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Bargany (also known as Bargeny)


The present structure of the designed landscape at Bargany dates from the early-19th century, with only a few features surviving from earlier formal landscapes. As well as grazed parkland, there is an early-20th-century woodland garden and rock garden which house displays of rhododendrons and azaleas. The early-19th-century walled garden has a small semi-circular garden at one end with interesting trees and shrubs.

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:

Type of Site

The parks evident today are the work of W.S. Gilpin from c.1826, typified by the clumps on the north bank of the river and the walled garden was built between 1808 and 1833. Woodland and rock gardens were created between c.1910 and 1939, hosting a collection of Azalea and Rhododendron species.

Location and Setting

Bargany House stands on the south bank of the Water of Girvan some 2 miles (3km) south-west of the village of Dailly and some 20 miles (32km) south of the town of Ayr. The designed landscape makes use of the setting in the valley of the River Girvan. The surrounding landscape is rolling agricultural land, apart from the disused coalmine of Killochan in the north-east. Views are gained from the south across the park whilst, from the north, the woods are significant from the B741, the B734, and from the railway which was laid through the woodlands in the early 19th century.

The house stands at the edge of the woodland garden in parkland on the south bank of the Water of Girvan. The designed landscape extends to the B741 in the north and the B734 to the south, the latter separating Blackwood Plantation from Blackwood Head Plantation, now considered to be outwith the policies. To the west, the policies extend to Cairnhill and Lovestone Plantations and to Brunston and Dailly Plantations in the east. The main Dailly/Girvan road formed the southern boundary of the site until the early 19th century when it was moved to its current position (now the B734). At that time the designed landscape was extended accordingly. The main entrance, the east drive, runs through Blackwood Plantation, crosses the old road and skirts the edge of the pond and thence through the woodland garden to the house. The north drive, now a farm road only, sweeps over Bargany Bridge across the park and passes Bargany Mains to join the B741. A sunken tunnel, which was the servants' and tradesmen's entrance from the early 19th century, runs off the main drive through the woodland garden to the back of the house. It was roofed over and turfed but the roof was removed when the structure became dangerous about 40 years ago and the tunnel was blocked off.

The designed landscape shown on General Roy's plan of 1750 covered a much smaller area bounded by the River Girvan to the north and by the main road to the south. The policies today cover 1300 acres (526ha).

Landscape Components

Architectural Features

Bargany House, is listed category A. It is an unfortified mansion of the later 17th century, of three storeys and attic with crow-stepped end gables. The symmetrical rear wings were augmented by two single storey pedimented additions in the mid-18th century. Further alterations were begun around 1840 and a new three storey wing added at the north corner of the 17th century mansion between 1862 and 1878. Bargany Bridge, listed category B, is said to have been built c.1776. The remains of Brunstone Castle, listed B, stand in the east park on the northern shore of the Water of Girvan. The Estate Office and cottages lie to the west of the house amid the woodland garden.

Two gatepiers which stand on the edge of the Bowling Green were brought from the 3rd Duc de Coigny's Paris house. There are two lodges: one at each of the north and south drive entrances. The Sundial which stands in the outer walled garden is inscribed as gifted to Colonel North Dalrymple- Hamilton in 1916 by Privates Hall and Macmillan. The Boathouse stands on the northern shore of the pond, and was erected about 60 years ago.


The parkland today extends from the house, north across the Water of Girvan to Cairnhill Plantation and south across the old main road to Blackwood and Gallanston Wood. In the early 19th century the parkland extended further east to include further areas to the north of Brunstone Castle and south of the Water of Girvan. Both of these areas are now farmland.

The laying out of the policies was begun by John Hamilton in the mid to late 18th century. In doing so he is said to have employed William Adam and, later, George Robertson who prepared an improvement plan for the grounds in 1774, some of which was carried out. Thomas White Jnr prepared a plan in 1802 but most of this was not implemented. The parks as seen today are the work of W.S. Gilpin from c.1826 as typified by the clumps on the north bank of the river. The lime, beech, sycamore and chestnut specimens are mainly of this period, as is the lime avenue along the old main road. Other ornamental trees were planted by Colonel Sir North Dalrymple- Hamilton. The parks today are used as farmland.


The woodlands which enclosed the designed landscape are now predominantly conifers, planted since the last war. A good deciduous edge has been maintained around the edges of the woods and alongside the drives.

Woodland Garden

The woodland garden lies to the west of the house and was created by Colonel Sir North Dalrymple-Hamilton before and after World War I. The concept was to use a structure of yellow Azalea and intersperse it with Ghent and Mollis Azalea and Rhododendron species and hybrids. Many of the plants used came from Lochinch Garden.

The Bowling Green, lying to the east of the pond was laid out c.1775 by John Hamilton, possibly as part of the George Robertson design. It is the only remaining part of an earlier formal design. The pond was probably formed at about the same time from a swampy area.

Lady Glen lies to the west of the woodland garden on the edge of the Laughlan Burn. Here, and above Weaver Walk, beech, maple and oak predominate, with a variety of ornamental conifers planted in the Victorian period and between the Wars. Many of the older trees were measured by Alan Mitchell in 1954.

The Gardens

The Rock Garden, or Hermit's Garden, lies to the west of the main drive opposite the woodland garden. It was laid out c.1927 in a hollow on either side of the Laughlan Burn. Dwarf Rhododendrons and Azaleas were planted with Cercidiphyllum, Japanese Acer, Viburnum and Primula species as well as many rock plants. The effect is beautiful.

