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Latitude: 54.9506 / 54°57'2"N
Longitude: -3.9142 / 3°54'51"W
OS Eastings: 277502
OS Northings: 563453
OS Grid: NX775634
Mapcode National: GBR 1C36.C4
Mapcode Global: WH4VT.VT8N
Entry Name: Urr Valley Hotel (Formerly Ernespie House) Ancillary Structures Comprising Dovecot, Water Tower, Walled Garden and Garden Terraces
Listing Date: 18 December 2003
Source: Historic Scotland
Source ID: 397174
Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB49593
Building Class: Cultural
County: Dumfries and Galloway
Electoral Ward: Castle Douglas and Crocketford
Traditional County: Kirkcudbrightshire
Group of predominantly later 19th century structures in grounds of Urr Valley Hotel (formerly Ernespie House).
DOVECOT: predominantly 19th century, incorporating earlier material. Circular-plan 3-stage dovecot with later narrow pointed windows and corbelled crenellated parapet. Random rubble with red brick banding, and brick parapet. Low entrance to N; small lancet windows, some with tile edging; alighting ledge; flight holes; corbelled parapet with coped crenellations. Stone nesting boxes to interior.
WATER TOWER: later 19th century. Squat, square-plan battered water tower with crenellated parapet (concealing tank). Random sandstone rubble with red sandstone ashlar dressings. Rusticated long and short quoins. Semicircular-arched entrance to S with tapered chamfer to rusticated quoins and roll-moulded hoodmould; 3 false arrow-slits to S and W.
WALLED GARDEN: probably late 18th with later C19th alterations. Flat-coped random rubble walls with central doorways (bricked up) to N, S and W; wall to E partly replaced by low wall and railings to form concave semicircle.
GARDEN TERRACES AND STEPS: to W, NW and SW of house. Series of raised and sunken terraces with flights of stone steps. Decorative urns flanking steps and at some corners of terraces.
As a group these separate elements form an interesting designed landscape. The first edition OS map shows clumps of trees surrounding the garden in all directions, which suggests that the estate originally had a small park. The present arrangement of terraces to the W of the house first appears on the 2nd edition OS map (circa 1900), and probably dates from the 1860s or '70s. The walled garden, which probably dates from late 18th century, is shown as plain rectangle on the 1st edition OS map, and was probably altered to its present state at the same time as the terraces were built. The water tower, which is still used to hold the hotel?s water supply, was probably built at the same time as the rear extension of the house (circa 1860), as the stone is very similar. The dovecot shows evidence of at least two phases of building, as the upper section has distinct bands of red brick running through it, which are absent nearer the ground. The crenellated parapet and windows are later additions, and are probably contemporary with the water tower. Although the nesting boxes have been rebuilt inside the dovecot, it is likely that it was intended more for decorative effect than any practical use, because the positioning of the windows would make it very easy for rats, and other predators, to climb in.
Ernespie House (now the Urr Valley Hotel), probably dates from the mid-late eighteenth century, although it is likely that an earlier house existed. It has been tentatively suggested that an earlier house may have been situated on the raised terrace to the south of the walled garden. The house has been altered and added to several times during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, but is important because it forms the context for the items mentioned in this list.
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