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Vaila House, Vaila

A Category B Listed Building in Shetland West, Shetland Islands

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Latitude: 60.2059 / 60°12'21"N

Longitude: -1.5936 / 1°35'36"W

OS Eastings: 422627

OS Northings: 1146903

OS Grid: HU226469

Mapcode National: GBR Q1FR.LKF

Mapcode Global: XHD2T.MQTW

Plus Code: 9CGW6C44+8H

Entry Name: Vaila House, Vaila

Listing Name: Vaila, Vaila Hall, Including Retaining and Garden Walls, Gates, and Gatepiers

Listing Date: 13 August 1971

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 352724

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB18634

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Walls and Sandness

County: Shetland Islands

Electoral Ward: Shetland West

Parish: Walls And Sandness

Traditional County: Shetland

Tagged with: Country house

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Asymmetrical country house comprised of 2 storey Georgian castellated hall of 1895 1900 by E P Peterson of Bradford at centre with contemporary gabled range to N, and original 2 storey and attic gabled haa dated 1696 parallel to S. Harled walls and margined windows to haa, harl pointed rubble walls and projecting window cills to later work. Stugged and polished sandstone ashlar dressings and details.

S (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: near symmetrical, symmetrical 3 bay advanced centrepiece. 2 leaf vertically boarded timber round arched entrance door with decorative hinges, stepped reveals and hoodmould at ground in centre bay. Narrow windows at ground in flanking bays. 4 windows, evenly spaced at 1st floor. Machicolated parapet at eaves, stepped up to centre with architraved armorial panel, terminated by crenellated bartizans. 2 bay gables of N and S ranges flanking. Windows at 1st floor only of right gable. Left gable; single narrow window at ground in bay to right, 2 storey 4 light circular corner tower obscuring left bay; regular fenestration, machicolated and crenellated parapet with circular bartizan intersecting at SW.

W ELEVATION: asymmetrical 3 bay elevation; tripartite window at ground in centre bay, bipartite window above and at ground and 1st floors in bay to left. Blank bay with corner tower at right.

N (REAR) ELEVATION: near symmetrical; 4 tall round arched windows to centre with machicolated and crenellated parapet at eaves. Gables flanking, blank at left, round arched door with window above in left bay of right gable.

E ELEVATION: 3 bay elevation of former haa; modern lean to conservatory obscuring centre and right bay at ground; service wing advanced extending to right at corner. Near symmetrical upper floors, infilled window to right of centre at 1st floor with windows in flanking bays, dormers breaking eaves in outer bays, bipartite round arched windows with crowstepped dormerheads.

SERVICE WING: L plan single storey wing extending to N from NE corner comprised of crowstepped gabled building to NE with crenellated buildings adjoining to W and S.

Plate glass timber sash and case windows; leaded stained glass windows by Powell Bros. of Leeds, armorial designs to Great Hall, and depicting St Magnus and Earl Rognvald to windows flanking entrance. Grey slate roofs, piended over hall and pitched over N and S ranges and with crowstepped gables. Harl pointed apex stacks to S range, stugged ashlar apex and ridge stacks to N range, all coped with circular cans.

INTERIOR: neo-Jacobean Great Hall containing compartmented wooden ceiling with foliate carving to bosses, a segmental-headed stone arcade on squat columns at 1st floor to the W wall, opening into gallery over vestibule. Round-arched chimneypiece with simplified paired gothic columns to N wall. S wall comprises former principal elevation of 17th century haa with roll-moulded former entrance door with armorial panel of Mitchell family above, dated 1696. W ground floor room contains Adam revival chimneypiece of 1890s and contemporary neo-Jacobean timber chimneypiece with Anderton coat-of-arms and motto to E room.

RETAINING AND GARDEN WALLS: harl pointed rubble retaining wall with ashlar coped parapet parallel to S elevation; ashlar principal steps with harled and coped parapets centred on entrance door. Round arched vertically boarded timber door with decorative hinges in retaining wall to right of steps; rubble wall adjacent to right, extending to S (at right angle) enclosing walled garden; square v jointed stugged ashlar classical gatepiers at intersection; corniced and ball finialled pyramidal caps on pulvinated cushions; retaining wall extending and stepping up to E and enclosing rectangular E garden; stone steps with flanking pyramidal capped piers to E and S walls, latter accessing walled garden. Retaining wall to left of principal steps articulated as bastion around tower and extending to N parallel with W range as free-standing wall.

Statement of Interest

Vaila was granted to Robert Cheyne in 1576 by James VI, eventually passing to James Mitchell of Girlsta, a Scalloway merchant, who built the Old Haa in 1696. Passing by descent to the Scotts of Melby, Vaila was sold in 1893 to Yorkshire mill owner Herbert Anderton who had been brought to Shetland through wool buying. With his brother, Anderton developed Vaila as a farm and the haa was expanded as a family summer residence. Plans to add a further wing and build a chapel to seat 100 people were abandoned in 1915. Vaila survives much as it was after extension by Anderton. The present owner renewed the conservatory in 1996, and added oak sheep fencing to the terrace and steps.

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