17th century core with later additions and alterations including early 20th century work by Harry Ramsay Taylor. 2-storey with attic, originally near U-plan mansion comprising symmetrical 9-bay, crowstepped and turreted block to left (grouped 2-5-2, recessed at centre); 2-storey wing adjoined to right (subsequently raised and altered); various additions at rear. Whitewashed harl; painted ashlar dressings. Moulded eaves in part; giant order square-plan angle pilasters with corniced and finialled caps; painted margins; flush cills.
SE (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: symmetrical 9-bay block to left comprising 5-bay range recessed at centre with 2-leaf, part-glazed timber door centred at ground; carved armorial panel off-set to right at 1st floor; ogee-capped wallhead dormer breaking eaves above; single windows at both floors in remaining bays to left and right. Full-height crowstepped wings projecting to left and right with giant order angle pilasters and single windows at all floors to right and left respectively; lower, conical-capped corner turrets to outer left and right with part-glazed timber doors at ground; small attic lights beneath eaves. 2-storey, 4-bay wing adjoined to right with single windows in all bays at both floors; giant order angle pilaster to right; blind elevations to taller blocks recessed to outer right.
SW (SIDE) ELEVATION: 2-bay, crowstepped block at centre with single windows at all floors in both bays; single window at ground in bay to right; single windows at ground and 1st floors in subsequent bay to right; conical-capped corner turret to outer right. Regularly fenestrated single storey, 3-bay range adjoined to outer left.
NW (REAR) ELEVATION: irregularly fenestrated 2-storey with attic, 10-bay range with single bay, flat-roofed projection off-set to right of centre; single storey, 2-bay crowstepped wing projecting to outer right. Separate single storey, crowstepped garage block to NE.
NE (SIDE) ELEVATION: irregularly fenestrated crowstepped block to right; single storey, lean-to addition to lower wing recessed to left (corniced parapet); lean-to addition to lower, gabled wing to outer left. Screen wall linking separate garage block to outer right.
Predominantly 12-pane glazing in timber sash and case windows; small rooflights; solar panels to front. Grey slate roof; crowstepped skews; beak skewputts; iron rainwater goods. Corniced ridge and apex stacks; circular terracotta cans.
INTERIOR: recast. Ground floor reception rooms with plain plasterwork; some dado rails and panelling; timber panelled doors; fireplaces. Later drawing room raised at rear accessed via small, swept stair. Service quarters to E with service stair. Main dogleg stair to W with timber treads, barley-twist timber uprights, ball-finialled, panelled newels, timber handrails. 1st floor bedrooms with plain plasterwork; timber panelled doors; fireplaces.
COBBLED COURTYARD: to rear.
Statement of Special Interest
B Group comprises Kames Cottages, Kames House, Kames North Entrance, Kames Stables, Kames Walled Garden and Kames West Lodge (see separate list entries). The house itself was the birthplace, property and residence of Henry Home, Lord Kames (1696-1782), philosopher, judge and agricultural improver. It is here that he wrote many of his works, including PROGRESS IN FLAX HUSBANDRY IN SCOTLAND (1766), and THE GENTLEMAN FARMER (1776), in which he suggested that landowners provide their tenants with a "...hearty meal at which discussions of the best methods to be followed should take place." Home is said to have entertained Dr Benjamin Franklin here in 1759. Between 1783 and 1825 the house was called 'Besborough' after a ship commanded by its then owner, Captain Riddel (see Blackadder's map). A photograph dated circa 1848 (NMRS) shows the E wing prior to its being raised to a similar height as the U-plan block to its left, whilst a photograph dated 1875 (HOUSES OF BERWICKSHIRE) shows the SW elevation with a lean-to addition in place of the single storey, crowstepped wing now set to the outer left. The servants' quarters, originally situated to the rear, have been demolished. Otherwise, little appears to have changed. This well-detailed, "...delightful residence, built in the old Scottish gabled style" (Rutherfurd) remains one of the most significant houses in the parish and indeed, within Scotland as a whole.