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Latitude: 56.1096 / 56°6'34"N
Longitude: -3.9385 / 3°56'18"W
OS Eastings: 279544
OS Northings: 692456
OS Grid: NS795924
Mapcode National: GBR 1C.M34R
Mapcode Global: WH4P6.GPRN
Entry Name: St Ninians Road, Earlsgate House Including Boundary Walls to S, W and N
Listing Date: 13 November 2003
Source: Historic Scotland
Source ID: 397081
Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB49533
Building Class: Cultural
Electoral Ward: Stirling West
Traditional County: Stirlingshire
McLuckie and Walker, 1900. Restrained classical exterior with rich and elaborate interior surviving to some rooms. Near-symmetrical, 2-storey and raised basement with attic, 4-bay square-plan villa (now converted to offices, 2003) with setback matching flanking single storey and raised basement former service wings. Principal block; coursed ashlar to principal (W) elevation with long and short stugged quoins, stugged and snecked sandstone elsewhere. Piended grey slate roof with overhanging bracketted eaves,
eyebrow dormer to principal (W) elevation and glass and iron cupola to central platform.
Heavily corniced and shouldered wallhead stacks with decorative square cans breaking eaves of side elevations. Service wings; snecked and stugged sandstone, pitched grey slate roofs with corniced stacks, ashlar coped skews and bracketted skewputts to gables. Notable features include: principal (W) elevation; battered base course rising to cill level, doorpiece; paired round arched openings flanked by horizontally-banded pilasters; doorpiece surmounted by cornice with curvilinear engaged parapet centred by pedimented tablet. Timber panelled door with round-arched plate glass fanlight to left opening accessed by stone steps flanked by wing walls terminated by squat piers. Stone apron below coloured glass window to right opening. Mullion and transom windows to all principal windows. Pronounced corniced transom to
flanking canted windows below tripartite 1st floor windows surmounted by stylised eaves pediments; curvilinear swan-necked pediments centering rectangular parapets breaking eaves. Predominantly plate glass timber sash and case windows, multi-paned upper sashes to service wings. Symmetrically disposed service entrances in lean-to porches at re-entrant angles with service wings; battered base course with cill and eaves courses, pair of tripartite mullioned windows regularly spaced at ground floor. Rear (E) elevation: near symmetrical with stop-chamfered basement windows; advanced, parapetted stair tower breaking eaves at centre enclosing viewing platform with replacement 2-leaf door providing
access from large central attic/billiard room; narrow off-centre door at ground with tall bipartite stair window at 1st floor. Near-regular fenestration at ground and 1st floor to outer bays of principal block, windows to right upper bay smaller and set higher than those of left reflecting internal arrangement of bathroom to right, blocked small window immediately to left of stair tower. Matching fenestration to flanking service wings, former door to outer bays with missing steps (2003). Near-matching S and N (side) elevations; tall transomed windows to ground and 1st floor. Round-arched niche set within SE stack, corresponding round-arched stair window set within NE wallhead stack. Service wings; 2 small windows to outer edges.
INTERIOR: large modernised basement with series of rooms running beneath entire house and service wings. Main door at ground leads to small vestibule with timber panelling to door
height, multi-paned door giving access to larger timber panelled vestibule divided into 2, timber and coloured glass partition to former cloakroom to SW. Double openings from vestibule into large square-plan hallway (exposed timberwork throughout vestibules and hall), panelled timber doors, highly ornate decorated frieze and cornice, geometric panelling to ceiling. Giant segmental-arched opening to E supported on decorated console brackets framing wide lower flight of timber imperial staircase. Decorative carved balusters and newel posts at ground and 1st floor, swan-necked pedimented caps with swags and acorn finials to large landing newel posts. Flanking timber and decorative coloured glass doors (leading to basement and rear door) setback at ground to stair. 2 main principal rooms little-altered, remaining rooms at ground and 1st floor retain some original features i.e. cornices, timber panelled doors, however all modernised to varying degrees including some with suspended ceilings. Former dining room to NW: all timberwork exposed; timber dado-panelling, timber panelled doors with ornate doorplates, large carved timber mantlepiece with modern tiled hearth and grate. Unusual mirrored rectangular panels to upper section of lower sashes (designed to mask transom of window). Ornate plaster frieze; decorative repeating panels of putti masks surrounded by garlands flanked by detailed Corinthian pilasters. Elaborate cornice with modillions and paterae, geometric plaster ceiling with decorated panels and drop-pendants. Former drawing room: painted timberwork, mirrored panels to windows (as in former dining room), press set close to canted window at S, replacement timber door with upper glazed coloured glass panel. Highly elaborate frieze featuring repeating pattern of stylised classical male figure surrounded by garlands framed by stylised herms with surmounting lyres, decorated ceiling. Small stair at 1st floor leading to former billiard room in attic, large square-plan room with central glass cupola.
BOUNDARY WALLS: low, snecked sandstone wall to principal (street) elevation, moulded ashlar cope with raised central ridge, flanking and gableted piers to outer-edges; enlarged entrance to left, possible entrance to right, (the 3rd edition OS Map show a U-plan drive with paired entrances to right and left, however the right wall shows little evidence of there being an with tooled rounded opening). Random rubble walls
coping stones enclosing drive and front garden to N and E. Tooled, snecked linking walls with large openings connecting servants wings to garden walls; cast iron gates. Head-height random rubble walls with rounded copes to rear garden walls to N and S. Laterly converted stable block to E, forming boundary wall to Livilands Lane, not to be included in the listing.
Although no longer functioning as a domestic house, the appearance of Earlgate's principal elevation is still that of a large and impressive late Victorian villa. It is one of the latest, large houses of its type built on the periphery of the highly fashionable and prestigious King's Park area. The house was initially named Wester Livilands, then renamed Benarty House by the mid 20th century, it is uncertain when it became known as Earlsgate. The house was built by the local based architects practise of McLuckie and Walker (predominantly known for their church and school commissions) who were also working on the remodelling of a neighbouring 17th century house, Wester Livilands, renamed Westerlands.
Earlsgate as it was built is slightly different to the 1896 plans, the most significant difference being the flanking service wings which are not shown on the plans. It is possible that at the time in 1900, Mr Tennant was able to afford a slightly grander design and the service accommodation was re- planned (no plans for the modified design can be traced at this time, 2003). The remaining features to the interior show that an elaborate and expensive internal decoration scheme was commissioned in order to demonstrate the wealth and status of the Tennants. The main hall, which takes up the entire central core of the house is large, and dominated by the impressive imperial staircase with its elaborate timber balusters. Although much of the house has been modernised, some very fine plaster friezes and ceilings remain in the hall and principal reception rooms to the ground floor. The billiard room to the attic with its large cupola is a very smart touch. The 2nd edition Ordnance Survey map of 1899 shows the plot of land, where the house was built, in use as a nursery with an L-shaped stable block to the E. The stables were enlarged at the time the house was built enclosing the rear garden to the E. They have been converted to offices with a modern steeply pitched roof offering 1st floor accommodation, they are not listed. The original U-shaped drive to the principal elevation has been modified, the drive leads to an enlarged central tarmac carparking area, the linking drive to the SW has been grassed over. The garden to the rear is now a large tarmac carpark.