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Walls (Hoy), Melsetter, the Estate Office, Including Boundary Wall and Adjacent Outhouse and Stone Flagged Yard and Gatepiers to West

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

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Coordinates

Latitude: 58.7853 / 58°47'7"N

Longitude: -3.2656 / 3°15'56"W

OS Eastings: 326938

OS Northings: 989326

OS Grid: ND269893

Mapcode National: GBR L59H.W9S

Mapcode Global: WH6BT.TF5Z

Entry Name: Walls (Hoy), Melsetter, the Estate Office, Including Boundary Wall and Adjacent Outhouse and Stone Flagged Yard and Gatepiers to West

Listing Date: 8 December 1971

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 395753

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB48365

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Walls and Flotta

County: Orkney Islands

Electoral Ward: Stromness and South Isles

Traditional County: Orkney

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Description

Late 18th/early 19th century, remodelled 1898-1900 by W R Lethaby. Single storey and attic and 2-storey; rectangular-plan; with crowstepped gables and distinctive chimney stacks with deep coping (stepped in slightly/tapered) above band course and prominent ashlar porch in shape of upturned boat to principal (S) elevation. Reconstruction of former factor's house in Arts and Crafts manner; comprising main 3-bay single storey and attic section to E and single bay 2-storey section to W. Harled coursed rubble with ashlar dressings. No visible dressings to window openings.

S (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: entrance in between 1st and 2nd bays to left of main single storey and attic section; rectangular-plan sandstone ashlar porch in shape of cross section of upturned boat with hull as roof and keel as roll-moulding at apex; flanking stone benches inside; part-glazed panelled timber door set back. Window to each floor to flanking bays and that to outer right; those to attic low and wide apart from narrow one to outer right; that to left of ground floor small and narrow. Window to each floor to 2-storey bay to left. Side of single storey lean-to adjoins to outer left.

N ELEVATION: 2 windows to ground floor of main single storey and attic section; narrow attic window above that to right. Window to each floor to 2-storey and attic bay to right. Side of single storey lean-to adjoins to outer right; 2 closely spaced square 4-light vents.

E ELEVATION: entrance to left; flanking shallow stone cheeks supporting inclined stone canopy roll-moulded at edge; 3-panel timber door set back. Attic window to right of gable.

W ELEVATION: single storey lean-to projects across width of gable end of 2-storey section; outer flanking entrances with part-glazed panelled timber doors; window to right of that to left.

Mainly 12-pane timber sash and case windows; 8-pane casements to low wide attic windows. Stone slate roof. Ridge stack (with deep coping stepped in slightly above band course) to main section; gablehead stack (with deep coping tapered towards apex above band course) to N side; round cans.

INTERIOR: not inspected (2000).

BOUNDARY WALL: rubble wall with rounded rubble coping encloses triangular-shaped plot to N. Earlier coursed rubble OUTBUILDING at SW corner (with 2 small additions with single pitch roofs) forms W side of stone flagged yard; coursed rubble walls to N and S adjoin house to E. GATEPIERS TO W: pair of coursed stugged sandstone rubble gatepiers adjoin short section of wall to S of outbuilding; framing entrance to row of cottages aligned E/W to E of entrance to courtyard of Melsetter House; circular plan with conical coping surmounted by ball finials.

Statement of Interest

A-Group with Melsetter House, Chapel, Lodge and Gatepiers, Kitchen and Walled Gardens, Burial Enclosure, Gardener's Cottage, The Hall, Laundry House and Spinning Cottage. A very fine small house, remodelled by one of the most prominent exponents and promoters of the Arts and Crafts movement. The distinctive chimney stacks with their deep tapered/stepped coping and the low wide attic windows are very much of his style and are found on other buildings of his at Melsetter, including, in more detailed form, the house itself and also 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 remodelling/construction of the house and surrounding 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 and are very much in keeping with local vernacular traditions.

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