Bourtreehill (also known as Bowtree Hill)3913

Irvine, Scotland

Brief Description

All that survives of the Bourtreehill estate is a wooded hill, now surrounded by housing development on three sides. There are some 18th-century plantings on the hill and remnants of the ruined 17th-century house.

History

The site of Bourtreehill dates from at least the 13th century when it was home to the Bruce and Balliol families. There are remains of buildings dating from the 17th century. The present designed landscape dates from the 18th century, when the house was owned by Robert Hamilton. By the mid-19th century the estate comprised woodland, a walled garden and parkland. Part of the policies was built over in the 1970s and the house has been demolished.

Visitor Facilities

Most of the grounds are open to the public throughout the year.
Features
  • Tree Avenue
  • Description: An avenue of layering beech trees, lining a former carriageway
Access & Directions

Access Contact Details

Most of the grounds are open to the public throughout the year.
History

Detailed History

The first recorded owner of Bourtreehill was Robert the Bruce. His seizure of the estate, which had previously fallen under the hereditary possession of King John Balliol, helped give rise to one of the world's longest running Royal Dynasties.

Bruce awarded the estate to his grandson Robert, High Steward of Scotland, in lieu of the throne. The Steward rented Bourtreehill to one Alan de Blair in 1363.

"In 1363 Robert the Steward granted to Alan of Blair the annual rent in return for a pair of gilt spurs or twelve silver pennies at Whitsunday yearly, if asked."

The Laird of Bourtreehill was 54 years old when he was crowned King Robert II (1371). He became the first representative of the Stewart (or Stuart) Dynasty.

He would be the last monarch to privately own the estate, but in subsequent centuries it became the residence to the Earls and Countesses of Crawford, the Earls of Eglinton, the Barons Oranmore & Browne and had varied degrees of influence over The Beatles, Charles Dickens and Robert Burns.

In the 1960s, the estate was completely abandoned. The closest town was more than a mile away and the wooded gardens were seldom visited. Within two decades, they had become almost impenetrable. In 1978, a modern housing project was established outside the perimeter of the estate, encroaching only on the southern quadrant where houses can be found well within the medieval grounds.

Period

  • 18th Century
References

References

Contributors

  • A J Morton