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Glasgow, Auchinlea Road, Provan Hall

Lairds House (16th Century)

Site Name Glasgow, Auchinlea Road, Provan Hall

Classification Lairds House (16th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Provanhall Road; North Building

Canmore ID 44985

Site Number NS66NE 1

NGR NS 66754 66344

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Glasgow, City Of
  • Parish Glasgow (City Of Glasgow)
  • Former Region Strathclyde
  • Former District City Of Glasgow
  • Former County Lanarkshire

Recording Your Heritage Online

] Provan Hall, Auchinlea Road, late medieval

North block pre-Reformation, linked by screen walls to 18th-century south block, enclosing inner court. Rubble walls, harled at south block. North block late 15th-, possibly 16th-century, Renaissance details, crowstep gables, pedimented gables to dormers. North-east angle, conical-roofed drum turnpike stairturret, shot holes. Forestair at east end of courtyard. Symmetrical south front to south range, steps to exposed stone architraved, pedimented central entrance. Hip-roofed dormers, sash windows. 18th-century timber internal stair, fine interior. Wide Renaissance moulded arched gateway in centre of courtyard wall, 1647 pediment, Hamilton family crest and initials. Refurbishment 2005, Glasgow City Council. National Trust for Scotland, managed by Glasgow City Council, open to the public

Taken from "Greater Glasgow: An Illustrated Architectural Guide", by Sam Small, 2008. Published by the Rutland Press

Archaeology Notes

NS66NE 1 66755 66324

(NS 6675 6633) Provan Hall (NR)

OS 6" map, (1967)

Though the National Trust (1959) and a plaque on the wall (OS [JLD] 10 February 1954) allege that Provan Hall was built in the 15th century, Tranter states that the house appears to date from the late 16th century, and is probably a post-Reformation building erected by Sir William Baillie who obtained these former church lands at that time. The original house forms the north side of a courtyard, the south side of which is occupied by a later dwelling house. High curtain walls form the E and W sides, and in the former is a gateway, protected by a circular shot-hole.

The original house itself is oblong on plan, with a circular stair-tower projecting at the NE angle. The walls are of good rubble, two storeys high, with a garret within the steeply-pitched roof. There are three doors at ground level, all on the courtyard side. An outside forestair has been erected against the E wall of the courtyard to replace the turnpike stair that rose in the circular tower, and a doorway has been formed at the E end of the first floor. Another doorway, now built up, has been opened at some time in the W gable at first floor level. A shot-hole and keyhole type arrow-slit window guard the circular tower at basement level and there are two more shot-holes above. Having been long in a poor state of repair, Provan Hall was purchased in 1935 by a body of private individuals, and after restoration, handed over to the National Trust.

The pediment over the courtyard gateway bears the date '1647', and the initials of Sir Robert Hamilton, the owner of the lands at that time.

Visited by OS (J L D) 10 February 1954.

National Trust 1959; N Tranter 1962-70.

NS 667 663 As part of ongoing research into the history of Provan Hall (NMRS NS66NE 1) a photographic survey of the external and internal elevations of both Provan Hall and the adjacent Blochairn House was completed. An REDM survey of the external elevations was also undertaken. Drawings were made of the kitchen fireplace in the ground floor and of the floor in the first-floor hall. The latter clearly shows wear which reveals the former presence of internal timber partitions.

Sponsor: National Trust of Scotland.

D Alexander 2001

NS 667 663 An evaluation was undertaken as part of a feasibility study for a visitor centre at Provan Hall. Two trenches and three test pits were excavated E and NE of the Hall grounds. These demonstrated that the majority of the proposed site had been built up relatively recently with made ground at least 1.8-2m deep.

A single trench was excavated within the grounds of Provan Hall. This showed that a mound visible as a surface feature was the product of a rise in the natural topography, exaggerated by recent dumping of concrete, brick and stone. No significant archaeological features or finds were found in any of the trenches.

