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
Scottish Borders
Planning Authority
Scottish Borders
NT 59265 31589
359265, 631589


18th century core, with additions by John Smith, 1839; rebuilt after fire by Henry Francis Kerr, 1892-94. 2-storey with basement and attic, 5-bay symmetrical principal (N) elevation with central entrance and later 3-bay gabled section to rear with bowed and canted bays. Wide steps to central entrance with Ionic columns, wallhead ballustrading to front and bowed and canted bays; crenellated wallhead to side; corner bartizans and tripartite windows to W bay. Coursed ashlar.

Predominantly 12-pane glazing in sash and case windows. Corniced rectangular ridge and gable stacks with plain cans.

Statement of Special Interest

Henry Francis Kerr (1855-1946) carried out work on the building after a fire, which involved refitting the interior and adding decorative embellishments to the exterior.

A tower house belonging to the Mertoun Estate had been on the site since 1572, this was demolished in 1784 by David Erskine 11th Earl of Buchan who then extended and repaired the remaining parts. The 1784 structure was largely destroyed by fire in 1892 at which point the current house was built for Mr Oswald Erskine by Kerr.

It is believed the rectangular pitched roof entrance block to the N may date from before 1784 and have originally been the rear elevation; the S front thought to date from 1784 covering over the former S entrance. The two storey octagonal bay and bow to the W elevation were added by John Smith in 1839 for Lady Buchan.

Kerr's work of 1892 in Scottish Rennaisance style involved the addition of the corner bartizans, wall-head balustrade, new pedimented entrance and remodelling the interior.

Dryburgh Abbey House is an amalgamation of building stages over the centuries as is clearly demonstrated in its eclectic building styles.

The sundial is unusual and a curiosity as it is about 5 feet tall and is situated on a small knoll, which makes the dial hard to read even from the top of the knoll. It's inscriptions are, on the N face, 'I make the time' and the letters DOM; on the E face: 'A shadow too art thou'; on the S face: 'I am a shade'; and on the W face 'Save gossip dost thou so'.



1st edition Ordnance Survey map (1856). Kitty Cruft, John Dunbar, Richard Fawcett, Buildings of Scotland: Borders (2006) p224. Charles Strang, Borders and Berwick, (1991) p171. Dictionary of Scottish Architects, [accessed 15 March 2007].

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: 19/04/2019 21:27