Touch Estate – Overseer’s House

Situated to the west of Cambusbarron is Touch Estate. The estate has been primarily owned by the Setons, a powerful family who acquired the land from the Frasers in the 15th Century. The estate was then inherited through many generations and was eventually passed to Sir Henry Allan Seton-Steuart in 1884. Henry’s younger brother Douglas then sold Touch estate to Mr C. A. Buchanan in 1928.

The most famous building on the estate is undoubtedly Touch House. The Georgian building was built around 1760 although the original house on the estate was present in the 16th century. More information on the building can be found here:

Our plans, however, focus on the Overseer’s House. The house was designed by local architect Ebenezer Simpson and was to accommodate the overseer of the estate. Before 1900, this title was known as the Head Forester and the role belonged to Robert Menzies from 1891 – 1936.

Born in Kinclaven, Menzies trained as a Forester at Scone Palace estate. He had previously worked at Fyvie on the Earl of Mansfield estate in Carlilse and Coldingham in Berwickshire before beginning his job at Touch.

Menzies arrived in the Stirling in 1891 aged 30. He began working at Touch on the same year. He served under four lairds over the course of his employment at the estate: Sir Alan Seton Steuart, Sir Douglas Seton Steuart, C. A. Buchanan and his son Colonel E. P. Buchanan.

The new overseer’s house was built near to where the other workers of the estate lived. The site plan for the house shows that the area location was known as Millburn. This was situated just to the east of Touch House.

The valuation rolls for Stirling County provide details of professions of the workers who lived in the cottages. They included the shepherd, coachman, butler, gamekeeper carter and forester. Robert Menzies died on 18th April 1943 with his obituary appearing in both the Stirling Journal and Stirling Observer.

More information on the architect Ebenezer Simpson can be found here: