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Green Hill, Temple

Garden Temple (19th Century)

Site Name Green Hill, Temple

Classification Garden Temple (19th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Temple Of Decision; House Of Falkland, Temple

Canmore ID 99470

Site Number NO20NW 116

NGR NO 23113 07083

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


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

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Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council Fife
  • Parish Falkland
  • Former Region Fife
  • Former District North East Fife
  • Former County Fife

Architecture Notes


ARCHITECT: Alexander Roos, 1850s



The proposed Temple of Decision Letter from Alexander Roos [fl 1830-1858]. Architect, to O Tyndall Bruce.

He considered that if the site where the Temple was to stand was of rock, steps could be cut out of the rock and so save expense. He believed that Mr Bruce wished the temple to have a Greek pediment although he himself favoured a Roman.

Letters 11 May and 5 July 1849

GD152/53/5/Bundle 10/3 and 4.

Proposed Temple.

Drawings and specification for The Temple have been forwarded.

Letter from Alexander Roos, [fl 1830-1858]. Architect to O Tyndall Bruce.

17 July 1849


The Temple of Decision.

Alexander Roos, Architect, [fl 1830-1858] has sent a plan for the Temple but he forgot to recommend ornamental tiles for the roof.


9 August 1849

GD152/53/5/Bundle 10/5

Site Management (18 February 1992)

Former single chamber pedimented temple summerhouse, situated on prominent site in landscape, now in semi-ruinous condition (2011). Ashlar to exterior, rubble interior. Round-arched niche to W. Ashlar gatepier with pedimented coping to N.

This summerhouse, called the Temple of Decision, was built as a focal point in the landscape when viewed from the principal rooms in the House of Falkland (see separate listing) and continues to make a contribution to the landscape of Falkland Estate. It is possible that it is a rare surviving example of a garden temple in Scotland. The policies around the House of Falkland were conceived as a designed landscape in the 19th century and contain a number of architectural features, including bridges, which were planned to add to the experience of the enjoyment of the estate for visitors and for the owners. Set on a high point within the estate, the temple would have been one of the most important features within this landscape. It is now in a ruinous state (2011). The plan of the temple was derived from the Temple of Theseus in Athens and comprised a single room with a prostyle portico and Roman pediment. The history of the House of Falkland Estate is linked to that of nearby Falkland Palace, which lies immediately to the east. In its present form, the estate dates from the early 19th century when it was acquired by John Bruce when he became Keeper of the Palace of Falkland in 1821. During his time at the estate, Bruce improved the lands around the existing estate house, Nuthill House (now demolished), built the Stables (see separate listing), and cascades and bridges were erected over the Mill and Maspie Burns. On his death in 1826, his niece Margaret Bruce inherited the Estate. She married Onesiphorus Tyndall Bruce in 1828 and they made the decision to demolish Nuthill House and to build a new residence. The architect for the new house was William Burn and the house was built in 1839-44. They also laid out the formal garden around the house and created a number of landscape features, including this temple. The 3rd Marquis of Bute then bought the Estate in 1887 and he employed Robert Weir Schultz and William Frame to carry out interior work in the House. He also completed some Arts & Crafts landscaping to the estate. The house was used as a convalescent home in the First World War and as a home for Polish Airmen in the Second World War. The House of Falkland is currently a school (2011). Alexander Roos (circa 1810-1881) was born in Rome and was both an architect and a landscape gardener. He moved to England and by 1843, he was working in Scotland. He had a good relationship with William Burn, and worked with him at the House of Falkland and also at Whitehill in Midlothian (see separate listing) and also in Lincolnshire. (List description updated 2011). (Historic Scotland)


Photographic Survey (April 1965)

Photographic survey by the Scottish National Buildings Record in 1965.


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