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Preston, Hamilton House, Including Boundary Walls, Doorway, Gatepiers, Gate and Railings

A Category A Listed Building in Prestonpans, East Lothian

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Latitude: 55.955 / 55°57'17"N

Longitude: -2.9788 / 2°58'43"W

OS Eastings: 338978

OS Northings: 673983

OS Grid: NT389739

Mapcode National: GBR 2J.XW5H

Mapcode Global: WH7TV.6LR6

Entry Name: Preston, Hamilton House, Including Boundary Walls, Doorway, Gatepiers, Gate and Railings

Listing Date: 5 February 1971

Category: A

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 351486

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB17529

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Prestonpans

County: East Lothian

Electoral Ward: Preston, Seton and Gosford

Parish: Prestonpans

Traditional County: East Lothian

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Dated 1628, probably incorporating earlier fabric; later additions and alterations. Single storey and attic, asymmetrical, U-plan, gabled laird's house. Harled and whitewashed, with chamfered stone margins. Crowstepped gables. Strip quoins to stacks.

W (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: 6-bay, comprising 2-bay central section, projecting gabled wings to outer left and right, creating open courtyard, with entrance stair tower engaged in re-entrant angle to right, turret corbelled out at attic engaged in re-entrant angle to left, both breaking eaves. Central section with pair of windows at ground, pair of piended dormerheads breaking eaves aligned above. Single small windows at ground and attic to outer left. Canted S stair tower, with central doorpiece at ground, comprising roll-moulded jambs surmounted by decoratively tooled broken pediment, with cornice continued as string course, vertically-boarded studded timber door. Pediment with shield centred in scrolled cartouche, divided per pale comprising 3 cinquefoils to dexter, 3 crescents over mullet to sinister (arms of Hamilton and Simpson), crescent, star and date 1628 within foliate decoration; moulded window surmounted by broken pediment aligned above, with tooled inscription in lintel reading 'Praised be the Lord My Strength and My Redeimer', with pointing index finger, and winged cherub and thistle to pediment. Turret corbelled out to left with small window centred at attic. Return to right with window centred at ground, window aligned above, hugging eaves, infilled former doorway to left; return to left with window to left of centre at ground, window in part-infilled former door to right, window centred at attic, hugging eaves. Roll-moulded segmental-arched pedestrian gate to outer left with modern timber door, in wall projecting to street. Single bay gable to right with window to right at attic; single bay gable to left with window to right at attic.

S ELEVATION: 3-bay, regular fenestration at ground with gabled dormerheads breaking eaves aligned above at attic, with decoratively tooled pediments and decorative cinquefoil finials. Centre pediment with intertwined monogram of letters I, H, K, S (for John Hamilton and Katherine Simpson), flanked by date 1628, with crucifix cipher rising from left limb of letter H at apex; pediment to left with shield centred in scrolled cartouche, comprising 3 cinquefoils, flanked by initials I, H; pediment to right with shield centred in scrolled cartouche, divided per fess comprising 3 crescents over single mullet, flanked by initials K, S. 19th century postbox to outer right at ground.

E ELEVATION: 4-bay, with gabled outer bays. Door with vertically-boarded timber door to outer left, segmental-arched doorway and window to left of centre at ground, pair of windows to right of centre at ground. Pair of gabled dormerheads breaking eaves flanking centre. Small window to left of centre at attic in gable to left; window to right of centre at attic in gable to right. Evidence of former wall to left of centre at ground, to left gable.

N ELEVATION: ground floor obscured by wall; 3 gabled dormerheads with decorative pediments, breaking eaves, single window hugging eaves to outer right.

Predominantly 12-pane timber sash and case windows. Graded grey-slate roof, with stone ridge. Cast-iron rainwater goods. Gablehead, ridge and shouldered wallhead stacks; corniced and coped, with circular cans. Stone skews with beaked skewputts.

INTERIOR: modernised, large contemporary fireplace with shields and intertwined monogram of letters I, H, K, S, in Hall, some window arches with large decorative corbelled supports; variety of wall cupboards; variety of moulded stone fireplaces; exposed beams in Hall.

BOUNDARY WALLS, DOORWAY, GATEPIERS AND RAILINGS: circa 1930, low coped rubble wall and gatepiers, with ashlar coping, with geometric-pattern iron gate and railings, incorporated into earlier rubble-coped rubble wall at principal elevation. Rubble coped random rubble wall adjoining house to right at S elevation incorporating vertically-boarded timber pedestrian gate to left, corniced architraved doorway with modern timber door, to right.

Statement of Interest

Built as a long and low replacement for the adjacent Preston Tower (see separate listing) by Sir John Hamilton. A particularly good example of an earlier 17th century laird's house, retaining its corner turrets and crowstepped gables, and on a prominent corner site. The building may have begun as an L-plan. Although built on a smaller scale, and more informally, the U-plan arrangement and re-entrant towers of Hamilton House are typical of the series of fashionable houses linked to the King's Master of Works, Sir James Murray of Kilbaberton (Baberton House, City of Edinburgh, Winton House, East Lothian and Pitreaveie House, Dunfermline, Fife). Hamilton House was used as barracks in 1805. The EAA sketchbook shows a courtyard stair, now removed, in the re-entrant angle to left, and the door in the re-entrant angle stair tower, to right, infilled. Hamilton House is the property of the National Trust for Scotland.

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