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Wooplaw House

A Category B Listed Building in Melrose, Scottish Borders

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.6683 / 55°40'5"N

Longitude: -2.7956 / 2°47'44"W

OS Eastings: 350051

OS Northings: 641931

OS Grid: NT500419

Mapcode National: GBR 82XW.KX

Mapcode Global: WH7W9.1S1G

Entry Name: Wooplaw House

Listing Date: 31 August 1988

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 353403

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB19115

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Melrose

County: Scottish Borders

Electoral Ward: Leaderdale and Melrose

Parish: Melrose

Traditional County: Roxburghshire

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Description

Dated 1842, incorporating earlier fabric (see Notes). 2-storey, asymmetrical Neo-Tudor gabled house in the manner of William Burn with distinctive tall diamond-plan shafted chimney stacks in groups of four. Droved pink sandstone ashlar to principal elevations with finely tooled dressings; whinstone rubble elsewhere. Chamfered arrises and Tudor hoodmoulds. Irregular fenestration. Shouldered pedimented dormers breaking eaves.

FURTHER DESCRIPTION: S (GARDEN) ELEVATION: wide, advanced gable to centre with full-height canted window with shaped parapet; prominent fielded die finial to apex. Lower block to left (formerly service accommodation and stabling). E (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: irregular 4-bay arrangement with projecting parapeted gabled bay and tripartite window to right of door; wide advanced gable bay to far left; wallhead dormers to recessed bays. N (REAR) ELEVATION: corbelled stack to centre, dated 1842, with clustered diamond-plan chimney shafts. Flanking wings of differing height. Large semi-circular-headed french window (circa 1911) with timber conservatory addition to W elevation.

Covered well to centre to courtyard with drystone lining.

Predominantly 12-pane glazing to timber sash and case windows. Grey slate. Cast-iron rainwater goods.

INTERIOR: Gothic detailing to timber screen between vestibule and hall. Fine, S-curved cantilevered stair with shallow tread in the Edinburgh style with decorative cast-iron balustrade and timber handrail. Simply detailed principal rooms with plain marble chimneypieces with flagstone hearths.

Statement of Interest

Wooplaw is a good, well-detailed country house, located on high hill-farm ground with majestic open views southward toward the Eildon Hills. The striking arrangement of tall diamond-plan chimney stacks clustered in groups of four and other good stone details in the Tudor style add much to its character and architectural interest, setting it apart as an example of its building type.

Sheriff J A Lillie's autobiography 'Tradition and Environment' notes that he inherited Wooplaw from his uncle, Adam Tait, who had bought the farm and estate of Wooplaw (or Uplaw as it appeared in the Notices) from a family of Murray in 1910. Lillie mentions that Tait made a number of alterations to the house including adjoining the drawing room to the stable and then making the stable into a library and the loft above into an additional bedroom.

The farms lands of Wooplaw originally extended to 650 acres running from Stow to Hareshawhead to the Allan Water. A 17th century door was uncovered during renovations in the 1980s, suggesting that the core of the building is much earlier and there is some evidence to suggest that a fortified farm originally occupied the site.

List description updated at resurvey (2010).

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