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Netherbyres House, Walled Garden

A Category B Listed Building in Ayton, Scottish Borders

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.8652 / 55°51'54"N

Longitude: -2.0916 / 2°5'29"W

OS Eastings: 394365

OS Northings: 663561

OS Grid: NT943635

Mapcode National: GBR F0TM.ZB

Mapcode Global: WH9XX.VV51

Entry Name: Netherbyres House, Walled Garden

Listing Date: 28 September 1999

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 393780

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB46462

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Ayton

County: Scottish Borders

Electoral Ward: East Berwickshire

Parish: Ayton

Traditional County: Berwickshire

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Description

Probably devised and laid out by William Crow, circa 1730; completed and improved by Samuel Brown, circa 1834; greenhouses erected circa 1870 (demolished and replaced by private residence late 20th century). Elliptical-plan walled garden (approximately 1.5 acres), set to E of Netherbyres House. Tall, coped walls comprising harl-pointed rubble to outer elevations (ashlar dressings in part); red brick inner linings. Boarded timber doors throughout; some long and short surrounds to openings; some red brick relieving arches. Modern, part-harled, part brick-built single and 2-storey residence to NE, overlooking garden. Central pond and fountain missing; various formal paths in place.

Statement of Interest

B Group comprises 'Netherbyres House', 'Netherbyres House, The Coach House & Stable Courtyard' and 'Netherbyres House, Walled Garden' - see separate list entries. A fine and extremely rare example of a mathematically laid out elliptical garden, possibly inspired by J Worlidge's ART OF GARDENING (1682), in which a circular garden is described as "...very pleasant...The walls about such a Garden are very good for fruit, the Wind being not so severe against a Round, as against a streight Wall." The ellipse at Netherbyres was probably designed by William Crow - a mathematician with a keen interest in horticulture, who inherited Netherbyres from his father in 1706, and returned from Edinburgh in 1720 to manage his estate. In a letter, dated 1740, to Dr Alstone (then Professor of Botany at Edinburgh University), Crow described his garden and in particular, his peaches, of which he had "... a wall 300ft long." This peach wall is thought to have formed part of his elliptical layout. It should be noted however, that although the ellipse is shown clearly on Blackadder's 1818 plan (GD416/3/38), upon purchasing Netherbyres in 1833, Samuel Brown thought it necessary to plan a new garden to the SW of the house. Later, he thought "...the best place for the garden would be the oblong park east of the oval" (SRO) - the implication being that Brown then considered Crow's ellipse to be more of a walled enclosure than a formal garden. What remains today therefore, is a combination of mid 18th and 19th century work, with Brown building up and improving Crow's walls (which by then may well have fallen into disrepair) and subsequently introducing a formal layout, with a perimeter walk and equally-spaced paths converging in the centre at a pond (subsequently a fountain and since removed). The OS map shows all was in place by 1858.

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