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Millhouse, Outbuilding, Kirkwall Road, Stromness

A Category C Listed Building in Stromness, Orkney Islands

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Latitude: 58.9772 / 58°58'37"N

Longitude: -3.2892 / 3°17'20"W

OS Eastings: 325985

OS Northings: 1010715

OS Grid: HY259107

Mapcode National: GBR L570.B04

Mapcode Global: WH69V.FMYD

Plus Code: 9CCRXPG6+V8

Entry Name: Millhouse, Outbuilding, Kirkwall Road, Stromness

Listing Name: Millhouse, including detached outbuilding to west and garden wall to east, and excluding outbuilding with extensions to the southwest, Kirkwall Road (A965), Stromness, Orkney

Listing Date: 5 May 1999

Last Amended: 4 February 2016

Category: C

Source: Historic Scotland

Source ID: 405812

Historic Scotland Designation Reference: LB46156

Building Class: Cultural

ID on this website: 200405812

Location: Stromness

County: Orkney Islands

Electoral Ward: Stromness and South Isles

Parish: Stromness

Traditional County: Orkney

Tagged with: Architectural structure

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Mid to late 19th century, single storey and attic, 3 bay, rectangular-plan, former millworkers house and associated outbuilding to the west (rear), prominently located on the Kirkwall Road, 1.5 kilometres north of Stromness. In accordance with Section 1 (4A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 the following are excluded from the listing: the roofless outbuilding with extensions to the southwest.

The house is of split-faced flagstone rubble (with a cement render) and raised, painted margins. The timber door to the centre has deep ingoes and a rectangular fanlight. Single sash and case windows flank the main door. There is a single sash and case window off centre to the right in the south gable. There is a lean-to porch to the rear. The building has large corniced gablehead end stacks, shouldered skews, grey slated roofs and small roof-lights to each pitch. The timber sash and case windows have a 12-pane glazing pattern. There is a low garden wall to the front of the house.

The internal plan form, seen 2015, is typical of mid to late 19th century vernacular houses in Orkney, with a hallway running perpendicular to the main entrance, leading to two principal rooms at either end. A staircase opposite the entrance leads to the attic. There is a recessed press cupboard in the south room gable wall. Timber doors to the upper floor are cut to follow the pitch of the roof.

A former byre/cart-shed outbuilding is located to the rear (west) of the house. This building is of exposed flagstone rubble on a long, narrow plan running east to west. It has a lean-to addition to the east gable and Caithness stone-slabs to roof. The roof pitch has been raised slightly.

Statement of Interest

Millhouse was built as the millworker's house for the nearby Cairnston Mill and is surviving evidence of modest 19th century estate improvement architecture near the significant Orkney fishing and trading town of Stromness. In accordance with Section 1 (4A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 the following are excluded from the listing: the roofless outbuilding with extensions to the southwest.

What sets Millhouse and its associated outbuilding apart from much of the surviving vernacular architecture of this building type on Orkney is a combination of its largely unaltered exterior (particularly the principal elevation of the house) and the internal plan form of the house which have changed little since the mid-19th century. The little-altered setting, and the local, traditional building methods and materials, in both the house and the outbuilding are also of interest.

Millhouse is prominently set on elevated ground with its principal elevation facing the main Stromness to Kirkwall Road with views southward across the bay towards Graemsay and the mountains of Hoy. Surviving examples of 19th century vernacular dwelling houses on the Orkney mainland that have not been significantly altered externally or in plan form, and are located within a largely unchanged setting, are increasingly rare.

The long, stone-slab roofed outbuilding to the immediate west of the house is likely to have had a variety of uses connected with the Cairston millworkers during the 19th and early 20th century, and its survival adds to the interest of the house. Both the house and the outbuilding are constructed of split-face flagstone rubble, evidencing local, traditional building methods and materials commonly used during the 19th century in Orkney. The broad end stacks and deep doorway recess are characteristic of rural Orkney house building of the 19th century. Naismith in his book 'Buildings of the Scottish Countryside' notes that the 12-pane glazing pattern, evident at Millhouse, is characteristic of Stromness buildings, with 4-pane glazing traditionally favoured over most of the Orkney mainland (Naismith, p.205).

Millhouse was built as part of improvement works to the Cairston estate, north of Stromness, carried out during the mid-to-late 19th century. The National Gazetteer of 1868 records that Cairston House (now called Garson House – see separate listing) was the 'principal residence of Stromness parish' and 'seat of Pollexfen, the chief heritor'. Fenton notes that 'by the 1870s there was an excellent meal-mill on the Cairston estate' (Fenton p.400). Groome's Gazetteer of Scotland, 1882-1885 entry for Stromness Parish states that 'much has been done on the Cairston estate in the way of draining, building, and other improvements'.

Millhouse is first shown on the 2nd Edition Ordnance Survey Map (surveyed 1903) with a path running between it and the now disused Mill of Cairston, located 70 metres southwest of Millhouse. The long narrow outbuilding with the stone-slab roof to the west (rear) of Millhouse and a portion of the other outbuilding (excluded from the listing) is shown on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey Map (surveyed 1880). These outbuildings are likely to have been constructed around the same time as Cairston Mill, which was built before 1870. The field boundaries in the current landscape (2015) appear to be largely consistent with that shown on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map.

The outbuilding to the southwest of Millhouse has substantial extensions to the west and south, the south wall has been rebuilt in concrete blockwork and it has lost its slate roof. Because of these substantial changes it is not considered to be of interest in listing terms at the time of this review and is excluded from the listing.

Statutory address and listed building record revised in 2016. Previously listed as 'Kirkwall Road, Millhouse, including ancillary structures and boundary walls'.

External Links

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