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Latitude: 57.0985 / 57°5'54"N
Longitude: -2.1943 / 2°11'39"W
OS Eastings: 388324
OS Northings: 800847
OS Grid: NJ883008
Mapcode National: GBR XL.1VSV
Mapcode Global: WH9QW.8VB3
Entry Name: Blairs College Menzies House
Listing Date: 22 December 1992
Source: Historic Scotland
Source ID: 353538
Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB19226
Building Class: Cultural
Electoral Ward: North Kincardine
Traditional County: Kincardineshire
Partially surviving later 18th century mansion, altered and extended by John Gall, architect, Aberdeen, under the supervision of John Menzies and Rev Gordon from 1827 when converted for use by the seminary; subsequently partially demolished. Extended to S, 1827, with Menzies' apartments and old chapel (see separate item); linked at N to later 1854 block.
ORIGINAL MANSION: 3-storey and attic (originally 3-storey); 5 bays only remain of original long symmetrical range, with full-height circular tower projecting at centre of N elevation: this tower now partially demolished, and forming eastern extremity of surviving building, the mirrorred eastern portion of the house to the left of the tower now demolished. Squared granite rubble, with black pinnings; 12-pane sash and case glazing to regularly placed windows, slated roof with 3 dormer windows in slope of roof to N (dormers of circa 1827 period of alterations), with 12-pane sash and case glazing; broad coped ashlar stacks. To rear (s) tall 4-storey gabled projecting wing at centre, once mirrored by similar wing to E (demolished), modern stair and perhaps site of original stair within.
INTERIOR: substantially re-cast, but retaining vaulted chambers of ?wine cellars at ground.
N (N-S ORIENTATED) BLOCK: 1854; 3-storey, 4-bay, wall-height slightly lower than earlier Menzies house block to S, tall 5-stage circular tower with conical slated roof projecting to left of E elevation, near re-entrant angle where this block meets Menzies House, and seen in 19th century sketch view (see NOTES); slated roof, end stacks; 12-pane sash and case glazing.
"Menzies house" was the original mansion house belonging to John Menzies of Pitfodels, given to the Catholic College in 1827, at which time the building was remodelled. A sketch view of the house as it existed in the later 19th century is reprinted in BLAIRS magazine of 1981, and a photograph of the eastern (demolished) part of the house in BLAIRS magazine for 1982. Modern ?inter-war housing has been built near to the site of the demolished eastern portion of the house (1992). Although altered and partially demolished, the house is listed at Category B because of its hirtorical importance as the earliest building on site, at the core of the later collegiate building complex. John Menzies of Pitfodels was a wealthy Catholic laird, formerly Convenor of the County of Aberdeen, when he made over his estate to Blairs to the Roman Catholic college; he is buried in he crypt of the chapel of St Margaret's Convent (Gillies College), Whitehouse Loan, Edinburgh. The college moved from Aquhorthies at Inverurie in 1829, to re-establish itself as "St Mary's College for education and training of those who may feel themselves called to dedicate themselves to God and the Salvation of souls as clergymen on the Scottish Mission".
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