© All rights reserved. Courtesy of Mr Ian Smart, sent January 2016 © All rights reserved. Courtesy of Mr Ian Smart, sent January 2016 © All rights reserved. Courtesy of Mr Ian Smart, sent January 2016 

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Basic Site Details

Name: Drimsynie
Town, district or village: Lochgoilhead
City or county: Argyll
Country: Scotland
Parish:  
Status: B listed
Grid ref:
Notes: Information from an estate employee who had seen plans, per John Gerrard.

There was an earlier house on the site which dated from at least 1832. The Campbell family sold the estate to Ronald Livingston (or Livingstone) in 1858 and that may be the date of the work by James Smith.

Mr Ian Smart, Lochgoilhead kindly supllied the following research on the house:

After reading the Wee Goil’s interesting article on Flora MacDonald and Drimsynie house it reminded me I was going to write an article about the history of Drimsynie house. I believe some of its history has been lost or forgotten and there is more research needed to complete the picture.

Firstly I would like to go back to 1798 when land in the parish of Lochgoilhead is put up for sale. On 4th July 1798 in the Royal Exchange Coffee House, Edinburgh, the lands of Drumsyniebeg, Drumsynemore, Glaslet, Tayneleold, and Correu were put up for sale. I’ve left the spelling of the names as it was in the 1798 advertisement. In the sale description it tells us that - “The lands are pleasantly situated upon the side of Lochgoil, which abounds with sea fish and by which there are easy communications with the Clyde. There is at least one delightful situation for a gentleman’s residence, to the forming of which the natural woods will contribute not a little.”

The land was bought by Archibald Campbell who set about building a mansion house. Putting a completion date on the building of this mansion house has been difficult but there are a few clues around to help. In a map of 1801 by George Langlands there is no mansion house. The map shows there are two small buildings close together on Drumsynemore and one on Glaslet. The map is included in Loch Goil (looking back) history book. The next clue is in a map of 1824 which shows a large house has been built. Another clue is in an engraving of 1826 where in the background you can see a building where Drimsynie house should be located. The engraving is also included in the Loch Goil (looking back) history book. So we can say that Archibald Campbell built a mansion house which was completed between 1801 and 1824. A clue to the location of the mansion house is held in Archibald Campbell’s will in 1833 which tells us – “part of the estate formerly called Drimsyniemore which immediately adjoins the house”. This fits perfectly with Drimsynie House’s current location. We also have a description of the interior of the mansion house thanks to a letting advert in 1849. The advert tells us –“The house contains dining room, drawing room, library or business room, nine bedrooms, three of them with dressing rooms, two of which are of a size to be used as bedrooms, if required, besides servant’s accommodation. The offices and stabling are extensive.

The tenant will be supplied from the garden with what fruit and vegetables he requires, and he may also have sufficient pasture for four or five cows. The shooting on the estate will be let along with the house. A more desirable residence than Drimsynie is seldom to be met with the beauty of the situation being well known and much admired.”

In 1858 Ronald Livingston bought the estate. The mansion house would only be around 34 to 57 years old. Two architects have been associated with the mansion house. The first is James Smith (1808-1863). Unfortunately I have been unable to find any information regarding his involvement and further research is needed. I believe he was involved in alterations and additions to the original mansion house around 1862. The second architect is Alexander Buchanan Campbell (1914-2007) with his work in the 1960’s described as alterations to house or estate buildings. We have a description of the interior once again thanks to a letting advert in 1907. The advert tells us – “The house contains three reception rooms, billiard room, ten bedrooms, bathrooms, &c., and other ample accommodation; the house is surrounded by about 27 acres of ornamental lawn, shrubbery, flower beds, tennis lawn, &c., and there is a walled garden of about two acres, with greenhouse, vineries, &c.,; the shootings extend over more than 5000 acres, and include both high and low country game.”

I believe the current Drimsynie house is Archibald Campbell’s original mansion house which was altered and extended by Ronald Livingston around 1862 and also with some later work in the 1960’s. Another clue may lie in the design of the building. In a description it tells us – “Drimsynie House is an example of a mid-19th century small mansion, and a good, although late, example of the cubic composition and castellated style which was particularly popular in the earlier 19th century.” Archibald Campbell’s original mansion house may have been in this style due to it being popular at the time of construction in the early 1800’s. I can’t see someone knocking down a relatively new mansion house and building a completely new one especially since one of the gains was one additional bedroom. The sensible approach would be to alter and extend the original building (already in the cubic composition and castellated style) and I believe that this is what was done. Hopefully future research can complete the history of this important Lochgoilhead building.

Iain Smart, Lochgoilhead

Building Type Classification

The building is classified under the following categories:
 ClassificationOriginal classification?Notes
Item 1 of 1Country House  

Events

The following date-based events are associated with this building:
 FromToEvent typeNotes
Item 1 of 318591860Alterations and additions(?)Dates in 'Buildings of Scotland'
Item 2 of 3Early 1800s Build/constructionOriginal building
Item 3 of 31960s Alterations and additionsAlterations to house or estate buildings

People

Design and Construction

The following individuals or organisations have carried out design/construction work. Where architects or practices worked together, matching letters appear beside their names in the Partnership Group column.
 NameRolePartnership GroupFromToNotes
Item 1 of 2James SmithArchitectAc. 1859(?)c. 1860Alterations.

In 1859 John Smith was involved in the feuing of ground on the estate for sites for marine villas. This reinforces his connection with the estate at this date. (Scotsman 28 February 1859)
Item 2 of 2Alexander Buchanan CampbellArchitectB1960s Alterations to house or estate buildings

Clients

The following individuals or organisations have commissioned work on this building/design:
 NameNotes
Item 1 of 1Livingstone, Ronald, merchantFrom Liverpool. Client for 1850s work

References

Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this building:
 Author(s)DateTitlePartPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 1Walker, F A2000Argyll and Bute (The Buildings of Scotland)  p387

Periodical References

The following periodicals contain references to this building:
 Periodical NameDateEditionPublisherNotes
Item 1 of 1Scotsman28 February 1859  p1

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this building:
 SourceArchive nameSource catalogue no.Notes
Item 1 of 3Historic Environment ScotlandListed Buildings Register11814 
Item 2 of 3Information from Iain Smart, local historianInformation per website Sent April 2008 and December 2016.
Item 3 of 3NMRSA Buchanan Campbell Collection Alterations to house or estate buildings in handlist of drawings

Images

© All rights reserved. Courtesy of Mr Ian Smart, sent January 2016 

© All rights reserved. Courtesy of Mr Ian Smart, sent January 2016

© All rights reserved. Courtesy of Mr Ian Smart, sent January 2016 

© All rights reserved. Courtesy of Mr Ian Smart, sent January 2016

© All rights reserved. Courtesy of Mr Ian Smart, sent January 2016 

© All rights reserved. Courtesy of Mr Ian Smart, sent January 2016