West Lothian

A small settlement and former estate in West Lothian, Gowanbank lies close to the boundary with Falkirk, a half-mile (1 km) south southeast of Avonbridge and 2 miles (3 km) northwest of Armadale.

The estate was the country seat of architect Sir James Gowans (1821-90), inherited from his stone-mason and quarry-master father, Walter, in 1858. The farmhouse was built by Walter Gowans c.1820 but recast by the son in his unique style in 1862. The group of buildings also includes a steading, comprising a barn, engine-house, cottage and byre, which served as a training ground for local stone-masons. The style involves random multi-coloured whinstone rubble set between rough quoins and string courses, with repeating 2 sq. foot units and the slate roofs set at angles of either 22.5°, 45° or 67.5°. The following biblical quotation appears on the steading: "Heb III.4. For every house is builded by some man but he that built all things is God. Eccles II.4, XI, XII. 1 August 1862".

Now A-listed, all of these were in poor condition by the early 1990s when they were bought and converted into five homes by "enthusiastic renovators" whose efforts won first prize in the Henry Ford European Conservation Engineering Awards (1997).

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