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Summerhouse, Traquair House

A Category A Listed Building in Traquair, Scottish Borders

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Latitude: 55.6074 / 55°36'26"N

Longitude: -3.0632 / 3°3'47"W

OS Eastings: 333119

OS Northings: 635380

OS Grid: NT331353

Mapcode National: GBR 731L.MQ

Mapcode Global: WH6VD.XBJ4

Plus Code: 9C7RJW4P+XP

Entry Name: Summerhouse, Traquair House

Listing Name: Traquair House Policies, Summerhouse

Listing Date: 5 August 1993

Category: A

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 353721

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB19391

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Traquair

County: Scottish Borders

Electoral Ward: Tweeddale East

Parish: Traquair

Traditional County: Peeblesshire

Tagged with: Summer house

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Dated 1834. Circular-plan summerhouse with thatched conical roof. Softwood frame and lathes. Internal finish of willow or hazel twigs. Heather-thatched external walls. Overhanging reed-thatched roof. Two-pointed arched openings.

Interior: herringbone pattern walls. Date '1834' and coronet cipher inlaid in contrasting materials. Continuous arcaded bench (most supports missing). Circular pedestal table of matching hazel twigs. Heather ceiling with contrasting star detail and ribs.

Statement of Interest

A-Group with Traquair House (LB15429), Exedra (LB49401), Bridge on East Drive (LB49397), East Lodge (LB49399), Tearoom (LB49403), Estate Office (LB49400), Craft Workshops (LB49398), Walled Garden (LB49404), Gardener's Cottage (LB49402), Bear Gates and Avenuehead Cottages (LB15430).

This summerhouse is sited to the southeast of the house in what was once (on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map) a rectangular area regimentally laid out with trees. It is believed the summerhouse was constructed during the tenure of Charles VII and last Earl of Traquair. When he inherited a debt ridden Traquair, he streamlined the estate and managed to carry out a programme of modernisation and farm building. He was also an eccentric and curious man who enjoyed gaining fresh knowledge on a range of astonishing subjects. He enjoyed sharpening razors and disliked wasps (he regularly employed the village children in paid wasp hunts). The summerhouse appears to be one of his less eccentric projects. Similar examples of summerhouses, "moss or heath houses" are illustrated by McIntosh and Loudon.

The summerhouses were known more precisely by the plant that was used between the upright twigs of the structure. Not only did this weatherproof the structure but also gave a natural appearing habitat for the plants. If different types of mosses were used, it was known as a moss house (or mossery) and if heather was used it was known as a heath house. McIntosh expected such structures to last approximately 40 years. The Traquair summerhouse is a particularly remarkable survivor as it still contains the original internal fittings. The exterior walls were most recently re-thatched in 1990.

It is among a relatively small number of buildings with a thatched roof found across Scotland. A Survey of Thatched Buildings in Scotland, published in 2016 by the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB), found there were only around 200 buildings with thatched roof.

Listed building record revised in 2019 as part of the Thatched Buildings Listing Review 2017-19.

External Links

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