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Dovecot At Sw Corner Of Kitchen Garden, Melsetter House, Hoy

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

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Latitude: 58.7848 / 58°47'5"N

Longitude: -3.2638 / 3°15'49"W

OS Eastings: 327036

OS Northings: 989273

OS Grid: ND270892

Mapcode National: GBR L59H.X7D

Mapcode Global: WH6BT.TGZB

Plus Code: 9CCRQPMP+WF

Entry Name: Dovecot At Sw Corner Of Kitchen Garden, Melsetter House, Hoy

Listing Name: Walls (Hoy), Melsetter House, Kitchen Garden Including Tea-House and Doocot, Rookery Walls and Gatepiers

Listing Date: 8 December 1971

Category: A

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 395747

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB48362

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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Possibly 1738. W R Lethaby, circa 1898 and 1900 additions. Repair work, 2000. Rectangular-plan walled garden incorporating circa 1898 tea-house and 1900 chapel, both by W R Lethaby, and earlier doocot. Tall, exposed random rubble walls; flat wallhead. N corner harled on exterior of wall and surmounted by ball finial. Opening in E wall; plain doorway to SE and W; timber boarded doors.


2-storey, square-plan tea-house in SE angle of kitchen garden. Apple-house to ground floor; tea-house at upper floor. Exposed sandstone rubble; dressed sandstone surrounds to openings.

E ELEVATION: forestair to exterior of kitchen garden wall; plain timber hand rail. 1st floor door to left; leaded window to right.

S ELEVATION: 1st floor tripartite window. Square-plan stack to left rises from garden wall and breaks eaves.

W ELEVATION: ground floor door to left; 1st floor tripartite window to right.

N ELEVATION: ground floor leaded window; 1st floor tripartite window above.

Stone mullions to tripartite windows; leaded windows to outer lights in N facing tripartite window. Timber boarded door. Conical slated roof. Pole with weathervane in inner angle of garden wall.

INTERIOR: floorboards to tea-house; timber panelled walls. Window cills to each window; decorative timber panel above 1 window. Timber benches; central timber table and chairs. Fireplace in SW angle; sandstone surround and mantel; green glazed tiles to fire jambs.


2-storey, square-plan doocot in SW angle of kitchen garden. Rubble stone; harling. Shed to ground floor; doocot above.

E ELEVATION: ground floor door to right.

S ELEVATION: not seen, 2000.

W ELEVATION: plain elevation.

N ELEVATION: central ground floor window; 1st floor door.

Windows and doors now gone, 2000. Conical roof; stone slates.

INTERIOR: stone nesting boxes.


Low rubble wall encloses rookery to S of kitchen garden. Approach to Melsetter House from the SE; driveway bordered by dry stone wall; pair of circular sandstone gatepiers; conical coping stone; ball finial. Identical pair of gatepiers to W to roadway. Dry stone walls border roadway leading to steading; curved W wall echoes quadrant gatepiers to Laundry House (see separate List Description).

Statement of Interest

A-Group with Melsetter House, Chapel, Walled Garden, Lodge and Gatepiers, Burial Enclosure, Estate Office, Gardener's Cottage, The Hall, Laundry House and Spinning Cottage. The Kitchen Garden is situated to the SE of Melsetter House. Lethaby retained but heightened the walls of the earlier garden and added the tea-house tower to match the existing doocot. The garden is currently grassed over and the doocot is redundant, however, the tea-house remains in use. Lethaby was one of the most prominent exponents and promoters of the Arts and Crafts movement. Thomas Middlemore, a Birmingham industrialist bought the Melsetter Estate 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. Melsetter had been the home of the Moodie family from the late 16th century until around the earlier 19th century. The majority of the remaining structures at Melsetter were retained by Lethaby, although greatly modified. The remodelling/construction of the house and surround buildings at Melsetter was one of Lethaby's most important commissions. It is unusual in that it involved the redevelopment of an entire complex of buildings, which form a harmonious whole. The designed landscape at Melsetter is significant, it has outstanding scenic and architectural interest and is included in the Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes.

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