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Listed Building

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site only. All other information in the record is not statutory.


Status: Designated


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  • Category: A
  • Group Category Details: A - (see NOTES)
  • Date Added: 23/02/1971


  • Local Authority: Scottish Borders
  • Planning Authority: Scottish Borders
  • Parish: Traquair

National Grid Reference

  • NGRNT 29802 33044
  • Coordinates329802, 633044


David Bryce, 1854-1855 with additional tower (Bryce 1874); partial interior and garden terrace by RS Lorimer, 1905 (following fire). Substantial 2-3 storey with attic and basement Scottish Baronial mansion following Bryce plan type A (see NOTES) with Maybole entrance tower and partially concealed Winton tower to centre of house, later 6-storey Aberdeenshire style tower house added to S. 1?-storey, multi-bayed, rectangular-plan Scots Baronial service wing adjoining to NE. Coursed cream sandstone ashlar (from Deepskyehead Quarry), stone mullioned windows with chamfered arrises, later windows with moulded arrises; string courses and moulded eaves course. Crow-stepped gables with moulded kneeler putts, tourelles and ornate pedimented dormers with decorative finials.

NW (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: irregularly massed but briefly: projecting entrance tower with Renaissance doorway (based on Cullen House, Moray), moulding incorporating heraldic plaque inscribed BLISSET BE GOD FOR ALL HIS GIFTIS and THEY AR WELCOME HERE QVHA THE LORD DO FEIR and aedicular-framed window to 1st floor, small window below corbelled Maybole oriel and gablehead with lion at apex; to left, recessed irregularly fenestrated section of tower terminating in pepperpot angle turret and pedimented dormer. To right of tower, irregularly fenestrated block with tall diagonally placed tripartite windows lighting hall and stairs with 4 pedimented dormers breaking corbelled parapet. Advanced to far right, the family quarter's block with crowstepped gable, pedimented dormers and pepperpot angle turret, incorporating 'David Bryce, Architect AD 1855' panel with Corinthian column detail; single bay gable corbelling out from round and full-height pepperpot tower in re-entrant angle. Garden terrace (listed separately) adjoining family quarters.

NE (SERVICE WING) ELEVATION: to left, return of main house with corbelled angle turret adjacent to 2-storey projecting squared bay containing large tripartite window (lighting dining room) and terminating in ball finialled parapet, wide attic dormer aligned with stack to left; narrow window to basement right with aligned pedimented dormer breaking eaves. To right, gabled end of entrance tower with service wing link to ground floor (see below), paired windows to 1st floor with smaller windows aligned at 2nd floor; above, pair of pepperpot angle turrets flank corbelled sham balustraded walkway, out of which rises large wallhead stack. Rising behind is taller Winton tower with corbelled balustraded parapet and corner tower rising to E with decorative weathervane finial surmounting.

SERVICE WING: 1?-storey, multi bayed, U-plan Baronial service wing on sloped site, formerly incorporating offices, game larder, kitchen, scullery, etc (currently undergoing renovation, Simpson and Brown, 2002) linked to house (and partially concealed) by balustraded walls. SE elevation with central entrance door and bipartite pedimented dormer aligned to ?-storey, slit windows to right, single misaligned bay to left crowstepped gable with attached servant bell tower, conical tower adjoins wall (with single window) to left and links to house; to right of door, advanced gabled end with bipartite to lower ground floor and tripartite to 1st floor. U-plan courtyard to NE elevation with regular 3-bay gabletted return of wing to left, wall with courtyard entrance to centre and projecting 2?-storey crowstepped gable end with tourelle to right. NW elevation broken by bridge and courtyard entrance to centre; projecting single storey, single bay, gable ended block within courtyard with corbelled battlemented tourelles with trefoil gun-loop detail, entrance door with window to left and stepped hoodmould surmounting. Adjoining to right, single storey link to house with balustraded parapet broken by central bipartite window (arched pediment contains carved David Bryce, Architect panel with Corinthian column).

