This site has the remnants of a country estate landscape where the principal building, Italianate terraced gardens and water features have now been lost.
A new mansion house was built at Terregles between 1788 and 1794 replacing an earlier house probably dating back to the 16th century. This was expanded in the 1830s and the stable buildings were added. By 1844 a flower garden had been laid out with the Italianate garden recorded in 1899. During World War 2 the house was requisitioned for use by the Norwegians. It was occupied until 1955, after which it lay empty and was demolished in the early-1960s. The former stables have been converted into housing.
This remnant garden and parkland, associated with the late-18th-century country house demolished in 1962, are located near Terregles village, around 4 kilometres (2.5 miles) west of Dumfries in south-west Scotland. The land is now under grazing but the layout of an Italianate garden, and adjacent ladies walk and grotto are still discernible. Extensive walls surround the property and the former stables, a category A listed building, have been converted to housing.
Further details about Terregles are available on the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historic Monuments of Scotland website:
1. MAPPED SOURCES
Unless otherwise stated all maps referenced are from the online National Library of Scotland Map Collection
Blaeu, Joan 1654 Nithia Vicecomitatus, The Shirifdome of Nidis-dail
Moll, Herman 1745 The Shire of Dumfries or Nithisdale
Circa 1755 Roy Military Survey of Scotland (Lowlands)
Ainslie, John 1797 The Stewartry of Kirkcudbright
Ordnance Survey First Edition Six inch to One mile Kirkudbrightshire Sheet 27 Surveyed 1850, Published 1854
Ordnance Survey Second Edition & Later Editions 25 inches to One mile Kirkcudbrightshire Sheet 021.15 Revised circa1893, Published 1894
Ordnance Survey Second Edition & Later Editions Six inch to One mile Kirkcudbrightshire Sheet XXI.SE Revised 1893, Published 1895
Ordnance Survey Second Edition & Later Editions Six inch to One mile Dumfries-shire Sheet XLIX.SW Revise d 1898, Published 1900
Ordnance Survey Second Edition & Later Editions 25 inches to One mile Kirkcudbrightshire Sheet 021.15 Revised circa 1907, Published 1909
Ordnance Survey Second Edition & Later Editions Six inch to One mile Kirkcudbrightshire Sheet XXI.SE Revised 1907, Published 1910
Ordnance Survey Second Edition & Later Editions Six inch to One mile Dumfries-shire Sheet XLIX.SW Revised 1946, Published 1949
Ordnance Survey Second Edition & Later Editions Six inch to One mile Dumfries-shire Sheet XLIX.SW Revised 1946, Published 1951
Ordnance Survey Second Edition & Later Editions Six inch to One mile Dumfries-shire Sheet XLIX.SW Revised 1929, Published 1933
Ordnance Survey Second Edition & Later Editions Six inch to One mile Kirkcudbrightshire Sheet XXI.SE Revised 1946 Published 1952
Ordnance Survey Seventh Edition 1:10,000 1980
Dumfries and Galloway Council Historic Environment Record 'Terregles'
2. PRIMARY & DOCUMENTARY SOURCES
SCAN catalogue DS/UK/24445 – Constable-Maxwell Family
Dumfries and Galloway Archives GB226/GGD242 – Papers of Captain A Constable Maxwell of Terregles.
Dumfries and Galloway Archives NA24255 – Captain Alfred Peter Constable Maxwell (1841 – 1889)
Maxwell-Irving, Alastair M T (2000) The Border Towers of Scotland – Terregles Castle p.242Blundell, Dom Odo, OSB 1907 Ancient Catholic Homes of Scotland Burns & Oates Ltd, London
SCAN catalogue DS/UK/24903 – Constable-Maxwell-Stuart of Traquair family
Gifford,John 1996 The Buildings of Scotland – Dumfries and Galloway Penguin Books
The Gardeners’ Chronicle 14 October 1899 page 290
Mckerlie, P.H. 1878 History of the lands and their owners in Galloway vol 5.
