Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing 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.


Status: Designated


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Date Added
Supplementary Information Updated
Local Authority
Dumfries And Galloway
Planning Authority
Dumfries And Galloway
NX 97092 76419
297092, 576419


Walter Newall, 1823. 2-storey, basement and attic, 5-bay Greek Revival villa with prominent central pedimented porch. Polished red sandstone ashlar tooled to basement. Raised banded base and band courses; deep cornice with stepped blocking course over. Moulded surrounds at ground and first floor windows, integrated with band courses with blind apron; those at ground floor with consoled cornice over. Central pedimented porch with fluted Doric columns, moulded entablature and dentilled cornice. Entrance platt oversailing basement recess to central doorway flanked by Doric pilasters with rectangular fanlight over.

N (REAR) ELEVATION: 2 storey with narrow attic storey, 3 bay with lower later brick addition to right (W). Coursed squared sandstone. Regular fenestration with canted bay to left (E) at ground floor.

Predominantly 12-pane in timber sash and case glazing with two light casement windows at attic windows to rear. Corniced sandstone gable head stacks with some clay cans. Grey slates to roof. Cast iron rainwater goods. Cast iron spearheaded railings edging basement recess to street.

INTERIOR: well-detailed Greek Revival interior with prominent double height domed central hall. Rectangular plan; central hall with principal accommodation at ground floor opening off. Rotunda at first floor providing access to principal rooms and attic stair. Some fine cornicing and plasterwork retained to principal rooms. Some alteration to principal rooms with later stud partitions. Continuous arcade of round timber arches to central drum at 1st floor. Dentilled cornice to domed cupola. 6-panel timber doors and shutters retained throughout.

Statement of Special Interest

Moat Brae is a fine example of the work of renowned local architect Walter Newall, in Greek Revival style. The building, which was originally designed to terminate a terrace, is well detailed with a particularly prominent Greek Doric portico. Internally the building has an innovative plan based around a double height circular central space with first floor arcade which is top lit by a domed cupola. The property is also associated with JM Barrie, author of Peter Pan who visited the house and garden during his boyhood.

For its date and location Moat Brae is a well-detailed and refined villa. It is a characteristic example of a Classically detailed villas in a provincial location for its date, with other listed examples in Haddington, Montrose, Cupar and Campbeltown. Moat Brae is a good example of the genre in the Dumfriesshire context. The use of Greek detailing is relatively early in the Greek Revival period, but is confined to front elevation as the building was originally designed as part of a terrace.

The building is set in what was once a key location and formed part of the fashionable early 19th century expansion of Dumfries. The broader context of the development of a grand suburb is partially retained, but the original garden which belonged to the house has been eroded over time.

Moat Brae is one of a handful of villas by Newall applying the formula of a cupola'd hall, among the crème de la crème for the region at the time and exhibiting strong regional interest. Newall favoured such cupolas and his design for Hannayfield (now Ladyfield West, see separate listing) featured in Loudon's Encyclopedia of Cottage, Farm and Villa Architecture, shows a similar, if later example.

The historical association with Peter Pan lies with J M Barrie's frequent visits to the garden and his Dumfries Academy friend, Stuart Gordon between 1873 and 1878. Barrie was a pupil at the nearby Dumfries Academy between 1873 and 1878 where he befriended fellow pupils Stuart and Hal Gordon whose family home was Moat Brae. Barrie spent much of his time out of school playing games with the Gordon's in the garden of Moat Brae and it was the nature of the tree-climbing and swash-buckling tales which they enjoyed there, which, as reported by Barrie in 1924 when receiving the Freedom of the Burgh, inspired his later work. Barrie's time at Moat Brae were said to inspire a key element in the wider story of Peter Pan. Barrie lived in the adjoining Irving Street, then Victoria Terrace. However, this is only a component of the conception of Peter Pan, later friendships in London giving further inspiration.

Walter Newall was the leading and predominant architect in Dumfriesshire between about 1820 and 1860. Newall was confident in a number of styles from Greek revival to picturesque Gothic. His early work is characterised by the use of the Greek revival style and his designs often incorporate Greek Doric columned arcades and porches. His use of Greek sources also continued in his approach to the interior design with Greek sources applied to decorative plasterwork. Despite working in a number of styles his approach to entrance spaces was often characterised by deep rectangular spaces top lit by cupolas. This can be seen at Moat Brae, Ladyfield West and Netherwood House (see separate listing) amongst others. His design for Hannayfield (now Ladyfield West) featured in Loudon's Encyclopedia of Cottage, Farm and Villa Architecture, shows a similar, if later example. Newall is known to have made tours of both Italy and Germany, and the influence of Palladian villa architecture can be seen in his villa designs especially in the symmetrical forms of the elevations for Ladywood West.

List description updated 2011. Statutory address updated from 61 George Street, Moat Brae, Including Gatepiers (2014).



Drawings by Walter Newall at Dumfries Archive. Shown on 1st edition Ordnance Survey Map town plan (1850). William Blackwood, Cases decided in the House of Lords on Appeal from the Courts of Scotland, Volume IV, Edinburgh (1830); J C Loudon, Encyclopedia of Cottage, Farm and Villa Architecture, (1846). James Urquhart, In the Peter Pan Garden, (1974). Howard Colvin, A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, (1978), p 588. Aonghus Mackechnie, Walter Newall, Architect in Dumfries, Welcome News for Friends of Scottish Monuments, (1987). John Gifford, Buildings of Scotland: Dumfries and Galloway (1996), p274. Stephen Jackson and Marion Stewart, Walter Newall of Dumfries, Journal of the Regional Furniture Society, Vol XIV (2002). Francis Ryan, The Man Who Created Moat Brae House in Dumfries, Dumfries Standard (December 2009). Dictionary of Scottish Architects, (accessed 2.8.11) Further information courtesy of Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust (2011).

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. 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.

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Printed: 26/05/2019 22:27