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Stables, Dryburgh Abbey House

A Category B Listed Building in Jedburgh and District, Scottish Borders

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Latitude: 55.5765 / 55°34'35"N

Longitude: -2.646 / 2°38'45"W

OS Eastings: 359365

OS Northings: 631618

OS Grid: NT593316

Mapcode National: GBR 93YY.YS

Mapcode Global: WH8Y2.B379

Plus Code: 9C7VH9G3+JH

Entry Name: Stables, Dryburgh Abbey House

Listing Name: Dryburgh Abbey House Stables

Listing Date: 7 November 2007

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 354067

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB19668

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Mertoun

County: Scottish Borders

Electoral Ward: Jedburgh and District

Parish: Mertoun

Traditional County: Berwickshire

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John Smith of Darnwick, circa 1820; moved and rebuilt circa 1892. Single storey and attic, 5-bay, courtyard-plan, Gothick stable block with very ornate crenellated front elevation comprising arched gateway, blind arcaded walls and cross-finialed gabled outer bays with pointed-arch recesses; rear entrance through plain gateway in E (rear) range. Accommodation includes stables, coach houses, tack room and groom's quarters in gabled ranges. Squared, snecked sandstone with polished red sandstone ashlar dressings. Base course and corbelled, crenellated parapet to front elevation. Flush, tabbed, chamfered, round-arched ashlar window and door margins to courtyard and side elevations; gabled dormers to attic basket-arched windows. Timber-boarded doors.

PRINCIPAL ELEVATION: central 2-leaf timber-boarded gate with open, interlocking arched detail at top set into moulded archway with engaged columns and hoodmould; panel set in centre of parapet over arch inscribed 'Judge Nought' and sculpted stone hand emblem holding club above. Blind round-arch arcading to left and right. Advanced gables to outer bays with rosette windows set in large pointed-arch recesses with engaged columns.

COURTYARD: open cartshed supported on stone column to left of pend. S range with basket-arched cartsheds at ground and groom's quarters above; lower gabled range to E; N stable range with round- arched doors and windows, dormered hayloft to attic and louvred timber ridge vents. Lower ancillary stable building to E range with round-arched doorways and triple-hole vents near eaves.

Predominantly 6-pane glazing in fixed light windows with Gothick-arched glazing to top-opening hoppers; 6-pane glazing in timber sash and case windows to dormers. Ridge stacks with ashlar cope and small yellow cans. Welsh slate roofs with ashlar ridge on front section and zinc ridges elsewhere. Ashlar-coped skews with moulded skewputts.

INTERIOR: late 19th century interior fittings; fittings in stable on N by the Carron Company with cast iron posts between stables decorated with horses heads; grooms room in NW corner lined with pitch pine with late 19th century cast-iron fireplace.

Statement of Interest

The stable block forms a striking termination to the view to the E from the main house. The front elevation is a fine example of the Gothick castellated style that was popular from the last decades of the 18th century and in the early decades of the 19th century. Map evidence shows that the stables were rebuilt on a new location in the late 19th century and this in itself adds to their interest. It is not immediately clear what changes were made when the what changes were made when the building was repositioned, but it is almost certain that the basket arches on window and door openings in SW internal corner were introduced at the later period. Several good Victorian interiors survive.

John Smith may also have been responsible for two other similar stable blocks in the Borders, at The Woll and at The Haining, both of which were designed in the castellated style. The Gothic arches on the fa├žade at Dryburgh were probably introduced as a reference to Dryburgh Abbey, a few hundred metres away.

The attribution to John Smith is based on evidence in the Buchan family papers. We know that John Smith worked for the Earl of Buchan at a slightly later date ' he was discussing a new house for Lady Buchan in 1839 (wife of the 12th Earl) and although this did not come to fruition, additions to the house were made at that time by Smith. The crest over the pend ' a hand brandishing a club and the motto 'Judge Nought' is that of the Erskines, Earls of Buchan. The estate of Dryburgh passed from the 11th Earl to a granddaughter as heiress of entail. She married the Rev George Eden Biber Erskine, the family name thereafter became Biber-Erskine. The repositioning and rebuilding of the stable block was probably carried out for Oswald Erskine-Biber when the main house was being rebuilt after a serious fire in 1892. Henry Francis Kerr was responsible for the the rebuilding work at the house and may also have supervised the demolition and re-erection of the stables.

A stone commemorating the site of the house where Ebeneezer and Ralph Erskine, who were important as founders and ministers of the history of the Secession Church, were born is set into wall near S corner of the stables.

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