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Fasque House


This is a large landscaped park developed in the 18th and 19th centuries, attached to an important country house.

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

Large landscaped park.

Location and Setting

Fasque is situated to the north of the village of Fettercairn off the B974, and is set on the lower part of Brunt Hill. There are views from the house of Strathmore and The Mearns.

General Roy's Military Survey shows the house at the centre of the landscape probably surrounded by gardens. To the north and south of the house are enclosed square parks. Garrol Hill is shown with two enclosed plantations. By the time of the 1st Ed OS, 25', 1863 the new park had been laid out to the south although some of the old planting has been retained. The extent of the landscape remains the same as shown on the 1st Ed OS. 25'.

Landscape Components

Architectural Features

Fasque House built between 1809-1813 is a symmetrical castellated mansion, with a three bay central block and four storey canted tower in the centre. The top floor was added at a later date. The east wing had five windows on the upper storey, two of them are now blocked up. This was apparently built as a conservatory, and there was a separate entrance in the tower for access by the gardener. The house is built of red sandstone. There is a single baluster 19th century sundial on the south lawn, which sits on a circular stone plinth. The stable block to the north of the house is also of red sandstone of rectangular shape of coursed rubble. The large walled garden, built in two sections in 1792, is situated to the south of the house. The walls are of coursed rubble with the inside of the walls lined with brick in the northern half for fruit growing. The glasshouse range on the north wall is mostly derelict. The flued wall remains. The ranges were obviously cut in two as there are two iron frame gothic windows between the two ranges in the back wall which give a good view onto the walled garden. Spanning the dividing wall between the two sections of the garden is a pavilion/banqueting house, which is basically a square two-bay pyramidal roofed building with a three-arched loggia at ground level. Either side of the building also straddling the wall are two hexagonal turrets also with pyramidal roofs. The main part of the building has sash windows and the turrets, one of which incorporates the stairs to the upper floor. The convex front and the towers may have been added later. The interior has good original grained paintwork dating from the 19th century (approximately). A later 19th century two-storey cottage straddles the south wall of the walled garden it doesn't appear until the 2nd Ed OS, 1904.

There is a single storey cottage by the north end of the walled garden of red sandstone under a slate roof. The North Lodge is a single storey building and shows on the 1st Ed OS, 6'., The South Lodge, is a single storey 19th century building of red sandstone with a castellated bay window and castellated entrance porch. It has curved entrance walls with castellated gatepiers with hand gates and cast-iron gates. The East Lodge is no longer extant.

The Old School which is adjacent to the Old Mains on the eastern perimeter of the policies is now converted into a house. The Old Mains is a group of buildings which includes the converted schoolhouse, a four bay single storey and attic detached cottage of red sandstone under a slate roof which form two sides of a square. The other two sides are a series of picturesque single storey semi-detached cottages with gothic pointed windows and gothic fanlights over the doors. There is a central communal garden. Avenue Cottage, is a single storey cottage 19th century cottage with picturesque gabled porch.

Mains of Fasque, by the main south entrance accommodates the estate office and lies behind Fasque Parsonage, a two storey 19th century building which appears to incorporate an earlier house depicted on the 1st Ed OS, and was enlarged for the parsonage. The Octagon, which is situated in a clump of woodland to the west of the walled garden, is a rubble-built octagonal tower with crenellations and a gothic pointed window looking south-east over Strathmore. St Andrew's Church was built by the founder of the Gladstone family, Sir John Gladstone, in 1847 in the Gothic style. Home Farm is a late 19th / early 20th century U-plan steading which has been extended. The Farmhouse to the south-east of home farm is a two-bay two-storey plain building. Kennels Cottage and kennels with attached runs are situated to south of Home Farm. The Pheasantry is a single storey T-shaped 19th century cottage of bull-nosed red sandstone.

Drives and Approaches

It is probable that the first part of the south, and main drive is the original 18th century approach to the old house of Fasque. The last bit of this approach was incorporated into the parkland to the south of the new house. The new approach swings north-east towards Avenue Cottage and past the site of the now demolished (post 1863, 1st ED OS, 25') Home Farm, and continues in a north-easterly direction and then changes to the west before arriving at the south front of Fasque. The drive also continues to the north-east and around St Andrew's Church to arrive at the service quarters which form wings to the north and east of the house. The drive continues to the stableyard to the north of the house. A 19th century drive to the east is no longer used, now being grassed over and the lodge not extant. However there is an approach just to the south of the defunct 19th century eastern approach along the track that leads to the Old Mains and Old School. There is a south-west lodge and approach which runs along the south-western side of the estate, skirting the eastern end of the lake and passing the walled garden. This drive is not used as an approach to the house, and continues to the North Lodge.


