Interesting Buildings

Interesting Buildings

There are a great many interesting buildings in Kilmadock.  Some of these are shown in the main Doune and Deanston Heritage pages.  A selection of the others are shown below, though if you have time to wander around the streets of the Conservartion areas, you are sure to find many more.

 

Conservation Villages

Both Doune and Deanston contain large Conservation Areas.

These are defined by legislation as being “areas of special architectural or historic interest the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance.”

 

In Deanston, the Conservation Area includes:

  • Deanston Cotton Mill (now the distillery) – late 18th century
  • the mill lade and weir – used to this day to power the distillery
  • The Rows (millworkers cottages) and some other cottages – early 19th century
  • Deanston House (built in the early 19th century for the Mill manager, then remodelled for the Mill owner) and its extensive parklands

Many of these are listed buildings.

For further information and pictures of Deanston, see the Deanston page under Heritage.

 

 In Doune, the Conservation Area includes:

  • Doune Castle
  • The area between the castle and the village (where the Roman Fort was discovered) and up to the Bridge of Teith
  • Main Street, Balkerach Street, George Street, King Street and Queen Street, and a few other small areas.

The majority of the buildings in these areas are listed.

(Ref. The Deanston Conservation Area Appraisal – July 2015, HES and the Doune Conservation Area Appraisal – July 2015, HES)

Doune Castle

The best known feature of the Kilmadock area is without doubt the castle, especially since it has featured in so many TV series and films.  However, the sheer scale of the castle and its surprisingly good state of repair (mostly) is much more interesting.

It was originally built in the thirteenth century, then after suffering damage, it was rebuilt in its present form in the late 1300’s by Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany, the son of King Robert II of Scots. The castle has survived relatively unchanged since then.  In the later 1500’s the castle became the property of the Earls of Moray, and it was occupied until some time in the 1700’s.

By 1800 the castle was partly ruined, but restoration work was carried out in the 1880s, replacing timber roofs and floors.  The castle passed into state care in the 20th century. It is now maintained by Historic Environment Scotland (HES) and you can discover more of the history of this wonderful castle on their web-site.

FileScotland-2016-Aerial-Doune Castle (and Castle keeper’s cottage).jpg by Godot13 is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Bridge of Teith

Bridge of Teith

The bridge, nowadays carrying the A84, crosses the River Teith near to the Deanston road end, and from part-way across there is a superb view down river towards the castle.

The bridge was built in 1535 and later widened in 1866, though it is still hardly suitable for the busy modern traffic.  It is a lovely, twin-arched bridge, with a curved parapet at the Doune end where the road turns the corner.

The bridge was built by Robert Spittal, a wealthy man who was tailor to Margaret, Queen of James IV. There is a story that he built it because the ferryman refused to take him across the river when he had forgotten his purse.  However, although the ferrymen were known to sometimes make extortionate demands, this tale seems unlikely, as Robert built other bridges and also a hospital in Stirling.

Mercat Cross

The Mercat Cross currently sits at the centre of the crossroads known as The Cross, in Doune.

The Mercat Cross is a pillar about 10ft (3m) in height, standing on a base of six square steps.  There are two sundials and two shields, one of the Moray Arms, the other the House of Argyll.  There is a Lion of Scotland at the top of the pillar which once fell off and after being repaired by a local stonemason, had lost its ferocious appearance.  Restoration of the Cross was carried out in 2004.

Merkat Cross modern

Memorial Fountain       

This drinking fountain stands at the east end of Main Street at the turn-off to the Castle.  It is constructed of Peterhead stone and was presented to the Burgh in 1903 by Sir James and Lady Thompson of Inverardoch, in memory of their daughter Edith.  The fountain is inscribed “I was thirsty and you gave me drink”.

Sir James was General Manager and later Chairman of the Caledonian Railway.  

Kilmadock East Church

This is often known now as the Old Kilmadock Parish Church (not to be confused with the ruined old parish church at Old Kilmadock!).  It replaced an earlier East Church which was completed around 1746, and was set back further from the road.

The current fine red sandstone building in Doune Main Street, was built between 1820 and 1824 and designed to hold a congregation of up to a thousand. How times have changed.  The congregation was Prebyterian Church of Scotland.

Above the door is the Earl of Moray’s Coat of Arms, whose family have owned the castle and much land around the village since the 16th century.

The square tower originally had four spires on the corners, but after one was damaged by lightening in the 1950’s, and crashed down narrowly missing a bus, they were all removed.  The church is no longer in use, and is sadly in need of maintenance.

Kilmadock East Church

Muir Hall

 

The Muir Hall in George Street, at the junction of George Street and the A84, was built in 1922, gifted to the town by Sir A.K. Muir of Blair Drummond. 

It has served the community in numerous ways over the years, including as Burgh Offices, for registration of births, deaths and marriages, for weddings, as an election venue, for countless festivities and even as a cinema in WWII.

George Street

George Street just off the Cross, was originally called Pudden Wynd because of the number of butchers’ shops selling black and white puddings there.  It later became known as Chapel Street because of its two churches (Episcopal and Wesleyan), and was finally named George Street after the Rev George Mackay who financed the building of the block of houses at the top of the hill (on the right going down).

This row of houses is sometimes mistaken for a MacIntosh design, but the architect was in fact Thomas MacLaren from nearby Thornhill.  Indeed it is thought that MacIntosh may have been inspired by MacLaren’s design in some of his own work.

Moray Park Play Area

Moray Park

While not of course a building, it is worth mentioning Moray Park.  This is just off Doune Main Street, bounded by Moray Street, King Street and the old railway line.  It was gifted to the community by the Earl of Moray in 1888.  It comprises around five acres of grassland, surrounded on three sides by twenty-one mature lime trees, which were planted to celebrate the coming of age (21st birthday) of the Earl’s heir, Lord Doune.  There were great celebrations, including a children’s day attended by a huge number, and the outside of the castle was illuminated with strings of lights (as seen on a postcard of the time).

Over the years the park has been the venue for many festivities and sporting events.  It is now popular with all age groups, hosting a play area, football pitch and tennis courts, with plenty of additional space for dog walking and just running around.

Gartincaber Tower

Gartincaber Tower was situated on a hill to the west of Doune and was built in 1799 by William Murdoch of Gartincaber House. It is generally understood to be a folly and not a functional building as such.  However, theories as to its use include a dovecot or for the people of Gartincaber to enjoy the view of the surrounding countryside.

Tradition dictates that it marked the centre of Scotland, which locals claim is situated near there, though how that that can be sensibly be determined is unclear, given the complex coastline of the country.

The tower was a two storey gothic octagon with a parapet, built with sandstone rubble, and with dressed stones at the corners and window and door surrounds. The lower windows were rectangular, while the upper windows had pointed Gothic arch tops.  An iron spiral staircase wound around the outside of the tower and gave entry to the two storeys.  Each floor had a fireplace and the parapet hid a flat roof, supporing a flag pole.  It is likely the tower would have originally been harled or white-washed.

During its later history, Gartincaber Tower was used as a Second World War lookout post and was painted white.  It was later used as a trig point and again for military purposes during the 1950s and 1960s, when it was used to communicate with other points nearby, by lamp flashing.

Sadly the last parts standing were blown down in a gale in 2012, and hopes for its preservation are now gone.  This, unfortunately, is what happens when such plans are delayed for too long.

(ref.  Canmore)

See also the Estates and Country Houses page for more fascinating buildings in the area.