Cumbernauld House, North Lanarkshire
A very different landscape also visited last November were the grounds of Cumbernauld House. The house was designed in 1731 by William Adam (1689–1748), for the 6th Earl of Wigtown, Lord Fleming of Cumbernauld. The house is Category A-Listed and in the late 20th century used as offices by Cumbernauld Development Corporation and latterly, North Lanarkshire Council who now hope to sell the property to be developed as a hotel.
Although the landscape to the north west of the house has been disturbed over the years by 19th century mining activities and a 20th century golf course layout, an initial survey suggests that areas to the south and east contain elements relating to much earlier landscapes. These include veteran Chestnut and Beech trees which may be part of the layout depicted on Roy’s Military Survey c1750, and an embankment which may form part of the very early enclosure surrounding the former Cumbernauld Castle built in the 14th century, which is illustrated on Timothy Pont’s late 16th century map (Pont 32: East Central Lowlands). Clearly this is a very sensitive garden area, which also includes the ruins of the former castle, and must be investigated further before any development of the house is allowed.
Currently alternative uses for Cumbernauld House are being suggested by the local community, keen to allow public access to both house and grounds. These include a museum devoted to the Adam family of architects, or a gallery commemorating the work of Clementina Elphinstone-Fleming (1822–65) a descendant of the 6th Earl of Wigtown. Clementina, later Lady Hawardan, was a prominent early Victorian Scottish photographer.