Sunday 27 July 2014

(133) Anderson of Quarter House

John Brown acquired the Quarter estate in 1630, but nothing is known of the house that existed here at that time.  It passed to his son, Alexander Brown (d. 1709), grandson, John Brown (d. 1744) and great-grandson, Alexander Brown (d. 1776), and the present house was built after the latter's son, Alexander Brown (d. 1830) inherited.  Alexander and his sister Elizabeth Brown (d. 1832) both died unmarried and childless, and so the estate passed to their distant kinsman, John Harvie (1801-80) of Shirgarton, who took the additional name of Brown.  It was probably after he moved into Quarter that the tripartite windows were inserted on the ground floor.  But only five years after he inherited Quarter his wife inherited the much larger Dunipace House nearby, and that became their principal seat.

Dunipace House, c.1890, during the building work
for the addition of the library wing.
John Alexander Harvie Brown (1844-1916) of Dunipace and Quarter was a keen field sportsman and ornithologist.  Although he shot birds and collected their skins and eggs in the Victorian tradition, he was also a serious and industrious scholar in the field, making some of the earliest scientific studies of bird migration which were based in part on his own observations from his yacht and on the observations of lighthouse keepers around Scotland. He published extensively on natural history, and was editor of the Annals of Scottish Natural History and of a series of books on The vertebrate fauna of Scotland, many of which he wrote himself. He added a new wing to Dunipace House in the 1890s to accommodate his library, but unfortunately a few years later the house was seriously damaged by fire.  Although the library itself was saved, his ornithological collections in the main house were destroyed.  The house was later restored and continued to be his home until his death in 1916, after which it was sold. A full account of Dunipace House is reserved for a future post.

Quarter House passed at his death to his cousin, Harvie Anderson (1841-1921), a Glasgow merchant.  His son, Thomas Alexander Harvie Anderson (1872-1953) was a Glasgow solicitor, but also much occupied with the work of the Territorial Army, in which he had taken an active part between 1889 and 1907.  His only child was his daughter, Betty Harvie Anderson (1913-79).  She served in the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) as a Company Commander during the Second World War and later became a County Councillor for Stirlingshire. Finding politics to her liking, she became the Conservative MP for East Renfrewshire in 1959 and held that position for twenty years.  In the early 1970s she was the first woman to hold the office of Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons. When she retired from Parliament in 1979 she was created Baroness Skrimshire of Quarter, but died a few weeks later from an asthma attack. Quarter House passed to her husband, Dr. John Skrimshire (1918-90) and was sold after his death.  The present owners operate the house as a country house bed & breakfast business.

Quarter House, Dunipace, Stirlingshire
Quarter House

A two storey house with a hipped roof and central chimneyed pediment, built in the late 18th century for Alexander Brown, who inherited in 1776. The entrance front has a three-light window with a hoodmould on either side of the Tuscan porch and five regularly spaced sashes above, of which the second and fourth are dummies. The ground floor windows are probably an alteration of the 1830s by John Harvie Brown.  Inside, the entrance hall opens through an elliptical arch ointo the cantilevered staircase, and this space is flanked by the drawing and dining rooms.

Quarter House: the entrance hall and staircase
Descent: sold 1630 to John Brown (d. 1655); to son, Alexander Brown (d. 1709); to son, John Brown (d. 1744); to son, Alexander Brown (d. 1776); to son, Alexander Brown (d. 1820); to sister, Elizabeth Brown (d. 1832); to kinsman, John Harvie (later Brown) (1801-80); to son, John Alexander Harvie Brown (1844-1916); to cousin, Harvie Anderson (1841-1921); to son, Thomas Alexander Harvie Anderson (1872-1953); to daughter, Margaret Betty Harvie Anderson (later Skrimshire) (1913-79), Baroness Skrimshire of Quarter; to husband, Dr. John Francis Penrose Skrimshire (1918-90)... Mr & Mrs Robin Maclean (fl. 2014).

The Brown (later Harvie Brown) family of Quarter House

Brown, John (d. 1655) of Quarter. He married Barbara Young and had issue including:
(1) Alexander Brown (d. 1709) (q.v.).
He acquired the Quarter estate in 1630.
He died in 1655.

Brown, Alexander (d. 1709) of Quarter. Son of John Brown (d. 1655) of Quarter and his wife Barbara Young. He married and had issue including:
(1) John Brown (d. 1744) (q.v.);
(2) William Brown of Aikenhead; married, 1749, Elizabeth, daughter of James Campbell;
(3) Alexander Brown;
(4) Margaret Brown (fl. 1732).
He inherited the Quarter estate from his father in 1655.
He died in 1709.

