Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Lost Houses of Angus: Lindertis House

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.


  1. Hello - stumbled across your blog as I was researching Lindertis House and Gilbert Laing Meason. My great,great, great grandfather - William Robertson - served his apprenticeship as a landscape gardener working for Gilbert Laing Meason - hence my interest. I have written a blog about it if you are interested. William became quite well-known as a minor Scottish poet from his 70s onwards and published two small volumes of poetry and stories. I am slowly blogging my discoveries about him and the various connections such as this as I have the time.

    1. to me this is fascinating as we moved out of lindertis to the dower house Drumleys when I was four years old, however retain clear recollections of the Gardens especially the Nott Garden, in which I spent hours. In 1964 prior to setting off on a journey from London to Nepal while being advised by a senior executive of the Automobile Association, Piccadilly, London when he spotted my address of Lindertis, he recalled happy social visits to play Tennis there after the 'Angus Ball'. Are you any connection to the charming tenant Willie Robertson that was in Auchendourie, by the Westmuir? Yours Jamie Munro

    2. Hello Jamie

      I haven't located my William Robertson in Auchendourie at all but there are other William Robertson's in the family so perhaps there is a connection. Will keep it in mind as I add to my family tree.

  2. My Husband is the gr. grandson of William Laing Meason, One of Gilberts' sons. He came to British Columbia Canada, became the 1st indian agent in the Chilcotin area in the interior of BC. He married a native girl and had a family. Waynes' mother is the daughter of his daughter, Anne Laing Meason. We are coming over to Scotland this spring to visit the areas his family lived in, Is there any info anyone might have that would help us. Is there a town called Lindertis or was that just the name of their home?

    1. This is the first I have seen this site and with great interest As a young boy (my name is Richard Dunbar) I use to play around Lindertis House and it was still standing
      My reasons when I went to Lindertis was to meet my school friend Billy Cameron
      I lived in the Westmuir on a small raspberry Farm called Rossiebank
      I knew the Robinsons in Auchendourie But this was a ling time ago

  3. We are putting together a small display at the Gateway to the Glens Museum Kirriemuir to mark Sir Hugh Munro's death (1919) if anyone has any artefacts connected to Lindertis or Munro please do contact us,