INTRODUCTION · THE HOUSE · THE ARCHITECT · ABOUT THIS SITE
1. Craigends House · 2. Home Farm · 3. Craigends Farm and Stables · 4. East Lodge and Gate · 5. Old Gateway · 6. Gryfe Bridge · 7. Walled Garden · 8. Craigends Yew · 9. Icehouse · T - Tennis Courts · Q - Quarry · G - Gardener's Cottage
Craigends House and grounds seen from across the Gryfe in 1974
The house was situated in a large clearing surrounded by mature mixed forest. The entrance front looked out to the north over terraces down to the River Gryfe. Beyond the fields of the estate, the Campsie Fells on the other side of the Clyde could be seen on a clear day. The rear of the house looked south over the sheltered gardens.
Probably built in the eighteenth century, Home Farm was built around a courtyard with a large tower, and provided accommodation for labourers and a gamekeeper as well as the farmer. Home Farm was one of two farms on the immediate estate, the other being...
Eighteenth century in origin, including a courtyard where horses were stabled, and where coaches would be kept when not in use.
The eastern gate had a stone arch with a large, ornately carved keystone until the 1980s, when construction vehicles couldn't fit underneath and it was dismantled. The gatehouse provided accommodation at different times for a gamekeeper and a blacksmith. There was also a west gate with its own house, but it is unclear exactly where this was.
The only trace of a driveway long overgrown, this substantial Gothic gateway was surrounded by foliage by the 1980s. More recently, it was dismantled and re-erected near the site of the house.
The Gryfe Bridge in 1974
The Gryfe seperates the Craigends estate from Houston, the nearest village. A wooden bridge was built at the narrowest point in the eighteenth century. In the nineteenth century this was replaced by a more substantial stone structure which still stands today. The original parapet proved easy to vandalise and was replaced by a new stone one in 1975, but this met the same fate and was soon replaced with an ugly metal parapet that has thus far defeated the vandals.
At this point in its course the Gryfe has worn a gorge into the bedrock which soon turns to the much wider shallows immediately in front of where the house stood. In wet weather, the Gryfe in spate is very impressive, its torrent pouring through the gorge and flooding the low-lying land beyond.
Downstream from the bridge in early 1979
The Walled Garden was created in 1777. Walled gardens were the only way of providing fresh and exotic fruit, vegetables and flowers for houses before twentieth century transport. The garden provided a sheltered environment for vegetables and an orchard, and hothouses gave extra protection and heat to foreign flora. There was even an attempt to cultivate tobacco on the estate, but this proved short-lived.
The kiss of the sun for pardon, the song of the birds for mirth.
One is nearer God's heart in a garden, than anywhere else on earth.
A veres from Dorothy Gurney's poem "The Lord God built a garden", painted on the brick arch over the north entrance to the Walled Garden. When this was done is impossible to tell. The walled garden is now covered by housing.
Inside the Craigends Yew in 1979
This long, low, bushy tree does not immediately catch the eye, but it is one of the largest yew trees in Great Britain. Probably over six hundred years old, it now has many trunks, and is one of the few features of the Craigends estate still extant today. Yews live for many millenia by growing further outwards as the original trunk decays, and Craigends is a good example where this process has been unchecked.
Icehouses were underground storage for ice, which would be stocked up each winter and then used to keep primitive refrigerators cool in the house each summer. There are references to one on the estate near the river path, and it is possible that evidence of it still exists.
The tennis courts were built at the south end of the garden, probably somewhat later than the house.
Trees near the site of the house
Several sources state that the house and many outbuildings were built of stone quarried on the estate. Some evidence of quarrying is visible near the walled garden, but further confusion arises from the fact that local stone (such as that visible in the Gryfe gorge) is volcanic in origin, whereas the house was built of sandstone, a sedimentary rock. Further research may clarify matters.
The gardener's cottage was built on the track between the house and the west gate. It provided accommodation for the head gardener and his family. Other garden workers were housed in the bothy, a small two-roomed cottage that may be the unlabelled northernmost building on the map.
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