Circa 1492, 3-storey tower house to NE with S wing additions in 1559 and 1599; extra storey added in 1642 now forming 3-4 storey and attic, multi-bayed, shallow L-plan Scots country/tower house with adjoined service wings, terraces, pavilions, U-plan forecourt and entrance gates added in 1695-9, James Smith (Overseer of the Royal Works of Scotland); various later interior remodelling. Local whinstone rubble, harled and painted with exposed dressings ranging from dark red to yellow. Early windows with rounded arrises and glazing grooves, later windows with chamfered arrises. Conical roofed angle turrets with pedimented dormers to rest of upper floor (stone apex finials to later ones).
SE (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: to right, advanced 4-storey, (near) 3-bay block (additional irregularly placed windows also light stair and ground floor rooms) with entrance by way of single storey, single bay piended porch with canted angles; individualistic angle-turrets to upper floor flanking stone pedimented dormers which break eaves; partially adjoining E wing to right return (SE) and shallow left return with single stair light window. To left, original tower extended and heightened to form 3-storey and attic, 4-bay block (1st bays set away from other 3 bays and ground floor windows very small) with slit window to extreme left between 1st and 2nd floors (lighting stair), rising at W (left) into corbelled square-plan angle turret with rounded corners and stone pedimented wallhead dormers breaking eaves to right; projecting single storey, 3-bay entrance porch to ground floor left with central door flanked by windows. SE and NW elevations of main house, irregularly massed and fenestrated gabled ends rising into gablehead chimneys, both elevations showing various building phases with wings adjoining to ground floors. To NE (rear), very wide main house showing 2 distinct building phases with older parts of house to right and later addition to left: 2 windows to ground floor left with slit windows right, 2 windows to 1st floor left with 5 rectangular bays to right; single window to 2nd floor left (with 2-storey angle-turret to far left) and 4 bays to right; 3 bays to 3rd floor left with 5 stone pedimented wallhead dormers breaking eaves to right. Adjoining to left, 3-bay end of single storey E wing with projecting single storey piended porch straddling extreme right of wing and main house with window to face and entrance door in left return.
TERRACES AND PAVILIONS: upper and lower random rubble terraces below rear of house, the lower terminating in pavilions.
NE ELEVATION: high terraces with central flight of stairs to lower, then flight of steps to left (with plain handrail) leading to upper terrace. Lower terrace terminates in 2-storey, ogee-roofed square pavilions (ornate finials surmounting) with upper level entrances in inner returns and single windows overlooking maze, stacks to outer returns; entrance door to centre of ground floors, that of left pavilion flanked by small windows and in use as animal shelter (left return adjoining outhouses of S terrace of E wing, see below).
EAST WING: contains dining room, lower drawing room, red room, study and anti-rooms.
NW (COURTYARD) ELEVATION: single storey and attic, 6-bay elevation with alternate windows and doors to ground floor (all with sandstone margins); to attic, near aligned pitch-roofed timber dormers to bays 1 to 5. To SW, end with single window. To SE, single storey South Terrace elevation (of 3 slightly differing heights) with 8 bays to ground floor, the 7th being pair of later glazed French doors with 3-pane envelope fanlight surmounting; to attic, cast-iron Carron lights to bays 1, 7 and 8, near aligned pitch-roofed timber dormers to bays 2, 4, 5 and 6 with smaller dormer of similar style to bay 3. Raised random rubble walled South Terrace runs along SE elevation and terminates to rear of E pavilion; 3 gabled rubble outhouses with red sandstone dressings adjoin base of terrace to right (see TERRACES).
WEST WING: contains chapel, brewery and gift shops to courtyard level and brew house, stables and old killing room to lower level.
SE (COURTYARD) ELEVATION: single storey and attic, 6-bay courtyard elevation with alternate door window formation (all with sandstone margins) and 2 attic dormers aligned with bays 4 and 5 (4th bay timber gabled dormer, 5th bay dormer smaller with piended roof); lean-to entrance to main house adjoins to extreme right. To SW, sandstone margined gabled end on falling ground (inset quoin near eaves incorporates a sundial, which return around corner) with central window at courtyard level and small window to lower level (former killing house). To NW/rear: 2-storey (due to nature of site), 7-bay elevation with cart arch to ground floor left with alternate window door formation to rest; to upper floor (courtyard level) 7 regularly placed bays, all with sandstone margins. To NE, partially concealed end wall adjoining various disused service buildings. Ogee moulded eaves course to all.
COURTYARD SCREEN WALLS, GATEPIERS, RAILINGS AND GATES: adjoin W and E wing angles and enclose forecourt.
SW (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATIONS: to centre, pair of tall rusticated ashlar piers on slightly projecting bases (surmounted by tall ashlar urn-finials) contain pair of wrought-iron gates with ornate details surmounted by scroll overthrow with tulip and rose details, Stuart of Traquair shield to centre finished with 5-point coronet. Low harled and painted screen walls with sandstone copes flank gatepiers, 2 further urn-finialled rusticated ashlar piers regularly placed along each wall linked by plain wrought-iron railings with stylised fleur-de-lis heads.
