STIRLINGSHIRE - an inventory of the Ancient Monuments (1963)

Royal Commission on the Ancient Monuments of Scotland

The late Georgian mansion of Neuck stands on level ground close to the junction of the Pow Burn with the River Forth, and about a mile SE. of the village of Airth. The house is substantially built and incorporates a number of pleasing features, among them a handsome perron now unfortunately masked by an overgrowth of creeper. 

The building is a simple rectangular block comprising a basement, two principal storeys and an attic; the masonry is of droved ashlar, the material being a grey sandstone. A plain band runs round the house at first- floor level and the walls finish in a moulded eaves-cornice above which there is a plain blocking-course. The roof is hipped and slated, and the chimney-vents are of dressed stone. The principal facade (Pl. 195 B) faces NW., and contains the main entrance which is centrally placed on the first floor. The central portion of the facade projects, and is surmounted by a triangular pediment in the centre of which there is a circular window. Three plain stone blocks are set a little behind the pediment, one at the foot of each rake and the third at the apex; this last bears the incised inscription J A H / STATUIT / 1812. The front door, over which there is a fanlight, is framed by a Tuscan entrance-portico. It is approached by a semi-elliptical perron with dual ascent which incorporates an ornamental cast-iron balustrade. On either side of the entrance there is a single large window, the three smaller windows that light the second floor being placed symmetrically above. The windows of the two principal floors have moulded architraves, and those of the first floor have in addition a plain frieze and moulded cornice. The SE. facade is generally similar to the NW. one, but incorporates a large circular-headed window with a sunk surround to light the stair. The dormer windows and the porch giving access to the base ment are not parts of the original composition. 

The plan (Fig. 136) is conventional. The front door leads into a lobby which in turn opens into an elliptical saloon; this occupies a central position within the house and gives access both to the geometric stair on the SE. and to all the first-floor apartments. These comprise a dining-room and morning-room in the W. and S. corners respectively, and a drawing-room and a large ante-room in the N. and E. corners respectively. The morning- room is now subdivided and used as a kitchen, but it retains a grey marble fireplace with a wooden surround. The other apartments on the ground floor also contain marble fireplaces, some of them now painted over, but apart from their woodwork, which is of a high quality, these rooms are of no special interest. The saloon rises to the second floor and is lit from above. At this level it has a gallery from which access is obtained to the bed rooms, one of which has an ornamental cast-iron Carron fireplace. A domed iron safety-cage designed to fit inside the gallery balustrade is preserved in the stables.

It may be deduced from the inscription already noted that the house was built by John Alexander Higgins in 1812. The Higgins family seems to have been present in this part of the county for a long time, a Patrick Haging, no doubt a forerunner, being on record in the early i6th century.1 After the death of John Higgins in 1822 the estate passed by descent to the families of Burn- 
Callendar and Burn-Murdoch.2 A stone lintel built into the E. side of the stable courtyard may commemorate an early marriage-alliance of the Higgins family; it bears the incised initials P H and 1 C and the date 1620. The same initials are found at Airth Church (p.146). 

910867 N5 98 NW 29 August 1955 

1. Accts. L.H.T., iv (1507-13), xlvii.  
2 Burke, Landed Gentry (ed. 1952).