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Latitude: 56.3927 / 56°23'33"N
Longitude: -4.1183 / 4°7'6"W
OS Eastings: 269332
OS Northings: 724285
OS Grid: NN693242
Mapcode National: GBR 14.1BR1
Mapcode Global: WH4MR.QL24
Entry Name: St Fillans, Ard Choille Including Cottage, Boundary Walls and Gatepiers
Listing Date: 4 May 2006
Source: Historic Scotland
Source ID: 398369
Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB50378
Building Class: Cultural
County: Perth and Kinross
Electoral Ward: Strathearn
Traditional County: Perthshire
Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park Planning Authority
Ard Choille is a fine, well detailed villa dating from 1876, by the architect G T Ewing of Crieff. The villa is set in a large plot on the loch side road, orientated towards Loch Earn. The villa is a particularly well preserved and an unusual example of the work of Ewing, who was architect to the Drummond Estate and designed many of the buildings of this period in St Fillans. One of the grandest and most unique villas in the village and the work of an architect who had a great effect upon the built heritage of the Trossachs.
The villa is complicated in plan, a square plan ground floor with L-plan 1st floor on the SW (principal) and NW sides. A later flat-roofed timber extension is added to the 1st floor (parallel with the SW side), and an L-plan glass conservatory sits on the SE elevation of the villa at ground floor. The principal elevation is 3-bay, dominated by an advanced, gabled bay to the left with a 2-storey decorative windowpiece. A central entrance porch sits in the right return of the advanced bay with a sloping roof returning to the main elevation, and to the right-hand bay there is a segmental-arch pedimented windowpiece at ground floor.
The main elevation is a carefully composed façade, where the architect uses horizontal and vertical elements to create a very formal elevation. A projecting splayed base course, together with the cill course at 1st floor, exaggerates the boundaries of the ground floor. The entry porch with flanking windowpieces are the full height of this area, giving the ground floor a dominating presence in the façade. The result of this is that the 1st floor appears narrower, defined horizontally by the cill course to base and the deep projecting bracketed eaves of the roof. Where these eaves are broken by the gabled left-hand bay, a frieze with decorative bosses continues the visual connection across the gable. This frieze is broken by the continuation of the double height windowpiece, which extends into the gablehead, topped by a small segmental-headed pediment. Below this pediment is a large plaque with the initials 'AS'. Window forms are also important, the windows of the principal ground floor rooms are round arched, those on the advanced gable having a raised arcaded margin with raised keystone detailing.
The formal definition of the SE elevation is lost to a random distribution and size of fenestration across the SW (side) elevation. Demonstrating this, the projecting 1st floor cill course continues onto this elevation but forms the cill of only 1 upper floor window. The W corner of the house has an unusual form, with gables on the NW and SW sides. The NW (rear) and NE elevations are a stark contrast to the formal principal elevation. The single storey ground floor is surmounted by a mid 20th century timber-boarded extension in the return of the L-plan 1st floor. To the far left of the elevation is a gabled bay, which has a 2nd , 2-storey bay to the right with deep-projecting eaves. To the right-hand side at ground floor is a timber built L-plan conservatory, with an arcade of round-arched windows and a dentil cornice, likely to be earlier 20th century.
Interior: access to the interior was not gained at the time of the survey (2005).
Materials: Ashlar to SE elevation, squared rubble to sides and rear. Long and short ashlar quoins. Grey slate roof, stone stacks and clay cans. Plate glass timber sash and case and timber casement windows.
Ancillaries: a large L-plan piended-roof single-storey outhouse (now converted to a small dwelling, late 20th century) sits in the N corner of the gardens. The outhouse is visible on the 2nd Ordnance Survey map. Low ashlar boundary walls. Square-plan gatepiers with pyramidal copes.
Ard Choille, originally called Earnholm, was built in 1876 for a man named Alexander Sandison, by the architect George T Ewing. Sandison was known to have travelled extensively in South America, and later settled in St Fillans, where his villa was one of the grandest in the village. The 2nd edition Ordnance Survey map shows the villa with extensive grounds in comparison with other village properties, and a U-shaped formal driveway leading to the front of the house. A large outhouse (now converted to a small dwelling, late 20th century) sits in the N corner of the gardens. The 2nd Ordnance Survey map shows that the glass conservatory to the NE elevation was yet to be built by 1900.
G T Ewing was the architect for the Drummond Estates, who owned much of the land in and around St Fillans and Loch Earn. In 1880 Ewing produced a feuing plan for the village of St Fillans, proposing major extension of the village to the S and E sides. On this plan are elevations of several buildings in the village, mostly unexecuted, including an elevation of Ard Choille (some of the detailing is slightly different on this plan). This may have acted as a form of advertising for the architect showing some of his best and most imaginative designs, in the hope that he would be commissioned to design the houses in the plots defined on his feuing plan.
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