Archive to be deposited in NMRS.

Sponsor: Greater Easterhouse Environmental Trust.

R Heawood 2005


Photographic Survey (1936)

Photographs of Provan Hall, Glasgow, by the Ministry of Works pre 1936.

Photographic Survey (1940)

Photographic survey of Provan Hall, Glasgow, likely by the Ministry of Works in 1940.

Publication Account (1985)

Now overlooked by a modern housing estate, Provan Hall is an example of a late medieval rural manor house which was probably intended to serve as a hunting lodge. By the beginning of this century it was semi-derelict, but in 1935 it was bought by a group of private individuals who restored the fabric and subsequently gave it to the National Trust for Scotland.

Although an earlier building may have stood on the site, the present house was probably erected in the later 16th century for Sir William Baillie, who acquired the land from Glasgow Cathedral following the Reformation. Originally, it comprised a house set on the north side of a walled courtyard which was entered through an arched gateway on the east. The house was rectangular on plan, with a circular stair tower projecting from the north-east angle; at a later date, an external stair rising from the courtyard was added to give direct access to the principal rooms on the first floor. An unusual feature of the gateway is the flight of steps leading from the courtyard to a look-out platform above the arch. In the 18th century the south side of the courtyard was filled in by a second house which, instead of fronting on to the courtyard, had its principal facade on the south, overlooking the valley of the Clyde.

Information from ‘Exploring Scotland’s Heritage: The Clyde Estuary and Central Region’, (1985).

Standing Building Recording (16 January 2009 - 13 February 2009)

NS 667 663 A building survey was undertaken of the complex of buildings at Provan Hall on 16 January–13 February 2009 The site comprises two buildings, a N range and a S range, linked by a walled courtyard, with a formal partially walled garden to the W. Both the N and the S buildings are c15m E–W by 6m N–S and consist of ground, first floor and attic levels. The N building has a turret tower at the NE corner. The first floor of the N range is accessed via an external stone stair at the NE corner of the courtyard, built against the S exterior wall of the N building. There may have been an additional or earlier stair against the W elevation of the N building, but there is no evidence for this other than a blocked door aperture at first floor level in the W gable of the N building. The attic level of the N building is accessed via a small hatch in the ceiling of the first floor level SW cupboard. The first floor and attic level of the S building are accessed via an internal central stair.

Although the complex may pre-date the 16th century, particularly the S range, the clearest surviving evidence for the development of the monument is from the mid- to late 16th century with two ranges. This period is associated with William Baillie. By the later 16th and early 17th centuries the two ranges were augmented with an enclosed courtyard and windows inserted in the N range. There was evidence, particularly in the N range, of residential rather than defensive use. By the later 17th and early 18th centuries extensive repairs were enacted, particularly to the roof of the N range, after its purchase by Glasgow Town Council in 1667. During the

18th century the two ranges were changed once again. This time the S range became the main residence and the N range service accommodation. The complex was turned into a farmhouse with outside ancillary buildings from the late 18th to early 20th centuries. Further conversions to the S range in terms of new room layout and access took place during this time. In the 1930s Provan Hall became a public monument and numerous buildings were demolished. The site passed to the NTS in 1938. Since 1979 the site has been leased by Glasgow City Council as a local amenity and heritage site.

Archive: RCAHMS (intended)

Funder: The National Trust for Scotland

Gordon Ewart – Kirkdale Archaeology

Excavation (16 September 2014 - 21 September 2014)

NS 6675 6634 A community based archaeological pilot project was undertaken at Provan Hall from 16–21 September 2014. The work included trial excavations which ran alongside a series of workshops and training sessions, school visits and other activities aimed at raising awareness

and understanding of Provan Hall. A series of three hand excavated trial trenches and three test pits uncovered the remains of two buildings which once stood to the E of the current Provan Hall complex, along with the probable remains of a stone foundation relating to a structure that

extended off the western gable wall of the northern range. It was also apparent that significant groundworks had taken place during the 20th century, including the addition of imported material resulting in a significant rise in ground level compared to previous centuries.

