Lord Blantyre’s Erskine House

Although this building sits away through in Renfrew, it is worth mentioning here given the Blantyre connections. In 1703, Alexander Stewart, 5th Lord Blantyre purchased the barony of Erskine. Robert Walter Stewart, the 11th Lord Blantyre demolished the old mansion on Eriskine Estate and constructed the present Erskine House between 1828 and 1845.

Sir Robert Smirke, the architect of the British Museum, designed it. During the early 18th century the estate and old Erskine House came into the ownership of the Lords Blantyre. In 1828 Major General Robert W Stuart, the 11th Lord Blantyre and a distinguished veteran of the Wellington’s peninsular campaigns during the Napoleonic Wars, commissioned the present house. His architect, Sir Robert Smirke (1781-1867) was still engaged in designing the British Museum. That, however, is a very classical design whereas Erskine House is more Gothic with touches of Tudor. The stone was quarried locally. Sir Charles Barry produced designs for the gardens. Sadly Lord Blantyre never saw his house as he was killed in Brussels during the 1830 uprising that led to the birth of Belgium. The house was completed only in 1845. The final cost was £50,000, about £2.5m today.

When the Blantyre line became extinct in 1900 the house was left derelict but in 1916 it re-opened as the Princess Louise Scottish Hospital of Limbless Sailors and Soldiers.

As obelisk still stands nearby, which is 20m high, erected in the memory of Robert Walter Stewart, paid for by the people of Erskine.

From “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c) 2016

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