Date Listed: 2 December 1980
Historic Scotland Building ID: 963
OS Grid Coordinates: 233477, 653562
Latitude/Longitude: 55.7467, -4.6545
Location: Willowyard Road, North Ayrshire KA15 1JH
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1727 (dated). 3-bay 2-storey and attic former farmhouse with steep crowstepped gables; later large extension to S and porch to W (both out-of-keeping with original building). Random yellow sandstone rubble; raised window margins; raised angle margins with corniced caps; moulded eaves course.
W (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: 3 bays. Later 20th century piend-roofed porch to centre R; flanking single windows, 3 to 1st floor.
E (REAR) ELEVATION: 3 bays. Later window surround to ground floor; door converted to window at R.
N GABLE: blocked opening to ground R; 1st floor window above; small blocked attic window.
INTERIOR: no surviving original features.
UPVC windows replacing timber sash and case windows. Grey slates laid in diminishing courses; coped ashlar end stacks.
`Willows' marked on Andrew Armstrong's map of 1775. EDINBURGH ADVERTISER January 24th 1786. `Willowyards' marked on John Ainslie's map of 1821. National Archives of Scotland HERITORS' RECORDS Ref HR/577/6 (1820-22). `Willowyard' marked on John Thomson“s map of 1826. NEW STATISTICAL ACCOUNT OF SCOTLAND Vol V (1839) p573. Marked on 1st edition OS map of 1856. James Paterson HISTORY OF THE COUNTIES OF AYR & WIGTON Vol III ' CUNINGHAME Part III (1866) p111. James Dobie CUNINGHAME TOPOGRAPHIZED BY TIMOTHY PONT 1604-1608 (1876) p199. Michael C Davies CASTLES AND MANSIONS OF AYRSHIRE (1991) pp33, 401-2.
Willowyard house dates from 1727 as `727J' or `Z27J' is carved on the skewputt of the house. William Simson is recorded as the owner around the mid 18th century. By the late 18th century the place was a thriving farmstead and in the Edinburgh Advertiser of 1786, the lands of Willow Yards were for sale and described as follows: `consisting of about 175 English acres of arable land, well enclosed and subdivided into fifteen fields, and let by one lease to three substantial tenants for 19 years at £130 per annum'. Upon this property there is a good house, and garden stocked with fruit trees, a malt mill and an elegant court of offices newly erected. A valuable flag and stone quarry has been opened in the ground and it is believed there are both coal and limestone in it'. There are about ten acres of wood and a good deal of timber on this farm; and thriving belts of planting surround the greatest part of it'.To encourage offers it will be exposed at £3000'' In the Heritors' Records of 1820-22 the owner of Willowyards is recorded as being Robert Steele and the lands were assessed as the 14th most valuable in the parish. In the Staistical Account of 1839 Alexander Shedden is noted as the owner. The 1st edition OS map of 1856 shows the house with adjacent U-plan outbuildings and circular horse-engine house. These buildings, together with the layout of the garden and woods, were in evidence on the OS maps of the early 20th century. Unfortunately, these no longer exist and late 20th century development has swamped Willowyard house. Now part of Willowyard Industrial Estate, the house remains an important reminder of a once prosperous estate, despite loss of the interior. The building is also significant as one of Beith's few remaining fine early vernacular buildings. The rubble walls would have been harled and the window and angle margins left as exposed dressed stone; the roof is likely to have been thatched originally.
Source: Historic Scotland
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.