Archive: RCAHMS (intended)

Funder: Heritage Lottery Fund

Ingrid Shearer and David Sneddon – Northlight Heritage

(Source: DES)

Excavation (17 September 2015 - 22 September 2015)

Northlight Heritage were commissioned to undertake a small excavation to investigate the foundations of the North building at Provan Hall, Auchinlea Park, Glasgow, prior to conservation work being carried out. A test trench was excavated between 17th and the 22nd September 2015. The work was conducted by Northlight Heritage on behalf of the Glasgow and Clyde Valley Green Network Partnership on behalf of the Seven Lochs Partnership. The foundations of the North building were found to be shallow, sitting on bedrock and natural clay. An earlier courtyard surface seen in photographs in the 1940s (consisting of stones sets, flag stones of varying sizes and possibly bricks) was replaced in or prior to 1966 with stone sets and a drain. The finds consisted of some sherds of green-glazed pottery, (thought to be late-medieval in date), a single clay pipe stem and a few sherds of vessel and window glass. There were no other archaeological features.

Information from Oasis (northlig1-311762) 27 March 2018

Nts Note (March 2016)

The site comprises two buildings, a north building and a south building, linked by a walled courtyard and with a formal partially walled garden to the west. Both the north and the south buildings are approximately 15m E-W by 6m N-S and consist of a ground, first floor and attic level. The north building, which is the older of the two also has a turret tower at the northeast corner. The first floor of the north building is accessed via an external stone stair at the north east corner of the courtyard, built against the south exterior wall of the north building. There may have been an additional or earlier stair against the west elevation of the north building but there is no evidence for this other than a blocked door aperture at first

floor level in the west gable of the north building. The attic level of the north building is access via a small hatch in the ceiling of the first floor level southwest cupboard. The first floor and attic level of the south building are accessed via an internal central stair.

The North Building


The exterior elevations of the north building consist of the E and W gables, the N and S walls and the NE turret tower. All the rubble build masonry is visible.

Ground Floor

Total of four rooms; three vaulted rooms and the ground floor of the turret. The walls are whitewashed but the individual stones are visible. The ground floor has a flag floor throughout. The turret ceiling is the wooden floor of the first floor turret above. The timber joists of this floor are visible from the ground floor of the turret and they are hand sawn. There is one large fireplace in the west vault. Each vault has a south door leading to the courtyard; the doors are wooden, painted black, hung on pintles. There is an internal door aperture between the central and the east vault with no door, and an internal door aperture between the east vault and the turret also with no door. There are two south windows in the west vault,

one north window in the central vault, one north window in the east vault and two windows/gun loops in the turret. There are two aumbry features inside the large fireplace in the west vault, the south one has painted wooden shutters. There are two aumbry features in the south wall of the central vault built into the south wall on either side of the door aperture. There is an aperture feature in the west wall of the central vault extending through the vaulted ceiling up to the first floor level, it is blocked at the top with long stones.

First Floor

Total of three rooms and one cupboard; west room, east room, west cupboard and the first floor of the turret. The walls are plastered and painted obscuring the stone except for the margins of fireplaces and

door apertures and the north wall of the east room which has been partially stripped. The cupboard, west room and east room have a flag floor and the turret has a wooden plank floor. There is one fireplace in the

east room and one in the west room. The east room has one door leading to the courtyard via stone steps. The door is wooden painted black and hung on pintles. There is a blocked door in the west gable of the west room. There is an internal door between the west room and the cupboard with a warped wooden door similar to external doors but not painted, and internal door between the west room and the east room with a wooden door similar to the external door but not painted and an internal door aperture between the east room and the turret with no door. There is one window in the south wall of the cupboard, two windows is the west room (one in the south wall, one in the north), three windows in the east room

(one in the south wall, one in the north, one in the east) and there are four windows in the turret. Ashlar posts are visible in the north wall where the plaster has been stripped back. There is a decorative plaster cornice in the east and the west room.