Third Statistical Account of Scotland. Counties of Kirkcudbright and Wigtown. Ed. J Laird and D G Ramsay. Pub. Collins 1965
Macaulay, James 1987 The Classical Country House in Scotland 1660 – 1800. Faber and Faber
Sales catalogue for Terregles, Stewartry of Kirkcudbright 1920 (Ewart Library, Dumfries).
Dumfries and Galloway Archives GB226/GGD242
Papers of Captain A Constable Maxwell of Terregles:
letters and accounts 1882 - 1890
notebook recording details of the blooming of his orchids 1886 – 1888
Funeral report of Captain Alfred Peter Maxwell 27.12.1889
Dumfries Ewart Library GKC(366)P - Terregles, Lochrutton and Irongray Horticultural Society prize schedule of show of flowers, fruit and vegetables etc, Saturday 8th August 1896
The Gardeners’ Magazine vol 9. 1833 p.
The Gardeners’ Chronicle October 14th 1899 p.290 author Sam Arnott
The Scottish Gardener (Northern Forester) vol viii – no.397 July 12th 1913 – Notes from South of Scotland Gardens
Valuation rolls for Kirkcudbrightshire
Transactions of the Dumfries and Galloway Natural History and Antiquarian Society (1890) series ll, volume 6, p.267
Sales catalogue for Terregles, Stewartry of Kirkcudbright 1920 (Ewart Library, Dumfries).
‘South Circuit – Autumn 1844’ diary notes by Judge Cockburn.
Dumfriesshire Illustrated 1894, p.53 – 1. Nithsdale by Peter Gray
3. HISTORICAL ILLUSTRATIONS & PICTORIAL SOURCES
19th Century Garden Photographs - Private Collection
Old photographs of Terregles Estate & Gardens– some are dated - Private Collection
4. BIBLIOGRAPHY OF PUBLISHED SOURCES
The Gardener’s Magazine 1833, vol 9, p.4
Dumfriesshire and Galloway Natural History and Antiquarian Society Transactions1890, series 2, vol 6, p.267 – no specific author stated
The Gardeners’ Chronicle October 14th 1899, p.290
The Scottish Gardener (Northern Forester) 12 July 1913, vol 8, no.297
Circuit Journeys – South Circuit Autumn 1844 pp 239/240 Judge Cockburn
Second (New) Statistical Account of the Stewartry of Kirkcudbright Volume 4 Terregles Parish 1845 p.230
Ramsay J, Arnott D G, Laird M C 1965 Third Statistical Account of Scotland. Counties of Kirkcudbright and Wigtown
Macaulay,James 1987 The Classical Country House in Scotland 1660 - 1800 Faber & Faber
Dumfries and Galloway Council Monument Full Report26 November 2010
- Italianate Garden
- Description: Italianate terraces
- Latest Date:
- Description: Rockwork grotto probably too early to have been constructed by James Pulham & Son.
- Latest Date:
- Access & Directions
DirectionsThe remnants of the Terregles designed landscapes lie approximately 4 kilometres west-north-west of Dumfries to the north of Terregles village.
A new red sandstone mansion house at Terregles was built from 1788 to 1794by Lady Winifred and her husband, William Haggerston Constable Maxwell. The new house is mentioned in one of Robert Burns’ poems: Nithsdale’s Welcome Hame (1791). The house was enlarged in the early-1830s, when the wrought red sandstone stables were also probably built, with housing for coachmen and grooms.
In 1833 a gardening tour described in the Gardeners’ Magazine included Terregles Mansion. It was noted that some additions to the house were being made and that the park had been sprinkled over with single trees, arranged equidistantly in complete contrast to natural grouping. These trees were chiefly oaks from 20 to 30 feet high, which had been moved in the preceding two years, almost all surviving. Adjoining the house was an old architectural garden, consisting of a level square platform with thick, lofty, hornbeam hedges and on two sides a broad grass terrace, between 20 and 30 feet higher than the exterior grounds. There was an unusual view from the terrace to a new kitchen garden, on a gentle slope backed by woods. The garden was in excellent order and the author felt that it should be retained as a garden of fruit and flowers, rather than undergoing routine improvement into a pleasure-ground.
