Netherdale House 

A Brief History & Architectural Note

Netherdale belonged to a branch of the Maitland family from whom it seems to have passed to the Gordons in c.1497. In 1641 the barony is recorded as belonging to the Crichtons of Frendraught. By the late 18th Century it had come into the possession of the Earl of Fife. The present B listed mansion house was probably built on or near the site of an earlier Barony or mansion house.  It is thought to have been designed by William Robertson c.1825 for the Rose-Innes family, factors to the Duke of Fife, who occupied Netherdale until 1922.

 

It is a 2-storey, 5-bay by 3-bay classical house with a raised basement. A 2-storey single bay, recessed wing and rear additions have been attributed to A. and W. Reid of Elgin, c.1856. The house is constructed of coursed granite ashlar with rusticated quoins to the principal floors with harled sides to the rear and rear elevation. The South elevation features a broad advanced bay at its centre, and a Roman Doric portico with paired columns and fully detailed entablature with Diocletian window above.  The North elevation has an irregular 2-storey broad advanced bay at its centre accommodating a secondary stair.

 

The house was used as a rest and pre-embarkation camp for allied soldiers during WWII.  The British troops who were based at Netherdale House were Seaforth Highlanders. They were there for two or three years before going to the Middle East. There were also some Norwegians after Dunkirk.  Officers lived in the house, other ranks were in a camp in a neighbouring field.  There are still a few reminders of the soldiers at Netherdale - engravings in the old trees and remnants of their camp in the grounds.  Even trees where the soldiers' rifle practise has left a permanent reminder.  The Seaforths were well known in the village of Aberchirder, as their band often entertained and the soldiers attended the dances which were held two or three nights a week in the Memorial Hall by the Red Cross and other groups as fundraisers. The dances were always packed out.  At the end of the war Col. Duff of Drummuir bought the estate, and since this time a further two families - the Nelson and the Oliphant families owned and run the estate until Sept. 2016 when it was purchased by the current owners.

Situated in the grounds is the former coachhouse and stables of Netherdale House dating from the early 19th century, converted in 2020/21 to provide additional guest accommodation.  It is a two-storey, 7-bay coachhouse, pended at the centre with stables to the left and the coachman's house to the right. Built of squared and coursed rubble with ashlar dressings. The stable range is 3-bay to the left, with a central door, flanking windows and three small windows under the eaves at first floor. The coachman's house is 3-bay to the right, with a central door, flanking windows, with two windows at the first floor raised to piended dormerheads. The garage is at right angles to the south, built circa 1930, shown on the OS 5th edition map. It consists of wooden garage workshops, porte cochere supported by wooden bracketed columns and large, sliding, half-glazed doors to the north and the west.