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Despite the demolition of the main house, the surviving mid 19th/early 20th century estate buildings and features in the Rosehaugh policies are of outstanding quality, many designed in a distinctive estate style by William Flockhart (1854-1913).

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:

Type of Site

Distinctive, mid/late 19th century-early 20th century policies with pleasure grounds, built onto an earlier, relatively more modest 17th-18th century landscape.

Location and Setting

Rosehaugh, on the Black Isle, lies directly to the west of Avoch, on the A832 Muir of Ord to Fortrose road. The estate extends across south facing slopes and is sheltered to the north by higher ground and Bog of Shannon Wood. The fertile, well drained, rolling land leads down to the Rosehaugh Burn with the Killen Burn, one of its tributaries, flowing parallel to the western boundary of the designed landscape.

Views from the Rosehaugh garden terraces extend south-eastwards. There are few views into the designed landscape from surrounding roads due to the mature perimeter tree belts.

The extent of the designed landscape has varied over time. Little is known of the configuration of the 18th century designed landscape, but the layout of rides and avenues within the 19th century designed landscape suggest an earlier formal layout centred on the house built by Sir George Mackenzie of Rosehaugh.

The designed landscape is enclosed by perimeter belts on its west, south and east sides. On its north side it borders Bog of Shannon Wood. It is taken to include the parkland and formal amenities focussed on and associated with the 19th century house (1871-2, OS 6").

Landscape Components

Architectural Features

The site of Rosehaugh House (demolished 1959), is marked by massive buttressed retaining walls. A number of the estate buildings designed by Flockhart c 1900, survive. They are built to an 'estate style' modelled on the English Arts & Crafts tradition, with detailing including wrought-iron scroll brackets to the rhones and wrought-iron weather vanes. One is The Laundry c 1900, situated at the end of a Lime Walk, to the northwest of the house and overlooking Killen Lake. It is single-storey with an attic, with harled and pebble-dashed walls. The roof sweeps down over a central rustic porch on its south side. The Powerhouse situated to the south of the Laundry, on the north shores of Killen Lake, is an asymmetrical L plan, single-storey building with Tudor-arched openings. Grays Cottage, built for Fletcher's valet, to the north of the Stables, is a two-storey, asymmetrical house with a tiled and slated mansard roof. It also has a Tudor-arched doorway and detailing in the estate style. The Dairy is a long low range of stone and ashlar buildings, partly harled. It comprises a two-storey cottage, milking parlour, dairy, byre and barn, all linked by a timbered arcade of rough-hewn oak under tiled piend-roofs. The Wine Store set into the hill to the north-west of the house-site, is probably also by Flockhart. It is single-storey, Tudor in style with five oak entrance doors and a decorated ashlar parapet. Probably contemporary with these buildings is an Estate Bridge to the east of the Garden House (1903-4, OS 6").

Rosehaugh Stables comprise a large courtyard range built at different dates. The original complex, to a U-plan and built in the mid 19th century, was extended and remodelled by Alexander Ross in 1874. Thereafter it was altered and extended by Flockhart in the estate style. The buildings now (2003) house estate workshops. Stable Cottage is a mid-19th century single-storey estate cottage.

The Walled Garden, east of the house-site, built in 1844-5, is of random stone with occasional arched gateways with stone copings. The wall coping is of coarse concrete with a pebble aggregate. The Garden House, ('Garden Offices', Inverness Courier Nov. 20, 1844), to its east, was built as part of this complex c 1845. It is an asymmetrical, single storey cottage, with a bay window, bargeboarded dormer and a porch. Contemporary with these is Kennels Cottage, built to house the Head gamekeeper. It is built in a mock Tudor style, L-plan, with a diagonally set gabled porch in the re-entrant angle. To the rear is an octagonal, timber Game-Larder.

