The Garden Guide

Book: Gardening tours by J.C. Loudon 1831-1842
Chapter: Northern England and Southern Scotland in 1841

Allanton Village

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The Village of Allanton contains some cottages of an ornamental character, for which the public are indebted to the late Sir Henry Steuart. They are all characterised by a peculiar kind of broad label over the windows and doors, resembling the boards which are used as labels over the openings of the mudwall cottages of Huntingdonshire. Doubtless, much of the stonework of architecture, and particularly that of Grecian origin, has woodwork for its type; but we cannot quite reconcile ourselves to the fac-simile imitation of a plain deal board in a building the walls of which are built of squared stone. On the same principle, we should object to flag-stones cut to the width of deals, and laid down in imitation of a boarded floor; or to a stone barge-board, put up to protect the ends of wooden purlins. In other respects, these cottages are ornamental externally, and commodious within; and they have all sleeping-rooms up stairs, which is by no means common in this part of Scotland. Some of them were built by Sir Henry Steuart, but the greater number by feuars; Sir Henry having feued the land on terms favourable to the builder, and made an allowance in money for the ornamental parts of the cottage, as well as supplied designs and working-plans, and shrubs and flowers for the front gardens. So good an example, we trust, will be followed by other proprietors. Much of the beauty of every cultivated country depends on the beauty of its cottages and their gardens; because, in every civilised country, these must necessarily constitute the great majority of human dwellings. What can have a more miserable appearance than a wretched cottage out of repair, and without a garden ? No one blames the cottager for this state of things; but the idea of a thoughtless or inhuman landlord, or of an unfeeling mercenary agent, immediately occurs. What, on the contrary, gives a greater idea of comfort, and of an enlightened benevolent landlord, than to see every cottage on his estate rearing its high steep roof and bold architectural chimney tops, indicating ample room and warmth within; the whole in good repair, and surrounded by fruit trees, in a well-stocked and neatly kept garden ? Every one, in travelling through a country, must have observed how much of its beauty depends on the state of its cottages and their gardens. We would, therefore, entreat the possessors of landed property to consider how much of the beauty of the country depends upon them; and we would farther beg of them to ask themselves, whether it is not one of the duties entailed on them by the possession of landed property, to render it not only beneficial to their families and to all who live on it, but ornamental to the country.