The remains of the beech strips which formed the 18th century parks can be seen in the parkland to the south of Fasque. This has been added to with oak in the 19th century and also a scattering of exotics. The parkland is separated from the ground around the south front of the house by a 19th century stone ha-ha which curves to the south-west just to the north of the walled garden. A track running in a straight line from Avenue Cottage and linking up with the south-west drive is bound to the north on the park side by a rubble stone dyke which has deer fencing along the top. This would have provided access to the now demolished Home Farm.


The Fasque estate is enclosed in woodland belts which largely date to the early 19th century with the building of the new house and the laying out of the ground in the shape that is seen today. The beech woodland belts to the north of the present home farm are the remains of the 18th century parks depicted on General Roy's Military Survey (1747-55). The remains of these belts have been incorporated into the parkland to the south of the house. The landscape was extended in the early 19th century to provide a suitable setting for the new castellated house. This involved the planting of enclosing perimeter woodland with natural curving belts with mixed deciduous species. Some of the mixed planting has been replaced by commercial coniferous planting particularly to the north-east in Droich Wood.

The Gardens

The garden lies to the west of the house on the site of the earlier house. There was a sunken lawn surrounded by raised formal walks, terminating in stone seats and planted round with Irish yews (Taxus baccata 'Fastigiata'). Half of this area is now a pond. To the north lies the old bowling green. There are walks in Broom Wood to the west along the Crichie Burn.

Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts

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

A large landscaped park developed in the 18th and 19th centuries, attached to an important country house.

Main Phases of Landscape Development

18th century and 19th century.

Site History

"There are two families connected with the history of the Fasque estate, the Ramsay's of Balmain and the Gladstones of Fasque and Balfour. The Ramsays now live in New South Wales, Australia.

Sir John Ramsay, Knight of Balmain and Fasque was created a Lord of Parliament in 1433 by James III. After the rebellion of the nobles against the Kings, Sir John was outlawed and his estates confiscated. He was given a pardon in 1498 having lost his title. The 4th baronet who suceeded in 1695, was an MP for the county, and protested against the Act of Union. He was suceeded by his brother Alexander who after three years in Parliament retired 'to improve his estates by better methods of agriculture.' Vitruvius Scoticus shows William Adams plans for improvement to an earlier house which lay to the west of the present house on the site of the later garden and bowling green.

In a history of Fettercairn by the local schoolmaster, A C Cameron, 1899 the author records that Sir Alexander Ramsay 'introduced land drainage, the application of lime carried in creels on horseback over Garvock Hill, the sowing of grass seeds, the building of stone dykes to enclose his fields - and about the year 1730 planted the double rows of stately beeches alongside the avenue leading to Fasque.'

The enclosed parks to the north of the present house are the remains of his work, and remains of his plantings can be seen in the park to the south of the house. These trees are out of line with the present house because they were aligned on the earlier house to the west which sat on the site of the present garden. He was succeeded by his nephew, Sir Alexander Ramsay Irvine who continued the work of his uncle in the agricultural field, including introducing the cultivation of turnips.'

He died without children and the title passed to a relative, Captain Thomas Ramsay in the East India Company, and the estates went to his nephew Alexander Burnet, second son of Sir Thomas Burnet of Leys, Bt. (better known as Crathes these days.), who was made a baronet three months later. He took on the name of Ramsay, but he died four years later having started the new house at Fasque, which was to be completed by his son Sir Alexander when he inherited the estate in 1810. Various dates are given for the house from 1809, 1810. It is reported in the Board of Agriculture Report for Kincardineshire by George Robertson, published in 1813, where he states that ' the present house of Fasque being both incommodious and verging to decay, a new house is just erecting, which when completed, will be the most capacious and the most superb mansion in the county.'

The New Statistical Account 1845 notes that that Fasque was built in 1809 by the late Sir Alexander Ramsay of Balmain, Bt.:

'Having been built on elevated ground, it commands an extensive, diversified, and pleasing view of the surrounding country. A lake of about acres of extent, and a fine approach to the house, completed a few years ago by the present proprietor, give additional effect to the scenery of this place.'

Patrick Neill in his Scottish Gardens and Orchards, 1813 notes that there was a conservatory on the upper floor of the east wing. An early print shows that the upper floor of the east wing had five windows very close together, and two blocked up windows can be seen in that wing today.

Neill also describes the walled garden 'as the finest in the Mearns', apparently built in 1792. It had five hot-houses for pineapples, grapes, peaches etc. And a greenhouse extending in all to 255 feet in length of glass. The hot-walls are 240ft in extent. Robertson in his Agricultural Survey of Kincardineshire says that the hot house 'is well stocked with a choice collection of Exotics; and in particular with the delicious Anana, or pine apple; the crop of which last season, was abundant almost to profusion.' Robertson also notes that the estate is 'highly ornamented with plantations, and has been the scene of much agricultural improvement.'

However all this expenditure was to prove the downfall of the Ramsays and they sold Fasque in 1829 to John Gladstone."


18th Century

Features & Designations


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

Key Information


Landscape Park



Principal Building

Country House


18th Century





  • Historic Scotland