SE (GARDEN) ELEVATION: near symmetrical original house to right with central tripartite window to ground floor (with heraldic family panel inset into stepped string course above central light) with 3 regularly placed pedimented dormers above breaking eaves; to flanks, higher gabled ends with projecting canted bays to centre corbelling out into squared gableheads, angle turrets to outer flanks. To left, 1874 tower with oversized canted bay to ground floor, 3 regularly placed bays to 1st floor, central heraldic panel inset to above ? storey with narrow bays to outer flanks; corbelled out attic storey with 3 pedimented dormers breaking sham parapet and terminating in squared angle turrets. Later garden terrace partially concealing regular basement fenestration and leading to ground floor: lower terrace with balustraded retaining wall and central flight of semi-circular steps flanked by urn-finialled piers; upper terrace leading to 9-bay segmental-arched balustraded Renaissance arcade (centre aligned with left gable of original house and projecting), upper walk accessed by quarter turn balustraded ashlar staircases with ? landings (sited to outer flanks).

SW ELEVATION: to left, irregularly massed and fenestrated family wing comprising 2-bay crowstepped gable with central canted bay window to ground floor and angle turret to upper floor, projecting single bay gable to right corbelling out from the round and adjacent single bay to right, original wing terminates in full height canted bay with pedimented dormers (decorated with emblems from the family coat of arms) of upper level breaking eaves and terminating in semi-conical/platformed roof. Adjoining to right, 1874 tower with central bipartite window to basement inset into corbelling of projecting 5-light canted bay window to ground floor; to 1st and 2nd floors, 2 regularly placed windows (of varying size); above, corbelled out sham parapet walk terminating in squared angle turrets, pair of windows partially obscured by parapet with single window to crowstepped gablehead; fairly plain left return to tower: plain moulded panel in gablehead with squared angle turrets flanking.

2, 4, 6, 8 and 12-pane glazing in timber sash and case windows; 21 and 24-pane glazing in timber sash and case windows to very tall tripartite hall and stair windows; 3-pane glazing to basement windows (single pane upper sashes) ? originally all windows were plate glass but changed by 2nd Lord Glenconner, circa 1920 (who did not approve of Baronial style). Pitched slated roof with stone ridging and lead flashing and valleys; ogee slated roof to corner turret of Winton tower, fish-scale slated conical roofs to tourelles and pyramidal slate roofs (with slightly swept eaves) to turrets; some timber and glazing atrium style roof lights to centre of roof. Painted cast-iron rainwater goods. Very high ashlar roofline, wall and gablehead stacks with (ranging from) 1 to 5 plain cans.

INTERIOR: Bryce's symmetrical suite of rooms along garden terrace but fire damaged original interior in 1905 hence: Lorimer entrance vestibule with metal hand-railed stairs leading into arcaded Bryce hall/billiard room with Lorimer vine patterned cornicing (borrowed from Kellie Castle, Fife) hiding steel beam casings. Gothic timber work by Lorimer as well as ornate ceilings and cornices hand-moulded by Thomas Beattie (dining room ceiling's central panel with seashells and cornucopias surrounding a central roundel, fruit and flower border to all). Lorimer oak library (including Renaissance chimneypiece) with, animal bracketed shelving, timber work executed by Scott Morton & Co. 1854 and 1874, linked drawing rooms redecorated classically by Lengons, 1925; chimney piece with Ionic jambs and fret frieze also from this date. Syrie Maugham (1930s) removed partition from stairs/hall, designed large sitting room (from already altered rooms) incorporating 1919 chimneypiece from Walnut Room, redecorated several bedrooms and lowered some ceilings. Oak newel Pelican stair leads to bedrooms: Green Room with coved ceiling and vine decoration, green based on that used to decorate Wemyss ware pottery; Zodiac Room with rose ribbed ceiling and carved zodiac signs to walls; Hunting Room (in Maybole tower, formerly the smoking room) decorated in red and blue Italian style with game birds (by Purdie and Thomas Bonnar, Jun. 1893).

