Kippenross is a small intact 18th-century parkland landscape designed by Thomas White Senior and Junior, the former being a pupil of Capability Brown.
Type of Site
Small 18th century landscaped park.
Location and Setting
Kippenross lies on the southern edge of Dunblane to the east of the B8033. The designed landscape is set on gently sloping ground with the present house lying towards the south-western part of the 18th century landscaped park. The park is quite well wooded, with belts of trees along the Allan Water, and Pisgah Wood to the north. The latter is largely commercial plantation. The golf course lies on sloping ground behind the house. The two are separated by the sunken road, the old drove road that links Dunblane with Bridge of Allan. The area of parkland to the north of the house provides views to south, west and north. The boundaries of the Kippenross landscape remain largely as they are depicted on the 1st Ed O.S. 25in, 1862. The Dunblane/Stirling road remains the boundary to the west, although the strip of ground between the road and the Allan Water has been built on in places. The Kippenrait Glen forms the boundary to the south, with Pisgah Wood to the north. The Dunblane/Stirling road also forms the boundary to the north.
Kippenross House, started in 1772, is a five-bay house with the central bay slightly advanced and pedimented. The central part is two-storey and basement. Old Kippenross is built in Gothick cottage ornee style, on top of an earlier tower house. It consists of three blocks with pyramidal ball finialled roofs, the central block being slightly higher than the flanking blocks. The walled garden at Kippenross is adjacent to Old Kippenross with a 1703 date block over the entrance gate. The garden is rectangular and of stone construction. There are large overhanging coping stones. There is one surviving peach house, the remains of a more extensive range that has been reduced. A Sunk Road lies to the north of Kippenross House. Called the Darn Road, it was the old drove road between Dunblane and Bridge of Allan. It used to lie nearer the house but was moved further to the north to allow more privacy. It takes the form of a narrow lane, sunk in places to 2m (6 feet) in depth, with dry stone walls on either side. Near the eastern extremity of the pleasure grounds, there used to be a bridge, which linked the northern and southern parts of the pleasure grounds by spanning the Darn Road. The sundial is a simple square baluster type with a stone table dial. It is dated 1830. The 18th century Kippenross Bridge, with later additions, is on the drive to Kippenross House over the Allan Water. It has two segmental arches, and is rubble built with ashlar cutwaters. There are stone piers with pyramidal cap stones. The railway viaduct has four segmental arches with rockfaced masonry, dated 1848. The tunnel mouth to the north is a simple round-arched, rock faced arch with classic treatment. There are two lodges (south and west), which are single-storey, and of bull-faced stone with smooth ashlar dressings. There are bull-faced low stone walls to the front with decorative cast iron railing, and square bull-faced gatepiers, which include handgates and carriage entrance.
Drives and Approaches
There are two main approaches to the later Kippenross House, both are from the B8033, one south and the other from the north. Variation in the approach is provided by the undulations in the ground, and the views to the parkland to the north of the house. The southern approach is shorter, with a bridge over the Allan Water providing access to Kippenross House. From this approach the drive dips down to the bridge over the Allan Water and climbs immediately with Kippenross House appearing over the brow of the hill.
Paths and Walks
Although a large amount of the policies are occupied by parkland, the raison d'etre of the ornamental grounds is contained within the walks and views afforded by many of these walks. Many of these are later 18th century, but the earliest walk was planted by Hugh Pearson in 1741, grandson of James Pearson, Dean of Dunblane. This was a beech walk along the Allan Water which can be seen to the north of the Kippenross Bridge. The riverside walks continue to the south of the Kippenross Bridge, but most of the planting here is conifer plantation. In the vicinity of Old Kippenross and its walled garden there are several pathways, but many of these are now overgrown. In the main section of the wood there is a top ride which leads to the former bridge over the Darn Road.
