Ochtertyre 2478

Crieff, Scotland

Pgds 20111121 193722 Ochtertyre House

Brief Description

The designed landscape at Ochtertyre House was laid out in the late-18th century. Although less impressive now than at the time of its creation, the parkland, woodland and water bodies still form an attractive layout. Part of the original wider estate around Loch Monzievaird has been developed for holiday chalets.

History

The present designed landscape is thought to be have been established following the building of the house between 1784 and 1790 but it may have incorporated features of a designed landscape associated with the earlier house dating from 1750 to 1784. The house was a school known as Seymour Lodge from 1939 to 1965. Since then it has been a theatre venue, a restaurant and a private home.

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

Type of Site

An early 18th century landscape of parkland and policy woodlands, walled kitchen garden, terrace garden and shrubbery/arboretum established in the early 1800s.

Location and Setting

Ochtertyre is situated at the east end of Strathearn some 2 miles (3km) north-west of the town of Crieff. The A85, Crieff/Lochearnhead road, a popular tourist route, forms the southern boundary of the designed landscape. Behind the house, the foothills of the Grampian Mountains rise to a height of 3,048' (929m) at Ben Chanzie. The lower slopes around the house are forested. The house commands a high situation overlooking undulating parkland which extends to the A85. Within the park lies Loch Monzievaird fed by the Conalter Burn which flows into the park to the west of the walled garden. From the house, dramatic panoramic views can be gained across Strathearn to the Ochil and Lomond Hills to the south and east, and west to Ben More, Ben Ledi and Ben Vorlich. The woodlands and fields on the hill on the south side of the A85 provide a significant foreground to these wider views and may once have been part of the designed landscape. The house, amid its woodland backdrop and parkland setting, is a highly significant scenic feature from the A85.

Ochtertyre House stands on a south-facing slope within some 680 acres (275ha) of designed landscape which extends north to the River Turret, south to the A85, west to Westerton House and east to the River Turret at Bridge of Hosh. The panoramic views from the site are important to the designed landscape. The terrace walk to the west of the house appears to have been constructed to exploit these views.

Documentary evidence of the development of the designed landscape is provided by General Roy's map of c.1750 (which indicates little presence of a designed landscape), the 1st edition OS map of c.1860 and the 2nd edition of c.1900. Comparison of these maps indicates that the woodlands of the designed landscape, established in the late 18th and early 19th century, originally extended beyond Locherlour. The 1st edition OS map of c.1860 indicates many rides through the woodland which were linked to the core of the Ochtertyre landscape by an entrance at Western Lodge. This area of woodland is now outwith the policies. Loch Monzievaird forms a significant feature in the designed landscape.

Landscape Components

Architectural Features

Ochtertyre House is a Georgian building with two storeys and basement on the north side, and three storeys and an attic on the south side. A verandah has been added to the first floor of the south elevation. The house, architect unknown, was built between 1784-90. The stables were built c.1790 on a U-plan, of whin rubble. The walled garden is situated to the west of the house and is thought to date from c.1800. The mausoleum and graveyard of the Murray family stands at the side of the East Drive. The mausoleum is the work of Charles Heathcote Tatham in 1809. The remains of a sundial are incorporated in a raised flower bed amid the lawn to the north of the house. A summerhouse stands on the terrace garden. Castle Cluggy situated on the north shore of Loch Monzievaird, is a three-storey ruin which was referred to as 'ancient' in a charter of 1467. It is thought to have been inhabited in the mid-17th century for a time by Sir William Murray when it was reduced in size to its present square form. Middlethird Lodge and Granite Lodge are respectively situated at the west and east entrances of the site from the A85. Mart Lodge remains in a central position between the two. Mid Lodge is situated midway along the drive to the east of the house.

Parkland

The park provides a magnificent picturesque setting to Ochtertyre House and the adjacent woodlands. Loch Monzievaird, which appears on Roy's map of c.1750, was incorporated into the design which dates from the late 18th century and early 19th century. The origin and history of St Serf's Water and St Serf's Well, two smaller water features which lie to the east of Loch Monzievaird, is uncertain. The site of the Murray family Mausoleum, formerly the Old Church of Monzievaird, lies on the edge of the park on the west side of the east drive from Granite Lodge. The 1st edition OS map shows another main drive from Mart Lodge running along the southern edge of St Serf's Well joining the east drive at Granite Lodge. This drive had gone by the 2nd edition OS map of c.1900 and the park to the south of St Serf's Well had been converted to woodland. Other pleasure rides remained in the park up until 1900 but they have now gone or are used only for access by the farm, now sited on the edge of the A85 amid the wood to the south of St Serf's Well. 19th century accounts of Ochtertyre describe fine trees 'harmoniously grouped' in the parks. In particular, several fine specimens of beech, including a cut-leaf variety, were noted between the terrace walk and the loch, which itself was surrounded by fine trees. Many of the park trees have been lost due to modern agricultural practices. The south-west corner of Loch Monzievaird, formerly the site of games pitches for the school, is now a chalet development, access to which is gained from the Middlethird Lodge Drive. The remainder of the parks are farmed.

Woodland

The woodlands at Ochtertyre were established in the latter half of the 18th century, confirmed by the lack of any woodland cover on Roy's map of c.1750. A written account of 1861 describes the timber on the hill around the house as being young. A later account describes the bank between the house and the loch as being 'thickly studded with oaks'. The 1st edition OS map indicates miles of rides and footpaths all around the house. Some of these rides remain today but only for forestry access. The woodlands to the north of the house presently consist mainly of beech, larch and Scots pine, of mixed age. Rhododendron ponticum has naturalised at the woodland edge on the north side of the drive to the house. South of the house, the woodland which clothes the slopes of the bank of Monzievaird Loch is naturally regenerating birch, ash and oak; the original woodland cover is thought to have been felled since World War II. The woodland beyond Westerton Lodge, which was formerly part of the policies, is now largely coniferous with some mature yew, Rhododendron and other ornamentals remain along the edges of the paths.