Brown, John (d. 1744) of Quarter. Son of Alexander Brown (d. 1709) of Quarter. He married, 1721, Elizabeth, daughter of Alexander Forrester of Arngibbon (Stirlingshire) and had issue including:
(1) Alexander Brown (1723-76) (q.v.);
(2) John Brown (b. 1725);
(3) Andrew Brown (b. 1726);
(4) William Brown (b. 1727);
(5) James Brown (b. 1730);
(6) John Brown (b. 1732);
(7) Robert Brown (b. 1745), born posthumously.
He inherited the Quarter estate from his father in 1709.
He died in 1744.

Brown, Alexander (1723-76) of Quarter.  Son of John Brown (d. 1744) of Quarter and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Alexander Forrester of Arngibbon (Stirlingshire), born 1723.  A sugar refiner in Glasgow. He married Elizabeth, daughter of Robert Stephenson of Paisley, and had issue:
(1) Alexander Brown; died in infancy;
(1) Alexander Brown (1752-1830); died unmarried, 4 August 1830;
(2) Elizabeth Brown (1756-1832); died unmarried, 24 February 1832.
He inherited the Quarter estate from his father in 1744.  After his death it passed to his son, who rebuilt the house, and, when he died unmarried, to his daughter.  At her death in 1832 it passed to her kinsman, John Harvie, who was a relation through the Forresters of Arngibbon.
He died in 1776.

Harvie (later Harvie Brown), John (1801-80) of Quarter and Dunipace. Son of John Harvie (1723-1806) of Arnfinlay and later of Shirgarton House, Kippen, and his wife Marion, daughter of Thomas Forrester of Arngibbon, born 13 June 1801.  He assumed the additional name of Brown in 1832 on succeeding to the Quarter estate.  He married, 1837, Elizabeth (d. 1888), daughter of Thomas Spottiswood of Dunipace (Stirlingshire) and had issue:
(1) John Alexander Harvie Brown (1844-1916) (q.v.).
He inherited the Quarter estate from his kinswoman, Elizabeth Brown, in 1832. His wife inherited the Dunipace estate in 1837.
He died 14 October 1880. His widow died in 1888.

J.A. Harvie Brown
Harvie Brown, John Alexander (1844-1916) of Dunipace and Quarter. Only son of John Harvie Brown (1801-80) of Quarter and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Spottiswood of Dunipace, born 27 August 1844. He was educated at Merchiston College and Edinburgh and Cambridge Universities (LLD).  JP for Stirlingshire. Ornithologist; Fellow of the Zoological Society and of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Editor of The Annals of Scottish Natural History and author of The Capercaillie in Scotland; Report on the Migration of Birds; The wonderful trout (1898); A vertebrate fauna of Argyll and the Inner Hebrides; A vertebrate fauna of the Outer Hebrides; Travels of a naturalist in northern Europe (1905), and other works. He built his own yacht, Shiantelle, on which he sailed the Scottish coast making observations of bird migrations; a lighthouse keeper reinterpreted his initials as "John Always Hunting Birds"! He was unmarried and without issue.
He inherited the Quarter and Shirgarton estates from his father in 1880 and the Dunipace House estate from his mother in 1888.  He built a new library wing onto Dunipace House in the 1890s, but the rest of the house was largely destroyed by fire in 1897, taking with it a large part of his collection of birds and eggs. The house was subsequently restored. At his death the Quarter estate passed to his cousin, Harvie Anderson (see below) and Dunipace House was sold, becoming a boarding school in the 1920s and being demolished in 1947.
He died at Dunipace House, 26 July 1916.

The Anderson family of Quarter House

Anderson, Rev. Thomas (1780-1869) of Crawfurd (Lanarks). Born 15 March 1780. He married, 23 October 1832, Elizabeth (d. 1882), daughter of John Harvie (1723-1806) of Arnfinlay and later of Shirgarton House, Kippen, and had issue:
(1) William Anderson (1833-46), born 21 August 1833; died young, 13 May 1846;
(2) John Harvie Anderson (1835-37); died in infancy, 31 March 1837;
(3) Thomas Alexander Anderson (1837-97); solicitor in Glasgow; married, 1882, Euphemia (1842-1915), daughter of Rev. Gordon Mitchell of Kilmadock (Perths), but died without issue;
(4) Harvie Anderson (1841-1921) (q.v.).
He died 25 May 1869. His widow died 26 April 1882.

Anderson, Harvie (1841-1921) of Hillhead.  Younger son of Rev. Thomas Anderson (1780-1869) of Crawfurd (Lanarks) and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of John Harvie of Arnfinlay and later Shirgarton House, Kippen, born 2 November 1841. Educated at Glasgow High School and Glasgow University. Merchant in Glasgow. He married, 1867, Jessie (d. 1889), daughter of James Carmichael of Sandyford House, Glasgow, and had issue:
(1) Elizabeth Anderson (b. 1868);
(2) Janet Helen Anderson (1870-1923); died unmarried;
(3) Thomas Alexander Harvie Anderson (1872-1953) (q.v.).
He inherited the Quarter estate from his cousin, John Alexander Harvie Brown, in 1916.
He died 5 January 1921; will proved 31 March 1921.  His wife died in 1889.