Walled Garden

The walled garden was built between 1808 and 1833 amid the parkland to the east of the house. It was laid out by John Hay and included a double walled walk on the south side of the main rectangular walled enclosure and small ornamental gardens at both the west and east ends. A further nursery garden, indicated on both the 1st and 2nd edition OS maps of 1850 and 1910 sited to the east of the garden, has now been planted as woodland.

The interior of the main walled enclosure, which extends over about four acres, is now laid down to grass with a small area used for vegetables. The glasshouses on the south-facing wall are derelict. The small garden at the west end is semi-circular and enclosed by a fence and surrounded by ornamental trees. The Cherry Walk leads from the entrance to the west end of the garden to the moon gate into the walled garden. The foundations of the Pineapple House, built by John Hay, lie next to the west-facing wall. An interesting collection of trees and shrubs are planted throughout this small garden. The enclosed walk on the south side of the walled garden is lined with a variety of shrubs including shrub roses, Viburnum, Pieris, and Mahonias.

Beyond the east wall of the main walled garden is an area largely devoted to displaying plant material for sale. Here stand the greenhouses which are used for growing fruit and propagating plant material. To the south of the walled garden beyond the drive lies the Garden Park Field. A small walled garden designed by Thomas White Jnr is thought to have been sited here although no trace of this remains on the 1st or 2nd edition OS maps of 1850 and 1910.

Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts


01465 871249

Access contact details

The gardens are open during May only, daily from 10am to 5pm.


Bargany is 4 miles north-east of Girvan.


The Dalrymple-Hamilton family


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 outstanding designed landscape laid out by W.S. Gilpin, forming a spectacular setting for a category A listed house and making a major contribution to the local scenery. Bargany provides an important wildlife haven and has been associated with the Hamiltons of Bargany for more than 350 years.

Main Phases of Landscape Development

Mid to late 18th century, with improvements early 19th century and new gardens created between c.1910 and 1939.

Site History

Bargany Castle was originally owned by the Kennedy Family in the 16th and early 17th centuries. In 1631 Thomas Kennedy sold the Estate to Sir John Hamilton of Letterick, the illegitimate son of the 1st Marquis of Hamilton, who founded the family of the Hamiltons of Bargany. He was legitimised under the Great Seal of 1600 and his son John was created Lord Bargany by Charles I. It was his son, the 2nd Lord Bargany, who built the present house using materials from the Castle which stood on the banks of the River Girvan below the house and of which no trace now remains. The 4th Lord died without issue in 1736 and the Estate passed to John Dalrymple, great grandson of the 2nd Lord Bargany, who assumed the name Hamilton. He carried out some alterations to the house and commissioned William Adam, William Bouchart and George Robertson to remodel the grounds. George Robertson prepared an improvement plan for the policies in 1774.

John Hamilton of Bargany died without issue in 1796 and the Estate passed to his nephew, Sir Hew Dalrymple, 3rd Baronet of North Berwick, who assumed the additional surname of Hamilton. He died in 1800 and was succeeded by his son Sir Hew Dalrymple-Hamilton, 4th Baronet of North Berwick and Bargany. He carried out many alterations to the house and built the walled garden in the course of a series of improvements involving W.S. Gilpin and Thomas White Jnr, which shaped the policies to the form which substantially now remains. With his marriage to Jane, daughter of Admiral Viscount Duncan of Camperdown, a number of important plants were introduced to the garden, in particular the Camperdown elm developed at her family home in Dundee. Sir Hew was succeeded in 1834 by his daughter Henrietta who married the 3rd Duc de Coigny. Further additions were then built to the house and more planting was carried out. Their daughter, Louisa, married the 10th Earl of Stair and inherited Bargany following Henrietta's death in 1869. Their second son, Lt Colonel North de Coigny Dalrymple-Hamilton succeeded to the Estate of Bargany on the death of his mother in 1896. He died in 1906 at the early age of 53 and the Estate passed to his elder son Lt Colonel Sir North Dalrymple-Hamilton who, between c.1910 and 1939, was responsible for forming the woodland garden and rock garden and for planting many of the rhododendrons and azaleas still to be seen today. On his death in 1952 he was succeeded by his brother, Admiral Sir Frederick Dalrymple- Hamilton, who died in 1974. His son, Captain North Dalrymple-Hamilton, RN, then inherited the house but not the Estate which was handed over to a family trust. After Admiral Dalrymple-Hamilton's death the house was not lived in and became in need of total renovation. In 1985 the house and about seven acres of surrounding land was sold to Inverie Ltd and extensive repairs and modernisations are now being carried out. At this time the family trust was dissolved in favour of Captain Dalrymple- Hamilton's son, North J.F. Dalrymple-Hamilton who now owns the Estate. Captain Dalrymple- Hamilton and his wife, the late Hon Mrs Dalrymple-Hamilton, both being keen gardeners, have tried within the limited resources available, to maintain the gardens and policies and to carry out new and replacement plantings. Her book 'As Lovely as a Tree' which lists and describes the tree species at Bargany was published in 1980.


  • 18th Century (1701 to 1800)
  • Late 18th Century (1775 to 1799)
Associated People
Features & Designations


  • Historic Environment Scotland An Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes in Scotland


  • Ruin
  • Avenue
  • Description: A lime avenue dating to the early-19th century.
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  • Pond
  • Description: An artificial pond, probably dating to the late 18th-century layout.
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  • Bowling Green
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  • Mansion House (featured building)
  • Description: A late-17th-century unfortified mansion.
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  • Sundial
Key Information





Principal Building

Domestic / Residential


18th Century (1701 to 1800)





Open to the public


Electoral Ward

South Carrick