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Amhuinnsuidhe, Mansion House, Including Sea-Walls and Retaining Walls

A Category A Listed Building in Na Hearadh agus Ceann a Deas nan Loch, Na h-Eileanan Siar

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Coordinates

Latitude: 57.9614 / 57°57'41"N

Longitude: -6.9904 / 6°59'25"W

OS Eastings: 104956

OS Northings: 907806

OS Grid: NB049078

Mapcode National: GBR 974P.6WW

Mapcode Global: WGW1R.L5F1

Entry Name: Amhuinnsuidhe, Mansion House, Including Sea-Walls and Retaining Walls

Listing Date: 5 October 1971

Category: A

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 345664

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB12767

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Harris

County: Na h-Eileanan Siar

Electoral Ward: Na Hearadh agus Ceann a Deas nan Loch

Traditional County: Inverness-shire

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Amhuinnsuidhe

Description

Designed by David Bryce, architect; built 1864-67 (1867 datestone). Asymmetrical Scots baronial mansion house built for the Earl of Dunmore, whose grandfather acquired Harris in 1834. Unusually for a country house, main road skirts by front wall. Levelled garden area to front (now [1991] used as grazing), sea wall beyond; also out works to west. Mansion is relatively plain in terms of exterior sculptured detail, (painted) cable moulding over the main entrance, with knotted terminals, being the only sculptured detail; string course divides the 2 lower floors. Built of imported freestone, stugged and snecked ashlar; local rubble used at rear. Windows all plate glass sashes, crow-stepped gables, slate roofs with massive chimney stacks. South-facing, principal front with advanced/recessed elements and composed principally of 3 adjoining "tower houses", each with crenellated parapet and mostly unroofed bartizans; also recessed wing; inner tower is taller (4 storeys) with cross-window over main entrance, oriel alongside (public room evidently within), single angle turret loosely derived from the jamb of Pinkie/Hoddom). Flanking towers each a storey lower, that to left (ie west) recessed, that to right on same wall-plane, having deeply-recessed link to crow-stepped east range, intended to suggest a 17th century addition to a pre-existing house; east range has centre gable both on 3-bay east flank and on south front, the latter of which also has deep-corbelled oriel. Interior not inspected during 1989 resurvey.

SEA-WALL to front built of diagonally-set blocks beneath parapet, which is crenellated (with cannon facing outwards), granite coping slabs; flight of steps leading to sea, opposite main door of mansion.

Retaining walls to rear and to west of house, outbuilding set in to bank.

Statement of Interest

Originally called "Fincastle". James Bridie is said to have written is play "Mary Rose" while staying here (its setting centres on a mystical Hebridean isle).

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