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Threemiletown Farmhouse and Steading, Including Boundary Walls and Gatepiers

A Category C Listed Building in Ecclesmachan, West Lothian

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.9655 / 55°57'55"N

Longitude: -3.5087 / 3°30'31"W

OS Eastings: 305921

OS Northings: 675754

OS Grid: NT059757

Mapcode National: GBR 1W.X3PR

Mapcode Global: WH5RB.2BG2

Entry Name: Threemiletown Farmhouse and Steading, Including Boundary Walls and Gatepiers

Listing Date: 22 January 2003

Category: C

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 396636

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB49074

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Ecclesmachan

County: West Lothian

Electoral Ward: Linlithgow

Parish: Ecclesmachan

Traditional County: West Lothian

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Description

Late 18th century farm steading with later 19th century additions. Later 19th century 2-storey, 3-bay retangular-plan farmhouse with 2-storey extenstion to NE corner. Range of single and 2-storey farm buildings to E including late 18th century structures (with minor 19th century alterations) incorpoating cattle court, stable, wintering shed and barn to S; later 19th century barn, granary, cart sheds, truncated chimney, engine house, boiler house and byre to N. Random and coursed stream worn and field rubble to 18th century buildings; squared and snecked rubble to later 19th century buildings. Farmhouse: snecked bull-faced rubble to S; snecked stugged rubble to N, W and E (stream worn rubble to lower half of E elevation); tabbed abd stop-chamfered ashlar dressings; drived quoins with margins.

FARMHOUSE: S (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: central timber panelled door, narrow plain fanlight, corniced lintel and tabbed stop-chamfered architrave; 3-light canted window with mopulded cornice to left; bipartite window to right. 3 1st floor windows. E ELEVATION: central timber boarded door, lean-to corrugated metal canopy to left, adjioning lean-to brick outbuilding to right. 2-storey piended extension to far right; single ashlar gatepiers to right-hand corner. N (REAR) ELEVATION: 4-bay. 2-storey piended extension to far left; windows to each floor of right return. Projecting central single storey outhouse; flanking windows. 3 unevenly spaced 1st floor windows. W ELEVATION: single 1st floor window.

4-pane timber sash and case window (ground floor windows boarded up). Pitched roof; graded grey slates; stone skews; coped bull-faced ashlar stacks; circular and octagonal clay cans.

INTERIOR: original layout intact; secondary door to vestibule with etched glass side lights (damaged);

Spiral staircase to rear of plan, dismembered decorative cast-iron balusters and timber handrail. Plain cornices. Stone fireplace to kitchen; most original fireplaces removed.

FARM STEADING: S block comprising W, S and central late 18th century ranges containing cattle court, stable, wintering shed, and barn; N block comprising N and E 19th century additions containing barn, granary, cart sheds, engine house, boiler house, truncated chimney, byre and former covered courts.

S BLOCK CONTAINING CATTLE COURT, STABLE, WINTERING SHED AND BARN: retanglular plan, central courtyard (formerly covered, post 1913) with central dividing wall and round gatepiers (on N-S axis) and low coped stone barrier (on E-W axis) forming feeding passage. STABLE(W): single storey stable with adjoining recessed 3-room block to N end (gable end to road). E elevation: 2 windows with timber vents to lower half flanked by timber boarded doors to stable; 2 timber boarded doors to recessed block.

N elevation: window to left; lean-to corrugated metal porch linking farmhouse to N block to right; door to right. W elevation: 3 doors (that to left blocked; 2 to right converted to windows). N (road) elevation: single window to left; blocked loft window. Timber boarded stalls to stable block with later reinforced cast-iron columns; timber hay loft to S end; cobble floor to front of stalls. Cobbles and flags to N block. Original 18th century wall construction to W; later 19th century squared rubble to E (facing courtyard). Graded grey slates to W pitch; corrugated metal to E pitch over stable; pantiles to E pitch of N block. 2 coped stacks to N block. WINTERING SHED (S): (adjoining stables at S angle): single storey; 4 segmental-arched openings with stugged ashlar voussoirs and quoins; squared snecked rubble facing courtyard to N; stream worn rubble to S (road elevation); low stream worn rubble dividing wall; rubble ledges to either side of dividing wall and to E and W end of sheds. Corrugated metal roof. BARN (N): late 18th century rectangular-plan barn forming centre of steading complex, linked to later 19th century to N and W; stream worn rubble; pantiled roof. Remains of later 19th century byre enclosing courtyard to E.

N BLOCK CONTAINING BARN, GRANERY, CART SHEDS, BOILER HOUSE, CHIMNEY BASE, BYRE AND FORMER COVERED COURTS: 2 storey barn and granary with 3 segmental-arched cart sheds to E, 3 square timber vented openings above; lean-to engine house to W; stugged ashlar chimney base with chamfered shoulders; former piended single storey boiler house to right. Advanced and raised pitched extension to SW, stone stairs to left return (leading to barn). 20th century brick buildings to S and E of cart sheds. Corrugated roof to barn and granary complex; slates to engine and boiler houses. BYRE: single storey, rectangular-plan byre on N-S axis to E of barn and granary; stone feeding troughs; later roof covering of corrugated metal and felt. Remains of stone walls perpendicular to byre (formerly covered court); feeding boles to S facing wall.

BOUNDARY WALLS and GATEPIERS: curved coped rubble boundary wall to SE (at highway junction) forming additional open courtyard. Coped rubble wall to S and W enclosing farmhouse kitchen garden. Square plan, pyramidal capped farmhouse gatepiers to S.

Statement of Interest

One of the oldest established farms forming part of the Hopetoun Estate in West Lothian (Maxwell); a farm settlement has been identified at Threemiletown since the mid 18th century (evident on Roy's 1752 map). John, 2nd Earl of Hopetoun (1704-1781; succeeded 1742) was mainly responsible for the early improvements to the estate, transforming runrigs to enclosed farms; giving leases; draining lands; and implementing new farm technology.

Although decay has set in, this farm has not been much altered since it received its later 19th century additions with most of its buildings remaining intact. Threemiletown demonstrates the typical way in which West Lothian farms simply added new buildings for specialist purposes rather than demolish and completely rebuild steadings in the later post-improvement era, a method more typical of East Lothian farms. This farm ceased to operate in 1956 (when farmlands amalgamated with adjacent Waterstone Farm) and therefore was not modernised to 20th century farming standards. Threemiletown farm is thus a prime example of early and late improvement farming, providing tangible evidence of both the 18th and 19th century farm building and layout. It becomes even more important as a characteristic example of a West Lothian farming settlement as there are few remaining unaltered buildings of this type in the county. The stream worn rubble and field rubble was the primary material used in building West Lothian farms and much of this construction is evident in the buildings of the S block. It is also clear that an earlier farmhouse stood on the same site as the present one; the remains of the E gable of the original building can still be seen. Existing estate plans of 1782 (earliest known steading layout plan on Hopetoun) indeed illustrate the contemporary layout of farmhouse planning and siting at the time, in particular requiring a S aspect and being set apart from the steading (Maxwell). When the farm ceased to operate it was converted to hunt kennels; however this function has not unduly altered the character of the farm as no permanent structures, save a mounting block, have been erected. No beam or mill machinery remains. The farm had initially a fixed mill horse power, but was later run by steam. The chimney base is noted by Maxwell to be one of the finest known examples on the Hopetoun Estate. Maxwell also finds that at Threemiletown "we have, therefore, in the lower scale of farm on the estate, the indications of the start of constructional refinements which had their basis extending back to the first stages of agricultural improvements."

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