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Lepier History

Leiper History 

The name honours the architect of Kinlochmoidart, William Leiper R.S.A (1839 - 1916. This fine house on three floors has been partly fashioned from domestic quarters and partly from the family rooms. It is served by the former domestic staircase constructed in the red sandstone employed in many parts of the House. Within the stairwell is the handsome service lift manually operated by means of a wheel over which the rope runs. Formerly this would have brought coal to the bedroom fires, ewers of water for washing, and dishes from the main kitchen to the dining room. 

The entrance to Leiper is not original and has been formed from a window giving onto the passageway between the main kitchen and the back hall and doorway (now the entrance to Turret). This passageway now serves as the entrance hall to Leiper. Moving West from the hall one enters the kitchen - once the main kitchen of the mansion; an Aga occupies the site of the range. The length and size of the stone lintel to the fireplace is notable. The kitchen and entrance both contain fine Victorian tiling in black and white or grey portraying the same Greek key and vine tendril motifs as can be seen in Turret. Leaving the kitchen to enter the main portion of Leiper House one comes first into the main domestic passageway which to the right led to the Servants' Hall and to the left gave access to certain of the living rooms via the Lower Hall. Off the passageway is a small service room and a former servant's bedroom.

At first floor level the present sitting room was once the master bedroom and enjoys one of the finest views to Loch Moidart. Behind the master bedroom was the Dressing Room (preserve of the husband) and now a bedroom. The tiled fireplace contains a rose motif which can be seen in a number of places on the East Front. On the second floor the room looking West with a bay in the window was the Day Nursery. To reach this room from the stairwell one passes beneath two fine arches of a type which Leiper has employed in several parts of the building. These round and flattened arches are medieval in inspiration. An imposing example of the round arch is in the centre of the East Front where Leiper creates the impression from outside of the Great Hall of the medieval castle. 

Behind the Day Nursery is a small bedroom once a maid or nurse's room looking to the North, and beyond this is the Night Nursery with its handsome panelled window looking South towards the drive and exterior staircase. Both Day and Night Nurseries are now bedrooms. The bathrooms in Leiper have been recreated in a contemporary style based on other bathrooms within the main House but neither is original.  Surviving in Leiper House are the panels of the bell system which give a good indication of country house organisation in the late nineteenth century. 

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About the author

Stephen Jefferson

Stephen Jefferson is cousin to Nino Stewart, current owner, and Godson of Bill White whose great-great-grandmother Margarita Robertson-Macdonald held Kinlochmoidart estate 1804-44.