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- Group Category Details
- See Notes
- Date Added
- Local Authority
- East Lothian
- Planning Authority
- East Lothian
- North Berwick
- NT 56654 82361
- 356654, 682361
Principally 17th century possibly with still earlier core fabric and with later additions and alterations, restored 1990s. Traditional Scots 3-storey, 9-bay symmetrical mansion with complex building history. 17th century L-plan house with round stair tower (possibly evolved from earlier structure), re-worked and extended post 1739, creating symmetrical elevation; stair tower made polygonal with mirrored counterpart. 19th century Baronial additions now demolished (see Notes). Pink harled masonry with exposed margins and quoins. Deep moulded eaves cornice. Unusual diminutive lead and timber attic dormers.
W (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: 9-bays, low entrance with Bolection moulding in 3-bay central section, flanked by balustered stair towers canted from mitred angle at 2nd floor. Smaller 18th century windows to 2nd floor.
E (REAR) ELEVATION: 5 wide bays, centre and outer bays advanced at differing dates with crow-stepped gables, that to centre with 2 windows at 2nd floor. Irregular fenestration to inner left bay, regular to inner right.
12-pane glazing pattern set in timber sash and case windows (those to 2nd floor with thick astragals). Gablehead stacks. Grey slate.
INTERIOR: restored but retaining wealth of original features, and evidencing extent of alterations. Majority of original timber fittings, cornicing, overmantels, panelling. Of particular note are small vaulted chambers in SW corner; large 15th century chimneypiece; exceptional ogee shaped overmantel of Bruce-type to corner chimneypiece; Renaissance panelled study with closet; segmental-arch kitchen recess; stone newel staircases.
Statement of Special Interest
Balgone House is a fascinating and highly unusual example of the development of a Scottish mansion over time and is of national importance for its evidence of the changing fashions and demands of its occupiers over the last 500 years. The history of the building is highly complex and there are many aspects which have denied easy explanation. The exact origins of the building are not certain but the survival of early fabric is extensive, with complex changes both overlaying and re-working to present an intriguing tapestry. The presence of the small vaulted chambers suggest a more humble building, a border bastle house or simple tower house, existing prior to the 17th century L-plan house. The 15th century chimneypiece likewise indicates an earlier date. It may originally have been set in a room of more appropriate proportions in terms of height and length but this cannot be determined with any certainty from the fabric presently exposed. The potential link between the house and the 12C North Berwick Cistercian nunnery (ruinous by late 16C) may explain its derivation but its antiquity and interest is demonstrable regardless.
The house was further adapted in the 18th century to meet the demands of symmetry, although this stopped short of the creation of a classical pedimented frontage. The 19th century brought further adaptation with two additions, the first early in the century, with a ballustered infill to the W elevation creating a new entrance, along with a Baronial wing to the rear. In 1860 a further Baronial wing, almost certainly by J Anderson Hamilton, was added to the north. These 19th century works have been demolished as part of the late 20th century restoration.
A designed landscape which once surrounded the house is now much eroded but vestiges remain and notable planting such as the yew square. The two 18th century classical pavilions with dummy quadrant links extend the grand effect, a theatrical achievement in view of the single pile plan.
The house and estate were the property of the Sutties from 1680 to the later 20th century. The pavilions to N and S and the North and South Lodges of the estate are now in separate ownership and are listed separately.
Upgraded from category B to A (2007) following interior inspections which evidenced fabric of national importance.
A-Group with Coach House (North Pavilion) and South Pavilion (see separate listings).
1st Edition Ordnance Survey Map (1892-3). SRO, Plan of 1739, (RHP 49279) and 1798 Estate Plan (RHP 10,009). RCAHMS (ELD/124/1-5), 1966, held at NMRS (DC2473-5) 1968. C McWilliam, Lothian (1978), p 89. J W Small, Castles and Mansions of the Lothians, (1883), Vol 1.
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Printed: 22/03/2019 20:53