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The following is from the Historic Environment Scotland Gardens and Designed Landscapes Inventory. For the most up-to-date Inventory entry, please visit the Historic Environment Scotland website:

Reason for Inclusion

An attractive parkland landscape which makes an outstanding contribution to the surrounding upland scenery. The specimen trees in the woodland garden, and the knot garden in the terraced lawn are also of note.

Site History

The designed landscape was laid out during the 19th century based on an earlier landscape, probably 17th century, shown on the map produced by General Roy in 1750. There are no known landscape designers.

In the late 15th century, Glencairn Castle was built by the Cunninghams, Earls of Glencairn. A small portion of the estate and the castle was sold in 1611 to Stephen Laurie, a prosperous merchant from Dumfries, and the name was changed to Maxwelton House. Stephen's eldest son John probably altered the house and grounds in 1641 as noted on the armorial stone. His great-granddaughter, Annie Laurie, was the subject of the song made famous by Lady John Scott (Alicia Spottiswoode of Spottiswoode) sister-in-law of the 5th Duke of Buccleuch.

Admiral Sir Robert Laurie (1764-1848) inherited the estate in 1805. He built the wheel stair to the house in 1823 in the course of an extensive phase of improvements which established the designed landscape indicated on the 1st edition OS map. The property was left to his nephew, John Fector, who took the name of Laurie in 1848. His wife, Isabella, made numerous additions both to the house and gardens after his death and built the Chapel as a memorial to her husband. John Laurie's nephew, the Rev. Emilius Bayley, inherited the estate. He too assumed the name of Laurie. Maxwelton remained in his family until 1966, when Major General Sir John Bayley sold it to a firm of property dealers. In that year, the owners obtained permission to partially demolish the house and alter the interior. In 1968, before the proposed work had started, Maxwelton was rescued by Mr & Mrs Hugh Stenhouse. The Stenhouse family embarked on a major restoration programme for the designed landscape which they maintain today.



Feature created: 1800 to 1899

A 19th-century rustic summerhouse, one of three on the estate.

Designation status: Historic Environment Scotland Listed Building Designation Grade B Designation Reference Summerhouse