Glorious Gardens: Jerviswood

A beautiful and productive landscape on the outskirts of Lanark

Filed under History & Archaeology

- Maureen McKeown, Glorious Gardens volunteer

Jerviswood House on the outskirts of Lanark was built in the early 17th century for the Baillie family and is a very fine example of a laird’s house of that period.  Some remains of an even older house can be seen next to it.

17th Century Jerviswood House with remains of 16th Century Tower House House

17th Century Jerviswood House with the remains of a 16th Century tower house in the foreground

For the past 300 years or so it has functioned mainly as an agricultural estate with a landscape designed for productivity and practicality rather than for pleasure or the desire to impress. 

Jerviswood House sits above the Mouse Water beside the deep, wooded gorge of Cleghorn Glen.  This ancient, semi-natural woodland has been managed for centuries:   trees were being harvested as far back as 1690; in 1840 the owners were complaining of damage to 300 newly-planted birch trees; and plantations were a feature of the estate from at least the 1860s with evidence of coppicing up to the mid-20th century.  The Glen is now part of the Clyde Valley Woodlands Nature Reserve.

Jerviswood on the 1816 Forrest map
Jerviswood on the 1816 Forrest map

In the early years of industry, Cunning Willie’s Mill was one of four on the Mouse   Sitting just below Jerviswood House, it featured on an 1816 map but was disused by at least 1858.  Today you can see remains of the mill lade and stone steps into the water, and the ruins of a small building.

Remains of stone steps at the site of Cunning Willie's Mill on Mouse Water
Remains of stone steps at the site of Cunning Willie's Mill on Mouse Water

At one time there was a tree-lined approach to Jerviswood from what is now the A706 Lanark to Cleghorn road.  This survives as a muddy but well defined track with stone bottoming visible in a few places.

Former approach to Jerviswood House from the Lanark to Cleghorn road
Former approach to Jerviswood House from the Lanark to Cleghorn road

Jerviswood was home to one of the most famous Covenanter Martyrs, Robert Baillie, and the collection of birks from its woods is an important part of the annual Lanimer traditions.

To find out more about the estate's archaeology and history, click the links on the right. This research was carried out as part of the Glorious Gardens volunteer project, which is managed by Scotland's Garden & Landscape Heritage and delivered by Northlight Heritage, with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund supported Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership and from Historic Environment Scotland.  To find out more about the project, explore the other museum items below.


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