In autumn 1844 Judge Cockburn recorded in ‘South Circuit’ how he and his family ‘called at Terregles, where we saw a recently-made flower garden. It is extremely beautiful. Good flowers, shrubs and trees adorning, but, as usual, more adorned by pure, regular walks, bright, smooth turf, and well-kept stairs, urns, and terraces. But there are three errors. First, no water. They are going to bring it for the house soon, from a mile off, and then they promise fountains...Second, they have put lines of gravel walks alongside of most of the flower-plots....instead of leaving the plots to be bounded by the grass itself. Thirdly, and chiefly, they have employed a professional rock-maker, from London, I believe, to manufacture masses of fantastic rock-work. This in Scotland! A country full of the best productions of the great rock maker, Nature!’
Towards the end of the 19th century, Captain Alfred Peter Constable Maxwell of Terregles purchased many seeds of flowers and vegetables from seedsmen including Fotheringham and Wallace, Dumfries; Dickson and Co., Edinburgh and James Carter and Co., London. There are invoices from 1887-8 detailing his seed purchases: eg potatoes, peas, kidney beans, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, carrots, lettuce, leek, onion, curled parsley, parsnips, spinach, turnips, celery, cucumber, marrow, broccoli; stock, aster, mignonette, sweet peas, pyrethrum, lobelia.
Captain Maxwell appears to have been a keen horticulturist, although many purchases were destined for his estate in Teneriffe. His regular correspondent from Teneriffe says in one letter that growing the seeds in Teneriffe is very similar to growing them elsewhere, except that in Teneriffe they can be grown out-of-doors. So perhaps some of these seeds were being planted in the glass-houses at Terregles.
Captain Maxwell’s handwritten notebook of 1885-1887 lists his orchids, including which were purchased, when they flowered, how many flowers they had and a description of them. Some had never flowered in this country before; eg in 1887: ‘bought a lot of eight established Crispum Alexandrae labelled 1 to 8 in Jan and April 1886’.
A newspaper cutting from a Dumfries paper (found with a letter dated December 1888) says that – ‘The Gardener’s Chronicle of 1888 gives a drawing of The Orchid Flower Holder. It is a local invention, which was invented by Captain Maxwell of Terregles and is sold by Mr Alfred Outram, Fulham, London’.
In the notice of the funeral of Captain Maxwell in 1889, the road from the House [at Terregles] is described as winding among thick beech hedges and clumps of oak through the trimly kept policies to the North West gate.
When the Dumfriesshire and Galloway Natural History and Antiquarian Society organised a field visit to the gardens on 7th June 1890 it was recorded that the Terregles gardens and ornamental grounds were notable for their extent and magnificence. The visitor was invited to linger at every turn by stately trees, perfectly symmetrical giant beech hedges, grass banks, cunningly contrived grottos, lake, stream and statuary. The grounds were gorgeous at that season with the bright and blended colours of rhododendron and azalea, with a long bank of yellow broom on their outskirts.
An article in ‘Dumfriesshire Illustrated’ 1894, remarked that the gardens attached to the mansion house of Terregles have the reputation of being well and tastefully kept.
In 1896, the Hon. President of Terregles, Lochrutton and Irongray Horticultural Society was Herbert Constable Maxwell Stuart Esq. of Terregles and Traquair. The committee of management of their show of flowers, fruit and vegetables included his gardener, Mr A Chalmers.
In 1899 it was remarked that the place could still be pointed out in the garden where, according to tradition, the Countess of Nithsdale concealed the title-deeds of the estate before departing to London in 1715/16 to try to rescue her husband.
The Gardeners’ Chronicle of 1899 remarked that the gardens at Terregles House had suffered from several causes, including its occupancy by different tenants following the death of the owner-occupier. The present tenant was Mr C. E. Galbraith, who had brought with him from Ayton Castle, Berwickshire, Mr John McKinnon as head gardener. Some of the natural beauties of the estate remained partially undeveloped. These included several lakes, which would add greatly to the charms of the estate if they were tastefully planted and margined.
