Ecclesgreig House, St Cyrus

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Castledown

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Before I start - sorry for the long report, it was just such a good visit!

Ever since I saw Simon Marsden's famous photo of Ecclesgreig I knew I had to visit, even more so when I found out it is reputed to be the model for Dracula's castle. I made it there in April 2008 and it turned out to be a wonderful visit.

A bit of history from 'Scotland's Endangered Houses':
Ecclesgreig dates largely from 1844/6, a complete reconstruction of an earlier house known as Mount Cyrus. It was built for the Forsyth Grants with suggested architects being Edmund Goodridge and David Mitchell.

I spent a long time photographing the exterior of Ecclesgreig, in its slightly surreal surroundings of well kept gardens with white statues. This was one of my first visits to a derelict place so I didn't try to find a way in. I finally called it a day and headed back to the car, but didn't quite make it as I bumped into the owner.
He was delighted I was there to photograph the house and took me on a fascinating tour of the grounds. showing me loads of interesting sites including the private Forsyth Grant family graveyard. I thought that was my lot but then he took me into Ecclesgreig! It was my first experience of a derelict interior and I was pretty overwhelmed. It was great to have such an enthusiastic tour guide and he pointed out loads of historic details inside. Despite looking quite sound from the outside, Ecclesgreig is in a bad way, with floors and ceilings ready for collapse and parts of the roof having fallen in. Afterwards I was invited back to the owner's house (a former laundry cottage now converted) where he showed me some old photographs and told me of his plans for the house. He's had it for ten years but had only just started work on it - begginning with repairing the tower. He plans to restore the whole building but he seems a very busy guy.

Well it was a fantastic explore, here are the phtotos!

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Alir147

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That is fantastic Castledown!:mrgreen: It's good to finally see inside here, especially since everyone else has only found the 'tin shed' part.

Your visit is definitely more recent than mine so there must have been an interior when i was there.
 

Foxylady

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Wow, the God of urbex was certainly smiling down on you that day! :mrgreen:
Excellent coverage...tis a delightful house. Have you been back since? Just wondering how the owner's getting on with restoring it.
Good stuff. :)
 

Castledown

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Haha I think he must have been, it was such a stroke of godly luck!
I haven't been back since, but I'm intending to some time. It would be really great to see how he is getting on with it. Such a gorgeous building definitely worth rescuing!
The owner was so cool too, he's really into architecture (I think he works for an architecture firm actually) so gave me loads of good suggestions and tips of other places to visit.
 

Foxylady

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The owner was so cool too, he's really into architecture (I think he works for an architecture firm actually) so gave me loads of good suggestions and tips of other places to visit.

Brilliant! :mrgreen: I reckon that's one of the unexpected bonuses of exploring certain places...meeting interesting people with lots of extra info. :)
 

Castledown

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It was really fascinating to get some of the history. There's a courtyard in the middle of the house, which he didn't even know about until after he bought it! He said the house was originally U-shaped, but the open part of the 'U' was later filled in, creating the courtyard.
He also pointed out some interesting Victorian additions that had been made. If you look at the picture of the big wooden door frame, you can see the shape of the original door in stone, but the Victorian fashion for straight edges resulted in the new frames being put in.
 

Foxylady

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If you look at the picture of the big wooden door frame, you can see the shape of the original door in stone, but the Victorian fashion for straight edges resulted in the new frames being put in.

Oh yes! I hadn't noticed that. That's a fabulous piece of historical style-change. :)
 

lost

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I thought it was all stripped out and converted to grain storage!
Nice work finding some of the original interior.
 

Steve Perks

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Excellent report on this amazing building!

I too recently visited, but as I intended to sell prints, I first gained advance permission of the owner who was very obliging.

I presume it was Gavin Farquhar you spoke to, a very helpful and enthusiastic chap whose company also owns Muness Castle in the Shetlands, Watten Lodge, Wick d Lochmaddy House, North Uist.
I wasn't so lucky to view the inside as he couldn't make his appointment with me, but he has invited me round one weekend so I'll try and get inside too.

I got some cracking shots of the exterior on a frosty but sunny day.

I had an hour long meeting with Gavin at his office in Dyce, Aberdeen and have also been in correspondence with a descendant of the Forsyth Grant family, ancestral owners of the property.

I write up a full history on all the castles and stately homes I sell prints of and Gavin filled in a lot of gaps.
There is a very fascinating history behind the building and more so, the Forsyth Grant family.

The full history will be going up on my website in the next month or so, once Gavin and the F.G's have proof read it.

I'll post a link here when it's up there.

The last Laird, Michael Forsyth Grant (d.2000) was a bit of a character to say the least, I won't divulge it all here for fear of being sued as it's meaty stuff!)
 

Trinpaul

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I love seeing these old manor / estate houses and it's a shame to see the extent of disrepair that some of them fall into. The owner's got a job on his hands to restore it though.
 

Castledown

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I presume it was Gavin Farquhar you spoke to, a very helpful and enthusiastic chap whose company also owns Muness Castle in the Shetlands, Watten Lodge, Wick d Lochmaddy House, North Uist.
I wasn't so lucky to view the inside as he couldn't make his appointment with me, but he has invited me round one weekend so I'll try and get inside too.

QUOTE]

Yes that's right! He told me a fair bit about the place while he showed me round but I can't remember it all so it would be great to see what you've written about the place. From what I gather they were quite a family of characters, the Forsythe Grants, the family graveyard was particularly interesting for that reason :)
 

Steve Perks

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Yes that's right! He told me a fair bit about the place while he showed me round but I can't remember it all so it would be great to see what you've written about the place. From what I gather they were quite a family of characters, the Forsythe Grants, the family graveyard was particularly interesting for that reason :)

I'm just about to get the history signed off by Gavin and the family but it will be a couple more weeks before I get it on the website.

I'll PM you a link to the transcript as soon as I finish it in advance.
I'm just in the middle of reading Bram Stokers Dracula to verify a piece of info Gavin gave me first.
 

spacepunk

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Nice report. When I was there the site manageress let me take some outside shots but wouldn't let me inside. Think Smellycat and I will be having another visit soon.
 

triplow

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Hi guys, nice pictures!

Is this Ecclescrieg open to the public at the moment? I would appreciate any information you could give me.

I'm a working with a paranormal group in Northumberland and I find this location is particularly interesting

Cheers John
 
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