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Culross, Balgownie House (Inchkeith School)

A Category B Listed Building in Culross, Fife

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Latitude: 56.0553 / 56°3'19"N

Longitude: -3.6333 / 3°37'59"W

OS Eastings: 298382

OS Northings: 685924

OS Grid: NS983859

Mapcode National: GBR 1Q.QKQJ

Mapcode Global: WH5QW.5247

Entry Name: Culross, Balgownie House (Inchkeith School)

Listing Date: 19 July 1973

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 359917

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB24062

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Culross

County: Fife

Town: Culross

Electoral Ward: West Fife and Coastal Villages

Traditional County: Fife

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Possibly 18th century with mid 19th century addition to S. 2-storey and attic, 6-bay former house (now school, 2001). Rectangular-plan section to principal, front elevation; rectangular-plan rear wing with additional wings to E and W; central linking section. Plain principal elevation. White render; painted window architraves, door surrounds, eaves course and quoins.

S (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: 2-leaf panelled door at 4th bay; 2-pane fanlight. Slightly advanced, pedimented doorpiece with acroteria. Blank plaque to aedicule. 3 windows to left; 2 to right. 6 regularly spaced 1st floor windows. E wing set back; tall ground floor window (partially blocked, possibly former door); 1st floor window above. Wing adjoined to right; small ground floor window to left; door to right; 3 regularly spaced 1st floor windows. W wing set back; single ground and 1st floor window; painted long and short quoins to wing. Single storey wing to far left; window to right; blocked window to left.

W ELEVATION: single ground and 1st floor windows to right. Small square central attic window; exposed cornice keystones to margin. Wing to left; 2 centred ground and 1st floor windows. Advanced wing to far left with advanced single storey wing attached. Central, blocked bipartite window to single storey gable.

N ELEVATION: single storey wing to far right; door to right; door to left. Symmetrical elevation to central rear section. 1st floor window to far right; semi-circular stair tower to left; mid stair window and 1st floor window in tower. Ground floor window to left of stair tower; single 1st floor windows to left and right above ground floor window. Central panelled 1st floor door; 4-pane fanlight. Identical arrangement to left of door but with blocked ground floor door. Wing to far left; 2-leaf boarded door to right; 1st floor window offset to right; ground floor window to far left. Ventilation holes. Semi-circular, rubble bridge provides access to central 1st floor door. Open ashlar drainage channel runs along perimeter of house.

E ELEVATION: plain gable to rear wing; part of right quoin chamfered. Linking section between main house and rear wing set back to left; door to right; partially blocked window to left. 1st floor window above door; 1st floor window to left. E gable of principal elevation; ground and 1st floor window to left; exposed cornice keystones to margin.

Moulded architraves to windows to all but rear elevation and rear E wing. 12-pane timber sash and case windows. Slated roof. Pitched roof to main section; gable apex stacks; ridge stack to E. Pitched roof to rear elevation to E; gable apex stack. Piended to W; ridge stack. Additional ridge stack to E. Piended roof to E wing gable; shouldered gable end stack. Pitched roof to W wing; gable apex stack. 2 ridge stacks to W to central section linking main elevation with rear elevation. Corniced, stone stacks throughout; predominantly fluted and corniced circular clay cans.

INTERIOR: partially seen, 2001. Vestibule. Inner central door; flanking glazed panels. Elliptical arch to hall with leaf and dart cornicing. Plain black and terracotta tiles to hall. Open well stair; decorative metal balusters; timber handrail. Plain cornicing; door architraves; panelled window splays and shutters. Coloured glass stair window decorated with heraldic images and boats. 2 turnpike stairs provide access to attic; stone steps remain. Internal access from house to W outhouse; flagged floor to outhouse.

Statement of Interest

B-Group with Balgownie House Boundary Walls, Boathouse and Garden Building. Said to have been built from the stones of an earlier Balgownie, which was situated to the NW of the present building, by Balgownie Mains. The rear is most likely an earlier house which was extended with a 6-bay elevation to the S in circa 1840. The 1860 OS Map shows Balgownie House with this later addition. James Erskine, brother of John 5th Lord Erskine, received a grant of lands on Balgownie from William Colville, Commendator of Culross Abbey in 1549. Hannah Erskine, heiress of Balgownie married John Cunninghame in 1736. John Alistair Erskine Cunninghame was provost of Culross for 42 years and lived at Balgownie; he died in 1934. A plaque above the forestair of the Town House is dedicated to him. Balgownie House was used by the Land Army in the 1950's and became a school in 1958. It is currently called Inchkeith School and Nursery (2001). For historical note, an hospital, founded in 1639 by George Bruce of Carnock for the maintenance of women, was sited to the SW of Balgownie House and was removed circa 1765. Balgownie stables are situated to the SW of the house. They are have been converted and are not part of the statutory list. The remains of an early building lie within the grounds, to the E of Balgownie House (see separate list). A driveway ran from Erskine Brae, behind the house (remains of a bridge and path survive) and joined the house from the W. The rear entrance by bridge and survival of the 2 turnpike stairs are of interest.

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