The Fletcher Burial Enclosure, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and built 1928, lies on the edge of Bog of Shannon wood, east of The Kennels. It is a circular enclosure with a heavy stone balustrade carrying a continuous bench seat on the interior. An entrance gate leads into the enclosure. Opposite the entrance is a memorial to James Douglas Fletcher and Lilian Maud Augusta Stephen. Rosehaugh Mains is a farm steading built in 1812. The Mains Farmhouse and west range of the courtyard was destroyed by fire in the 1960s.

The East Lodge leads to Rosehaugh village. The Italianate style West Lodge on the Avoch Road, is by Alexander Ross, c.1870. It consists of a carriage entrance and pedestrian entrances with cast-iron gates and gatepiers topped with urns.

Drives and Approaches

The main approach is from the south-east from a late 20th century entrance gate on the A838, supplanting the use of the West Lodge. The main drive leading east to west along the hillside is lined with deciduous trees and, in part, by a beech hedge. A lime avenue leading east to west along the hillside is lined with deciduous trees and, in part, by a beech hedge (Mills et al. 1996).


The parkland extends to the south of the house and to the north-west. The perimeter belts and woodlands contain a variety of species of mixed ages, with ornamental varieties concentrated in the vicinity of the house-site. Significant specimen cedars ornament the 'lawn', the area south of the garden terraces leading southwards to the ornamental lake. Some of the large parkland clumps in the south-west parkland have been replanted.

The ornamental lake covering 2.4 ha (6 acres), situated in the South Park survives, although the extent of open water is being reduced by reed beds (2003). The boat house on the north-east shore has been restored.

To the west of the house and gardens is the site of the Killen Lake. Formed along the course of the Killen Burn, its dam broke in 1946. The Boat-house, once situated on its shores, is now (2003) sited on the hillside above the remains of the lake. Now ruinous (2003), it is timber-framed on a base of rough stone.

The Gardens

The remnants of the gardens comprise two terraces looking out onto the South Park. A central flight of steps leads down from the upper terrace to the lower, bounded on its south by a 3m high retaining wall. This south wall appears to be of two distinct building phases. The earlier, possibly contemporary with Ross' alterations to the house and stables in the 1870s, comprises a rubble wall with segmental headed coping with vermiculated angle pilasters. This was heightened and altered by Flockhart in the 1890s, by adding a series of four rectangular supporting buttresses. The buttresses may incorporate architectural fragments from the house itself, as ornamentation. They comprise alternate vermiculated angle pilasters with a recessed central panel set with a blind window. The window has vermiculated surrounds and a slightly advanced keystone supporting a cornice, which supports a plain ashlar terrace wall.

Photographs of the gardens indicate the planting and statuary set on the terraces (Mills et al., 1996).

Walled Garden

A range of greenhouses extended along the north wall, built as a hot wall. This included a Fernery. Its remains indicate that it covered some 25 square metres. The artificial rockwork was flanked on either side by greenhouses and incorporated running water. A track running east to west divides off the southern third of the garden. The southern wall is now (2003) lined with cypress tress, originally planted as a hedge, and stands of bamboo. Apart from displays of spring daffodils nothing else survives of earlier planting schemes.

Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts

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

Despite the demolition of the main house, the surviving mid 19th/early 20th century estate buildings and features in the Rosehaugh policies are of outstanding quality, many designed in a distinctive estate style by William Flockhart (1854-1913).

Main Phases of Landscape Development

17th-18th centuries; 1838-50; 1864-1928

Site History

Sir George Mackenzie of Rosehaugh (1636-91) acquired the estate in the late 1660s and built a small house, situated west of the present Rosehaugh Mains. Mackenzie was selected as Commissioner to Parliament in 1669 and, when knighted in 1674, took the title 'Sir George Mackenzie of Rosehaugh'. He was appointed as Lord Advocate in 1677, his prosecutions of the Covenanters (based on evidence obtained under torture) earned him the nickname "Bluidy Mackenzie" (as in Scott's "Old Mortality"). In 1682 he founded the Advocate's Library at Edinburgh. John Reid, author of The Scots Gardener (1683) worked on his estate at Shank, East Lothian in the 1680s.

