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Auchinleck House

Country House (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Auchinleck House

Classification Country House (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Auchinleck House Estate; Auchinleck House Polices

Canmore ID 43613

Site Number NS52SW 16

NGR NS 50726 23016

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2019.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council East Ayrshire
  • Parish Auchinleck
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District Cumnock And Doon Valley
  • Former County Ayrshire

Archaeology Notes

NS52SW 16.00 50726 23016

NS52SW 16.01 Centred NS 5062 2295 Home Farm

NS52SW 16.02 NS 50641 22868 Stables

NS52SW 16.03 NS 5060 2287 Dovecot (water tower)

NS52SW 16.04 NS 50892 23183 Boswell's Summerhouse

NS52SW 16.05 NS 51094 22946 Barnsdale

NS52SW 16.06 NS 50656 22902 Coachhouse

NS52SW 16.07 NS 50075 23036 Garden Cottage

NS52SW 16.08 NS 50905 22735 Gates

NS52SW 16.09 NS 50537 23059 The Lawn, Ha-ha

NS52SW 16.10 NS 50828 23258 Ice or Deer Cave (ice house)

NS52SW 16.11 NS 50809 23325 Sandstone Bridge

NS52SW 16.12 NS 50916 23133 Iron Bridge

NS52SW 16.13 NS 50346 23280 High Bridge

NS52SW 16.14 NS 50736 23451 Ten Shilling Side Bridge

NS52SW 16.15 NS 51315 22113 South Lodge

For Old House or Place of Auchinleck (NS 5003 2313), see NS52SW 4.

See also:

NS52SW 33 NS 5085 2304 Earthwork

NS52SW 45 NS 5063 2285 Farmstead

NS42SW 73 NS 49850 23319 Wallace's Cave (grotto)

(NS 5072 2301) Auchinleck House: This mansion is attributed to Robert Adam; it was probably built about 1760. Of ashlar, the central block is two storeys high, supporting pavilions topped by ornamental towers, detached from the house itself but connected by curved screen walls.

SDD List 1963

As described. The house has been empty for about 20 years and is in a neglected condition. The owner (Mr J A D Boswell, Auchinleck Estate) states that there is no evidence as to its being designed by Adam, but there are long term plans to fully restore the building.

Visited by OS (JRL) 14 October 1981

NS 507 230 Work in 1999 included structural assessment of the four flanking pavilions; assessment of over 600 fragments of interior woodwork and reconstruction of the scheme of internal panelling, etc., including much of Boswell's library; and a programme of investigation of the evidence for the painted interior schemes.

Sponsor: Landmark Trust.

T Addyman 2000.

Architecture Notes

NS52SW 16.00 50726 23016


Building account at Yale University - typescript


Building accounts at Yale University - paid 13 Oct 1758 and 29 August 1759

Boswell occupied the new house by 17 Aug 1762.

Window glass 20 April, wrights and sawyers 1 Nov 1760.

Window tax (31 windows) 9 July 1760 for the year May 1759 - May 1760.

Sources: The Yale Editions of the Private papers of James Boswell, 331A Yale University Library, New Haven, Connecticut. Quote from letter (7/4/1976) from the Editor to Mr Gordon P Hoyle.

A The Biographer definitely did not add the gazebos to Auchinleck House. It is clear I should say from the corresspondence between Boswell and Temple, that they had not been completed by the summer of 1767, though the main house had been then habitable for some time. Temple visited Auchinleck House in early July, 1767, by himself, Lord Auchinleck and Boswell both being kept in Edinburgh by the Session. In some "Instructions" which Boswell wrote for Temple, he asked Temple to "look at the front" and to "advise as to pavilions". On 19 October 1767 Temple wrote to Boswell, "Persuade my Lord to cut down the row of trees that spoils the meadow, and not to make the wings to the house little bandboxes, but in proportion to the body of the building; otherwise, tell his Lordship from me that the whole will look like a giant with the arms of a dwarf." I feel sure that Lord Auchinleck completed the gazebos soon after that. Whether he modified his design because of Temple's comments I do not know. If they had been built while Boswell was laird (September 1782- June 1795), there would surely be some references to them in Boswell's journal or letters (especially to James Bruce or Andrew Gibb) or in such estate papers as we have. Furthermore I don't think that Boswell was in funds for building at any time during his lairdship.

(Undated) information in NMRS.

Five bay Classical mansion block with pediment over central three bays, four pavilions of different stone with towers linked by screen walls. Dated c. 1760 by an unknown builder for Lord Auchinleck, father of James Boswell, biographer of Dr Johnson.

Restored in the late C20 and now let through the Landmark Trust.

Photographed on behalf of the Buildings of Scotland publications.

RCAHMS 2009.


Photographic Survey (1956)

Photographic survey by the Scottish National Buildings Record in 1956.


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