Cambusnethan Priory is located in North Lanarkshire, Scotland. The manor house was designed by James Gillespie Graham and was completed in 1820 on the site of a previous manor house which was destroyed by a fire in 1816.
The manor house sits at the end of a long pot-holed single track road. The River Clyde can be spotted from the aerial view, which flows past a short distance away on the southern edge of the estate. On approach to this neo-gothic structure, I noticed the indented Christian cross’s on the sides of the towers which reminded me of Dalquharran Castle.
History of the Site
Cambusnethan appears on maps from the late 16th century onwards. Roy’s Military Survey of Scotland (1747-55) shows a number of buildings on the site. Cambusnethan Priory was constructed on the site of a 17th century manor house which in turn replaced an even older tower house.
In 1923, Cambusnethan Priory was advertised as having three public rooms, ten bedrooms (three with dressing rooms), three bathrooms, kitchen, laundry, servants’ accommodation and a service hoist to all floors.
There is an excellent document that details the history of the site called Glorious Gardens: The Development of the Designed Landscape at Cambusnethan House, Clyde Valley. This research document describes Cambusnethan Priory as the following:
The ruins of Cambusnethan House sit on a north/south axis with the front door facing north. Built in 1820 of blond sandstone in the Gothic style, the house consists of wings of two and three storeys. There is also a basement with a sunken passageway around the house, and evidence remains of the protective iron railings that ran along the edge of this. Part of the basement has a large vaulted ceiling, which may be a remnant of the 17th -century house that the current building replaced. Steps on the east and west lead down to the basement entrances, though only those to the east are original; the west stairs were installed in the 1970s.
The Gothic revival style is evident in the turrets at each corner, scrolled pinnacles (mainly missing) and castellated roofline. There are/were large bow windows on all three storeys of the south elevation and narrow, pointed and arched windows elsewhere. There is a large, square porte cochère at the front door (Illus 33). A carved plaque high on the south elevation commemorates the building of the house. Traces remain of the carriage sweep (see North Drive) in front of it.
The Future of Cambusnethan Priory
The building has an unfortunate history of many failed attempts of converting the building and developing the surrounding area since the early 80’s. Over this time the structure has steadily deteriorated to the state in which we can see today. This deterioration was helped along by a fire in 1985 and 1995 which followed by the collapse of an external wall. However, there might still be hope for this structure.
I found this gem of a building through the twitter page of a local group known as the Friends of Cambusnethan Priory. They formed in 2014 and are looking to raise support to save the building. Their aim through fund-raising is to:
- To undertake a structural investigation and stabilisation
- To employ a project manager to oversee the project and funding applications and to run events for the local community
- To set-up an information board at the Priory detailing the importance of the site
If you are looking to find out more about how they are getting on with their project they can be found on their website or through their social media feeds on twitter and facebook.