Statement of Special Interest

Part of an A-Group with all other Glen estate buildings. The Glen estate can be traced as far back as 1296 when Sarra of the Glen swore allegiance to King Edward I of England. The estate remained in the family's hand until around 1512, when the grounds became fragmented and parts were sold to neighbouring landowners and families. By the 1700's, there were 2 main parts of the estate, Easter and Wester Glen. Easter Glen was sold to Alexander Allan (an Edinburgh banker) in 1796 for #10,500. At this point, the house was a fairly small plain farmhouse. His son, William Allan (Lord Provost of Edinburgh) was responsible for enlarging and extending the house, the architect being his friend William Playfair (see The Temple, listed separately); even after improvement it was still not regarded as being fit for a landowner's principal residence. The 3,500-acre estate was bought in 1852/3 by Sir Charles Tennant, owner of the chemical works of St. Rollox, Glasgow, for #33,140. The house was by then outdated and not suited to modern family life; he commissioned David Bryce to design a baronial style house, to which a tower (also by Bryce) was added in 1874. The Bryce house is believed to stand on the site of the earlier house, as records show the Tennants stayed in Prestonfield House, (Priestfield Road, Edinburgh) during the construction of Glen House. Bryce's house plans usually fall into one of three categories, plan types A, B or C. This conforms to plan type A (which he based on the designs of William Burn); it has 3 principal rooms arranged en-suite along a garden frontage. His towers also are specific stylistic devices; named after earlier buildings they were based on. Here he utilises a 'Maybole' entrance tower ? gabled with an oriel window and a 'Winton' tower ? square and balustraded. These can be seen on other buildings by him, but were most noticeable on the now demolished Craigends House, Houston (Renfrewshire) which was essentially a larger version of the Glen. William Burn and David Bryce commissioned Billings to produce his 'Baronial and Ecclesiastical Architecture of Scotland', from which the details from Maybole and Winton come. Charles Tennant was a well-known patron of horticulture and the fine arts as well as a successful industrialist. He improved the estate landscape (1860-1890) and was responsible for the building of a school, farm, worker's and estate cottages, walled kitchen garden and kennels making the Glen virtually self-sufficient. He was Liberal MP for Glasgow from 1879-80 and for Peebles from 1880-85. His children were well known society figures, and his 6th daughter Margaret married Herbert Asquith, Prime Minister from 1908-1916. Robert Lorimer carried out internal remodelling after a fire in 1905, which occurred whilst Edward Tennant and his family were in residence (the Factor described the damage as terrible, although the objets d'art were saved ? the fabric of the building had suffered). Lorimer also added the garden terraces and redesigned part of the walled garden. Later, during the tenure of 2nd Lord Glenconner, Syrie Maugham (wife of the writer Somerset Maugham, a family friend) undertook more modern interior decoration in house as it was known the 2nd Lord disliked the Baronial style with a passion. The Glen was also a favourite with Princess Margaret who was a family friend. Listed as an outstanding example of a Bryce house and for its importance as the centrepiece of an intact later 19th century estate (other estate buildings are listed separately).



J Blaeu, TVEDIA (1654, Tweeddale from ATLAS NOVUS) showing earlier house on the estate. J Ainslie, THE ENVIRONS OF EDINBURGH, HADDINGTON, DUNS, KELSO, JEDBURGH, HAWICK, SELKIRK, PEEBLES, LANGHOLM AND ANNAN (1821 ? Edinburgh) showing plain farmhouse. RSA CATALOGUE (1855) 573-Glen, Peeblesshire ? The seat of Charles Tennant Esq, Entrance front; (1856) 610-Glen from North, 699-Glen from South; (1860) 601-Billiard Room, Glen; (1863) 361-Glen; (1875) 937-Glen with recent additions. 1st Edition ORDNANCE SURVEY MAP (circa 1857) showing Bryce house and associated estate buildings. William Chambers, HISTORY OF PEEBLESHIRE (1864). J Buchan, HISTORY OF PEEBLESSHIRE (1925) pp537-541. Nancy Crathorne, TENNANT'S STALK (1972) for the history of the Tennant family. Valerie Fiddes, (Ed), DAVID BRYCE (1803-1876) for further information on Bryce works. Charles Strang, BORDERS AND BERWICK (1994) p227. Additional information courtesy of The Buildings of Scotland, Kitty Cruft. For further information see

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