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Walls (Hoy), Melsetter, the Laundry House, Including Walled Yard to North and Wall and Gatepiers to South East

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

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Coordinates

Latitude: 58.7855 / 58°47'7"N

Longitude: -3.2645 / 3°15'52"W

OS Eastings: 326998

OS Northings: 989343

OS Grid: ND269893

Mapcode National: GBR L59H.WVG

Mapcode Global: WH6BT.TFNV

Entry Name: Walls (Hoy), Melsetter, the Laundry House, Including Walled Yard to North and Wall and Gatepiers to South East

Listing Date: 8 December 1971

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 395760

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB48368

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Walls and Flotta

County: Orkney Islands

Electoral Ward: Stromness and South Isles

Traditional County: Orkney

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Description

Probably late 18th century; remodelled 1898-1900 by W R Lethaby. Single storey and attic; rectangular-plan former pair of semi-detached cottages (now one house). Single storey and attic; rectangular-plan; with distinctive chimney stacks with deep coping, tapered above band course and low wide attic windows; sandstone architraves to original ground floor openings at E end of principal (S) elevation and vertical margins at E arrises of same date (original at least partially symmetrical design remodelled in Arts and Crafts manner). Harled with some sandstone dressings. Low harled flanking cheek walls to entrances to principal elevation. Coped gables.

S (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: 7-bay; comprsing former 4-bay cottage to left and former 3-bay cottage to right. Central architraved entrance to that to right; 2-leaf boarded timber door with 5-light rectangular fanlight. Flanking architraved windows. Low wide attic window above and one to right bay. Entrance to left of centre to former 4-bay cottage to left; baorded timber door. Window to left and 2 to right. Low wide attic window to outer left bay; one between 2 bays to right. Outhouse within base of steps of adjacent barn ('The Hall') projects to outer left; entrance with boarded timber door to front; small window to right return.

N ELEVATION: 4 irregularly disposed windows to ground floor; 2 to right are wider. Architraved owl hole at upper level between 2nd and 3rd windows from left. Outhouse within base of steps of adjacent barn adjoins to right; entrance with boarded timber door.

E ELEVATION: window to right of ground floor; attic window to right of gable.

W ELEVATION: blank gable end adjoins steps to adjacent former barn containing outhouse.

12-light timber sash and case windows and multi-pane casements. Stone slate roof. Gablehead stack at either end (E and W) and one ridge stack; all sandstone with band course surmounted by deep coping tapered towards apex; round cans.

INTERIOR: largely plain/modernised.

YARD WALL TO N: slightly sunken rectangular-plan stone flagged yard bounded by rubble wall with rounded coping to N; steps (with parapet walls) up to land to N at W end; end wall of cartshed (of fomer steading) projects to right; entrance to cartshed. Small section of coped rubble wall with full-height gateway with boarded timber gate to E of yard.

WALL AND GATEPIERS TO SE: short section of coped rubble wall adjoins SE arris of former pair of cottages to S, adjoining pair of coursed rubble gatepiers in line with E entrance to courtyard of Melsetter House; circular-plan with conical rubble coping surmounted by ball finials; curved section of wall adjoining that to S adjoins walled garden.

Statement of Interest

A-Group with Melsetter House, Chapel, Lodge and Gatepiers, Kitchen and Walled Gardens, Burial Enclosure, Estate Office, Gardener's Cottage, The Hall and Spinning Cottage. A very fine former pair of cottages, sensitively remodelled from a building of probably late 18th century date by one of the most prominent exponents and promoters of the Arts and Crafts movement. The distinctive chimney stacks with their deep tapered 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 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 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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