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Borthwick Hall

A Category C Listed Building in Heriot, Scottish Borders

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Latitude: 55.7596 / 55°45'34"N

Longitude: -2.9776 / 2°58'39"W

OS Eastings: 338745

OS Northings: 652233

OS Grid: NT387522

Mapcode National: GBR 71NV.46

Mapcode Global: WH7VT.7HBH

Plus Code: 9C7VQ25C+RW

Entry Name: Borthwick Hall

Listing Name: Borthwick Hall

Listing Date: 7 November 2007

Category: C

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 338420

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB6722

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Heriot

County: Scottish Borders

Electoral Ward: Galashiels and District

Parish: Heriot

Traditional County: Midlothian

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Heriot Station


John Henderson, dated 1852 with 1926 additions and alterations. 2-storey, roughly rectangular-plan Scottish Baronial style house with dominant central 3-storey and attic bartizaned tower with angle-turret at NE. Harled and white-washed masonry with exposed ashlar margins and dressings. Base course; rope-moulded string course rising over 1st floor windows and around corbelling; cill course; corbel courses on NE wing and on tower. Crowstepped gables. Corbelled angle turrets with finialled candle-snuffer roofs.

E (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: asymmetrical with roughly central glazed entrance porch flanked by single storey flat-roofed 2-bay wing with turreted corner to right and 2-storey, 1-bay gable to left with bipartite window at ground floor and corbelled angle-turrets; short low wall terminating in square pillar projecting from SE corner of house; windows hood-moulded.

S (GARDEN) ELEVATION: 8-bay asymmetrical arrangement with central tower flanked on E by advanced window bay and on W by two gabled wings stepped forward with flat-roofed extension (built 2001-3) projecting still further at an angle towards SW.

W (REAR) ELEVATION: kitchen court, partly enclosed by wall at S and at N by crowstep gabled wing (former servants' hall); modern single-storey additions partly infilling court.

N ELEVATION: 9-bay with crowstep gabled dormers breaking eaves at 1st floor; advanced gabled wing at W; advanced gabled bay toward E end, corbelled out at 1st floor, single-storey wing at E corner.

Predominantly multi-paned glazing in Edwardian timber sash and case windows with 6 panes in upper half and plate glass below. Ashlar-coped stacks with small cans. Scots slate roof with zinc ridge.

INTERIOR: Baronial style with exposed wood finishes in main rooms and stair. 6-panelled doors throughout. Tall central hallway with trussed timber ceiling, corbelling and curve of upper level stair turret breaking into hallway, tall arched opening to stone stair with timber balusters and rail. Original Jacobean-style compartmented ceiling in library. Drawing room and dining room remodelled in Neo-classical style circa 1926; decorative plaster ceiling and wall panels in drawing room and timber-carved chimneypiece. Dining-room with timber pilastered buffet niche, timber chimneypiece and dado. Billiard room (now subdivided) on first floor with armorial-tiled chimneypiece with the Macfie family crest; octagonal room on first floor with timber chimneypiece, possibly originally a card room. Bedrooms predominantly retaining original timber chimneypieces and decorative plaster cornices.

Statement of Interest

Borthwick Hall occupies a very conspicuous position in the valley to the SW of Heriot village. The house is of considerable interest as it is one of the few domestic works by the architect John Henderson (1804-1862) who is better known as an early exponent of archaeologically accurate Gothic Revival in Scotland and as a designer of a number of significant buildings for the Episcopal Church. Historically the house is also interesting as it was designed for the seedsman and nurseryman Sir Charles Lawson after whom Cupressus Lawsoniana was named and who was Lord Provost of Edinburgh from 1862-65. Lawson had first become acquainted with Henderson when the latter designed the museum and library premises for the Highland and Agricultural Society (of which Lawson was an active member) at the corner of Victoria Street and George IV Bridge in Edinburgh.

The house has undergone a number of alterations. From 1873 until 1926 the house was owned by David Macfie and he and his wife made various changes including the fireplace in the billiard room which bears the Macfie crest. Map evidence also indicates that the timber porch may have been added at this time. The house was bought in 1926 by the Edinburgh lawyer, William Blair, who refitted the principal rooms. Subsequently the W wing has been divided into several different properties; further additions have been made in the later 20th century. However the overall character of the building remains unchanged and it makes an important contribution to the landscape.

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