The Haa of Bayhall is a 3-storey, 3-bay, symmetrical mid-18th century former laird's house, converted into 3 flats in 1978, with a 2-storey, 3-bay wing to the southeast gable, which is called Bayhall House. The building is harled rubble with ashlar margins and the House of Bayhall is painted white. In accordance with Section 1 (4A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 the following are excluded from the listing: the pier, slipway and outbuilding to the southwest.
Both buildings have grey slated roofs, raised skews and gable chimney stacks. Both buildings have single-storey porches to the rear (northeast) and there are two window openings to the first floor of the northwest elevation.
The windows to the Haa of Bayhall are predominantly 12-pane replacement timber sash and case windows. Bayhall House has timber sash and case windows with various glazing patterns, including plate glass and 2-over 2-pane windows.
The interior was partially seen in 2016. The Haa of Bayhall has been converted to flats and the interior has been refurbished. There is an internal stairway with one rounded wall to the northwest. The interior of Bayhall House has a substantial amount of timber lining and there is a straight internal stair to the upper storey.
There are rubble garden walls to the north.
Statement of Special Interest
The Haa of Bayhall and Bayhall House is an important, surviving mid 18th century laird's house that retains its distinctive unadorned exterior, which was typical for houses of this date and type in Shetland. These distinctive buildings are becoming increasingly rare and Bayhall is an important survivor. It remains in its harbour setting, facing the sea and is testament to the importance of the sea as the main trading and communication route in the past.
In accordance with Section 1 (4A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 the following are excluded from the listing: the pier, slipway and outbuilding to the southwest.
Age and Rarity
The Haa of Bayhall dates to the mid 18th century and is described in Shetland (1990) as having been built for John Hendry (who lived 1709-1751). It is not known if the House of Bayhall to the southeast is contemporary with the Haa or if it was added later, maybe in the 19th century. There is no current internal connection between the two buildings. By the time of the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey Map (surveyed 1878), both the Haa and adjoining house are shown. The Haa was converted into flats in 1978 by the architect Richard Gibson for Shetland Islands Council.
Haa houses were traditionally built in Shetland as lairds' houses from the 17th century onwards. They are distinctive because of their tall, narrow form, and were usually only one room deep. The scarcity of timber on Shetland meant that most had to be imported and to economise on its use, the floor span between the front and back walls was kept as short as possible, and the houses expanded upwards. The style is not unique to Shetland, and tall, narrow houses of this date are found in other areas of Scotland, for example at Newton House, Insch in Aberdeenshire, which dates to the late 17th century and is listed at category B. The Haa houses in Shetland form a distinctive building type in the area, partly because of their contrast with the lower, smaller, more standard farms and dwellings of the islands.
Few Haa houses from the 17th century survive in Shetland, although there are some ruinous examples and some which have been extended, such as at the Haa of Vaila, where the property comprises a 17th century building and later 19th century one. The peak period for the construction of Haa houses was the mid 18th century, and several houses from this period survive, including the Haa of Bayhall, 2-storey houses at West Sandwick on Yell, which are listed at category A, and at Ollaberry, which is listed at category B. Others, however, survive only as ruins.
As a mid 18th century Haa house, the Haa at Bayhall and the adjoining Bayhall House has intrinsic interest because of its age and its historic interest for the area. These distinctive buildings are becoming increasingly rare and Bayhall is an important survivor
Architectural or Historic Interest
The refurbished interior of the former Haa has no apparent features of special architectural interest. The straight internal stair and timber panelling in the House of Bayhall is typical for rural buildings. The extent of the timber panelling is of some interest.
The rectangular plan form of the Haa is typical for this building type. Internally, the Haa has been comprehensively altered, but the room layout of the House of Bayhall is largely 19th century in its layout. The straight internal stair to the upper storey is a typical feature in both smaller and larger rural properties.
Technological excellence or innovation, material or design quality
The harled rubble with minimal decoration, limited to the ashlar margins around the windows, is typical of this building type in Shetland. In her book Scotland's Traditional Houses (1997), Beaton notes that a 'moulded and possible corniced doorway…..is often the sole decorative feature in an otherwise plain front'. At Bayhall, even this decoration is not apparent and the severe external form is a particular feature of the building type.
The design of the Haa as a tall, narrow, gabled building with small window openings is typical and a distinctive feature of this building type. The larger first floor window openings are an indication of the main floor of the house and this is confirmed by the addition of windows only to the first floor level of the side elevation of the property. The closeness of the upper storey windows to the roofline is a feature of these buildings and add to its distinctive appearance.
The property has been reroofed and the skews and chimney stacks have been renewed as part of the refurbishment work in the 1970s and also around 2014. This has not, however, altered the basic external form of the building.
The Haa has a harbour setting, which is consistent with its former importance as a trading post, at a time when trade in Shetland was done mainly by sea. The Haa faces the sea, which again is a feature of these buildings. The 1st and 2nd edition Ordnance Survey maps of the area show several other houses around the Haa and the Haa has retained this village setting.
The unadorned external form of the Haa house is distinctive to Shetland, but is not thought to be unique.
Close Historical Associations
There are no known associations with a nationally important person or event.
Statutory address and listed building record revised in 2016. Previously listed as Walls, Haa of Bayhall, Including Garden Wall, Outbuilding, Pier and Slipway