Colzium Lennox Estate
Colzium House was built by the Edmonstone family of Duntreath. The work was started in 1783 and considerable additions were made in 1861. Some of the masonry from the castle was used in its construction. the architectural style is a mixture of the Scottish vernacular and the more modern renaissance mode. after the First world War, the family started to sell parts of the estate. W Mackay Lennox bought the house in 1930 and in 1937, on his retiral as Town Clerk, he presented the House and its policies to Kilsyth Burgh, in memory of his mother.
Colzium House is now used as a venue for conferences and weddings, and may be hired at a reasonable charge: Tel: 01698 403 120 (direct line to North Lanarkshire Council)
The site of the ruins of a castle built by the Earl of Lennox. Extensive walks through delightful ancient woodlands, romantic glen with many waterfalls, arboretum of rare trees, ice house, old clock theatre, curling pond, access to Banton Loch. State of the art children’s play area, football pitch, grassy open glades for picnics, kite flying, sledging. Colzium House with its collection of paintings and the Museum which houses historical artefacts are open to the public on selected dates.
The Walled Garden
The walled garden has an excellent display of conifers, heathers and rare plants of all kinds. The wrought iron gates to the garden were presented to the estate by a local youth club and many memorial seats have been gifted over the years.
The attractiveness of this unique garden has been highlighted by its being featured in a number of publications and on BBC Scotland broadcasts. The garden has a Scottish Tourist Board double-starred Visitor Attraction rating and forms part of VisitScotland’s annual Snowdrop Festival.
Colzium Glen and the Ice House
The 17th century Ice House is a rare and near perfect example of its type. Built deep into the west bank of the glen, it is a large vaulted structure with doors, passageways and a game pit. The subterranean ice chamber would be filled with ice from ponds in winter. Meat carcasses,barrels of fish, birds, eggs etc were stored here for future use. Excavated and fully reported with accurate diagrams by Dr Hugo Millar in 1977, this is an important part of Kilsyth’s heritage as well as currently providing a roost for four species of bats.
Situated nearer the top of the glen is the Granny’s Mutch. This semi-domed structure, a good vantage point to view the waterfalls, is remarkable for the weight of the individual stones and the precision of the masonry. The name derives from a type of close fitting bonnet worn by women in the past.
This building, situated to the immediate north of Colzium House was constructed in 1815 as a Chapel of Worship for the Edmonstone family. It was used as such until 1861 when a new chapel (now the Museum Room) was incorporated within the main house. The “Clock” building was then converted to a Laundry and a Stable, eventually falling into disuse. Restored in 1974 it was for some years used as a theatre by a local musical society.
A complete refurbishment has now taken place. It has become a state of the art Interpretation Centre for Kilsyth and the Kelvin Valley and includes a Café giving on to open air terraces There is direct access from the Visitor Centre to the Walled Garden.
The Lade was built in the mid-18th century to supply water to the Forth and Clyde canal via the Banton loch. It comes down from the Garrel Mill skirting the grounds of Criagengoyne Nursing Home, then flowing through the estate to Banton Loch. It flows gently alongside a mature beech avenue approach from the Tak Ma Doon Rd., to join Banton Loch at the site of the Battle of Kilsyth.
Some of the original boundary stones along the path of the Lade remain in situ, bearing the inscription FCN denoting Forth and Clyde Navigation Company (the labourers digging such courses came to be known as ‘navvies’)
Very much older stones – erratic boulders from the glacial age – can be seen in the nearby wooded area of Craigstone.
What little remains of the 16th century Colzium Castle is now part of a cottage wall. The estate was originally owned by the Earls of Lennox who built a motte at nearby Castlehill during the 12th century. The estate passed to the Callenders and, through marriage, became the estate of the Livingstons of Callender, who constructed an L-plan tower. Towards the end of the 16th century the family added a large hall to the tower, the few remains of which have survived to this day.
In 1645, James Graham, Marquis of Montrose, camped his army on the estate before going out to defeat General Baillie’s covenanter army at the Battle of Kilsyth. The battleground, now the Townhead Reservoir, was flooded in the 18th century as part of the construction of the Forth and Clyde Canal. In 1703, the third Viscount Kilsyth had Colzium Castle razed, shortly before he inherited the estate.
Then, 80 years later, the Edmonstones took possession of the land, and during the 19th century they completed the construction of Colzium House, less than 400 yards from the ruins of the old castle. The Edmonstones returned to their ancestral seat at Duntreath in the early 1930’s and the near-derelict house was bought by the Lennox family who handed it over to the burgh of Kilsyth in 1937.
The main entrance to the estate is on the A803. There are car parks at the Curling Pond, at the Children’s Play Area and at the House and Walled Garden.
Public transport – First Bus no 4B (Croy Station to Grangemouth via Kilsyth, Banton and Falkirk will stop at the bus stop situated near Colzium (main entrance on Stirling Road.)
Many different woodland pathways lead into the estate from Tak-ma-Doon Road, Stirling Road and Banton Loch providing an endless choice of short or longer pleasant circular walks.