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Alastrean House Including Sundial

A Category B Listed Building in Tarland, Aberdeenshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 57.1313 / 57°7'52"N

Longitude: -2.8435 / 2°50'36"W

OS Eastings: 349037

OS Northings: 804797

OS Grid: NJ490047

Mapcode National: GBR WP.4L47

Mapcode Global: WH7N9.906Y

Entry Name: Alastrean House Including Sundial

Listing Date: 25 March 1980

Last Amended: 25 March 2003

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 396724

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB49157

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Tarland

County: Aberdeenshire

Electoral Ward: Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire

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Tarland

Description

A G Sydney Mitchell, 1903 with modern additions. 2-storey, 5-bay hip-roofed central block with 3-bay gabled wings, U-plan, 17th century, Baroque Revival style former hunting lodge. Drum towers with candle-snuffer roofs flanking main entrance. Aberdeen bond pink granite. Moulded eaves course. Rectangular windows.

North (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: 5-bay central block with single storey, advanced gabled porch to centre in rusticated granite. 2-leaf timber door flanked by blocked pilasters supporting polished granite plaque inscribed, 'COMRADES OF ALL THE BRAVE THE FAITHFULL AND THE TRUE AND IN GLORIOUS MEMORY OF THE FEW.' Gablehead roughly carved with RAF arms and inscription, 'ALASTREAN HOUSE, IN MEMORY OF MY SONS SIR ALASTAIR, SIR RODERIC SIR IAIN MACROBERT'. Windows flanking entrance piece. Engaged 2-stage, drum towers flanking porch terminating in candle-snuffer roofs breaking eaves. Plain regular fenestration to outer bays. 3-bay advanced gabled wings flanking main block to form front courtyard. Modern 4-bay blocks, built in sympathetic style, abutting outer corners of wings.

South (REAR) ELEVATION: 9-bay, regular fenestration. Triple central bay with plaques bearing the arms of Lord Aberdeen carved to upper storey, flanked by engaged drum towers. Plain outer bays flanked by additional engaged drum towers to corners. 2-storey, rectangular-plan irregular advanced wing to outer right with timber forestair linking garden to billiard room.

East (SIDE) ELEVATION: obscured by modern additions in similar style.

West (SIDE) ELEVATION: irregular fenestration with advanced single storey, bipartite window to centre, large modern U-plan additions (2001-2) in similar style abutting to outer left (northwest).

Multi-pane upper case, plate glass lower, timber frame sash and case windows. Grey slates, lead flashing, solar panels to S facing roof. Hipped roof with coped ridge stacks.

INTERIOR: plain but elegant 1960s timber panelling and plasterwork throughout following 1958 fire. Except billiard room in south wing which retains original Jacobethan style panelling with ornate pilasters and strapwork carving over fireplace.

SUNDIAL: freestanding narrow Salomonic column on plinth, blocked at centre, terminating in plain capital bearing bronze dial.

Statement of Interest

Originally named Cromar House, the house was built as an autumn shooting lodge for the Marquis of Aberdeen. As Lady Aberdeen wrote in their reminiscences,"At last we found the site for the new house at Cromar. A. has been looking for one for 30 years and now we discovered the perfect place,our Highland retreat in a fashion after our own hearts, with terraces and grass walks, and an Italian garden in the midst of that wonderful panorama of hills.There among the delectable mountains we have settled down". The Cromar estate was sold in 1905 to settle the Marquis and Marchioness' bills, largely run up through their public service work, and purchased by India cotton baron Sir Alexander MacRobert. Rachel Workman, Lady MacRobert later renamed the house Alastrean in memory of her sons (Alastair, Roderic and Iain) who died serving in the RAF in World War II. Lady MacRobert dedicated the house to the RAF in 1943 as a retirement home, forming part of the McRobert Estates Trust. Alastrean House was delisted due to extensive fire damage in 1958. However, as the interior has been sensitively restored and the characteristic main stone structure was undamaged it was listed at category B in 2003.

Listed building record updated in 2014.

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