A medieval name for part of the estate was 'Pittanochtie', referred to in the 1740s as the 'Hills of Pittanicty' (Roy, 1745-50). The name 'Rosehaugh' denoted lands adjoining this area. Mackenzie sold the Pittanochtie portion of the estate to a cousin, leaving the Rosehaugh portion to his direct heirs. In 1752 Mackenzie's grandson sold the Rosehaugh estate to George Ross of Pitkeerie (Mills et al. 1996, pp 13-20). Some of the avenues planted on the estate seem to date to the mid/late 18th century but little is known of the landscape at this period (Mills et al., 1996, p.102).

It was Sir Roderick Mackenzie of Scatwell, a descendant of the Mackenzie who bought the Pittanochtie lands, who built a new house in the 1790s, calling it Rosehaugh House. It stood 'on a beautiful bank, about a mile and a half from the sea, on the north side of the southern vale. It is a modern edifice, substantially built and commodious; and cost between 3,000L and 4,000L sterling.' (OSA, 1793). It lay uphill, north of the old house, with extensive countryside views (Campbell Smith, 1850). His second son, James Wemyss Mackenzie 5th Bt. (d.1843), inherited the estate in 1811, becoming MP for Ross (in 1824) and Lord Lieutenant. His marriage with Henrietta of Suddie, (property west of Rosehaugh), brought additional lands into the estate. He built a range of new farm buildings at Rosehaugh Mains, in 1812. In 1820 a new 'parliamentary' road from Munlochy to Avoch (now the A832) cut through some of the estate fields. This led to construction of a new approach - the West Drive.

His only son, James John Randall Mackenzie (1814-84), who married Lady Anne Wentworth in 1838, succeeded him. They embarked on an extensive building programme, adding to the shooting lodge at Kinlochluichart, extending the Mains Farm, building new stables, lodges and keepers' cottages at Scatwell, and new lodges and cottages at Rosehaugh. He extended Rosehaugh House and laid out a new garden, designed by C H J Smith, in 1844. Smith, an Edinburgh landscape gardener, proposed a series of formal parterres on terraces, laid out to the south of the house. Although these were not built, the six-acre Walled Garden alongside a Gardeners House to the east of the house was built between 1844-50. By 1850, there were in all seven entrance lodges to the estate, substantial gardens and pleasure grounds enclosed to the north by a random-rubble wall with gateways (Campbell Smith, 1850). A formal walk led eastwards through an avenue to a lodge (possibly originally associated with neighbouring Avoch House) and on to Avoch (Campbell Smith, 1850).

During the 1850s various properties were sold to repay existing loans, but by 1862, the 6th Bt. of Rosehaugh was bankrupt. He sold the estate in 1864, leaving for France, where he died in 1884.

James Fletcher (1807-85) bought the estate. The Fletchers, previously called 'Jack', were from Avoch, although James was born and educated in Elgin. He founded a trading company, Jack Bros. in Liverpool, with his brother John Fletcher of Dale Park, near Arundel (1795-1837). By the mid 19th century, of the four firms controlling British-Peruvian trade, Jack Bros. (Liverpool) and Gibbs & Co. (London) were the most prominent. Their staple product of trade was alpaca, llama and vicuna wools, imported from Peru and in demand by the worsted industry for ladies clothing. James promoted the business in Arequipa, returning in 1845. He bought the Rosehaugh estate (by then 6,400 acres) for £145,000 and ultimately increased its acreage to 10,600 acres. He continued to direct his Liverpool business but exerted formidable energy in remodelling and running his new estates, including other properties at Fern Estate and Letham Grange, both in Forfarshire. In addition, he invested in mines and railways, particularly the London and North-West Railway Company.

At Rosehaugh, his programme of land improvement included draining Loch Scadden above Avoch. Altogether, out of 887 acres of moor and heath, he reclaimed 600 for arable cultivation in four years. He enclosed, drained or planted over 3,300 acres of waste and improvable land. Estate farms were rearranged to form larger economic units of 100-150 acres, with Rosehaugh Mains made a 500 acre farm.

