basement, the semi-circular ashlar granite light wells, the advanced and gabled central porch and lying pane windows. Internally the ground floor retains many 19th century features including its plan form, timber joinery and decorative plaster work.

Age and Rarity

The age of Richmond Farmhouse is not known but it is likely to date from the early 19th century. The previous listed building record written in 1990 dates Richmond Farmhouse from 1830 to 1840.

In the late 18th and early 19th centuries agriculture in Scotland was transformed as subsistence farming gave way to the creation of larger farms. This along with drainage, use of lime as a fertiliser and improved understanding of husbandry all brought about improvement. Numerous guides were published on how to design and plan a farm in this period and amongst the most well-known is J C Loudon s Encyclopaedia of Cottage, Farm and Villa Architecture, first published in 1834 and revised in 1846.

Sweeping changes to farm tenancy agreements in the early 19th century saw a number of new farms and steadings built which attracted entrepreneurial farmers from further south in Scotland to the northeast. (See Glendinning and Martins pp. 48–50).

It is during this period that Richmond farmhouse was built for a son of Robert Walker of Aberdour in Aberdeenshire, who had acquired land near Peterhead, including Richmond. The exact date of this purchase is unclear however it is likely to have been in the mid-1830s. The 1841 Census records Robert Walker s son and wife living at Richmond.

Richmond Farmhouse is shown on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map (surveyed 1868) as a square plan farmhouse with a small row of buildings attached to the west. The map shows an L-plan range of farm buildings to the rear (north) and two further rectangular plan detached outbuildings, to the east and west of the L-plan range. The eastern most rectangular plan building has a flagstaff and a well adjacent to it.

In the Ordnance Survey Name Book, written between 1865 and 1871, Richmond is described as a large and neat mansion house with office houses and gardens attached (p. 29). The 2nd Edition Ordnance Survey map (surveyed 1900) shows little change at the site. The only notable change shown on the 3rd Edition Ordnance Survey map (surveyed 1924) is the addition of a sundial to the southwest of the farmhouse, within the gardens.

While farmhouses are not a rare building type, those associated with the introduction of early and improving farming practice (from roughly mid-18th to the mid-19th centuries), which demonstrate quality of design and construction and which remain to a greater or lesser degree in their original form may have interest in listing terms.

Richmond Farmhouse is an example of an early improvement period farmhouse, designed in a classical style which is little altered externally. It has a number of classically inspired details that aspire towards fashionable urban architecture of the period and include a rusticated granite basement, symmetrical windows sunken into semi-circular ashlar granite light wells, advanced and gabled central porch and lying pane windows.

Architectural or Historic Interest

Interior

Although no features from the 19th century decorative scheme are evident in the basement and attic interiors of Richmond Farmhouse, the raised ground floor has some decorative features. These details are of some quality for this building type and add to the case for listing.

Plan form

Robert Naismith, in his book Buildings of the Scottish Countryside (published 1989) notes that farms in the northeast of Scotland typically comprise small steadings with houses close to the farm buildings. The plan form seen at Richmond Farmhouse, with a square farmhouse and adjacent steading arranged around an open courtyard, is typical of the formal arrangements of Improvement farms of the early 19th century. The principal elevation of the farmhouse is crucially turned away from the steading and has its own setting within the wider landscape. From Ordnance Survey maps it can be seen that the plan form of Richmond Farmhouse has been largely unchanged since 1868.

Technological excellence or innovation, material or design quality

In terms of design quality, Richmond Farmhouse is an early 19th century farmhouse in a classical style. This is particularly evident in its symmetrical front (south) elevation. The channelled and rusticated granite basement, symmetrical windows sunken into semi-circular ashlar granite light wells, advanced and gabled central porch are all distinctive architectural details.

The windows have been replaced but follow the unusual lying-pane glazing pattern. This glazing pattern became more widespread in Scotland in the early 19th century, where window panes were laid horizontally within the sash rather than vertically.

As with the designs for other types of buildings, such as hospitals, prisons, and schools, new farm buildings became strongly influenced by the growing desire for classification and order, which was stimulated by the Enlightenment. In choosing to build a farmhouse in a classical style, an owner displayed both wealth and enlightened interest in the Improvement movement (Glendinning and Martins p. 25). It is likely that Richmond Farmhouse was designed by a local fashionable architect or followed closely from one of the many published pattern books newly available. Of particular note is the main elevation of the building facing away from the working farm buildings, providing a screen when looking north from the main road to the south of the site. From Ordnance Survey maps between 1868 and 1924 the view from the main elevation south is uninterrupted by buildings or trees.

In photographs of Richmond Farmhouse dating to 1975, it can be seen that the east and west elevations of the building are made of granite rubble.

Setting

Richmond Farmhouse is set back from the Kinmundy Road which leads west from the centre of Peterhead. The boundary to the east, south and west is marked by a shoulder height rubble granite wall and mature trees. From 2012 the immediate setting of the farmhouse has been on a programme of continuous change, with the former agricultural land surrounding the building being redeveloped into a large residential development.

The former farmhouse is now isolated and the loss of its associated agricultural land has had some adverse impact on the building s setting.

Regional variations

The building is constructed of granite which is the predominant building material in the northeast of Scotland. Both the Old and New Statistical Account mention the abundance of granite and its quarrying in the parish of Peterhead. The granite used to construct the farmhouse is likely to be locally sourced providing a clear association with the area.

Close Historical Associations

There are no known associations with a person or event of national importance at present (2017).

Listed building record updated in 2017.

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