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House of Falkland Estate, Tunnel on Path Along Maspie Burn

A Category B Listed Building in Falkland, Fife

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Latitude: 56.252 / 56°15'7"N

Longitude: -3.2284 / 3°13'42"W

OS Eastings: 323987

OS Northings: 707291

OS Grid: NO239072

Mapcode National: GBR 27.B0P8

Mapcode Global: WH6R7.C3XY

Entry Name: House of Falkland Estate, Tunnel on Path Along Maspie Burn

Listing Date: 21 December 2011

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 400798

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB51859

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Falkland

County: Fife

Electoral Ward: Howe of Fife and Tay Coast

Parish: Falkland

Traditional County: Fife

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Probably 1840s (see Notes). Curving, round-arched tunnel, situated on walk along W bank of Maspie Burn and orientated N and S. Round-arched entrances with large, rustic stone blocks, built into natural rock; brick-lined interior. Rustic stone voussoirs.

Statement of Interest

This tunnel is a good surviving example of a relatively rare designed-landscape feature, constructed to add to the emotional experiences of exploring the estate around the House of Falkland. The tunnel is situated on the linear walk along the west side the Maspie Burn and is deliberately curved to obscure the exit when the tunnel is entered. This helps to create a sense of fear and anticipation when entering and is one of a number of structures in the estate used to add to the overall experience of the grounds. The tunnel is most likely to date from around 1840, when William Burn was building the house, laying out the formal garden and improving the surrounding landscape. It may, however, date to circa 1820-30, when John Bruce was carrying out initial work to the estate.

Tunnels were occasionally built in designed landscapes of country houses, from the 18th century onwards, in order to create a range of emotions within the person walking around the estate. In some cases the person entered into a dark tunnel and exited at an open space with a wide view, as at Penicuik House in Lothian. At House of Falkland, the tunnel is part of the overall experience of the walk along the Maspie Burn.

In its present form, House of Falkland estate dates from the early 19th century when it was acquired by John Bruce in 1821. During his time at the estate, Bruce improved the lands around the existing estate house Nuthill House (now demolished), built the Stables (see separate listing), and erected cascades and bridges over the Mill and Maspie Burns.

On his death in 1826, John Bruce's niece Margaret inherited the Estate. She married Onesiphorus Tyndall Bruce in 1828 and they made the decision to demolish Nuthill House and to build a new residence. The architect for the new house was William Burn and the house was built in 1839-44. They also laid out the formal garden around the house and did further improving work to the surrounding landscape. The 3rd Marquis of Bute then bought the Estate in 1887 and further work was carried out to the house and the estate. The house was used as a convalescent home in the First World War and as a home for Polish Airmen in the Second World War. The House of Falkland is currently a school (2011).

(Listed 2011 as part of review of Falkland Estate).

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