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Banffshire
Chapter 19. Architecture—(c) Domestic


Some fine specimens of architecture are to be found in the mansion houses of Banffshire, and their richly wooded parks provide scenes of physical beauty not always associated with the north of Scotland.

Duff House is one of the most stately edifices in the lower part of the county. It is situated in beautifully wooded grounds of 165 acres, in which are some lordly specimens of copper beech, ash, elm, and other trees. Its erection was begun in 1730 by William Duff, Lord Braco and first Earl Fife. It was built after a design by William Adam, father of the celebrated architects of that name, at a cost of about L o,000, and is regarded as one of the happiest creations of the elder Adam. The style is purely Roman. The building has much exquisite carved work, which when the spectator is near enough is seen to be in a high degree rich, graceful, and majestic. In 1906 the late Duke of Fife and the Princess Royal made the magnificent gift of Duff House and 140 acres of the grounds to the burghs of Banff and Macduff. Since 1913 it has been held on lease by a company as a private hospital for the treatment of disorders of nutrition.

In the richly wooded policies retained in the possession of the Fife family, stands the Gothic mausoleum, now closed. It was erected by the second Earl in 1790. In the chapel are old monuments with effigies, and memorial slabs with inscriptions to members of the Fife family. Outside the building is an arch over an altar with recumbent figure of a knight in armour, and on a stone beneath the arch is inscribed "This Mausoleum is erected on the place where stood a chapel dedicated to the Blessed Virgin by King Robert Bruce, MCCCXXIV. The adjacent grounds were also devoted by his Royal Charter for the building and support of a monastery of the holy brethren of Mount Carmel."

Cullen House, the principal residence of the Seafield family, founded in 1600, stands on a high rock, around the base of which circles the Burn of Cullen. Its natural situation is striking and picturesque, and no effort has been spared in enhancing the natural beauty around. It is a castellated building of the Scottish Baronial type. The exterior has rich decorations of carving and mottoes, while some of the windows are magnificently adorned.

A beautiful feature of the upper valley of the Isla is the Castle of Drummuir erected in the late forties of last century by Admiral Archibald Duff. It is an elegant and imposing edifice set in lovely surroundings. The style is Tudor-Gothic; and its large proportions and compact form, and its castellated and embrasured roof, with the "banner tower" rising high above, give it the look of massive strength.

Above the centre of the porch looking to the east and west, there are two armorial shields, with the motto "Kind heart be true, and you shall never rue."

Forglen House is one of the most charmingly situated mansions on the lower Deveron. It was founded in 1839 and took the place of a structure erected in 1444. It is a large castellated edifice, in the Elizabethan style. Over the entrance are placed the arms of Scotland. Below these, are the arms of the owner at the time that part of the house was originally erected, the year 1577. Above the Royal Arms there is written:

Hoip of Revaird cayses gvid Service.

Under the arms of the family is the inscription

Do veil and dovpt nocht
Althoch thov be spyit;
He is lytil gvid vorth
That is nocht envyit;
Tak thov no tent
Qvht everie man tels;
Gyve thov vald leive ondemit
Gang qvhair na man dvels.
Below this is the line
God gyves and has nocht ye les.

The House of Kininvie is a fine old structure by the banks of the Fiddich, between Dufftown and Craigellachie. Not far from Kininvie is the House of Buchromb, which was in his later years the home of that fine old Indian soldier Sir Peter Stark Lumsden, of Peijdeh fame.

Arndilly House nestles among beautifully wooded lawns, on the east side of the Spey, on the slope of Ben Aigan, which forms an imposing background. Adorned with Grecian colonnade in front and other touches of architectural taste, it is one of the prettiest and pleasantest sylvan retreats on the Spey.

Aberlour House is situated in charming woodlands near the Spey. It is of the Grecian-Doric style of architecture. It is of two storeys, and square in form, its massiveness being relieved by two well-proportioned wings. The most imposing feature is a magnificent porte-cochere that graces the centre of the building and protects the grand entrance to the mansion, supported on four elegant and massive fluted columns. There are extensive grounds all around. It is now the northern home of Sir John R. Findlay, proprietor of the Scotsman.

Ballindalloch Castle stands on the bank of the Aven, on a beautiful haugh, among wide-spreading trees. It is considered one of the most perfect specimens extant of the old Scottish Castle. It bears the date 1546. The motto of the Ballindalloch family appears over the gateway at the romantic Bridge of Aven, "Touch not the cat bot a glove." The Castle grounds suffered severely from the deluge of 1829, when the mansion house itself was flooded on the ground floor to the depth of several feet. Ballindalloch Castle is the stately home of Sir George Macpherson Grant, Bart.

Rothiemay House, on the left bank of the Deveron, is surrounded by a beautiful park with many magnificent trees. The walls of the older part, eight feet thick, have been little altered from their original form, and constitute one of the most interesting series of ancient apartments in the north of Scotland.

The mansion house of Park in the parish of Ordiquhill is an elegant and handsome building, to which considerable additions were made in 1829. It is the property of the Duffs of Drummuir, who represent also the Gordons of Park.

The mansion house of Glassaugh in the parish of Fordyce occupies a finely wooded site about a mile from the sea. It is a substantial and handsome square building of three storeys of Grecian type, with a fine porch at the entrance supported by pillars.


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