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Country House (19th Century)

Site Name Allanbank

Classification Country House (19th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Allanbank House

Canmore ID 94328

Site Number NT85SE 31

NGR NT 85709 54402

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
© Copyright and database right 2017.

Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council Scottish Borders, The
  • Parish Edrom
  • Former Region Borders
  • Former District Berwickshire
  • Former County Berwickshire

Archaeology Notes

NT85SE 31.01 NT 85440 54568 Farmsteading


Architect : David Bryce, 1848.

Demolished in 1969.

Information from Demolitions catalogue held in RCAHMS Library.

(Undated) information in NMRS.

Allanbank House is not named on the OS 1:10,000 map, although it is depicted on the 2nd edition series (Berwickshire) sheet XVII, 6, 1908. It has since been demolished.

Information from RCAHMS (AR) 3 May 2000.


Watching Brief (6 November 2007 - 7 November 2007)

NT 8570 5440 The history of the site was traced from the early medieval period and there were at least three significant building complexes, the Castle of East Nisbet (15th- to 17thcentury), a 17th- to 18th-century country house, and Allanbank House (1848–1968) built by David Bryce. A watching brief was maintained on 6–7 November 2007 as a total of three service trenches and three trial trenches were excavated over the proposed footprint of a new development.

The evaluation trenches exposed parts of the S and E limits of the Bryce house, demolished in 1968. A previous

owner commented that much of the building stone had been salvaged and the remaining demolition debris

landscaped flat. The remains of the house were relatively well defined by truncated wall lines with areas between these apparently external walls infilled with light rubble and general debris. The excavation revealed the presence of cellarage. The irregular alignment of the outer S walls is reflected by a probable window and doorway, the latter also showing the presence of an external series of at least two steps, the N one of which has been robbed out.

Nothing of any earlier occupation was observed, which may be due to the apparently extensive landscaping of

the natural ground surface when the Bryce house was constructed. The site appears to have been cleared down to firm clays, which lie at a general depth of 0.5m below topsoil. The contents of the service trenches also suggest that the site had been cleared towards the S limits of the available building platform.

The drain in Trench 6 may have some association with a pronounced rounded depression lying NW of the Bryce

house, a possible pond or garden feature, drained or fed by the drain. The feature appears to have been an open, deep channel and may have been a feature of the 19th-century garden layout to the NW of the Bryce house, as opposed to a simple field drain.

Archive: RCAHMS (intended)

Funder: Mr J Church

Gordon Ewart (Kirkdale Archaeology), 2008

Archaeological Evaluation (1 October 2015 - 31 October 2015)

An archaeological evaluation was carried out by CFA Archaeology Ltd in October, 2015

in advance of the construction of a new house on land at Tofthill, near

Duns in the Scottish Borders. The new house was constructed on the site

of Allanbank House which was designed by David Bryce in the mid 19th

Century and demolished in 1968. Historical records indicated that the

19th century house replaced an earlier 17th-18th Century house and that

earlier than this the site had been the location of East Nisbet Castle. It

was considered possible that the 19th century house could have occupied

a similar location to the former buildings and that these earlier buildings

would be affected by the proposed development.

In order to mitigate any affect from the proposed development on the

17th-18th Century house or East Nisbet Castle five targeted trial trenches

were excavated. The evaluation identified the buried remains of

Allanbank House but nothing of the earlier structures.

As a part of the redevelopment of the site a small remaining part of

Allanbank House had to be demolished and theses remains were

recorded prior to that through a Basic level building survey.

Standing Building Recording (1 October 2015 - 31 October 2015)

A building survey was carried out on the surviving upstanding remains of Allanbank House by CFA Archaeology Ltd. in October 2015. The work was required to provide a record of the remains and allow their demolition in advance of the construction of a new house.

The survey has recorded the surviving remains of external walls, roof structure and 7 rooms within Allanbank House and it is clear that these elements were situated in what would have been the corner of the north-east wing.

Rooms 2 and 4 probably functioned as a pantry or dairy whilst Room 3 was a game larder judging by the rows of hooks suspended from the ceiling. It is possible that Room 1 was part of a much larger kitchen. Built at a time before the advent of refrigeration this part of Allanbank House would have been the coldest, being on its northern side.

Demolition Application

Demolition of the surviving upstanding elements of Allanbank House commenced in October 2015. Construction of a replacement house on the footprint of the original house also took place beginning in October, 2015.


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