The Italian Garden, occupying a broad terrace close to an apparently artificial ravine, was a conspicuous feature. Its plan was simpler than many Italian gardens and it was planted with zonal Pelargoniums, amid large specimens of Rhus typhina which appeared to have been there for several years. There were high, clipped yew hedges. Most of the flowers needed for cutting were grown in the kitchen garden. Many herbaceous flowers were cultivated, eg early chrysanthemums and dahlias. Carnations and violets were grown, together with new varieties of violas and sixty varieties of sweet pea. In the numerous glass houses were grown decorative plants for the mansion and flowers for cutting, eg heliotrope, lilies, fuchsias, hydrangeas and pelargoniums. The fernery contained a collection of exotic ferns. Eucharis, Crotons, Marantas and palms were grown, as well as grapes, peaches and tomatoes.
Nine hundred Chrysanthemums were grown outside, together with crops of apples, carrots and other vegetables, which were all good with the exception of the brassica family.
In the grounds were some fine conifers and deciduous trees, amongst which were a fine Douglas Fir, a good Pinus sylvestris, a fine Abies Menziesii and a very old Spanish Chestnut of ‘magnificent proportions’.
‘The Scottish Gardener’ in 1913 remarked that the gardens at Terregles, where Mr Galbraith was in residence, had been long noted for their beauty. Many improvements had been made since Mr W. Hutchinson, a well-known gardener, took up duties there. Alpines were assuming importance. There was a recently established and improving rock bed above a low retaining wall, full of good species including Primulas, Saxifrages, Ourisia Coccinea and Gentians. Alpines were also being grown in a long bed in another part of the garden. Other fine hardy flowers included Polyanthus and white tulips. The glass houses contained fine carnations and malmaisons, as well as vegetables. It concluded that Terregles was even adding to its former reputation as one of the leading local gardens.
In 1920 the Terregles House and estate were put up for sale and the sales catalogue gives the following description of the estate and gardens:
'The estate extends over 15,000 acres, which includes some 165 acres of the mansion house pleasure grounds, gardens, policies and magnificently timbered park. The park is studded with magnificent specimens of hardwood trees of great age and symmetry, which with the lakes complete an ideal scene of beauty. Trees mentioned are a Spanish Chestnut tree of great age, oak trees, beech trees and conifers. There is a pine walk and wooded drives. There are two full-sized tennis greens and an extensive orchard.
'The water supply comes by gravitation from a reservoir on the lands, providing an ample supply for glass houses and gardens.
'To the West of the house are Italianate gardens, ornamented with statuary and large fountain in the centre. Adjoining are the vegetable and fruit gardens, divided into sections by splendid ten foot high yew, hornbeam and beech hedges and a high brick wall on two sides. To the North are the glass houses.
'There is a large flower pavilion 54 feet by 20 feet; a fernery 80 feet by 15 feet; a tomato and carnation house 54 feet by 10 feet; a begonia house 80 feet by 14 feet; all heated by hot water. Also two vegetable marrow and cucumber frames 80 feet by 8 feet.
'There is a large “lean to” house 144 feet by 12 feet divided into four: tomato house, two vinerys and a peach house.
'Behind the garden wall are potting shed, tool houses, store, apple room and furnace underneath.
'There are numerous borders of herbaceous plants, roses and other flowers and large numbers of apple, pear, plum and cherry trees with gooseberries, strawberries, currants and other small fruits.
'There are lawns and terraces near to the house. The terraces slope down to the edge of the upper lake, which has a background of lime and other hardwood trees, affording shelter to the house.
'The woodlands, apart from within the policies, are in areas ranging from 20 to 100 acres and from 6 to 80 years old.'
The then Board (now Department) of Agriculture for Scotland bought the entire estate. In 1921 the Board divided the acquisition into small holdings for the resettlement of ex-servicemen. The extensive stabling of the house was used for a short time after 1921 by a private company as a bacon factory, but this soon proved unprofitable. During War 2 the house was requisitioned for use by the Norwegians during occupation of their country. After World War 2 the house was partly occupied by the owner until at least 1955, but later lay empty and was eventually gutted before being demolished in the early-1960s. The former stables have been converted into housing and only remants of the gardens and designed landscape survive.