Attic Level

Total of three rooms, east attic, west attic, and turret attic. Access is via a hatch in the ceiling of the cupboard of the first floor (no bigger that 0.5m square). There may be no access to the turret attic. The rubble build masonry is visible however as access was not possible during the site visit only the central wall between the east and west rooms was visible. There is no floor. The ceiling is sarking boards. Estimated ten trusses in each the east and the west attic comprising N and S rafters, upper and lower collar, and ashlar posts seen in the north wall of the east room below. There is one internal door aperture between the east and west attic, no door visible. The caretaker believes that there are some original

timbers but that much repair work and replacement was carried out in 1936 and then again in the 1970's.

Information from NTS (SCS) March 2016

Excavation (September 2018)

NS 6675 6634 In September 2018 a community-based archaeological project (Seven Lochs Medieval Past) was undertaken at Provan Hall, (Canmore ID: 44985). The project encompassed a series of workshops and training sessions, schools engagement, a pop up exhibition and community excavation aimed at raising awareness, understanding and appreciation for Provan Hall and its heritage.

Five hand-excavated trenches uncovered the remains of a building that once stood a few metres to the E of the extant Provan Hall complex, along with stone foundations relating to the northern range of Provan Hall. The extent of the 20th century ground works, first identified during the 2014 excavations, was found to be more extensive than previously thought.

Archive: NRHE (intended)

Funder: Seven Lochs Wetland Park

Peta Glew & Steven Black- Northlight Heritage

(Source: DES Vol 20)

Archaeological Evaluation (February 2019)

NS 6675 6634 A watching brief was undertaken at Provan Hall, (Canmore ID: 44985), in February 2019, prior to a programme of renovation works on the Provan Hall building, courtyard and surrounding area. No archaeological remains were identified.

Funder: City Building

Steve Black – Northlight Heritage

(Source: DES Vol 20)

Standing Building Recording (June 2021 - October 2021)

NS 66754 66344 A programme of historic building recording and excavation in association with major conservation repairs and refurbishment works was undertaken at Provan Hall, Glasgow. This historic mansion house complex comprises parallel residential ranges enclosing the N and S sides of a courtyard with screen walls to W and E, the latter containing a principal arched entrance to the centre. The present project involved the exposure of historic fabric including exterior and interior wall surfaces and early floor and roof structural timbers and the work took place from June to October 2021.

The North Range (Canmore ID: 44985) appears to be the earlier of the two, with the main components suggesting principal historic phases of the 16th and 17th centuries with later repairs and modifications.

Excavations within the vaulted lower level revealed that modern works had removed any occupational floor deposits of any significance. Modern paintwork was removed from the walls by steam cleaning, which revealed features and modifications in the stonework at ground floor level and historic wall and ceiling plaster at first floor level.

The primary plaster appeared to be an earth-lime mix, which seems likely to relate to a period of remodelling of the upper parts of the range in the 17th century. The existing ceiling and most of the elaborate hand-run cornice was found to be a secondary intervention that employed plasters of greyer hue, which had also been used to patch the walls in places. Several sections of the original cornice had been incorporated during restoration work in the early 20th century.

Survey of the exterior upper walling identified much evidence for recycling of dressed stones including roll-moulded jambs from earlier window openings and, most notably, larger slabs detailed with parts of small wide-mouthed gun ports/ shot-holes. These had evidently been formed of paired stones to provide defensive apertures and were in likelihood located below earlier first floor window openings, a feature suggestive of a mid-late-16th-century date.

