Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing – see ‘About Listed Buildings’ below for more information.


Status: Designated


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Date Added
Local Authority
East Lothian
Planning Authority
East Lothian
NT 32687 72505
332687, 672505


James Smith, 1686, Classical 7-bay, 2-storey and basement house, with interior work by William Adam, circa 1720; 3-bay outer pavilions, linking bays and further interior alterations, probably also William

Adam, from 1720. Natural harl, render and lining; ashlar dressings; chamfered reveals; quoins to original house, simple ashlar dressings to pavilions. Base course and moulded cornice.

SW ELEVATION: 3 centre bays advanced and breaking eaves in astylar pedimented centrepiece; distyle in antis Doric porch to basement at centre, keystoned and with decorated entablature; 2-leaf doors; double stair above with decorative wrought-iron balustrade and monogram, circa 1720. Principal doorway, James Smith, pedimented with fluted, tapering pilasters and lintel inscription "Laudo Manentem"; tympanum relief, circa 1720; 2-leaf panelled doors. Regular fenestration to each bay at each floor, partly obscured by stair at basement. Oculus in main pediment and apex stack; flanking urns removed. 2-bays with regular fenestration flanking each side. Linking bays slightly recessed, each

with door at ground and window to floors above. 3-bay pavilions, from 1720, advanced, with windows to principal and 1st floor on return elevations towards centre; windows to each floor to SW, those of right

pavilion blinded.

NE ELEVATION: detailed as SW elevation but without double stair and with only 1 doorway; simple flight of steps to pedimented doorway at centre, "Sapienter Uti" inscribed on lintel and profile relief in tympanum.

Regular fenestration across elevation to each floor; no basement windows and blinded windows to principal and 1st floor in pavilion to left.

SE ELEVATION: 5-bay on higher ground, obscuring basement; round arched windows with shell keystones and impost capitals, centre window lengthened as door with wall mounted sundial above. Blank rectangular ashlar tablets above each window. Small bull's-eye ventilation opening at ground.

NW ELEVATION: 2-bay with basement recess; 2 windows to principal floor detailed as those of SE elevation with moulded surround; 2 rectangular 1st floor windows; broad pilaster strips to outer angles. 12-pane glazing pattern to sash and case windows, with 4-pane to majority of principal floor windows to front and rear; radial and Y-traceried patterns in round arched windows of end elevations. Grey slate peind and platform roofs; lead flashings. Panelled and corniced stacks, paired on load bearing walls by centre.

INTERIOR: outstanding. Enfilade arrangement of rooms. Vaulted kitchen in basement. James Smith interiors largely retained including stairwell, Chinese Room, Alcove Bedroom, Ante-room to Library. Oval stairwell with cantilevered stone and timber stair; fine wrought- iron balustrade, William Aitken. Basket-arched marble chimneypiece to Chinese Room, built-in bookcases, lugged door surrounds. Paintwork in principal rooms by James Norie, 1739, retained and landscape mural

paintings. Gilding to details carved by William Adam with exuberant plasterwork by Thomas Clayton and Samuel Calderwood. Dining room including Dalrymple family portraits by Alan Ramsay and Raeburn; Ionic screen.

Classical marble chimneypieces, Henry Cheere of Westminster, 1739, in Dining room and Library. Library lined with bookcases; landscapes of Hailes and Tantallon by John Thomson of Duddingston, early 19th century.

Chinese wallpaper to boudoir on principal floor; William Flockhart-like paper to Alcove Bedroom. Terraces to SW and NE elevations; underground tunnel in terrace to NW of house, to shield view of servants, with

small sunk court and outhouses, circa 1840.

GATEPIERS: pair of ashlar gatepiers opening D-plan forecourt by main elevation, Burlingtonian in style; rusticated with rock-faced quoins and pedimented caps. Cast-iron railings linking piers with diminutive outer

piers, rock-faced, rusticated and with ball finials.

Statement of Special Interest

James Smith built Whitehill for himself, but sold it in 1702 to Lord Bellenden. In 1709 it was purchased by Sir David Dalrymple, owner of the Hailes Estate, who renamed the house. Together with his son, James, he was responsible for the additions planned before his death in 1721; as William Adam worked on the interior refurbishment, it seems possible that he was the architect of the pavilions. An elevation with plans by

James Smith, very similar to Newhailes before the additions, shows a 7-bay house, and it seems probably that the 9th bays came simultaneously with the pavilions as linking bays. The survival of the interior decoration is exceptional. The National Library of Scotland presently (1989) hold the magnificent collection of books amassed by Lord Hailes, for which the library was constructed. The Stables, Lodge and piers, Obelisk, Shell Grotto, Gardener's Cottage and Dovecot are listed separately.



Clerk MSS. National Library of Scotland.

COUNTRY LIFE 15 September 1917;

'Newhailes', Paul Duncan, 29 January and 5 February 1987;

C McWilliam LOTHIAN (1978) pp351-3;

T Hannan FAMOUS SCOTTISH HOUSES (1928) pp133-6;

NSA, vol I (1839) P283.

About Listed Buildings

Listing is the way that a building or structure of special architectural or historic interest is recognised by law through the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings of special architectural or historic interest using the criteria published in the Historic Environment Scotland Policy Statement.

The information in the listed building record gives an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building(s). It is not a definitive historical account or a complete description of the building(s). The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

The only legal part of the listing is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing and if a number or name is missing from a listing address it may still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing can also cover structures not physically attached but which are part of the curtilage of the building, such as boundary walls, gates, gatepiers, ancillary buildings etc. The planning authority is responsible for advising on what is covered by the listing including the curtilage of a listed building. Since 1 October 2015 we have been able to exclude items from a listing. If part of a building is not listed, it will say that it is excluded in the statutory address and in the statement of special interest in the listed building record. The statement will use the word 'excluding' and quote the relevant section of the Historic Environment Scotland Act 2014. Some earlier listed building records may use the word 'excluding', but if the Act is not quoted, the record has not been revised to reflect current legislation.

If you want to alter, extend or demolish a listed building you need to contact your planning authority to see if you need listed building consent. The planning authority advises on the need for listed building consent and they also decide what a listing covers. The planning authority is the main point of contact for all applications for listed building consent.

Find out more about listing and our other designations at You can contact us on 0131 668 8716 or at


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Printed: 23/01/2019 22:06