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Melsetter Farmhouse, Hoy

A Category C Listed Building in Stromness and South Isles, Orkney Islands

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Latitude: 58.7845 / 58°47'4"N

Longitude: -3.2672 / 3°16'2"W

OS Eastings: 326840

OS Northings: 989245

OS Grid: ND268892

Mapcode National: GBR L59H.VDP

Mapcode Global: WH6BT.SGCJ

Plus Code: 9CCRQPMM+R4

Entry Name: Melsetter Farmhouse, Hoy

Listing Name: Walls (Hoy) Melsetter Farmhouse, Including Boundary Wall

Listing Date: 8 December 1971

Category: C

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 395743

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB48360

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Walls and Flotta

County: Orkney Islands

Electoral Ward: Stromness and South Isles

Parish: Walls And Flotta

Traditional County: Orkney

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Style of W R Lethaby, circa 1905; with minor additions. Single storey and attic and single storey L-plan farmhouse; comprising 3-bay single storey and attic main block with single storey wings to W and (at right angles) to N. Crowstepped gables throughout and distinctive chimney stacks with deep rounded coping (tapered towards apex) above band course. Coursed sandstone rubble with ashlar dressings. Stugged long and short surrounds to openings and stugged quoins at arrises. Projecting cills to windows.

S (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: main 3-bay block projects slightly to right. Steps with flanking parapet walls up to central entrance with plain gabled stone canopy; 2-leaf boarded timber door. Flanking windows. Low wide attic window above to left. Single storey wing adjoins set back to left; central section obscured by later 20th century harled rectangular-plan almost flat-roofed addition containing entrance to left return. Flanking windows set back.

N ELEVATION: single storey wing projects to left of main block; central window; entrance to right return. Low wide attic window set back to left of centre. Small single storey lean-to below/to right; 2 small windows. Later 20th century harled rectangular-plan flat-roofed addition adjoins to right, overlapping with adjoining single storey wing.

E ELEVATION: gable end of main block to left. Narrow window to left of ground floor; attic window above. Small rectangular-plan outbuilding with single pitch roof projects to right; entrance and small window to right return. Single storey wing adjoins to right; 3 irregularly disposed windows.

W ELEVATION: gable end of single storey wing projects to left. Window set back to right of attic of main block; narrow ground floor window below/right obscured by later 20th century extension to wing (see S Elevation).

Mainly 12-pane timber sash and case windows; 8-pane casements to low wide attic windows. Stone slate roofs. Gablehead stacks to either side (E and W) of main block (deep rounded upper coping missing to that to W); tall gablehead stack to W wing; round cans.

INTERIOR: not inspected (2000).

BOUNDARY WALL: rubble wall with rounded rubble coping encloses rectangular-plan front garden to S of house and area immediately to E. Wide gateway with rounded stone slab gateposts to E; similar gateposts at NE corner (both with plain timber gates); replacement square-plan gatepiers to W gateway.

Statement of Interest

B-Group with Melsetter Farm. An intact small house in the style of Lethaby, one of the most prominent exponents and promoters of the Arts and Crafts movement. The distinctive chimney stacks with their deep rounded coping above band course and the low wide attic windows are very much of his style and are found on other buildings of his at Melsetter, notably the 'Estate Office' and 'Laundry House' and also at Rysa Lodge in the north of the parish (see separate list description). The Melsetter Estate was purchased by Thomas Middlemore, a Birmingham industrialist in 1898. At that time it comprised the entire island of Hoy as well as the adjacent smaller islands of South Walls, Fara and Rysa. It had been the home of the Moodie family from the later 16th century until around the earlier 19th century. The majority of the remaining structures, dating largely from their ownership, were retained in some way by Lethaby (including the house), although greatly modified. The original steading, built around a courtyard to the NW of the main house was rebuilt as the Gardener's Cottage and Spinning Cottage and a cartshed is still in existence. The remodelling/construction of the house and surrounding buildings at Melsetter was one of Lethaby's most important commissions. It is unsual in that it involved the redevelopment of an entire complex of buildings, which form a harmonious whole and are very much in keeping with local vernacular traditions. The farm and farmhouse are not shown on the 1903 2nd Edition OS map (revised 1900).

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