The existing roof structure was also recorded in detail and revealed an early conifer roof with subsequent repairs and alterations. The conifer sarking boards included early material over much of the roof area, the individual boards preserving peg-holes and many individual oak slate pegs. However, the boarding had evidently been lifted and re-laid and the pattern of pegs-holes thus disrupted. Two phases of secondary sarking patching were recorded; at both stages, the slates had been affixed with nails rather than pegs.

Building work to the South Range (Canmore ID: 350187) was extensive and included complete removal of exterior harl and pointing, stripping of much of the roof structure and internally revealed floor structures and historic walling in several areas.

Exposure of the fabric of the E gable wall exterior revealed the existence of a former crow-stepped gable head set at considerably steeper pitch than the existing one and with an eaves line about 1m below the existing one. The earlier eaves line had featured triangular-headed dormer windows projecting above and several dormer lintels had been recycled within the later rebuilding.

There was no evidence for a crow-stepped head at the W gable wall, but there were indications that the range had formerly been of greater length, and that the existing gable was a former internal wall. Removal of harl on the W gable wall revealed that a first-floor window had originally been an entrance, with roll moulding on the exterior side. The N wall of the range appears to have originally extended further westwards, with the W side of the courtyard closed by a further range that contained the main accommodation. This is a typical late-medieval-early post-medieval arrangement whereby a principal tower is flanked by wings whose upper level provide additional high- status accommodation accessed to either side.

The South Range had been extensively remodelled in the

earlier 18th century, with the existing classically detailed south frontage attaining its present configuration, the wall-heads raised, and several other internal interventions. The attic level floor structure was raised, incorporating several timbers that derived from the range itself and displayed relict mortices, assembly marks and other features. A further major reworking of the south range saw the remodelling of the roof with the removal of copes and the installation of bargeboards, dormer windows and much associated interior refurbishment.

Removal of cement pointing to the courtyard screen walls to the E and W showed the W wall to have been a wholly modern construction. The E wall had seen considerable rebuilding and re-bedding in cement of the stonework of its upper parts but its remaining historic fabric was seemingly of a single build. At one point on the N side of the arched opening, a pistol-loop seems to have been formed from a recycled small gun port, its stones simply reversed.

Dendrochronological assessment and sampling in 2021 focused largely on the earliest conifer timbers in both North Range and South Range roof structures, the analysis of which is to be undertaken soon. However, a single oak timber, found just behind the sarking and laid horizontally on the stone lintel over the first-floor entrance to the North Range, has been analysed. It has signs of re-use, a redundant peg hole, and is not in its original situation. It is made of slow grown native oak, the ring sequence spans AD 1008–1249 (a span of 242 years) and the tree was over 300 years old when felled. The sequence is not complete to bark edge, but the outer edge is probably at the heartwood/sapwood boundary. If so, then we can use a UK sapwood range of 10–46 rings, indicating it was felled between AD 1259 and 1295.

Our tree-ring reference data for the Glasgow region are limited but the Provan Hall oak sequence matches most closely with data from beams removed in the early 20th century from Glasgow Cathedral’s main roofs. This single oak timber is the earliest dated physical evidence so far from Provan Hall. We continue to explore what this means. The two most likely possibilities are that it comes either from a now lost earlier building at Provan Hall or from the nearby Bishops of Glasgow residence at Lochwood, about 2km away, which does have late 13th-century small finds evidence. Documentary evidence records that the Bishops’ House was dismantled in 1579 with timber and other building materials being taken to Badenheath Tower, some five miles away (DES 1962, 34–5). The dating of the conifer roof on the North Range will help to work out when this single late 13th-century oak timber was placed into its current position at Provan Hall.

It is anticipated that the chronology for the evolution of the

structure may be much refined when collating the newly revealed structural evidence with the results of the dendrochronological study, the results of previous investigations at the site, and a systematic review of historical source material.

Archive: NRHE (intended) Funder: City of Glasgow Council

Tom Addyman and Coralie Mills – Addyman Archaeology and Dendrochronicle

(Source: DES Vol 22)


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