12-pane glazing in timber sash and case windows to most with some 4, 6, 9-pane glazing to lesser windows, 8 lying-pane glazing to NE ground floor of E pavilion. Steeply pitched slate roof to main house with stone riding and lead flashing; piended slate roof to East and West wings and small porch and lean-to on principal elevation, lead crow apex finials to wings; ogee slated roofs to terrace pavilions. Painted cast-iron rainwater goods to later wings and centre of main elevation. Harled rubble roofline and gablehead stacks of plain design with replacement plain cans; very tall harled stack with sandstone neck cope to NE of E wing with smaller harled roofline stacks to rest of elevation and W wing.
INTERIOR: main house ground floor: studded oak entrance door, servant's bells to hall (most in working order); timber panelled garden parlour (now still room) with bolection-moulded fireplace with trompe l'oeil still life painting surmounting; original stone mural stair; 3 stone vaulted cellars (formerly used to store cattle during raids); to main stairs, carved oak door (1601) from Terregles House, Dumfriesshire showing the Scottish Unicorn and the English Lion locked in combat. 1st floor: classically styled, full-width drawing room with painted over doors symbolising the arts; timber panelled dressing room with small concealed cupboard; timber panelled King's Room (in original core of house) with glazed door to powder closet and timber door leading to alternative stone staircase, state bed from Terregles House (see NOTES). 2nd floor: museum room with varying thickness walls (showing building periods of the house), open timber beamed ceiling, 2 fireplaces and hound and dromedary mural from 1530; plain White Room (bedroom) and dressing room with narrow plaster cornice. 3rd floor: 18th century principal library with timber shelving and panelling, mural of philosophers and writers above shelves cataloguing books contained below, large marble fireplace; 2nd overflow library with Traquair Archive room adjacent; Priest's Room used by resident chaplain (pre-1829) with wall cupboard used to conceal altar, 17th century garderobe (used to conceal plain white vestment) and shelved cupboard with false back leading to old stairway. EAST WING: late 17th century dining room with hand-blocked French wallpaper (circa 1851, Great Exhibition) and painted timber panelling, classically styled lead-painted fireplace; lower drawing room with 19th century French hand-blocked wallpaper with timber fire surround and Chippendale-style over mirror. WEST WING: to upper floor, post 1829 Roman Catholic Chapel containing Italian marble altar (1870, Genoa) with panel depicting the Passion (Brumidi, sculptor), twelve 16th century carved timber wall panels (originally in Chapel of Mary of Guise, Leith and carved in Flemish style by Scottish craftsmen) ? originally a store room for the brewery below; also 2 modernised rooms containing Brew and Gift Shop. To lower level: 18th century brew house and tun room (one of the oldest surviving working breweries in Britain), old stable and killing room. PAVILIONS: both classically styled, one with naive ceiling painting of Venus and Adonis to upper floor and animal shelter to lower floor.
Statement of Special Interest
: A-Group with Summerhouse, Exedra, Bridge on East Drive, East Lodge, Tea Room, Office, Craft Workshops, Walled Garden, Gardener's Cottage, Bear Gates and Avenuehead Cottages. A building of some form or another has been at 'Trakware' since at least 1116. The original 3-storey and attic tower house at the heart of this house was built circa 1492 for James Stuart, the 1st Laird of Traquair. Further remodelling occurred during the tenure of Sir William Stuart, 5th Laird of Traquair; he was responsible for the S end of the house, raising the kitchen wing to 4-storeys. The SW, SE and NW angle turrets were also added and an inscribed lintel bears his initials SWS and a 1599 date. John Stuart (1600-59) was the 1st Earl and 7th Laird, he continued the remodelling by raising the central portion of the house and adding further dormers. It is also believed he was responsible for changing the course of the River Tweed, making it run further away from the house. The most extensive periods of architectural change took place in the tenures of Charles Stuart, 4th Earl (10th Laird) (1659-1741) and his son of the same name Charles, 5th Earl (11th Laird) (1697-1764). The 4th Earl added the Terraces and Pavilions and remodelled the courtyard and erected (to their present elevations) the wings and the courtyard screen walls. James Smith, Overseer of the Royal Works of Scotland, undertook these works. He also prepared plans to regularise the SW elevation of the main house in a Baronial style, but this was never followed through. Stuart's son was responsible for the classical interiors at the house, as well as building the kitchen garden and the adjacent buildings (now Craft Workshops). Over the next few generations, little physically changed at the house, although changes in the landscape and the estate farms occurred. Lady Louisa Stuart of Traquair (15th Laird) died unmarried and without issue in 1875. The estate passed to her cousin Hon. Henry Constable Maxell who assumed the name Stuart and became the 16th Laird. He used Traquair primarily as a shooting lodge but further estate improvements were carried out, including the East Drive, bridge and Lodge. The estate remained fairly static until the tenure of Francis Maxwell Stuart (19th Laird); he opened the house and grounds to the public in 1953. The 20th Laird, Peter Maxwell Stuart and his wife Flora, continued the refurbishment of the house and worked towards reinstating areas of historical landscape, as well as reopening a flourishing brewery at the house. Within the house are many fitments and items of furniture from Terregles House, Dumfriesshire ? this was the seat of the Maxwell Family, which was demolished in 1962. The Estate and Grounds are open to the public and a guidebook containing further historic detail is available. Listed as fine example of a Border country seat and estate, for its historical connections, as well as its importance as the oldest inhabited house in Scotland.