The Hermitage

A fine white-harled and half-timbered house on the east coast of Bute, The Hermitage is located a quarter-mile (0.5 km) north of Kerrycroy and a half-mile (1 km) south of Ascog. This was originally Kerrycroy School with adjoining schoolmaster's house, thought to date from the 1830s, built by John Crichton-Stuart, 2nd Marquess of Bute (1793 - 1848). However, it was substantially altered and extended, with Arts-and-Crafts influences, in the 1880s by Edward La Trobe Bateman (1816-97) an artist and landscape architect who was responsible for laying out the Botanic Gardens in Melbourne (Australia). La Trobe Bateman had initially rented the house, while he worked for the Marquess at nearby Mount Stuart, but was later able to buy it.

The house is was C-listed in 1998 and the listing text mentions its varying roof levels, timber bracketed verandah, ball-finials and terracotta ridge detailing. Inside are four reception rooms and five bedrooms, featuring timber panelling, vaulted ceilings, parquet flooring and carved timber fire surrounds. A particular gem is the Mediaeval-themed dining room with its wonderful hammerbeam ceiling, painted with colourful motifs, a minstrels' gallery, ornate carved timber columns and an open fireplace.

La Trobe Bateman was also responsible for the landscaping of the grounds, which extends to 2 ha (5 acres) and includes a summer house, hexagonal barbeque hut, a heated Victorian greenhouse and potting sheds.

La Trobe Bateman died here in December 1897.

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