Anderson, Col. Thomas Alexander Harvie (1872-1953). Only son of Harvie Anderson (1841-1921) of Quarter, and his wife Jessie, daughter of James Carmichael of Sandyford House, Glasgow, born 17 April 1872. Educated at Glasgow Academy and Glasgow University (MA 1893; BL 1896; LLB 1898).  Served with the Glasgow Highlanders from 1889-1907 (Capt., 1902; Hon. Colonel of 1st and 2nd Bttns, 1938-46); Secretary, Territorial and Auxiliary Air Force Assoc., Glasgow, 1907-37 and of Princess Louise Scottish Hospital for Limbless Sailors and Soldiers, 1916-53. Partner in firm of Anderson, Fyfe, Littlejohn & Co. of Glasgow, solicitors. County Councillor for Stirlingshire, 1940-43, JP and DL for Glasgow; appointed CB and TD 1919.  He married, 29 November 1905, Nessie Wilson (d. 1938), daughter of Sir John Shearer, and had issue:
(1) Margaret Betty Harvie Anderson (1913-79) (q.v.).
He inherited the Quarter estate from his father in 1921.
He died 1 May 1953.  His wife died 2 July 1938.

Anderson (later Skrimshire), (Margaret) Betty Harvie (1913-79), Baroness Skrimshire of Quarter. Only child of Col. Thomas Alexander Harvie Anderson (1872-1953) and his wife Nessie Wilson, daughter of Sir John Shearer, born 12 August 1913. Educated at St. Leonards School, St. Andrews (Fife). Served in WW2 as Company Commander, ATS. County Councillor for Stirlingshire; MP for Renfrewshire East, 1959-79; Deputy Speaker of House of Commons, 1970-73.  Appointed OBE 1956, TD 1959; created Baroness Skrimshire of Quarter, 1979.  She married, 5 May 1960, Dr. John Francis Penrose Skrimshire (1918-90) MRCS LRCP MB BChir MRCP MD FRCP, but had no issue.
She inherited the Quarter estate from her father in 1953. At her death the estate passed to her husband and was sold after his death.
She died of an asthma attack, 9 November 1979. Her husband died 28 April 1990.


Burke's Landed Gentry, 1952, pp. 40-41; J. Gifford & F.A. Walker, The buildings of Scotland: Stirling and Central Scotland, 2002, pp. 639-40; obituary of J.A. Harvie Brown in British Birds, 1 November 1916.

Location of archives

No significant archive is known to survive.

Coat of arms

None recorded.

Revision & Acknowledgements

This account was first published on 27th April 2014 and revised 4th April 2015. I am grateful to David Erskine for additional information.


  1. Whilst researching the subject of Belgian Refugees in Scotland 1914, and in particular a married couple from Aarschott in Flanders, I came upon the information that they were sent to Quarter Mill Dunipace under the auspices of a Mrs. Henderson. They were then placed with a local Denny family for the duration of the war. Can you tell me if Quarter house might be the same as Quarter Mill? Much obliged.
    Patricia McAtee

    1. I believe not. (Lower) Quarter Mill is on a stream south-west of Quarter House: see,0

  2. I lived at Quarter cottage as a child. Margaret Thatcher visited Baroness Skrimshire when my brother was born in 1976 and held him. We played in the big house and grounds as a child. And I'm answer to above question Quarter House Quarter Mill are different and Quarter Mill is across the motorway down from Quarter Cottage and High Quarter Farm. Quarter House sits behind Wellsfield Farm

    1. Hi there, I am the new owner at Quarter and would live to see any pictures of the house and grounds if you had any!

    2. Hello, I am the owner of Shirgarton, just wondered if you have any documents or photographs relating to Shirgarton House that were passed on with Quarter when you purchased the property. Thanks!

  3. Actually Quarter House according to the selling agents at this time dates from 1776 (offers over 1.5mil)
    Old Quarter House though I have not a date , however it will be known. Possibly the house purchased in 1630 by John Brown now known as "The Braes" lies to the south west on the other side of the river and approximately equidistant to the mill site on the river Avon or Anchor burn as New Quarter. On the edge of substantial wooded area known locally as Binnies wood

  4. Update
    Old Quarter house and The Braes are two separate dwellings though very close to each other Old Quarter house is actually just across the lane from the farm and mill.
    Entirely my error

  5. If you buy the house do you also assume the title Baroness Skirmshire of Quarter?

    1. No. This was a life peerage awarded to Betty Skrimshire for political service.


Please leave a comment if you have any additional information or corrections to offer, or if you are able to help with additional images of the people or buildings in this post.