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Ravenswood House

A Category B Listed Building in Melrose, Scottish Borders

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Latitude: 55.5994 / 55°35'57"N

Longitude: -2.6689 / 2°40'8"W

OS Eastings: 357947

OS Northings: 634178

OS Grid: NT579341

Mapcode National: GBR 93SP.ZL

Mapcode Global: WH7WQ.ZJ78

Plus Code: 9C7VH8XJ+QC

Entry Name: Ravenswood House

Listing Name: Ravenswood House

Listing Date: 22 July 2010

Category: B

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 400474

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB51569

Building Class: Cultural

Location: Melrose

County: Scottish Borders

Electoral Ward: Leaderdale and Melrose

Parish: Melrose

Traditional County: Roxburghshire

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John and Thomas Smith of Darnick, 1824; additions 1864 for Admiral Sir Henry Fairfax; further alterations and additions 1900 for William Young; reconfigured internally 1961-3 (see Notes). Extensive, 2-storey and basement, asymmetric, castellated mansion in Neo-Tudor style situated beside the River Tweed on the historic estate of Old Melrose. Long rectangular-plan. Pale sandstone ashlar with moulded string course between 1st and 2nd floor. Irregular fenestration. Turreted towers to corner angles; castellated parapets; crow-stepped gables; bi-partite mullioned windows with Tudor hoodmoulds; raised pointed-arch arcaded loggia to E end. Tall diamond-plan chimney flues to W end.

FURTHER DESCRIPTION: 3-3-4 bay arrangement to S (garden) elevation broadly of 1824, 1864 and 1900 dates respectively.

3-BAY 1824 SECTION: S ELEVATION: slightly advanced tower bay flanked by engaged square-plan turrets; to ground, oversailing steps to pointed-arch tripartite window; further tripartite above. Canted window to left rising through basement and ground floor with castellated parapet. W ELEVATION: engaged octagonal turrets to corner angles. Crowstepped gable to parapet with carved lion panel flanked by griffin water spouts. N (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: Later square-plan castellated porch with slit windows to centre with 1864 date panel above.

3-BAY 1864 SECTION: S ELEVATION: lower with castellated tower bay to right surmounted by pyramidal capped, glazed viewing room; carved inset panel above doorway to ground.

4-BAY 1900 SECTION: S ELEVATION: sundial inset to far right crowstepped gable; pointed-arched opening below with canted balustraded balcony at 1st floor. E ELEVATION: 3 arched arcaded loggia with octagonal-columns, returning to W ELEVATION: pointed-arch loggia opening to far left; canted oriel window to right at 2nd floor.

Predominantly plate glass glazing to timber sash and case windows. Grey slate. Cast-iron rainwater goods.

Statement of Interest

Part of a B-Group comprising: Ravenswood House; Ravenswood, Stables; Ravenswood, North Lodge Including Gates and Railings; Ravenswood, South Lodge; Ravenswood, Summerhouse.

A grand castellated mansion house, the product of a number of remodellings by various hands, producing a broadly unified whole in the Neo-Tudor style. Situated in extensive landscaped grounds, the house is distinguished by its castellated parapets, numerous moulded details and diamond-plan shafted chimney flues, all adding significantly to its architectural and historic interest.

John and Thomas Smith of Darnick began Ravenswood House in 1824 for Major John Scott, a cousin to Sir Walter Scott and a younger of the Laird of Raeburn. The Smith brother's work constitutes the bulk of the 3-bay section to the W with its castellated parapet and slightly advanced tower bay to the S elevation. Sir Walter Scott's Journal entry of April 8, 1831 notes that he 'took leave of poor Major John Scott who, being afflicted with a distressing asthma, has resolved upon selling his house in Ravenswood, which he had dressed up with much neatness, and going abroad to Jamaica.

A number of large-scale additions and alterations were made for subsequent owner, celebrated Navy Admiral Sir Henry Fairfax, who was 27 at the time. He moved the original entrance from the S to the N side, adding the castellated porch, and raised the height of the W block adding the canted bays and the octagonal corner turrets.

Ravenswood House is currently the principal residence within the wider Ravenswood/Old Melrose estate. Stone from a 16th century house, probably built during the on or near the site of the present Old Melrose house (currently undergoing re-modelling, 2009), was used to construct the Ravenswood Summerhouse (see separate listing) incorporating a panel dated 1570.

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