A fine Victorian property overlooking Loch Long and the Firth of Clyde.
Rosehaugh is an imposing property, typically Victorian in appearance yet upgraded in recent years to offer a magnificent interior with a remarkable specification. A comprehensive programme of renovation took place between 2006 and 2008 including extensive remedial works, a new Spanish slate roof, and underfloor heating to the kitchen, drawing room, dining room, hallway, master bedroom, en suite and family bathroom.
A beautiful entrance vestibule with mosaic tiled floor and ornate cornice leads to the main reception hallway via an archway with double doors. The hallway has fine plasterwork including corbels, a ceiling rose and cornice.
Off the hallway are the drawing room, the dining room and the kitchen. The drawing room has a double glazed bay window with views over Loch Long and towards Cove beyond, a marble fireplace, an ornate cornice and an oak floor. The dining room has twin double glazed windows, an ornate cornice, a traditional fireplace with wood burning stove and a door to the dining kitchen. The dining kitchen was refitted in 2006 with Bauformat units at wall and counter level. It includes a Bosch electric oven, a Britannia stainless steel stove with twin electric ovens and a six-burner gas stove with griddle, a SMEG hood, a dishwasher and a walk in pantry. A door leads to the back lobby which has doors to the courtyard, the downstairs wc and the utility room. The utility room is plumbed for a washing machine and tumble dryer, has excellent storage and houses the Worcester boiler, Valliant water cylinder and control for solar panelling. There is also a door to the walk in wine cellar which has racks with capacity for 900 bottles.
On the upper landing there is the magnificent stained glass window which is thought to be by the renowned stained glass artist James Ballantyne (see historical note). The master bedroom has a bay window, deep cornice and an en suite bathroom with Lefroy Brooks wc, wash hand basin, a freestanding bath and separate shower cubicle with high pressure shower. Bedroom 2 has views over Loch Long and Bedroom 3 has views to the rear garden. There are 3 further bedrooms, one of which is used as a study with fitted furniture which includes bookshelves and two desks.
Double gates flanked by white stone pillars open to the paved driveway of Rosehaugh. The driveway continues around the house to a paved courtyard area with parking at the rear. A lawn enclosed by a stone wall and bordered by some mature shrubs lies to the front of the house and continues around the house to the rear. The land slopes at the rear and is planted with mature trees, shrubs and rhododendrons.
Store Room (4.23m x 3.39m)
Workshop (4.50m x 2.30m)
The land where Rosehaugh stands was purchased in 1860 by Alexander and Janet MacKenzie of Greenock. They built the house, formerly known as Calton Hill, in 1864 as a holiday home, their principal residence being in Greenock. Alexander was at this time the owner of the Greenock Advertiser newspaper, which ceased publication in the 1890s. Records indicate that the Mackenzies lived in the house from about May to September each year in those days, frequent steamers sailed from Blairmore to Greenock, which would have permitted Alexander to get to his office. Alexander died in 1877 and, at some point afterwards, Janet moved to the house permanently. She died in 1901 at the age of 96.
Alexander MacKenzie was born in Edinburgh in 1811, the eldest of a family of 12. He trained as a printer, moving then to journalism. He joined the Greenock Advertiser as a reporter at the age of 24, moving up to become editor, then part owner and finally full owner. In 1840, he married Janet McIntyre, the daughter of a Greenock shipping merchant.
While working in Edinburgh, he became a friend and partner to James Ballantyne, who was of a similar age and who had trained as a painter. As young men, they jointly founded the Mechanics Library which lent books to apprentices for their studies. They were much praised for this initiative; the Mechanics Library eventually become part of the library of the University of Edinburgh. Records show that Ballantyne and MacKenzie remained friends for the rest of their lives, and that, after they both had died, their widows remained friends.
James Ballantyne moved from house painting to study art and then to revive the art of what was then called glass painting. His big opportunity came around 1840, when he was given the commission by Augustus Pugin, the architect of the Houses of Parliament, to design and manufacture the stained glass windows for the House of Lords. The theme for these windows was to show one event from the lives of each of the principal monarchs from Boudicca to Victoria. In the event, Pugin did not accept Ballantyne's designs and designed the windows himself. However, Ballantyne did carry out the manufacture, which established him as the foremost stained glass maker of the time and earned him enough funds to establish a three storey building in Edinburgh where he designed and made windows for many important buildings, including St Giles Cathedral and the Scott Monument. Ballantyne also established something of a reputation as an author. Ballantyne also died in 1877.
The Rosehaugh Window
Rosehaugh's main reception hallway, stairway and upper landing are illuminated by a remarkable piece of stained glass which has been identified as being by Ballantyne. The central panel of the window is believed to show Henry VII presenting William Caxton with a copy of a French book on chivalry, authorising him to translate it into English and to put into emprynt. This event is dated to around 1489, and marks the era of the beginning of the printing industry in England. The central panel has been dated to around 1840 by a Ballantyne expert; the surrounding panels are dated to the 1860s. Research in the House of Lords archives uncovered the letter that Ballantyne wrote to Pugin to accompany his designs, and makes reference to a sample of his work that accompanies his submission. When Pugin rejected the designs, the sample would have been returned to Ballantyne. It is assumed that it lay in his workshop until his friend Mackenzie built his holiday home. What could be more appropriate as a gift to his publisher friend than a window marking the start of the printing industry. The window has been recorded by Historic Scotland.
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