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Latitude: 56.2134 / 56°12'48"N
Longitude: -2.7299 / 2°43'47"W
OS Eastings: 354826
OS Northings: 702549
OS Grid: NO548025
Mapcode National: GBR 2T.DJNH
Mapcode Global: WH7ST.13B2
Entry Name: 27 and 29 High Street
Listing Date: 18 August 1972
Source: Historic Scotland
Source ID: 385782
Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB39906
Building Class: Cultural
Electoral Ward: East Neuk and Landward
Traditional County: Fife
Dated 1635, re-faced late 19th century, early to earlier 20th century shopfront. Prominent crowstepped 2- and 3-storey with attic, 4-bay, T-plan former merchant's house in irregular terrace (adjoining separately listed late 16th century town house of Earls of Kellie), and with single storey and attic, red sandstone, pantiled projection at rear. Painted lined render. Painted base course, deep band course over ground floor.
S (HIGH STREET) ELEVATION: chamfered arrises to door at centre. Banded surround to bipartite window at right (E). Moulded architraved windows at 1st and 2nd floors, all with advanced cills; broad 6-panelled centre door with large window (now bipartite) below modern fascia at right and well-detailed shop (see below) to left. Regularly-fenestrated bays at each floor above, 1st floor with bipartite window at outer left and moulded date panel at centre over modern plaque worded 'THE OLD MANSE'; 2nd floor with smaller windows abutting eaves. Tall, 2-bay gable to centre of rear elevation with lower red sandstone projection at right extending into higher ground.
SHOPFRONT: geometric-tiled lobby and decoratively-etched part-glazed door at left with display window to right over deep stallriser, all under multi-pane clerestorey with coloured vertical lights and 3 panels, centre panel worded 'TEAS'. Blind box with outer handles and centre locking strip below modern fascia (see Notes).
9- and 12-pane glazing patterns in replacement timber sash and case windows. Grey slates and red clay pantiles. Ashlar stacks, that to E truncated and with thackstane.
INTERIORS: some good interior detail retained including moulded cornices, architraves, panelled timber doors and shutters, timber fire surrounds with cast iron grates. Encaustic tiled hall floor and dog-leg staircase with boarded timber dado. Shop retains part-glazed timber panelling, counter and shelves.
The early origins of this well-detailed merchant's house remain evident and combine with the traditional shopfront to make an important contribution to the Pittenweem streetscape. Its High Street location is a short distance to the east of the Market Place on route to the Kirkgate and Market Cross. The building exhibits an early example of a symmetrical façade and regularity of fenestration. Its close proximity to the Kellie Lodging evidences the stylistic transition from tower-house to merchant house. 'By the 18th century, ', the convention of the regular façade became a permanent part of Scottish building tradition' (Beaton).
The fascias currently (2010) advertising the ground floor shops probably cover earlier fascias which read '27 ADAMSON 27' and 'BOWMAN FRUITERER'. The 1st floor bipartite window appears on a photograph of 1985 as a tripartite with leaded multi-pane glazing. Some interior walls appear to be of wattle-and-daub construction.
20th century maps show a bakery to the rear of the long rig fronted by this building and the 1861 Parochial Directory for Fife and Kinross lists 'Henderson, John, Jun., High Street' as a baker. It also lists 'John Henderson, Tailor & Clothier, Royal, fire and life' under 'Insurance Agents', and again under 'Tailors', this time also giving a High Street address. The building seems to be known as Henderson House and by 2006 also as The Old Manse. There is another Henderson House at 5 School Wynd. Additionally, Groome notes that the Henderson brothers of Pittenweem were famous as founders of the Anchor line of ocean-going steamers.
Pittenweem is an early East Neuk fishing town which became a burgh of barony in 1541. 1635, when this house was built, was an important time in Pittenweem's history as a Royal charter of 1541 had granted permission to build a harbour, and 'the confirmation charter of 1633 refers to 'ane good and safe harbour' built at the Burgh's expense' (Gifford, p349). The development of a merchant's house of this size and degree of architectural design is characteristic of the increased wealth of the village following the charter and from additional trade after the harbour was completed.
List description revised 2010.