Glentyan House was built by Alexander Speirs, a local linen merchant, in the late eighteenth century. A subsequent owner, Richard Hubbert Hunter, owned the estate from 1898 until his death in 1939. He kept the gardens well maintained and invested in new additional features to enhance his estate. His son Charles, who inherited the estate on the death of his father, was a keen photographer.
Some years ago, a box of Charles Hunter’s glass negatives was given to me by Charles’s sister, Elspeth. When I first saw the negatives, they were carefully wrapped in pages of an old newspaper, dated 1922. The photographs provide a unique visual record of Glentyan Estate around one hundred years ago.
Charles Hunter, took the above photograph of Glentyan House in, or before, 1922. The frontage of the house remains as it was one hundred years ago, but the tower with the flagpole on the roof has been removed. Elspeth Hunter, remembers that during WW2 the tower was used as a look-out post by the ARP wardens. She remembers being in the tower with her parents on a dark night when a German plane flew overhead and family members on duty had to quickly cover the bright white letter ‘W’ on their warden helmets in case they were spotted by the German pilot.
Glentyan House. showing roof tower, Charles Hunter
In the image above, a painted wooden plaque of Richard Hunter’s coat of arms can be seen in the apex above the front entrance. The armorial bearings in the centre of the plaque showed two hunting horns and ‘the sun in his splendour’, topped by a falcon and the Hunter clan motto, SEMPER SUBLIMA . The plaque, too, has now gone. After gracing the house for around one hundred years, sadly, in 2010 this colourful wooden plaque fell to the ground and shattered.
(Click on image to enlarge)
The image above shows the brightly coloured plaque. ( some letters of the motto can be distinguished in the enlarged image ) – Top right showing SEMPER and a rather vague SUBLIMA
Charles’s photographs of Glentyan Estate taken in the early 1920s, also include the beautiful formal rose garden at the rear of house.
Glentyan House, rear view and rose garden, Charles Hunter
Included, too, is this excellent image of the enormous glass house in the walled garden. Only the much-ruined wall of the walled garden remains today.
Glass House in the walled garden, Charles Hunter
Richard Hunter kept his woodlands and gardens well maintained and invested in new additional features to enhance his estate. The most significant was the creation of an artificial lake, now known as Glentyan Loch. His additions also included a full sized tennis court. Glentyan Loch, and the tennis court, were used by the family for leisure and recreation. The photograph below shows the boat house on the left with a punt gun, used for fowling, moored centre front.
Glentyan Loch and boat house, Charles Hunter
A main feature on Glentyan Loch was the Japanese Bridge which separated the loch from the old mill dam which had powered Glentyan Corn Mill.
The Japanese Bridge, Charles Hunter
Charles Hunter’s box contained over sixty glass negatives. His sister Elspeth wanted them to be kept in Kilbarchan. Ian Trushell processed the photographs, and the glass negatives are now in safe keeping in the village.
© 2021 Helen Calcluth