Royal Commission on the Ancient Monuments of Scotland
|306. Newton of Bothkennar, Newton Mains.
The farm of Newton Mains stands just under three-quarters of a mile
ENE. of Skinflats Although its buildings are undistinguished they are of
some age, as the lintel of the farmhouse door is dated 1794 and
that of one of the out- buildings 1773. The farm has evidently replaced
the older house of Newton of Bothkennar, the ruins of which stand on the
opposite side of the road, partly incorporated in the wall of a large enclosed
orchard. Of this earlier building very little is left, the best-preserved
portion of the wall) which was harled, reaching to just above the lintels
of the ground-floor windows, and the outline of the rest being traceable
only by the lines of the grass- covered foundations. These remains show
that the house was L-shaped on plan, comprising a main block and a wing
with a stair-tower in the re-entrant angle (Fig. 138); it thus resembles
the mansion of Orchardhead (No.305), which is less than a mile distant,
and can be assigned, like it, to the later 17th century. Such details as
survive in the masonry agree with this dating.
|The main block measures approximately 45 ft. 6 in. by 22 ft.
8 in., and its axis runs from NE. to SW. The wing, which contained the
kitchen, projects 22 ft. 2 in. and is 20 ft. 8 in. wide.
The staircase, circular inside and octagonal outside, contained a spacious
wheel-stair, about 9 ft. in diameter and ascending anti-clockwise, but
this has been completely destroyed. The walls, which are of random rubble,
are nowhere less than 2 ft. in thickness and are thicker in the gables,
where traces of fireplace- construction can still be seen.
Five original windows with backset margins and splayed arrises still
exist, three in the main block and two in the wing, but they are now built
up. A giblet-checked locker, 1 ft. 6 in. wide and 2 ft. deep, is placed
low down in the inner face of the wing gable at its SW. end. A blocked-up
entrance, with a roll-and-hollow moulding on its architrave, formerly led
through the SW. face of the stair-tower to a lobby at the foot of the stair,
and from this access was gained to the various rooms. Beside the door,
in the wall of the main block, there is an engaged shaft of a column which
seems to have been inserted.
GARDEN-HOUSE. A pillared gateway, built of V-jointed ashlar and probably dateable to the late 18th century, opens into the orchard almost opposite the existing farm house. In the orchard, some 75 yds. E. of this gate, there stands a small two-storeyed house apparently of the same period; it measures 13 ft. 6 in. square over walls 1 ft. 8 in. thick and contains a single room on each floor, each lit by two windows. The lower room is entered by a door in the W. wall and the upper one by a stone forestair on the E., now partly destroyed. The presence of a fireplace in each room suggests that they were used as bothies for outside servants.
The Bruces of Newton, a branch of the family of Bruce of Airth, possessed this property from the be ginning of the 17th century until about '73, when it passed to the Bruces of Kinnaird. The mansion itself is said to have stood until the middle of the 19th century.1
918836 NS 98 SW (unnoted) z6 March 1953
1. Armstrong, W. Brace, The Bruces of Airth, 104 ff.