The Murrel 2364

Aberdour, Scotland

Brief Description

The early-20th-century gardens at The Murrel consist of several areas including a terraced garden with stepped walls, a walled garden and a rose garden. Part of the walled garden is divided by box hedges and contains fruit, flowers and vegetables as well as shrub plantings. The gardens have been further developed in the 20th century since their original design with some new planting and some restoration.

History

The present house was designed by the owner, the architect Frank Deas, in 1908 for his own use. The garden was designed at the same time. Deas sold the property in 1915.

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 Murrel is located 1 mile (1.5km) north of Aberdour just south of Cullaloe Reservoir. It was built in 1908-10 on former farmland above the confluence of the Dour Burn with its eastern tributary, the Humbie Burn. The land slopes steeply to the south and south-west from the site of the house to the burn glens, and provides good views to the south. The terraces were designed to face southwards and yet make the most of the views to the south-west. The Murrel is fairly secluded from view within its valley and rural surroundings.

The house is built on the brow of a steep terraced slope. The designed landscape is enclosed to the north by the minor access road from the A987, to the east by the garden wall and shelter planting, to the south by the burn and bordering shrubbery, and to the west by the wild garden and west shelterbelt. The designed landscape encloses about 17 acres (7ha) and is subdivided into several compartments.

Landscape Components

Architectural Features

The house was designed in the traditional, local farmhouse style by Frank Deas c.1908 and is listed B. It is two-storeyed with a large semi-circular wing at the east end surrounding an inner courtyard which was set apart from the main house as a private provenance and garden for the servants based in the north-east wing. The house is built of sandstone from four different quarries to give variation in colour to the facade and the red pantiles on the roof were used for contrast. The courtyard is separated from the great terrace by a long buttressed wall, and from the end of the broad terrace, below the doocot tower, is the walled garden.

Water Features

The burn flows westwards past the Rose Garden and is carried over a waterfall through the Water Garden. The tiny gorge is lined with fern and other water-loving plants and this garden is in the process of being replanted. A path crosses the stream and continues through the coniferous shelter planting to the orchard at the south end of the terraced garden.

The Gardens

The Terraced Garden lies immediately in front and to the south of the house and consists of two broad terraces with an orchard at the south triangular end bounded by the burn. The east side is contained by the dramatic stepped wall of the walled garden, with its Lorimer-style gateway onto the top terrace. To the west of the broad terrace and of the house is a rockery with mixed alpines and some ornamental dwarf conifers. This area is due to be replanted. The terraces themselves are of lawn with gravel paths, and herbaceous borders with climbing roses scaling the high terrace walls.

The inner courtyard and servants' garden is sheltered lawn surrounded by herbaceous borders and attractively planted up.

The Rose Garden lies beneath the huge, buttressed south wall of the walled garden. It is terraced, the north part consisting of a gravel path running from west to east along the wall of the walled garden and lined with climbing shrubs and iris on its north side, and with lavender and new Rhododendron planting on its south side. (The terraced wall had collapsed just before our visit due to the excessive amount of rainfall and flooding in the area in the summer of 1985 and has since been repaired). The lower part of this garden is compartmentalised by yew hedging which surrounds rectangular rose beds and a central pond, the latter at present empty. A sundial forms the central feature of the pond. South of the rose garden hedges is another east/ west path alongside the burn which is canalised at this point and has Rhododendrons planted along its south side.

A new Wild Garden is being planted up with Rhododendrons, daffodils and snowdrops along the glen to the Dour Burn. To the north of the house, the entrance court above the roadway has a walled lawn with small herbaceous borders, and features a single Eucalyptus.

Walled Garden

The walled garden is still in use for fruit and vegetables; fruit trees line the walls: pears on the west wall, redcurrants on the north wall, cherries on the east wall and plums on the south wall. There is a glasshouse along the north wall near the garden arbour, similar to one designed by Deas for Lord Moray at Donibristle. The design of the attractive seat was possibly influenced by Lorimer. Box hedges divide the north area of the garden into compartments and new sections of shrubbery and Ericas are being planted alongside the fruit and vegetables.

Features
  • House (featured building)
  • Description: The house was designed in the traditional, local farmhouse style. It is two-storeyed with a large semi-circular wing at the east end surrounding an inner courtyard which was set apart from the main house as a private provenance and garden for the servants based in the north-east wing.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Garden Terrace
  • Description: Terraced garden with stepped walls.
Rose Garden
Authorities

Electoral Ward

  • Aberdour and Burntisland West
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

A very attractive arts and crafts style garden and house, designed by architect Frank Deas in the early 20th century. This unusual landscape contains some outstanding architectural features.

Site History

There are two historic feudal superiors, the Earls of Moray and the Earl of Morton (see Aberdour Castle). The 1st edition OS map of 1855 shows the cottages at the east end of the access road and a small rectangular enclosure immediately to the east of the present Murrel garden. A disused iron mill is mapped along the Dour Burn to the south-west of the house. The present house was built in 1908 and designed by Frank Deas, the architect, for his own use. The design followed local farmhouse traditions as it was to be run as a small farm. Frank Deas was born in 1862, trained at Edinburgh University and articled to Sir Rowand Anderson between 1890-6. He later shared a practice with Victor Horsburgh, and was a great friend of Sir Robert Lorimer. He died in 1951 but was forced to sell The Murrel in 1915 when he suffered large financial losses on the stock exchange during World War I. The present owners are carrying out a great deal of work in the gardens.

Period

  • Early 20th Century
Associated People

People associated to The Murrel

Contact

Telephone

0131 668 8600

Official Website

Click Here
References

References

Contributors

  • Historic Scotland