Alexander Stevens, 1791; porch by Sir Robert Smirke, 1821. Classical mansion house. 3-storey and part-sunk basement, 5-bay; rectangular-plan. Single storey and part-sunk basement, 3-bay wing added to W, 1878, later reduced to single bay to N and S. Office
court, circa 1794, to W; linked to house by walls to N and S, forming inner courtyard. Rubble (originally harled). Ashlar dressings. Taller windows at ground floor, smaller windows at 2nd floor. Architraved margins, corniced at ground floor, truncated by cill course
at 2nd floor; plain margins to basement. Lintel course at basement to N elevation. Cill course at 2nd floor to all elevations. Quoin strips. Dentilled eaves cornice. Blocking course to N, with raised tablet at centre. 1878 WING: squared and snecked masonry, partly rubble to W elevation; ashlar dressings; long and short quoins; eaves cornice and blocking course; lintel course at basement.
N (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: wider bay slightly advanced at centre; porch (1821) with plain frieze, cornice, blocking course and raised tablet; paired Greek Doric columns flanking doorway to N; tripartite doorway with panelled door and broad 6-pane fanlight; window to E and W returns; steps up through base to N. Recessed panel at 1st and 2nd floors above porch; tripartite windows to both floors; consoled cornice, central pediment and simply decorated frieze to window at 1st floor; dentil detail above window at 2nd floor. Regularly disposed fenestration to all floors in remaining bays, except for door at basement in bay to outer right. Wing (1878) slightly advanced to right; tripartite windows to both floors, corniced at ground floor.
S ELEVATION: 3-bay. Semi-circular bay at centre; 3 windows to each floor, blinded at centre at basement; French window at centre at ground floor, with plain wrought-iron staircase up from right. Tripartite windows to all floors in outer bays; pilastered and corniced at ground and 1st floors, and with consoled cillls at ground floor. Wing (1878) to left; corniced tripartite window at ground floor; 2 windows at basement; wall adjoined to left.
E ELEVATION: 3-bay. Regularly disposed fenestration all windows in outer bays blinded, except window at ground floor in bay to left; tripartite window at basement in centre bay with blocked light at centre.
W ELEVATION: 4 windows at 2nd floor, outer blinded. 1878 wing adjoined to length of elevation, with window to left of centre at ground floor.
Mainly 12-pane glazing in timber sash and case windows, 6-pane at 2nd floor; several windows at 1st floor with plate glass lower sashes. Plate glass glazing to 1878 wing. Corniced ashlar stacks; 2 pairs of axial stacks flanking centre bays to N and S; narrower shouldered wallhead stacks elsewhere; wallhead stack. Shallow piended roofs. Semi-conical roof over semi-circular bay to S. Grey and purple slates. Cast-iron rainwater goods to 1878 wing.
INTERIOR: fine classical decorative schemes. Hall: depressed-arch over pilastered entrance doorway, with flanking round-arched alcoves; gilded plasterwork rose; rosette-detailed cornices; plain iron balustrade with timber handrail to half-turn stair with winders; large piece of floral applique work, mid to later 18th century, hung on W wall; floral appique work frieze to W wall of staircase; architraves painted with Latin mottoes. Dining room: later 19th century gilded friezes, cornices and dado rail; chimney alcove with pilastered surround;
Wedgwood panels to surround and chimneypiece; friezes over architraves. Drawing room: matching doorcase and bookcases with clustered pier details. Room to E; fitted tapestry to all walls; later 19th century gilded friezes and cornices. Study: 1878; compartmental coombed ceiling with simple bosses and heraldic shields; timber chimneypiece and overmantel, carved with heraldic design (dated 1909), and flanking matching bookcases with inscription (dated 1909). Full set of service bells.
OFFICE COURT: U-plan to W. Linked to house by walls to N and S, forming courtyard. Washed rubble. Graded grey slates to piended roofs. Tall rubble wallhead stack to N, several brick wallhead stacks to E. Red sandstone ridging. Central pend. Flat-arched entrance to pend at centre to W; Flat-arched carriage arches and window above to W to each jamb.
GATEPIERS: pair of dressed granite square section gatepiers to E, each surmounded by stone eagle. W gatepier adjoined to low brick wall, with some granite coping; wall adjoined to house to E.
TERRACE WALL: later to late 19th century. Semi-circular terrace to S, with low semi-circular balustraded ashlar wall. Flight of steps, with balustraded handrail and panelled dies, at centre to S. Wall surmounted at intervals by stone bowls. Inscribed pseudo-ogam stone (ancient Celtic alphabet) to right of porch to N.
Statement of Special Interest
Monreith House was the seat of the Maxwells. Monreith House was built by Sir William Maxwell, 4th Baronet, to replace the original family home of Myrton Castle (see separate listing). In 1796, the STATISTICAL ACCOUNT states that Monreith House was "only finished about two years ago". Leuchie House, East Lothian, 1779-85, features similar bow-centred elevations. In SCOTTISH GARDENS Sir Herbert Maxwell states that the applique work in the hall was executed by Magdalene, wife of the 3rd Baronet, in the mid to later eighteenth century. It apparently depicts the flowers which grew in the walled garden of Myrton at that time. The applique work was originally laid on a maroon ground to serve as a carpet for the drawing-room in Myrton Castle. In circa 1878 the applique work was taken out of storage and transferred onto a new ground cloth; the frieze on the stair originally served as part of the border of the carpet. The doorcase and bookcases in the drawing room were removed from Felix Hall, Essex, to Monreith some time after 1939.
The timber chimneypiece, overmantel and bookcases in the study were removed from the terrace room in the House of Elrig (see separate listing) to Monreith; they are described by Gavin Maxwell in THE HOUSE OF ELRIG. In circa 1986, Monreith House was divided into flats which are currently used for holiday accommodation. The "Celtic cross" mentioned in the former list description, which was formerly sited in the grounds of Monreith House, has been removed to Whithorn Museum; the Monreith Cross is in the care of the Secretary of State for Scotland.
See separate listings for Monreith; Ice House; Myrton Cottage (Monreith Estate Office); Myrton Castle; Myrton Chapel; West Gateway.
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