He commissioned Alexander Ross to alter the house by encasing it completely, adding a porch to the south and a conservatory to the east. Ross also remodelled the stables and designed the West Lodge. The full extent and detail of the work carried out by Ross is unknown, but is likely that this constituted a major building phase.

The designed landscape was extended eastwards. The entrance lodge along the east drive had, by 1871, become an 'incident' along the route comprising a Summer House with ornamental garden. A new East Lodge was built to terminate the drive.

On James Fletcher's death in 1884, James Douglas Fletcher (1857-1927) inherited Rosehaugh estate, Woolton Hill House, Liverpool, and a vast fortune. His capital derived from estates in Ceylon ' 2,926 acres producing tea and 1,011 acres producing rubber - the basis of the Rosehaugh Tea & Rubber Company. Fletcher's impact on the estate and Avoch was dramatic. Remodelling of the estate, house and pleasure grounds took ten years, cost £250,000 and exceeded any other contemporary building project in the country at that date (Mills et al., 1996 p.95). Initially, William Flockhart (1854-1913), a Glasgow-trained architect, with his own practice in London, was commissioned to undertake a major internal refurbishment of the house, completed in 1893. He was then commissioned to remodel and encase the exterior of the house, extend it eastwards with a new wing and to design a range of ancillary estate buildings. This major project took place between 1898-1903. Flockhart's design for the house achieved 'grandeur in a fine composition, the design of which is based on what is best in the French Renaissance' (Gifford 1992, p.448).

After 1901, Flockhart was assisted by his son-in-law and partner Leonard Rome Guthrie, who replaced S.D. Adshead as Clerk of Works at Rosehaugh.

One of the first projects that Fletcher seems to have undertaken, in 1885, was the installation of a range of Mackenzie & Moncur glass-houses extending the full length of the Walled Garden on the north. These glass houses of teak, with bronze fittings and mosaic floor tiles, were used by the manufacturers to illustrate their trade catalogue. One housed a Fernery.

Fletcher laid out extensive pleasure grounds and gardens. West of the house, the Killen Burn was dammed to form a lochan (Killen Lake) for boating, fishing and duck shooting. This involved moving and re-housing families from Milltown, north-west of Rosehaugh House. The dam formed a series of waterfalls called the Horseshoe Falls, and powered an electricity generator. A timber boat-house ornamented the north shores of the loch.

Formal gardens were laid out to the south of the house, consisting of a series of balustraded terraces with flights of steps, ornamental gates and urn-topped piers. Flower-lined paths led from the terraces to an ornamental loch, built in 1893, with an artificial island, boathouse and lochside walks. By 1885, a tradition of public access had been established, a topographic guide stating that people could 'At all times..ramble freely through any portion of his splendid grounds and magnificent gardens ''(Beaton, 1885). The gardens were open for fetes, shows and local events. The Head Gardener, William Mortimer Moir, joined his staff in 1892 and remained at Rosehaugh until 1920.

A range of estate housing and ancillary buildings was constructed, entrance lodges, a Dairy (housing a registered Jersey herd), Game Larders and Kennels.

Following Fletcher's death in 1927, his widow, Lilian Maud Stephen (d.1953) commissioned Sir Edwin Lutyens to design a family burial enclosure and monument. With no direct heirs, the house, home farm and policies were inherited by Mrs Shaw-Mark of Newhall, a niece. The house was put up for sale in 1943, but then withdrawn and, after the War, it was sold to the Marquis of Bute. In 1954 the estate was bought by the Eagle Star Insurance Co. and, their interest being in the farms, Rosehaugh House was demolished in 1959.


Victorian (1837-1901)

Associated People
Features & Designations


  • Historic Environment Scotland An Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes in Scotland

Key Information






Victorian (1837-1901)



Electoral Ward

Avoch Fortrose



  • Historic Scotland