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The House of Narrow Gates with Outbuildings and Garden Structures

A Category C Listed Building in St Boswells, Scottish Borders

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Latitude: 55.5733 / 55°34'23"N

Longitude: -2.6432 / 2°38'35"W

OS Eastings: 359539

OS Northings: 631260

OS Grid: NT595312

Mapcode National: GBR 93ZZ.KY

Mapcode Global: WH8Y2.C5KR

Entry Name: The House of Narrow Gates with Outbuildings and Garden Structures

Listing Date: 16 September 2008

Category: C

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 400022

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB51162

Building Class: Cultural

Location: St Boswells

County: Scottish Borders

Electoral Ward: Jedburgh and District

Parish: St Boswells

Traditional County: Roxburghshire

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Saint Boswells


Circa 1850 with early 20th century additions attributed to J P Alison. 2-storey, irregular-plan house comprising circa 1850 traditional 3-bay piend-roofed block to E and large early 20th century Baronial addition to W with round, conical-roofed entrance tower, crowstepped gables, and corbelled bartizan at SW corner. White-painted harl with red sandstone dressings. Discontinuous eaves course; cill course and crenellated parapet to bartizan. Fairly regular fenestration predominantly with stone margins; some margins tabbed; unmargined windows with projecting cills.

FURTHER DESCRIPTION: SE entrance elevation comprising regularly -fenestrated original house to right; advanced gable to centre; entrance tower in right re-entrant angle; 2 irregularly-fenestrated bays recessed to left with 1-bay gable and bartizan to outer left. 2-leaf timber-panelled front door in tabbed architrave. 2-bay SE (garden) elevation with bartizan to right and advanced canted bay to left, corbelled out at gable head. Fairly regular fenestration to rear with roughly central 2-storey canted bay with crenellated parapet.

12-pane glazing in timber sash and case windows. Rendered wallhead stacks with red sandstone corniced copes and yellow clay cans. Graded grey slate. Cast-iron rainwater goods.

INTERIOR: early 20th century fixtures largely intact, several of which are similar to features in Lessudden House (see Notes). Half-glazed timber-panelled lobby door. Handsome timber staircase with heavy balustraded banister. 2-panel interior doors with lugged doorframes; green baize covered doors to service areas. Some chimneypieces; that to drawing room flanked by Corinthian pilasters. Some plaster cornicing; decorative plasterwork to dining room.

OUTBUILDINGS: piend-roofed apple house with timber-boarded doors. Gabled potting shed with stack and timber-boarded door; cast-iron stove to interior.

GARDEN STRUCTURES: ball-finialed sundial dated 1739 to SW of house. Ashlar-coped random rubble walled orchard. Balustraded pink sandstone retaining wall to sunken rose garden with curved steps and wrought-iron gate decorated with birds, scrolled foliage and flowers and initials (see Notes). Terrace retaining wall and steps with flanking stone urns to SW of house. Further retaining walls and steps to SE of house.

Statement of Interest

A good, predominantly early 20th century house, occupying a prominent position overlooking St Boswells village to the S and Dryburgh Abbey to the N. The staircase, drawing room fireplace and principal doorways are similar to those found at the nearby Lessudden house (see separate list description), and this connection adds considerably to the interest of the house. The ancillary buildings and large number of garden features also adds to its merit. The house was originally called Tweedmount, and comprised the 3-bay piend-roofed E wing of the present house. Map evidence indicates that this house was built in about 1850 (it is shown on the first edition OS, but not on maps from the early 1840s). Another slightly larger house of similar date called Boswell Cottage occupied the site of the rose garden, and it appears that the walled orchard belonged to that property. In about 1909 Tweedmount was sold by the Scott of Harden family (not the same family, but probably connected to the Scotts of Raeburn who owned Lessudden). The purchaser is believed to have been Lord and Lady Ritchie who were responsible for extending Tweedmount and renaming it Boswell House. Their initials are found in the wrought-iron gate to the rose garden and they were presumably responsible for the demolition of Boswell Cottage.

The addition is attributed in Buildings of Scotland to the prolific and eminent Hawick-based architect, J P Alison, on the basis of style. The timber staircase, which is based closely on the stair at Lessudden, is of particular note, and it is interesting that other details from Lessudden were copied too, including the design of the doors and the pilastered fireplace in the drawing room. Lessudden House is located roughly 350m to the E. It should, however, be noted that these features are found in other houses roughly contemporary with Lessudden. Fairnington House near Maxton (Roxburgh Parish) has been suggested as an alternative source, and the ultimate prototype for the stair could be the Great Stair at Holyrood Palace.

It is not known when the house was given its current name, which is believed to be a reference to John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress.

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