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Preston, Northfield House, Including Boundary Walls, Gates, Gatepiers and Corner Bartizan

A Category A Listed Building in Prestonpans, East Lothian

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Latitude: 55.9544 / 55°57'15"N

Longitude: -2.9798 / 2°58'47"W

OS Eastings: 338915

OS Northings: 673921

OS Grid: NT389739

Mapcode National: GBR 2J.XVXX

Mapcode Global: WH7TV.6L9M

Entry Name: Preston, Northfield House, Including Boundary Walls, Gates, Gatepiers and Corner Bartizan

Listing Date: 5 February 1971

Category: A

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 351522

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB17560

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Prestonpans

County: East Lothian

Electoral Ward: Preston, Seton and Gosford

Parish: Prestonpans

Traditional County: East Lothian

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Late 16th century; NW wing and alteration of 1611, with later alterations of 1730 and 1950s. 3-storey and attic L-plan mansion. Harled, with ashlar dressings. Crowstepped gable to left at rear. Slated roofs. Chamfered margins to ground and 1st floor windows.

N (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: 6-bay, asymmetrical. Projecting gabled bay to right, comprising lean-to vehicular addition at ground, with vertically-boarded folding timber doors and timber lintel to street, modern door centred at return to left; window centred at 2nd floor, flanked by 3-light corbelled corner turrets. Window to left return, at 1st floor. Large circular stair tower breaking eaves, to re-entrant angle, including vertically-boarded studded timber door with roll-moulded jambs to left at ground, thumbnail-bead string course between 1st and 2nd floors, window centred at 2nd floor. Irregular fenestration to left of stair tower, including pair of gabled dormerheads with decorative finials, breaking eaves at 2nd floor.

E ELEVATION: angle to right chamfered at ground. Small single window at 1st floor to left; pair of 3-light corbelled corner turrets with conical roofs to outer left and right at 2nd floor (see above and below).

S (REAR) ELEVATION: 8-bay, asymmetrical with penultimate bay from left rising to crow-stepped gable, truncated to left, incorporating dovecot with 4 flight ports symmetrically arranged in square opening, 3-light corbelled angle turrets with conical roofs, to outer left and right at 2nd floor. 2-leaf vertically-boarded timber door to right of centre at ground, with roll-moulded jambs incorporating inscription reading 'Excep the Lord Buld In Wane Bulds Man' (sic), tooled decorative shield centred in lintel, divided per pale with arms of Marjoribanks and Simpson, the initials 'IM' and 'MS' and date 1611, surmounted by broken pediment with decorative finials; vertically-boarded studded timber door in penultimate bay from left at ground; 4 irregularly-spaced windows at ground; 7 irregularly spaced windows at 1st floor; 5 irregularly-spaced windows at 2nd floor, comprising window to left of gable, small window hugging eaves, 3 gabled dormerheads breaking eaves, with thistle finial to window to outer right.

W ELEVATION: 3 irregularly-spaced windows at 1st floor; pair of gabled dormerheads breaking eaves, with decorative finials, at 2nd floor; pair of 3-light corbelled corner turrets with conical roofs, to outer left and right at 2nd floor (see N and S elevations).

INTERIOR: early 19th century spiral stair from ground to 1st floor in N stair tower; scale and platt stair in main block. Renaissance tempera ceiling and wall paintings, including wall painting of dog and painted ceiling to principal floor bedroom. Painted ceiling to Dining Room, with foliage and fruit motifs; Georgian ceiling and cornice now removed; later black marble fireplace and 1703 timber panelling. Partial remains of original hall fireplace to 1st floor reception hall. Archway in former larder off reception hall. N wall of 1st floor corridor contains possible window arch to former great hall. 2nd floor gallery: remains of wall painting to SE corner; fireplace (from Woolmet House). Barrel vaulted kitchen with arched fireplace and cellars to main block; decorative geometric pattern of east gable kitkchen flagstones similar to hall floor of 1548 at Tolquhon Castle, Gordon.

BOUNDARY WALLS, GATES, GATEPIERS AND CORNER BARTIZAN: random rubble walls with semicircular rubble coping, including crenellated corbelled angle bartizan folly to NW corner; red brick walls with semicircular rubble coping, to E. Pair of corniced square-plan gatepiers flanking vertically boarded studded vehicular gates to left at street, with decorative pyramid and ball finial (missing to E gatepier); design repeated in pair of dividing piers within wall to street.

Predominantly 12-pane timber sash and case windows, some barred at ground. Graded grey slate roof; stone ridges; 3 vertically-boarded timber-fronted rectangular dormers to S elevation; roof swept over conical turret roofs. Cast-iron rainwater goods. Shouldered wallhead and gablehead stacks; corniced, with circular cans.

Statement of Interest

A Group with Northfield House Dovecot (see separate listing). Joseph Marjoribanks altered George Hamilton's original house (late 16th century) in the early 17th century to include the projecting NW wing creating the current L-plan form, and the southern entrance and scale-and-platt stair. The stair turret replaced an earlier turret which was used as the principal entrance. The house was sold to the Syme family in 1703 and they subdivided rooms to incorporate a fashionable interior, including the creation of two rooms and a corridor out of the former Great Hall. These eighteenth century partitions hid and ultimately saved Northfield's 17th century tempera ceiling and wall paintings in the principal rooms. The hanging of a gas chandelier in the 1890s revealed a painted bunch of grapes on the underside of a removed floorboard, but it was not until the 1950s when Schomberg Scott removed much of the Georgian plasterwork, that the spectacularly preserved ceiling paintings, including images of fruit, flowers, birds and animals, were revealed. W Schomberg Scott, architect to the National Trust for Scotland, who lived at Northfield from 1951 to 1997, decided not to restore the former ceilings, but to maintain them in an unrestored state. W F Lyon's sketch of Northfield in 1868 (NMRS) is of interest as it shows the towers as they were originally, with pepperpot caps.

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