Translate this page: EnglishFrenchGermanItalianPortugueseRussianSpanish
search
top

Braxfield House

Braxfield House

This ruined building is one of the most iconic in the New Lanark World Heritage Site area . It is connected with the hanging judge Robert MacQueen (1722-1799) and Robert Owen who lived at Braxfield House from 1808- 1828 give the ruins considerable importance .

However the Braxfield estate goes back to the thirteenth century , when Jordanus de Brax gave some of his lands to the church of Old St Kentigerns. The place where he lived has not been discovered. By the end of the sixteenth century , we do know about a double tower on the Braxfield estate .The location of this is unknown though the hill to the south and east of the ruins would be an ideal place to locate this.

Certainly Braxfield, sometimes seen as Broyffield or Broyfeld, is marked Pont, Blaeu, Ross, Thomson and Forrest maps dating from 1596 to 1832.

Blaeu Map 1596 courtesy of National Library of Scotland

Pont Map 1654 courtesy National Library of Scotland

Ross map courtesy of National Library of Scotland 1776

Forrest Map 1819 courtesy of National Library of Scotland

Thomson Map courtesy of National Library of Scotland 1832

 

Part of the present ruins on the NW of the courtyard will date back to at least the mid seventeenth century though the notes provided by Historic Scotland suggest a date in the early eighteenth century . The crow stepped gables and the surviving windows compare favourably with Jerviswood House and Vere House as being seventeenth century in origin.

Michael Hart is the next recorded landowner, he got the estates of Braxfield from Adam Braks in the reign of Robert the Bruce. Then in 1490 the lands were in the hands of Thomas Sommerville .The Sommervilles were lords of Carnwath and so the lands were leased out. For a number of years the Hamiltons of Stonehouse rented the lands . They probably lived in the site known from the Blaeu map of 1596 as the double towers of Braxfield .
The location of this site is unknown though the hill to the south and east of the ruins would be an ideal place to locate these buildings.

Part of the present ruins on the NW of the courtyard will date back to at least the early seventeenth century though the notes provided by Historic Scotland suggest a date in the early eighteenth century . The crow stepped gables and the surviving windows compare favourably with Jerviswood House and Vere House as being seventeenth century in origin. The person responsible for the first Braxfield House is probably Gavin Blair who held the Barony in 1630 and probably sometime before that .He represented Lanark in the Scottish Parliament in 1617 and 1621. The estate then passed to Gideon Jack in1644,who was on the committee of war for Lanarkshire. He orinally supported the King in the Civil War changed sides but was forgiven at the Restoration after paying a fine. The Jacks continued to live in this house which was called the mains of Braxfield till some time before 1710.It was then the property of Mungo Cochrane .

The estate was acquired after 1710 by John MacQueen , writer in Lanark and Sheriff Substitute of Lanarkshire. It was probably in his time that the SE wing was constructed though it was not until the time of his son Robert MacQueen , the famous judge who is alleged to have remarked about one of the criminals hauled up before him that ‘ he would not be any worse for a bit of hanging.’ It was this reputation that led to Robert Louis Stephenson basing his character ‘The Weir of Hermiston’ on the life of Robert MacQueen. It is thought that Robert was responsible for the construction for the most imposing section of the house ; this was the western part. It had a central pedimental section which dominated the whole building ; it was this building that provided a link between the two wings . A feature of the central section was the scrolled skewputts. This house must have been very grand when it was lived in. This may have attracted Robert Owen to rent the house.

New Lanark was part of the Braxfield estate originally which was feued to David Dale by Robert MacQueen in 1785. The house was occupied till 1799 by the next Lord Braxfield , who let it to Robert Owen in 1808. Robert Owen remained there till 1828. During Owen’s time a number of prominent visitors came to Braxfield House including Tsar Nicholas of Russia in 1816.
In 1832 the estate was described by the author Cobbett as ‘ the beautiful park and mansion occupied by Messers Walker – the house looks down into the Clyde 200 yards distant.’Indeed the designed landscape of Braxfield House was an important reason for its inclusion in the World Heritage site.
The Walkers were by 1832 managing the Mills , the family did this for the next fifty years. The MacQueens sold the estate in 1883 to the Houldsworths who had the estate till 1931. At this stage the house was abandoned.

OWEN


Braxfield House

View of New Lanark

Braxfield house.. click to see slideshow

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

top