Cambusnethan House

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Fleming Printing, Edinburgh, 1825

Cambusnethan House, or Cambusnethan Priory, in North Lanarkshire, Scotland, was designed by James Gillespie Graham and completed in 1820. It is generally regarded as being the best remaining example of a Graham-built country house in the quasi-ecclesiastical style of the Gothic revival. It was used as a hotel and restaurant and "mediaeval banqueting hall", the last use being tenuously linked with William Finnemund, the 12th century, Laird of Cambusnethan.

There was originally a Norman tower house near the site of the present building, and this was replaced by a manor house during the 17th century. The manor house burned down in 1810, and the present house was commissioned and built in 1820.

Recent photo

The Priory was built for the Lockhart family of Castlehill and their family crest was carved above the main entrance and etched in every balustrade of the main staircase inside. The crest represents a casket, heart and lock and derives from the tradition that the ancestors of this family carried Robert the Bruce's heart back from the holy land. The site was also the birthplace of John Gibson Lockhart, Sir Walter Scott's biographer and later son in law.

There are few remaining examples of early 19th-century Neo-Gothic mansions remaining in Scotland as many were demolished in the late 1950s and 1960s. Cambusnethan House is a notable building in its own right as a good example of the neo-Gothic style, and also because so few buildings of this type still remain.[1]

Nineteenth-century view.

The house is two and three storeys high with turrets at each corner, a three-storey bow in the west elevation and a massive square porch. Characteristically, the house was very ornately decorated with a variety of architectural details; castellated roof lines, scrolled pinnacles, narrow pointed windows and drip moulds, and various cornices, besides carved motifs and decorated chimneys. Some of the ornate pinnacles have been removed in the interest of safety, and there had been at a recent extension to the lower ground floor across a sunken passage across the house with a roof flush with ground level.

At risk[edit]

Use of the building ended in 1984, and the building has fallen prey to vandalism and fire. It is now considered to be in deplorable condition. The building is listed as At Risk by the Scottish Civic Trust.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, Site Record, 1990
  2. ^ Buildings at Risk Register

Coordinates: 55°45′21″N 03°56′44″W / 55.75583°N 3.94556°W / 55.75583; -3.94556