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Walls (Hoy), Melsetter, the Hall, Including 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: -3.2652 / 3°15'54"W

OS Eastings: 326957

OS Northings: 989330

OS Grid: ND269893

Mapcode National: GBR L59H.WGX

Mapcode Global: WH6BT.TF9Y

Entry Name: Walls (Hoy), Melsetter, the Hall, Including Gatepiers to West

Listing Date: 8 December 1971

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 395758

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB48367

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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Description

Probably mid 18th century with minor alterations. Single storey with hayloft to main block; L-plan; former barn with crowstepped gables and regularly disposed ventilation slits to hayloft. Coursed rubble with partial remains of harling and sandstone dressings. Chamfered reveals to principal openings to principal (S) and E and W elevations; long and short surrounds to larger original openings throughout.

S (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: principal (threshing) entrance (altered and with replacement sliding door) to left of centre. Wide inserted/enlarged window to left. Former entrance (now window) to right; deep lintel with monogram to right (intertwined initials probably B W S M). 5 regularly disposed ventilation slits to hayloft. Stone steps with coped parapet to outer right; continued around corner to E side and incorporating outhouse belonging to adjacent property (former cottages, now 'The Laundry House') within harled base.

N ELEVATION: principal (threshing) entrance to right (plain timber door). Flanking windows and one to left formerly entrance. 3 ventilation slits to hayloft. Gable end of rear wing projects to outer right; entrance with boarded timber door to right. Lean-to addition to outer right; window to left and one to right return.

W ELEVATION: gable end (main block) to right; large window (originally loading door) to loft. Rear wing adjoins to left; near central former entrance (now boarded window); small window (boarded) to left.

E ELEVATION: steps project to lower level (adjoining adjacent property). Large window (originally loading door) to gable above. Lean-to addition adjoins to right; entrance to left.

Mainly multi-pane fixed timber frame windows. Stone slate roof. Coped stugged mid-pitch stack (an addition) at W end of main block (no cans).

INTERIOR: roof trusses replaced. Loft floor missing but supporting beams still in place. Timber and stone flagged floor.

GATEPIERS TO W: pair of square-plan gatepiers by W R Lethaby of 1898-1900, linked to former barn by small section of rubble wall. Coursed rubble with band course at apex surmounted by pyramid coping.

Statement of Interest

A-Group with Melsetter House, Chapel, Lodge and Gatepiers, Kitchen and Walled Gardens, Burial Enclosure, Estate Office, Gardener's Cottage, Laundry House and Spinning Cottage. A substantial, largely intact, traditional barn probably of mid 18th century date. Almost the only structure to be left entirely unaltered during the reconstruction of the buildings at Melsetter by W R Lethaby between 1898 and 1900. Presumably this was because Lethaby admired it. Lethaby was a leading exponent and promoter of the Arts and Crafts Movement and widely adopted traditional vernacular features in his buildings. The Melsetter Estate was the home of the Moodie family from the later 16th century until the earlier 19th century. It is likely that the barn might date from the ownership of Benjamin Moodie, who was the laird in the mid 18th century. When the estate was bought (and the buildings at Melsetter redeveloped) by Thomas Middlemore, a Birmingham industrialist, in 1898, it comprised the entire island of Hoy as well as the adjacent smaller islands of South Walls, Fara and Rysa. It was called 'The Hall' because functions were held here (information from Elsie Seater of Melsetter House).

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