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Walled Gardens, Dalkeith House

A Category C Listed Building in Dalkeith, Midlothian

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Latitude: 55.8984 / 55°53'54"N

Longitude: -3.0739 / 3°4'26"W

OS Eastings: 332943

OS Northings: 667778

OS Grid: NT329677

Mapcode National: GBR 60Z7.9F

Mapcode Global: WH6T1.R0FH

Plus Code: 9C7RVWXG+9C

Entry Name: Walled Gardens, Dalkeith House

Listing Name: Lugton Walled Gardens (Formerly to Dalkeith House) Including Upper Walled Garden, Lower Walled Garden, Boundary Wall to E and Lugton Brae Retaining Wall to E of Main Entrance

Listing Date: 27 January 2004

Category: C

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 397206

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB49624

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Dalkeith

County: Midlothian

Electoral Ward: Dalkeith

Parish: Dalkeith

Traditional County: Midlothian

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Sizeable garden complex designed by Charles McIntosh, 1830s. Significant remaining walls to upper walled garden to the north, lower walled garden to the southeast and surviving boundary wall to the east.

Upper walled garden: rectangular-plan, east, west and south ranges intact with surviving curvilinear section of former frameyard wall to the far northwest and northeast (20th century brick wall to far rear (north) not to be listed). Uniform height wall built in brick running bond wall with ashlar copes, large number of iron nails surviving to wall surfaces. Slightly advanced, large, round arched carriage entrance to centre of southern range. Flanking segmentally arched recessed hearths at ground to inner south wall, remnants of iron pipes visible. Outer western wall has small segmental arch within wall set close to ground (possible blocked hearth). Eastern outer and inner wall has blocked doorway to southeast with remnants of sandstone dressings. Late 20th century single storey school occupies site to the north where glasshouses and offices originally stood (not to be listed). Later 19th century Garden House (see seperate listing, LB1433) on raised bank to immediate west.

Lower garden: irregular-plan partly walled former market garden (nursery, 2003) set beneath upper walled garden on steeply sloping site, terminated by River Esk to south. Coped random rubble walls; low north wall heightened slightly with red brick. East wall very tall in parts as descends slope, collapsed as approaches river bank, ashlar retaining wall to riverbank at corner, upper section collapsed. No evidence of boundary wall running along river to south. Tall wall to west with entrance to southwest. Boundary wall to east: extensive, coped, uniform height red brick wall creating enclosed area to east of upper garden; linking north point of lower walled garden with northeast frameyard wall. Fragments of stone strapwork (similar in style to that found on Dalkeith Park Conservatory, see separate listing, LB1410) adjacent to northern part of wall. Lugton Brae retaining wall to east of main entrance: tall rubble wall with round-headed coping, stretching from gatepier (inserted as main entrance in 20th century main) down considerable southeastern slope terminating and intersecting with western corner of Lower Garden.

Statement of Interest

A-Group with Dalkeith Park, Dalkeith House and other Dalkeith associated estate ancillary buildings (see separate listings) and Lugton Walled Gardens, Head Gardeners House (see LB1433). Although part of the complex has been demolished including the glasshouses and some of the associated ancillary buildings, significant remains of walls survive documenting this important part of Dalkeith House Estate.

When built the gardens occupied a 20 acre site, being one of the largest in Britain at the time [C McIntosh]. The garden was designed to the plans of the then newly appointed head gardener, Charles McIntosh. McIntosh by the time he had taken up his post at Dalkeith was already regarded as eminent in his field; previous works had included his involvement in planting the grounds of the Coliseum in Regents Park, London, and remodeling the gardens at Laachen, Belgium, for his former employer, Prince Leopold of Belgium.

A large range of glasshouses extended from west to east at around the area where the upper garden walls terminate, this would have created a large formal area to the south, directly behind this range ran a line of offices in coursed picked ashlar. To the north of this section within the former enclosed frameyard were numerous glasshouses and hot houses producing a huge variety of produce including figs, cucumbers, cherries, apricots, pineapples etc. McIntosh states that within the gardens there was 5,866 square yards of roofing. This section of the gardens was demolished in the later 20th century in order to accommodate the school (the school closed late 2003).

The north wall of the lower walled garden was originally a boundary wall for the policies. When McIntosh set up the gardens he decided to use the land running down from wall to the river as a market garden. The north wall was heightened and tall walls to the east and west were built enclosing the open space, it is unsure whether there was a wall bordering the riverbank to the south. It was planted with fruit trees, gooseberries and currant bushes, the rest of the garden being set aside for kitchen crops. Some overgrown fruit bushes still remain however most of the area has been cleared and is used as a nursery by Dalkeith Country Park (2003). The gardens were designed with a network of paths and drives some of which were only used by the garden workforce, however others linked with the surrounding estate allowing inspection of the gardens to be carried out by carriage if so desired. The formal approach from Dalkeith House to the garden came from the east and the southeast, the east route passed through a lawned area with single specimen trees and unusual shrubs, this area is still bounded by its original wall to the east of the upper walled garden. It is of interest to note that many of the trees and shrubs remain having reached full maturity, including fine examples of Scots Pines and Redwoods.

The impressive outer boundary wall of the former estate running along the southerly most part of Lugton Brae also importantly serves as a retaining wall to the garden. It is thus listed due to its direct relationship with the garden and the function it provides by banking up the south-west corner. The wall is interrupted by a 20th century opening flanked by square-plan piers with pyramidal caps, the wall continues along Lugton Brae to the west.

The ribbon bedding at Lugdon was noted by gardener William Robinson as 'being more effective than any' he had seen elsewhere.

Reference section updated in 2021.

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