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Spinning Cottage, Melsetter, Hoy

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

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Latitude: 58.7856 / 58°47'8"N

Longitude: -3.2643 / 3°15'51"W

OS Eastings: 327014

OS Northings: 989358

OS Grid: ND270893

Mapcode National: GBR L59H.WZ8

Mapcode Global: WH6BT.TFSR

Plus Code: 9CCRQPPP+67

Entry Name: Spinning Cottage, Melsetter, Hoy

Listing Name: Walls (Hoy), Melsetter, Spinning Cottage

Listing Date: 8 December 1971

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 395761

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB48369

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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Probably early 19th century; remodelled 1898-1900 by W R Lethaby. Single storey; rectangular-plan cottage, formerly used for spinning, with irregularly disposed openings. Harled with sandstone dressings. Architraved openings (probably largely original/pre-1900) to principal (S) elevation. Coped gables. Original vertical margins at arrises.

S (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: entrance with plank door to far left. Irregularly disposed flanking windows. 2 entrances (each with plank door) to central section. 2 small square windows to outer right. Short stepped section of coursed rubble wall adjoins to outer left.

N ELEVATION: 3 widely spaced windows to centre/right; 5 closely spaced windows to outer left.

E ELEVATION: central architraved entrance to gable end; architraved window immediately above lintel/transom.

W ELEVATION: blank gable end.

Mainly 12-pane timber sash and case windows. Stone slate roof. Square-plan gablehead stack to W; 2 ridge stacks (that to left tall); all coursed rubble with band courses.

INTERIOR: main room has shallow segmentally-arched ceiling by Lethaby; and also a large 'rustic' coursed rubble fireplace with a deep slab lintel and exposed flue, flanked by 2 small plaster plaques (decorated with floral motifs) set back to wall.

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 Laundry House. A very interesting long, single storey cottage, sensitively remodelled by one of the most prominent exponents and promoters of the Arts and Crafts movement. Its original purpose is unknown (it was possibly a cottage/office and stable) and it occupies the S side of the original courtyard-plan steading of Melsetter. 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. It was in the Spinning Cottage that William Morris' daughter, May Morris, who was a friend of Thomas Middlemore's wife, Theodosia, used to spin when visiting Melsetter.

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