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Kinnordy House (also known as Kynnordy, Kinardy, Kinnordie, Kinorde)


Kinnordy House lies north west of the town of Kirriemuir, the main gates and lodge now being on the outskirts of the town. The house lies in a designed landscape with a backdrop of hills. There is an unusual walled garden in the form of a regular parallelogram and at this time, 2015, this is being renovated.

Kinnordy House is a large three-storey baronial mansion, towered and turreted, dated 1881. It includes an 18th-century section at the rear incorporating the offices. There are towers with conical roofs on the east and west elevations. The east tower carries the main entrance. An external circular stair from the first floor west elevation gives access to the west lawn. The rear, or north section of Kinnordy House holds the offices. This section was part of the late-18th-century mansion house. There is a vehicle access through a carriage arch to an internal courtyard.

The main drive to the house starts at the south lodge on the outskirts of Kirriemuir. This is two storey, double gable in the main section with hipped roof on the south; pillared portico; additional single storey at the rear may be a later addition. The main drive approaches between double gates with matching pedestrian gates at each side. All gates are wrought iron with intertwined letters 'L'.

A feature of the gateposts around the immediate vicinity of the house and policies is the variety of cap stones. The main gates carry two types of cap stones and are good examples.

Kinnordy House sits in a designed landscape with lawns (south terrace and west terrace), shrubbery and a walled garden. The walled garden forms a regular parallelogram and encloses an area of approximately 0.8 hectares. As at 2015, the walled garden is being renovated.

Within the walled garden is a Potting Shed. It has two storeys, and is built of coarse red sandstone blocks. The upper floor is reached by an external staircase. This is an integral part of the walled garden.

Also within the walled garden is the Observatory or museum. This is an elegant building of two storeys with a circular tower rising to a cupola and rooftop walkway. It is an integral part of the walled garden.

The estate holds a plan of the walled garden dated 1850.

The Royal Commision on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland holds a number of historical photographs of Kinnordy House and designed landscape.


Unless otherwise stated all map images are reproduced by kind permission of the Trustees of the National Library of Scotland and may be viewed on-line at

• 1583-96 Timothy Pont: Middle Strathmore

• 1678 Robert Edward: The Shire of Angus

• 1745 Roy Military Survey of Scotland © British Library Board. All Rights reserved

• 1794 John Ainslie: Map of the County of Forfar or Shire of Angus.

• 1850 James Knox: Map of the Basin of the Tay

• 1862 OS 25" to mile published 1865 Forfarshire sheet XXXI.12

• 1900 OS 25" to mile published 1902 Forfarshire sheet 031.12

• 1922 OS 25" to mile published 1924Forfarshire sheet 031.12

Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts


From the centre of Kirriemuir, take the signs to Glen Isla up Glengate. At the junction with the main road around Kirriemuir, the lodge and gates to Kinnordy House are directly opposite.



• 1583: Kinnordy is shown on Pont's map.

• 1680s: Inverquharity Castle was vacated in preference to the new house built at Kinnordy. (Unconfirmed personal communication.)

• 1745: Kinnordy is shown on Roy's map but not the walled garden. An entrance avenue is shown going in from the south but little, if any of a house. There is a significant walled or fenced area and tree planting. Runrig has been almost removed.

• After 1745: The walled garden was built by the ‘Nameless Highlanders'. (Historic Scotland)

• 1779-81: Kinnordy House and estate advertised for sale by Sir John Ogilvy (Caledonian Mercury, various editions)

• 1782: Charles Lyell bought Inverquharity and Kinnordy from Ogilvy on 28/11/1782. (Gifford, 2012, 561)

• 1782: Purchaser paid part price, trustees to disburse to the creditors of Sir John Ogilvy (Caledonian Mercury, 27 April 1782)

• Mid-late 18th century: Observatory built (Historic Scotland). It may have been instigated by Charles Lyell, the botanist. (Millar, 1890, 300-301.)

• Late 18th century: Bell Gate and Walled Garden. (Gifford, 2012, 565)

• Probably late 18th century: Museum - Observatory and Home Farm (Gifford, 2012, 565)

• 1849: Charles Lyell, the botanist, died. The main Kinnordy House and estate were let. (Bailey, 1962, 172)

• 1850: Plan of walled garden.

• 1875: Sir Charles Lyell, the geologist, died.

• 1878: Scheme for a new house incorporating Inverquharity tower house was proposed as an alternative to rebuilding Kinnordy (RCAHMS AND-162-1-P Photographic copy of drawing showing general view of proposed house).

• 1879: Mr Watson of Kirriemuir secured contract to rebuild Kinnordy House. (Dundee Courier 17 October 1879)

• 1879-1881: Kinnordy House was demolished apart from the rear or north section and rebuilt. (Gifford, 2012, 562)

• 1881: Date on hoppers of Kinnordy House (The Vivat Trust Report, 2002).

• 1862-1901: In this period the lodge was built and the current drive introduced. (OS maps)

• Around 1880: Lodge to SE built (Gifford, 2012, 566).

• 1922: The central greenhouse is shown on the OS map.

• At some time after 1938, the east glasshouse was introduced from Lindertis (Personal communication and OS maps).

• 2002: Survey and report of the walled garden, observatory and potting shed by The Vivat Trust.

Features & Designations


  • Historic Environment Scotland Listed Building


  • Mansion House (featured building)
  • Description: A large three-storey baronial mansion, towered and turreted. Includes an 18th-century section at the rear incorporating the offices.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Gate Lodge
  • Description: Lodge at the south end of the main drive. Two storey, double gable in main section with secondary single storey with hipped roof on south; pillared portico.
  • Gate Piers
  • Description: There are many gate piers around the immediate vicinity to Kinnordy House with several distinctive types of cap stones.
  • Gate
  • Description: The Bell Gate. Decorative wrought iron gates. 18th century. Round-headed arch with square, fluted flanking columns and curvilinear gable terminating in wrought iron belfry.
  • Gate
  • Description: The main drive approaches between double gates with matching pedestrian gates at each side. All gates are wrought iron decorated with intertwined letters 'L'.
  • Wall
  • Description: The walled garden forms a regular parallelogram and encloses an area of circa 0.8 hectares. Within the walled garden is a potting shed in keeping with the walled garden, a museum or observatory and range of glass houses.
Key Information





Principal Building

Domestic / Residential






  • Garden History Society in Scotland

  • Alic Bremner