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
Local Authority
Scottish Borders
Planning Authority
Scottish Borders
NT 50741 34737
350741, 634737


William Hay, 1868-9. Large 3-storey with upper breaking eaves, 4-bay, square-plan asymmetrical gabled Scots Baronial mansion (converted to hotel) with idiosyncratic French, Gothic and early Renaissance detailing; single storey courtyard range to N and elaborate domed conservatory to SW. Narrow projecting crowstepped gabled entrance bay with semi-circular arched doorway with stained glass fanlight flanked by floral capitalled pink granite columns supporting bracketed stone finialled ballustraded balcony above; 3-storey polygonal oversailing turret to re-entrant angle. Prominent circular conical-roofed corner tower to E with arched stone bracketed breaking eaves pediments; distinctive round-headed piended lucarne dormers and circular domed brattishing corona. Projecting canted windows with columnar mullions; balconied 1st floor windows; steeply pitched round arched attic dormers with skewputts. Stugged, snecked red sandstone rubble; smooth dressings with chamfered openings. Base course, moulded string courses, banded eaves course.

Plate glass in timber sash and case windows; pitched and piended slate roofs, fishtail slates to towers and turrets; prominent ashlar shouldered and corniced broad cross-axial and gable end stacks; square section cast-iron bracketed gutters with decorative square hoppers.

INTERIOR: fine interior decorative scheme including 3-bay Corinthian arcaded screen in hall with columns to upper landing; sweeping open staircase with decorative asymmetrical cast-iron balusters and large tripartite stained glass window. Deep ornate plaster cornicing and ceiling roses; timber and stained glass entrance screen. Early French gothic polychrome marble chimneypieces with dwarf columns and elaborate foliate caps. Tudor timber panelling and ornate combed plaster ceiling to bar.

CONSERVATORY: MacKenzie & Moncur, believed to be contemporary to house. Octagonal cast-iron domed roof with finailled clerestoried circular lantern and pitch roofed linking corridor to house on red sandstone base plinth. Small-paned convex glass; foliate arabesque-patterned cast-iron pilaster ventilators at corners.

Statement of Special Interest

Kingsknowes is a fine example of a Scots Baronial mansion by William Hay (1818-1888). It is a prestigious and prominently sited house, executed in eclectic decorative styles with very fine stone detailing and a particularly fine example of a contemporary conservatory by Mackenzie and Moncur. The design demonstrates a vigorous silhouette of towers, turrets and stacks with the interior detailing of equal quality believed to have been carried out by Italian craftsmen. The design was exhibited at the RSA, 1868. Kingsknowes was completed shortly after Hay's return from N America, where he had spent 20 years working on varied projects, and is one of his more elaborate designs demonstrating the eclectic qualities that he would go on to develop further when he set up in practice with George Henderson in 1877 to form Hay & Henderson.

Commissioned by the mill owner Adam Lees Cochrane of Netherdale Mill to be built on the high ground to the SW overlooking the mill complex in the river valley. The diminutive gothic styled Kingsknowes Lodge (see separate listing) was built as the gate lodge to the N and incorporates the carved stone gateway of the main house entrance linking the two. The lodge is now cut off from the main house by a new road; however it remains a linking element between Kingsknowes House and the Netherdale Mill site.

The conservatory is a very fine example of an exquisite and intricate design by MacKenzie and Moncur, the prominent firm producing cast-iron structures in the later 19th century. It is in good unaltered condition having undergone a renovation scheme in 2005. Cochrane is alleged to have subscribed to MacKenzie & Moncur's Catalogue of Horticultural Buildings (1907).

H R Tarbolton (1869-1947), who took over the firm of Hay and Henderson when Henderson died in 1905, is known to have carried out unspecified works to Kingsknowes House some time between 1905 and 1911.

A contemporary stepped terraced garden to the (SE) faces onto the River Tweed and ensures open views of Kingknowes house from the surrounding area. The approach to the house has been compromised by a later 20th century housing development now sited where the original extensive range of glass houses were sited to the NW (evident on 1930s map).



K Cruft, Buildings of Scotland, Borders (2006) p313. 2nd edition ORDNANCE SURVEY map (1897). The Builder (21 March 1868). C Strang Borders and Berwick, (1994) p 202.

About Listed Buildings

Listing is the way that a building or structure of special architectural or historic interest is recognised by law through the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings of special architectural or historic interest using the criteria published in the Historic Environment Scotland Policy Statement.

The information in the listed building record gives an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building(s). It is not a definitive historical account or a complete description of the building(s). 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 only legal part of the listing is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing and if a number or name is missing from a listing address it may still be listed. Listing covers both the exterior and the interior and any object or structure fixed to the building. Listing can also cover structures not physically attached but which are part of the curtilage of the building, such as boundary walls, gates, gatepiers, ancillary buildings etc. The planning authority is responsible for advising on what is covered by the listing including the curtilage of a listed building. Since 1 October 2015 we have been able to exclude items from a listing. 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 Historic Environment Scotland Act 2014. 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 current legislation.

If you want to alter, extend or demolish a listed building you need to contact your planning authority to see if you need listed building consent. The planning authority advises on the need for listed building consent and they also decide what a listing covers. The planning authority is the main point of contact for all applications for listed building consent.

Find out more about listing and our other designations at You can contact us on 0131 668 8716 or at


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Printed: 25/03/2019 17:55