Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing under the Planning (Listing Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 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. The further details below the 'Address/Name of Site' are provided for information purposes only.

Address/Name of Site


Status: Designated


There are no additional online documents for this record.


Date Added
Local Authority
Planning Authority
National Park
NH 79106 2674
279106, 802674


Robert Adam, 1790-96; 19th century alterations and additions; major interior remodelling by MacGibbon and Ross, 1904. Symmetrical 3-storey, 7-bay classical mansion. Harled, ashlar dressings.

N (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: centre entrance in later 19th century porch; round-headed keystoned doorway; corniced and balustraded wallhead with corner pedestals supporting urns. Shallow advanced outer and centre pedimented bays; centre shield with swags and motto below pediment; pediments above some windows (post 1903).

S ELEVATION: wide outer bays delineated at 1st and 2nd floor levels by giant ashlar pilasters terminating with applied Ionic capitals and linked at 2nd floor cill height by applied band course with guilloche decoration. Large Burlington windows in outer and centre bays of 1st floor; pair later 19th century canted bay windows to ground floor with later French window to centre. Further attached decorative patera below wallhead, with 3 later 19th century dormers linked by balustrade. Band courses; mainly multi-pane glazing piended platform roof with paired corniced stacks.

Service wing extends to E: circa 1865 single storey range raised to 2 storeys and attic after 1903; stair tower at E gable rises above roofline terminating with pyramidal bellcast roof (post 1903 providing access from service range to upper floors of main house).

Predominantly multi-pane glazing to upper sashes; band courses; slate roofs.

INTERIOR: predominantly 1904 refit following fire, Edwardian decorative detailing throughout. Adamesque chimney pieces and plaster ceilings to ground floor public rooms; large centre stair hall rising through 1st floor.

Statement of Special Interest

Balavil House (formerly Belleville) is a good example of an 18th century neo-Classical house design by foremost 18th century architect, Robert Adam. This Adam design displays an unusual use of varying heights in the main elevation. The house includes a fine and complete Edwardian Adam-revival interior scheme by MacGibbon and Ross following a fire in 1903. The house design was specifically commissioned to reflect the owner, James Macpherson's interest in classical history and literature.

Located near the site of the former Ratites Castle; also on or near an earlier Belleville House. Belleville was purchased from the Mackintosh family by James Macpherson circa 1780 for 4000 pounds. James Macpherson was known as the translator of Ossianic poems and later a political commentator. Macpherson was a personal friend of Robert Adam who had already designed some additions for his Gothic villa in Putney, London in 1788. The Macpherson crest and motto "Catti ad Bellum" is on the N front of the mansion with a further worn coat of arms re-mounted in the W gable, from where a former billiard room wing projected.

Robert Adam's brother John supervised the project after his death in 1792. James Russell, mason, built a low service range to the E side in 1823. Charles G H Kinnear (of Peddie and Kinnear) carried out some minor works to the property in the early 1860s including the Italianate lodge of 1864. In 1899, the architect William Laidlaw Curruthers was commissioned to update the house to a late Victorian style, adding the balustraded porch to the front of the building and an attic level. About this time the principal rooms were moved to the ground floor and a living hall was created and the former billiard wing was demolished.

A fire broke out in 1903 resulting in the loss of all internal finishes and the building was subsequently remodelled internally by MacGibbon and Ross in Adam style in 1904 to the cost of 14,500 pounds. At this point the bay windows were added to the ground floor.

Robert Adam (1728-1792) and John Adam (1721-1992) were the sons of William Adam architect and when William died they took over his successful practice as architect and contractor respectively. Robert Adam was one of the most prominent Scottish architects renowned for his development of the Classical style throughout both Scotland and England in the latter half of the 18th Century.

The firm of MacGibbon and Ross began as speculative developers but by the turn of the 20th Century the firm had changed and were carrying out a number of renovations to larger country houses of which Balavil was one.

List description updated 2012.



Colonel Thornton, Sporting Tour through Northern Parts Of Scotland (1804). New Statistical Account xiv (1835), p89. John Fleming, 'Balavil House', The Country Seat ed. H Colvin and J Harris (1970), pp 178-80. Howard Colvin, A Biographical Dictionary Of British Architects 1600-1840 (1995), p61. Further information and photographic collection by courtesy the present owner. Mary Miers, Country Life (28 December 2011) p36.

About Listed Buildings

Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating sites and places at the national level. These designations are Scheduled monuments, Listed buildings, Inventory of gardens and designed landscapes and Inventory of historic battlefields.

We make recommendations to the Scottish Government about historic marine protected areas, and the Scottish Ministers decide whether to designate.

Listing is the process that identifies, designates and provides statutory protection for buildings of special architectural or historic interest as set out in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings which are found to be of special architectural or historic interest using the selection guidance published in Designation Policy and Selection Guidance (2019)

Listed building records provide an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building which has been identified by its statutory address. The description and additional information provided are supplementary and have no legal weight.

These records are not definitive historical accounts or a complete description of the building(s). If part of a building is not described it does not mean it is not listed. 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 legal part of the listing is the address/name of site which is known as the statutory address. Other than the name or address of a listed building, further details are provided for information purposes only. Historic Environment Scotland does not accept any liability for any loss or damage suffered as a consequence of inaccuracies in the information provided. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing. Even if a number or name is missing from a listing address it will still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing also applies to buildings or structures not physically attached but which are part of the curtilage (or land) of the listed building as long as they were erected before 1 July 1948.

While Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for designating listed buildings, the planning authority is responsible for determining what is covered by the listing, including what is listed through curtilage. However, for listed buildings designated or for listings amended from 1 October 2015, legal exclusions to the listing may apply.

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 1997 Act. 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 subsequent legislation.

Listed building consent is required for changes to a listed building which affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest. The relevant planning authority is the point of contact for applications for listed building consent.

Find out more about listing and our other designations at You can contact us on 0131 668 8914 or at


There are no images available for this record, you may want to check Canmore for images relating to BALAVIL HOUSE

There are no images available for this record.

Search Canmore

Printed: 18/06/2024 08:48