Meggernie Castle 2248

Bridge of Balgie, Scotland

Brief Description

The late-17th-century Meggernie Castle is situated near the head of the long and narrow valley of Glen Lyon. Traces of 17th-century gardens remain. The lime avenue, replanted in the mid-19th century, follows the line of the original late-17th-century avenue and drive. There are formal lawns, a 19th-century woodland garden and a walled kitchen garden, which is being restored.

History

The house was added to the tower in around 1673 probably at the same time that the lime avenue was planted. By the early 19th century the Steuart-Menzies family bought the property and improved the Castle and grounds.

Detailed Description

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:

http://portal.historic-scotland.gov.uk/hes/web/f?p=PORTAL:DESIGNATIONS:0

Location and Setting

The policies of Meggernie are situated near the head of the long and narrow valley of Glen Lyon some 22 miles (35km) west of Aberfeldy and in the heart of the Loch Rannoch and Glen Lyon National Scenic Area. The Castle is situated on the flat valley floor on the north bank of the River Lyon. The Breadalbane Mountains rise to the north and south to over 3,000' (915m). The climate can be severe and the winters are long. From the Castle there are extensive views up and down the Glen and the tall castle tower is a focus of views within the designed landscape. The formal components of the design contrast strongly with the wildness of the surrounding moorland and with areas of natural and semi-natural vegetation including birch woodland and a remnant of the Caledonian pine woods which once occupied much of the area.

The Castle stands within some 411 acres (166ha) of the designed landscape which includes the valley from the Bridge of Balgie to the east up to the confluence of the Alt Conait and the Lyon to the west, as is shown on the 1st edition OS plan of 1873. Some early plans exist of the design but these have not been seen during the course of this research. The long avenue of limes bordering the northern bank of the river was said in 1885 to be the 'finest' in the county and marks an older and more formal approach. The present layout was probably designed in the late 18th or early 19th century.

Landscape Components

Architectural Features

Meggernie Castle is an L-shaped tower-house of four storeys, dated 1673. The Fast Wing was remodelled in 1848 in the style of Bryce. The service court was added in the early 19th century and remodelled in 1959. The Castle is listed category A. The East Lodge was designed by James of Bristol and is dated 1922. It lies adjacent to the Bridge of Balgie which is listed Category B. The lodge garden contains an overgrown, Japanese-style rock garden. The Home Farm or Gallin Farm was built c.1909.

Parkland

The main parkland lies along the flat river meadows to the east of the Castle and is bordered by the lime avenue to the south, which was probably first planted in the late 17th century. Some of the trees were replanted c.1840 as an inner row, and the outer line was later removed. Remnants of woodland strips divided the park into four sections. The fields are mainly grazed by sheep. On the west side there are two other areas of policy grassland, one on the south-side of the river and the other on the north side just below Gallin Farm. The south drive along the avenue is the oldest and was probably laid out at the same time that the lime avenue was planted. The upper drive is more picturesque and curves along the edge of the glen and it is likely that it was constructed in the early 19th century.

Woodland

On the south side of the river, the valley is dominated by a large block of remnant Caledonian Forest, consisting mainly of Scots pine, said to be the second largest such area in private ownership. It has been designated as an SSSI and is managed under an agreement with the Nature Conservancy Council. Larch and other conifers have been planted on the northern slopes of the valley and mingle with naturalised birch. Seeds of one of the first larch introduced into this country in c.1750 have been planted in these woods. Fine Sitka spruce were planted c.1880 around the sunken garden providing shelter from the north winds. Mixed hardwood whips have recently been planted along the driveway.

Woodland Garden

There is a small woodland garden now surrounding a swimming pool. Hybrid Rhododendron were planted amongst the spruce and Douglas fir around c.1880. Paths were laid out through the woodland and a small water garden edged with stone was planted out along the stream. Recently, rowans and cherries have been planted in the lawn replacing the former rose beds.

The Gardens

The Castle is surrounded by extensive flat lawns bordered along the river by a raised bank. Most of the specimen trees have gone, and the lines of trees shown on the 1st edition OS map have not been replaced. On the west side of the house lies the tennis court.

Walled Garden

The original design for the kitchen garden can be seen on the 1873 OS plan which shows intersecting paths laid down to form smaller compartments. Following World War II it was neglected and became overgrown; however, within the last two years, the gardener has begun to restore it and some of the old paths have been reformed and edged with stone. The central bed was originally filled with roses. Many of the fruit trees were planted in c.1939 and many are still labelled. The garden produces all the vegetables and cut flowers for the house during the summer season. Outside the wall is the old Curling Pond. All the stones and equipment are stored and the pond may be reinstated in the future.

Features
  • House (featured building)
  • Description: Meggernie Castle is an L-shaped tower-house of four storeys, dated 1673. The Fast Wing was remodelled in 1848 in the style of Bryce.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Avenue
  • Description: The lime avenue, replanted in the mid-19th century, follows the line of the original late 17th-century avenue and drive.
Lawn, Kitchen Garden
History

Detailed History

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:

http://portal.historic-scotland.gov.uk/hes/web/f?p=PORTAL:DESIGNATIONS:0

Reason for Inclusion

Outstanding for its history, architectural and nature conservation values, there are remnants of a 17th century parkland and garden design, a category A listed castle, and part of the original Caledonian pine forest in this designed landscape.

Site History

The property originally belonged to the Menzies family but the earliest remaining part of the Castle is said to have been built by 'Mad' Colin Campbell c.1585. The house was added to the tower in around 1673 probably at the same time that the lime avenue was planted. By the early 19th century the Steuart-Menzies family bought the property and improved the Castle and grounds. In 1883 they sold it to John Bullough of Accrington. The sunken garden was added at around this time. The property was again sold c.1900 to the Wills family and 80 years later it was sold to the present owner.

Associated People

Just one person associated to Meggernie Castle

Contact
References

References

Contributors

  • Historic Scotland