Circa 1630 with tower addition to W, dated 1774; later alterations. Combination of Z- and T-plan main block in traditional style, with classical later addition. 4-storey with attic, 7-bay main block with 4-storey 2-bay tower addition. Painted harl with ashlar dressings to main block; coursed sandstone with ashlar dressings to later tower. Eaves course to main block; band course defining each storey of later tower; dentilled cornice; coped castellated parapet.
S ELEVATION: irregular distribution of bays. Windows to 1st/principal floor larger, with each storey above diminishing in scale (2nd floor being comparable to those at ground/raised basement). Outer bays treated as engaged towers, with fine ashlar pilastered and corniced doorpiece to outer left. Gunloops of unusual design (see Notes) scattered over elevation. Window to each storey of each bay of W tower, except later bipartite window at ground to right of bay to left, and window to outer right.
W ELEVATION: window at ground. Windows to upper floors ornamental with rusticated margins in Gibbsian fashion. Venetian window at 1st/ principal floor. Corniced and keystoned window to 2nd floor. Pedimented and keystone window to 3rd floor.
N ELEVATION: not seen, 1996.
12-pane timber sash and case windows, 24-pane timber sash and case windows to 1st/principal floor of main block and to upper 3 storeys of W tower. Slate roof with piended doors to centre and to penultimate right of S elevation, main block, with modern roof light to penultimate bay to left. Conical roof to each outer bay of main block with cast- iron finial. Ashlar coped stack in bay to inner right. Rendered coped stack to apex of crowstep-gable between penultimate and outer bay to right.
INTERIOR: not seen, 1996 (see Notes).
WALLED GARDEN AND GARDENER'S COTTAGE: to E.
Cottage to N. Not seen, 1996.
VAULT: to W of house, earth-covered mausoleum with key-blocked entrance arch, containing largely 17th and early 18th century grave-slabs of the Carr family. Not seen, 1996 (see Notes).
Statement of Special Interest
The main block was built upon the site of an older castle with a moat. In 1784, Thomas White drew up plan for Miss Carr, the then owner of Nisbet. The design incorporated a piece of water, which was crossed by a bridge for the approach road to the house. The water for this lake was taken from Howe Burn. The lake was relatively close to the house, replacing a canal which was still in existence in 1792. It was subsequently filled in. The house, garden and gardener's cottage are separately owned now from the stable and coach house block, 1996. The interior of the 1774 tower is apparently fine, with rococo plasterwork extant. The ground floor is vaulted and was originally the service quarter with the kitchen to the E. Various internal alterations are known to have taken place recently, although access was not permitted, 1996. The vault is described comprehensively by G A C Binnie. The house was formerly known as West Nisbet. The gunloops are of interest, both in their form and in their number. They are manufactured in a particular way, with slight depression in the centre of the lower rim, they were clearly intended for use. This removes the possibility that they were mere ornamentation which one could expect of a castle of this date. The stables and coach house are in separate ownership and are listed independently.
C A Strang BORDERS AND BERWICK (1994), p42-43. G A C Binnie THE CHURCHES AND GRAVEYARDS OF BERWICKSHIRE (1995), p218-219. N Tranter THE FORTIFIED HOUSE IN SCOTLAND, vol 1 - SE SCOTLAND (1962), p22-23.
M Lindsay THE CASTLES OF SCOTLAND (1986), p381. The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments and Constructions of Scotland - 6TH REPORT AND INVENTORY OF MONUMENTS AND CONSTRUCTIONS IN THE COUNTY OF BERWICK (1915), p82-84. J Zeune THE LAST SCOTTISH CASTLES (1992), p89, 151, 219, 287, tab 2. A A Tait THE LANDSCAPE GARDEN IN SCOTLAND 1735-1835 (1980), p147-149. D Turnbull THOMAS WHITE (1739-1811) - 18TH CENTURY LANDSCAPE DESIGNER AND ARBORICULTURALIST (extracts) (1990), p192-193, 622.
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Printed: 17/10/2018 05:59