17th century, incorporating 16th century fabric; late 18th century turnpike stair; under restoration 1995-6, Simpson and Brown for SHBT. 3-storey and attic, steep-roofed merchants house in irregular terrace. Painted ashlar, lime harl and random rubble. Moulded corbel course over 1st floor; corbelled stack. Raised margin at pend entrance and moulded surrounds above ground.
S (HIGH STREET) ELEVATION: pend entrance to centre at ground, shop to left with in-canted centre door and corniced fascia, shop to right also with in-canted centre door but unsympathetic oversize fascia abutting small blinded window off-centre right at 1st floor, further window to outer right and 4 windows (grouped 1-3) to left; 2nd floor with further (slightly larger) blinded window off-centre right, 2 windows to right and 3 windows to left all close to eaves; tiny timber catslide dormer windows in steeply pitched roof to right of centre, to outer left and 3-part window off-centre left.
N ELEVATION: dominant chimney breast to centre corbelled over pend entrance and intaken before reaching wallhead stack; window to right at ground and further window over at 1st floor; bay to outer right with 2-storey lean-to rubble projection, 2 small windows close to eaves at 2nd floor and 2 tiny catslide dormer windows above. Turnpike stair clasping left side of stack with window to each floor, that to ground blocked, and small window and door on return to right. Advanced 2-storey and attic gabled wing to outer left with asymmetrical fenestration altered in brick.
12- and 24-pane glazing patterns in timber sash and case windows; 4-pane glazing in fixed timber frames to dormers. Grey slates. Coped ashlar and harled stacks with full complement of cans.
INTERIOR: deeply moulded cornices and tripartite divisions to 1st and 2nd floors with principal apartments to E and W. 1st floor W with plain late 17th century coved ceilings in two compartments (inner large and outer smaller) dividing beam marking position of main structure of 16th century timber-framed frontage. E apartment with timber panelling and richer ceiling (see Notes) also divided into 2 compartments by 16th century structure, larger inner compartment with richly modelled oval, flanking cherubs and thistle with rose angle mouldings; concave diamond of enriched strapwork at front section of ceiling. 16th century mural painting of ship in full sail to N wall. 2nd floor panelling survives complete, the best to front W room which has deeply moulded overmantel panel in the Restoration style. Angle to N wall of attic with stone chimneypiece and small inset range, and further timber fireplace.
BOUNDARY WALLS: coped rubble boundary walls; pair of projecting rectangular bee boles with lintel slopes at E facing wall to rear.
Statement of Special Interest
Now (1996) in the care of The Scottish Historic Buildings Trust, the building almost certainly dates from the 1590's, the home of a rich merchant or shipowner with business chambers on the ground floor. Originally a timber-framed house with jettied upper floors to which stone frontages were applied in the 17th century, David Walker states "the extent of the projection suggests that there may have been a columned ground floor piazza". There was also an internal spiral stone staircase to the front, probably with a kitchen to the E and large central halls with flanking chambers on the upper floors. Mural paintings on plastered walls included the surviving ship (see above); and the soffits of 2nd floor joists and boards were decorated with tempera paintings. Interior modernisation, possibly 1670s, included wooden panelling on partitions, lath-and-plaster ceilings and cornices. The decorated oval is repeated at Sir William Bruce's Balcaskie (20 miles away) executed by William Lindores; the strapwork, and cherubs are similar to work at Moray House in Edinburgh of 1628; and the thistle and rose angle ornaments similar to vase designs at Castle Menzies. A date of 1672 is suggested by a plain version of the oval at a nearby house of this date (Nos 225-229 High Street, destroyed by fire). Around the year 1800 it was divided into flats with ground floor shops, and remained thus until 1986. Ruddock says of the roof structure that "Changes had occurred ..., but the primary system and most of the timbers existing in 1992 were those of the original construction".
A chimney gablet added in the late 18th century was removed, and the tiny dormer windows added during the 1995 restoration.