STIRLINGSHIRE - an inventory of the Ancient Monuments (1963)

Royal Commission on the Ancient Monuments of Scotland

310. Carron House and Walled Garden.

This house stands in its policies on the E. outskirts of Carronshore, immediately overlooking the left bank of the River Carron. It was probably built in the later 18th century, but it was partly destroyed by fire at a date which has not been established and subsequent alterations and additions have largely obscured its architectural history. It is known to have been let as a farm at least as early as 1870, though the gardens were maintained until 1910.1 No trace of structural evidence can be found to indicate that the part of the W. wing that is known locally as "The Granary" is other than an integral part of the building as originally planned, and on this showing the house would seem to have been intended to combine a substantial merchant's mansion with a large storage - block, as well as with offices and stabling.

Of the original building, which was quadrangular on plan (Fig. 140) with an open court in the centre, only the S. facade (Pl. 188c), the "Granary" at the SW. corner, and parts of the external E. wall now survive, and these show the uniformity and simplicity of feature that is typical of late Georgian work. Exclusive of bay-windows, the building measures 108 ft. 6 in. from E. to W. by 120 ft. from N. to S., while the breadth of the S. and E. ranges appears to have been about 25 ft. Jo in. The main walls, which are generally 2 ft. thick, or 2 ft. 3 in. in the "Granary", are of random rubble faced with harling and have dressed quoms and backset window-margins. What is left of them shows that they rose to a height of two storeys. The middle portion of the S. front is deeply recessed between wings formed by the projecting ends of the E. and W. ranges, and here the wall is completed with a cornice and blocking-course on either side of an ashlar pediment; on the wings there is a plain eaves- course. The centre of the recessed portion, which is finished by the pediment, is slightly advanced, as relieving feature of the composition. In the tympanum of the pediment there is a small round window, key crosswise. On the ground floor of the advanced portico of the frontage there are three windows which evident] lit a large room measuring 32 ft. by 21 ft. 6 in.; this was flanked on each side by a wide passageway, the door 1 the E. one of which is original while its W. counterpane has been inserted. The latter has also, very probably, bee contracted, as a wider opening would seem to have bee necessary if bulky stores had to be brought to the entrance, itself wide, of the storage block (infra). The first floor seems to have been similarly subdivided, t form three rooms; their windows are regularly place to correspond with the voids below. In front of the recessed part of the facade, and in line with the ends of the wings, there is an arcade of five round-headed arches.' forming the open side of a single-storeyed loggia 9 ft 9 ins wide internally; this is built of rusticated V-jointe ashlar and appears to be an afterthought as its ends are butt-jointed against the wings. At the W. end of the loggia a small door has been broken through to communicate with the wing, and later its place has bee taken by a small window at a higher level, one of 8 which have been inserted at regular intervals in the  wall of the wing on the ground floor. The corners of both wings are marked by rusticated frontal pilasters, while their central portions are slightly recessed. In these latter there is one window on each floor, those in the W. wing being single lights and those in the E. wing triple; of the E. pair the ground-floor one is of the Venetian type, its central opening being used as a doorway, while the upper one was presumably of the same character though noth ing but its sill now survives. At either end of the E. range there is a projection formed by a large, two-storeyed bay- window on each floor; these have a single light in each of their three faces, but the S. one is now reduced in height to the sill level of the upper windows while the N. one has been incorporated in a dwelling-house of the 19th century. The lateral upper lights of the N. bay have been bricked up, but the central lower light, which is blind, seems to have been so from the beginning; in this case the two vaulted cellars behind it may well be original. Between the bays the original E. wall of this range now survives only to first-floor level, and above this has been heightened in brickwork. Towards its S. end there is an entrance,2 apparently inserted, with a portico; this latter consisted of an attached half-column, still in situ, and a detached column, now fallen, on either side. The sills of four first-floor windows survive in the broken- down brickwork of the S. half of this wall, and these are probably somewhat earlier than the windows - four on each floor - in the N. half, which appear to belong to the arrangement of the modern house.

In the S. half of its length, as far as the transe leading to the courtyard, the W. range is occupied by the "Granary", a storage block measuring externally 52 ft. 8 in. by 32 ft. 6 in. and standing three storeys high. Two-thirds of the top floor have been removed, and the space thus freed has been added to the storey below. The SW. corner is angled like the corresponding one on the E. range, and the symmetry of the frontage as a whole is thus preserved. The roof, which is slated, is formed of three transverse ridges, hipped at their ends. In the middle of each of the W., N. and E. walls of this block there is an original doorway, 6 ft. wide and with an elliptically arched head; these have all been built up but the two former have windows in the infilling. The exist ing two entrances, one in the SW. angle and the other in the W. side, are insertions. On the first floor there are three doors, all apparently designed for the reception of goods hauled up by rope and pulley; two of these, placed respectively above the W. and N. ground-floor entrances, are original, while the third, in the SW. corner, has been inserted in the place of an original window. The first- floor door in the W. side has now been turned into a window; on either side of it there is an original window, and another in the middle of the S. end. In the W. and N. sides the same arrangement of doors and windows is repeated on the second floor. Neither doors nor windows in this part of the house have backset margins.

WALLED GARDEN. From the NW. corner of the build ing a garden wall of brick pursues a curving course to the NE., and then turns E. to form the N. side of a large enclosed orchard. The E. side of this orchard is formed by a return of the same wall, its W. side by another original brick wall which continues the line of the E. front of the house northwards, and its S. side by a wall in brickwork of a different character. This last no doubt dates from the period 1878-85, during which large sums were spent on the improvement of the garden, new hot- houses, etc. The wall on the NE. and N. varies somewhat in height, and shows signs of heightening in places as well as of some reconstruction in its E. part. It has narrow pilasters at intervals and is topped with flat stone copings. The approach to the house traverses the piece of enclosed ground, once, no doubt, a garden, that lies between the curving outer wall and the W. wall of the orchard, the entrance in the former being triple and that in the latter single. The central opening of the outer entrance is 10 ft. 3 in. wide and the lateral ones 3 ft. 4 in. The piers are square, the inner ones showing alternating bands of ashlar and rusticated work, the latter carved with shell-ornament, while the outer ones are plain except for moulded arrises. All are capped by a moulded cornice above a frieze and necking, the friezes being decorated with a fret pattern or floral devices.

Near the middle of the N. wall of the orchard there is a greenhouse, 35 ft. long and projecting 8 ft. 4 in. from the wall; some remains visible on the N. side of the wall suggest, however, that its original breadth may have been greater. Its front consists of an arcade of five round- headed arches, the central one of which formerly housed a panelled door with a glazed fanlight while the others were fitted as large windows. The arcade is of ashlar, 2 ft. thick, and the rest of the walling is of brickwork, 1 ft. 4 in. thick; the arcade carries an entablature comprising a moulded architrave, plain frieze, moulded cornice and low blocking-course. The archways are 4 ft. 9 in. wide and are separated by piers 1 ft. 8 in. wide. The keystone of the doorway is carved with a five-petalled floral ornament.

Dovecot. The dovecot that stands in the policies is described under No. 393.

897829 N5 88 SE 7 November '957

1. For this and other information about the history of the place, the Commissioners are indebted to Messrs. J. and C. Brodie, W.S., Edinburgh.

2. By 1957 this doorway, noted in 1953, had been demolished, but the foundations of the portico were still visible.