Touch House

An A-listed mansion house on the northeastern edge of the Touch Hills in Stirling Council Area, Touch House lies within an agricultural estate of 1517 ha (3750 acres), 1½ miles (2.5 km) west of Cambusbarron and 2½ miles (4 km) west of Stirling. Set within picturesque parkland, the house very obviously represents three different periods of construction; combining the original 16th-century tower (now most evident to the southeast), with a north front which is distinctively of the 17th century and a classical seven-bay facade, facing south, created for the Setons of Touch in 1747 by John Steinson, which is said to be the finest in the area. Steinson is otherwise unknown and links to William and John Adam have been suggested. A large but low hall opens into a grand elliptical staircase which was the work of James Gillespie Graham c.1810. This stair is lit by an immense coppola. On the first floor, the drawing room and dining room are panelled from floor to ceiling with Baltic pine and both rooms feature fine plasterwork ceilings by Thomas Clayton. The Music Room on the second floor also has a ceiling by Clayton, while adjacent is the Heather bedroom, which features unusual linen wall hangings.

Prince Charles Edward Stuart spent the night here on the 13th September 1745 on route to the Battle of Prestonpans. Later, Hugh Seton became one of the principal lairds who drained the Carse of Stirling to create good agricultural land, but amassed considerable debt, was imprisoned and forced to leave the country. His son, Archibald (1758 - 1818), restored the family fortunes through many years of service with the East India Company, although died on his way home into retirement. The Setons sold the estate to the Buchanan family in 1928 and Robert Lorimer was immediately employed to improve the northern elevation and interior. Lorimer was also responsible for realigning the driveway, which now approaches the south front with a steep curve. Touch was given over to be used as a convalescent home during World War II.

Still principally a family home, the house is also used for corporate entertaining and as a conference centre, as well as regularly featuring in television and film productions. The adjacent stable block (also A-listed and dating from 1750) was restored from a dilapidated state to become a business centre in 2001. More than a million trees were planted in the estate in the late 18th century. Fine gardens to the west have been developed since 1962.

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