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Schaw Park, Sauchie, Clackmannanshire: unexecuted designs for a house, mausoleum and carriage panels for Charles Schaw Cathcart, 9th Lord Cathcart, 1775-76 (16)

1775-75
The estate at Sauchie belonging to the Schaw family contained three residences. The first is Sauchie Tower, which originally dated from c1335, and was built by the de Annand family, who had been granted the land by Robert the Bruce. It was rebuilt in the 1420s or 1430s by Sir James Schaw of Greenock, the King’s Master of Works, when the estate came into his possession through marriage with Mary de Annand. The tower survives, and is now in the possession of the Clackmannanshire Heritage Trust, and is occasionally open to the public. The second residence at Sauchie was built in the 1630s by the Schaw family. This was Old Sauchie House: constructed against the west side of the fifteenth-century curtain wall to Sauchie Tower. It was subdivided into three tenanted dwellings during the eighteenth century, which survived until 1930 when the building was purchased and demolished by the Coal Board. The third and final dwelling was the nearby mansion known as Schaw Park, built in 1700 for a different branch of the Schaw family. Little is known of this building, but during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries it must have been the principal residence of the estate.

On the death of Sir John Schaw, 3rd Baronet in 1752, the Schaw estate at Sauchie passed to his grandson, the 9th Lord Cathcart. Marion Schaw was Sir John’s only child, and she had married the 8th Lord Cathcart in 1718. Charles Schaw Cathcart (1721-76) was the third, but eldest surviving son of Charles Cathcart, 8th Lord Cathcart. He succeeded his father as 9th Lord Cathcart in 1740, and like his father before him, was an army officer, attaining the rank of lieutenant-general in 1760. He served as aide-de-camp to William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland in 1740-48, during the War of the Austrian Succession, and lost an eye at the Battle of Fontenoy in 1745. This important royal connection brought Cathcart a number of public offices, which were welcome as they alleviated his unstable personal fortune. Cathcart was a representative peer of Scotland in 1752-66; he was High Commissioner of the general assembly of the Church of Scotland in 1755-63 and 1773-76; he became a Knight of the Thistle in 1763; he served as Scotland’s first lord commissioner of police in 1764-68; and was rector of Glasgow University in 1773-75. Perhaps his most prominent appointment was when he served as Ambassador to the court of Catherine the Great at St Petersburg in 1768-72. While Cathcart was an ineffective diplomat, he and Lady Cathcart (Jean Hamilton (1726-71), daughter of Lord Archibald Hamilton) did become friendly with Catherine the Great. It was through Lady Cathcart, and her brother William Hamilton, that Catherine the Great became an enthusiastic patron of Joseph Wedgwood.

On his return from Russia, Cathcart clearly felt that improvements were needed at Schaw Park, the principal seat at Sauchie. In 1775, Robert Adam was commissioned to make designs for enlargements and alterations to the house, as well as for a family mausoleum in the park, and for a set of decorative coach panels. None of Adam’s designs were executed, presumably owing to financial considerations. The estate at Sauchie was sold by Cathcart’s son, the 10th Lord Cathcart in 1799, to his brother-in-law, the 2nd Earl of Mansfield. It was sold again by the 6th Earl of Mansfield in 1826, and Schaw Park was eventually demolished in 1961.

Literature:
A.T. Bolton, The architecture of Robert and James Adam, 1922, Volume II, Index pp. 27, 65; S. Astley, Robert Adam’s castles, 2000, p. 33; D. King, The complete works of Robert & James Adam and unbuilt Adam, 2001, Volume II, pp. 161, 183, 225; ‘Cathcart, Charles Schaw, ninth Lord Cathcart (1721-1776)’, Oxford dictionary of national biography online

Frances Sands, 2014
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