When you think of ruined, vanished or lost mansions and castles you may picture homes which have been in situ for generations, perhaps even hundreds of years. But some imposing buildings were only features of our landscape for a few generations, which begs the question: should we fret for their loss if they were only evident for such a relatively short time and moreover in the possession of a privileged and wealthy few. But beyond the architectural interest, there is the social interest, a fragment from the vanished material past, a place once marked out as a special home and then erased forever.
|The Landscape Architecture of the Great Painters of Italy by Gilbert Laing Meason.|
Lindertis House in Airlie parish was built by Gilbert Laing Mason in the second decade of the 19th century. The estate or lands had been in existence for centuries, variously known as Lundateris, Lendartaris and variations, though the surrounding lands were known as Readie. Gilbert coined the phrase 'landscape architecture' in his book about the gardens of Italy. Ornate gardens were also laid out in the newly bought estate, but when the owner died in 1832 his son, Magnus Laing Meason, was obliged to sell because of monetary difficulties. The buyer was the creditors of Major-General Sir Thomas Munro, who had died in India in 1827. When the heir, Thomas Munro, came of age he gained the estate, but he died childless, so it passed to his brother, Campbell Munro, and afterwards to his son, Sir Hugh Thomas Munro (1856-1919), a founder member, and later president, of the Scottish Mountaineering Club. Sir Hugh has won enduring renown for his list of almost 300 Scottish mountains of 3,000 feet and over, known now as Munros.
|Sir Hugh Thomas Munro.|
Sir Hugh’s son Torquil (1901-1985) inherited the estate, though the family mainly relocated to Drumleys House. The old house was not found to be cost effective to maintain, though it was converted into flats for estate workers for a time. These flats were occupied until the mid sixties, but the building was finally demolished twenty years later.
The cost of maintaining the extensive and elaborate gardens probably contributed much to the downfall of the estate as a whole, though the house itself was likely too massive to be fiscally manageable. Hardly a trace of the mansion now exists and the carefully tended gardens are now also radically changed, an object lesson in the impermanence of grand designs perhaps. Those interested in a recollection of Lindertis should consult this excellent oral reminiscence website.