The Gardens

The shrubbery was laid out by the 6th Baronet in the early 1800s and extended between the house and the walled garden, a distance of approximately a quarter of a mile. The area was divided into compartments by grass walks. Within each of these compartments, varieties of a different conifer genera were established including those of Pinus, Abies, Picea and Taxus. More than 100 varieties of the genus Ilex were incorporated into the shrub borders. The compartments had became somewhat overgrown by the early 1880s but, by 1883, they had been prepared for further development by Sir Patrick Keith Murray. A further area of shrubbery extended down to the northwest shore of Loch Monzievaird, but this was cleared in c.1873 by Sir Patrick Keith Murray to enable the young oaks to grow, and only a few traces of it remain today. In 1883 an account (Woods and Forests of Perthshire) describes the finest tree to be a grand old ash, thought then to be around 400 years old. Also worthy of note were specimens of Abies menziesii, Wellingtonia (Sequoiadendron giganteum), Castanea sativa and Fagus sylvatica 'purpurea'. Alan Mitchell's Tree Survey measured thirteen of the trees which remained in 1970. It is thought that some have been lost since then.

The Terrace Garden is situated to the southwest of the house on the south side of the drive. A massive rubble wall with granite coping separates the garden from the park and woods beyond. The wall terminated at the west end in an octagonal form, but part of the wall has collapsed at this point. Reference to the 1st edition OS map indicates that the area immediately south of the house was lawn. The area to the west of the house was shrubbery. The grass paths and croquet lawn remain evident from the original garden structure. The west end of the garden has been cleared entirely and this terrace is now grazed by sheep.

Walled Garden

The kitchen gardens are thought to have been constructed in c.1800. An account of 1876 (The Gardeners' Chronicle, December 23rd 1876) describes the gardens as extending over four acres and divided into two walled sections by the west drive which runs between them. J.C. Loudon referred to the garden in his Encyclopedia of Gardening of 1824 as being the work of Walter Nicol. Both gardens were enclosed by stone walls which hosted good fruit crops. In the northern garden, which was divided into three sections, were two vineries which were well-stocked with different species of grapes. The outer south-facing wall of the garden was covered in roses. On the sloping lawn between this garden and the west drive, circular beds were laid out with fine Rhododendrons and a standard thorn bush in each. The larger lower garden was stocked with soft fruits and vegetables.

Features
  • Lake
  • Description: Loch Monzievaird.
  • House (featured building)
  • Description: Ochtertyre House is a Georgian building with two storeys and basement on the north side, and three storeys and an attic on the south side. A verandah has been added to the first floor of the south elevation.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
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

The parkland, woodland, waterbodies and impressive architecture of Ochtertyre make an important contribution to the surrounding scenery and provide valuable wildlife habitats. Although much grander in the past, the landscape is still attractively laid out today.

Main Phases of Landscape Development

Late 18th/early 19th century landscape, with improvements mid 19th century and major 20th century alterations.

Site History

Around Loch Monzievaird are several interesting historical sites. Castle Cluggy, on the 'Dry Isle', which is an inlet on its north shore, was the original home of the lairds of Ochtertyre. The island in the loch is reputed to have been the site of the Castle prison. South of the loch is the scene of the Battle of Monzievaird where Kenneth IV was killed in 1003 and to the west of the loch is the spot where victims of the plague were buried in the 17th century.

The lands of Ochtertyre were given in the 15th century by David Moray of Tullibardine to his third son, Patrick, on the occasion of his marriage to Isobel, daughter of Balfour of Montquhanie. His 8th descendant, William, was created a Baronet of Nova Scotia in 1673. His successor, Patrick, 2nd Baronet, amassed a considerable fortune which he used in part to purchase the neighbouring Barony of Monzievaird. In 1739, the spelling of the family name was changed from Moray to Murray.

The 4th Baronet, Patrick, died in 1746 and his son, William, inherited the title and estates. He was a soldier but returned to Ochtertyre to manage his property. He built a house on a site some 300 yards north-west of the present house and was a keen land improver. His son, Patrick, 6th Baronet, shared his father's interest in the estate. He was responsible for the construction of the present house and the establishment of the designed landscape around it. The 6th Baronet was a prominent public figure, and rose to the rank of Baron of the Exchequer in 1820, a post he held until his death in 1837. He was succeeded by his son, Patrick, 7th Baronet, who married Margaret Oliphant, heiress of Sir Alexander Keith of Dunnotar and Ravelston. He made some additions to the landscape including the construction of the conservatory in 1851 but this was dismantled following his death in 1861, when Sir Patrick Keith Murray inherited. The available accounts of the estate were written during Sir Patrick's time as laird, by which time the designed landscape was well established and much admired.

In 1939 the house was used as a school for girls and was retained as such even after the war, up until 1965. From this time, the designed landscape appears to have entered a period of decline with the inevitable war-time cut-backs in labour and the adoption of the site for school activities such as the construction of games pitches in the park. In 1965 the estate was sold off in separate units.

Period

  • Late 18th Century
Associated People

Just one person associated to Ochtertyre

Contact
References

References

Contributors

  • Historic Scotland