Listed Building

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site only. All other information in the record is not statutory.

BALGONE HOUSELB14716

Status: Designated

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Summary

Category
A
Group Category Details
100000019 - See Notes
Date Added
05/02/1971
Local Authority
East Lothian
Planning Authority
East Lothian
Parish
North Berwick
NGR
NT 56654 82361
Coordinates
356654, 682361

Description

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).

References

Bibliography

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.

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 statutory listing address is the legal part of the listing. 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.

Listing covers both the exterior and the interior. Listing can cover structures not mentioned 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. For information about curtilage see www.historicenvironment.scot. 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 is the main point of contact for all applications for listed building consent.

Find out more about listing and our other designations at www.historicenvironment.scot. You can contact us on 0131 668 8716 or at designations@hes.scot.

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