The main area of parkland lies to the east and west of the north approach drive to Kippenross House. Apart from being divided by the north drive, the northern part is separated from the southern by the Darn Road, the old drove road from Dunblane to Bridge of Allan, which is in fact a sunken path. The parkland to the north of the Darn Road is bordered by commercial plantations, which were once mixed coniferous deciduous woodland. The plantations are still bordered by a hedge of common hawthorn planted on top of a dry stone dyke which gives a formal edge. Behind the hedge, forming an inner edge are planted beech and Scot's pine. There is not a continuous edge of these trees and the 1st Ed. (25in) OS map shows that the only part of the wood was planted in this way. A few clumps of trees remain in the northern area, which is now a golf course. There are the remains of a small quarry on the edge of the Darn Road with several species growing around its edge, these include lime, Scots pine, larch, and birch.
There is a shrubbery with mature conifers to the north of the house and to the south of the Darn Road. This is probably the Pinetum referred to in Thomas Hunter's 'Woods, Forests, and Estates of Perthshire' (1883) and includes a few Wellingtonias. According to Hunter, 'In the spring of 1863 several acres were laid out as a pinetum on the west side of the Darn Road leading from Dunblane to Bridge of Allan.' Trees recorded in this area include Wellingtonias and stone pine (Pinus cembra). This is still maintained as a pinetum and shrubbery area.
The walled garden lies adjacent to Old Kippenross. The garden is currently laid down to lawn, with some surviving old fruit trees on the walls.
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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
A small intact 18th century parkland landscape designed by Thomas White Senior and Junior, the former being a pupil of Capability Brown.
Main Phases of Landscape Development
17th, 18th and 19th centuries
Prior to 1630 the lands of Kippenross had belonged to the lairds of Kippenross and then became part of the estate of the Pearson family. James Pearson, born in 1594, was appointed Minister of Dunblane in 1624, and in 1633 he obtained a charter under the Great Seal of the Barony of Kippenross, which had belonged to Sir James Chisholm of Cromlix. Old Kippenross House which is sited near the river to the south incorporates a tower house with vaulted cellars. A date stone of 1617 with the inscription 'Soli deo Gloria' and 'Gang Forware Laus Deo AM 1617' proclaims building work carried out at that time. In 1646 Dean Pearson built a house on top of the tower. Nearly a century later, his grandson Hugh planted the Beech Walk along the Allan Water. The house was badly damaged by fire in 1772, and plans for a new house up the hill were drawn up. When Dean Pearson lost his job as a result of the overthrow of the episcopacy, the unfinished house was sold to John Stirling of Kippendavie in 1778. James Playfair was commissioned in 1789 to design alterations to new Kippenross, but his plans were not used, and William Stirling was employed instead. The building in its present form is a late 18th or early 19th century cottage ornee resting on the basement of the earlier tower house. The cottage was intended to be symmetrical with three ball-finialled pyramid-roofed blocks. Old Kippenross can now be described as a Georgian Gothick Cottage Ornee. In the 18th and 19th centuries castle ruins were often retained to be used as incidences in the landscape but at Kippenross the old castle has been cleverly converted.
A plan of 1774 by Farquharson shows Old Kippenross lying to the south of the present Kippenross House, on a bend on the Allan Water. The landscape layout of that time was concentrated around this loop in the river with plantations to each side along the bank of the Allan Water. The part walled garden of 1703 makes up the formal layout of the grounds, with a vista broken up by rondpoints making an axial arrangement to the west of the house. A trapezoidal walled garden is indicated lying to the south of the house and is still there today. Thomas White Senior and Junior both drew up improvement plans for the laying out of the grounds, in 1791 and 1818 respectively. The present layout bears some resemblance to Thomas White Senior's plan (1791) in general shape, and in respect of the tree belts.
- Associated People
- Features & Designations
Historic Environment Scotland An Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes in Scotland
- Country House (featured building)
- Description: Kippenross House, started in 1772, is a five-bay house with the central bay slightly advanced and pedimented. The central part is two-storey and basement.
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- Key Information