Circa 1825. Distinctive and picturesque lodge-house complex in Castellated-Gothick style with Classical and Moorish detailing to screen walls. Predominantly harl-pointed random rubble walls with polished and droved sandstone ashlar dressings; brick dressings to N screen wall. Comprises symmetrical 2-storey house with single-storey wings flanking to E and W. Classical entrance gateway in screen wall to W; single-storey 2-bay pavilion outbuilding with 2-stage tower terminates wall to N; 2-stage oval-plan tower folly with ramparts on hillock to E.
PRINCIPAL BLOCK: S ELEVATION: Arcaded, tripartite window to ground with polygonal shafts and pointed-arched lights; bracketed drip mould at lintel. Pointed-arched window above with polygonal shaft to paired and cusped lower lights, cusped quatrefoil tracery in arch-head. Tapered polygonal buttresses with blind arrowslits framing centre bay rising through mutuled cornice to corbelled bartizan bases engaging (formerly crenellated) parapet at corners. Single-storey wings flank; mutuled cornice and crenellated parapet at left bay returns to W ELEVATION: 3-bay with tripartite canted window to centre flanked by single-light openings. Centre block rises behind with cornice and parapet matching S elevation.
N (Entrance) ELEVATION: 2-leaf panelled timber door with 3-pane fanlight at ground to left of centre with ashlar forestair; 3-centred arch-head to window at 1st floor centre.
E (Rear) ELEVATION: near-symmetrical 3-bay elevation with irregular fenestration and wallhead stacks.
12-pane and 4-pane glazing in timber sash and case windows. Later, piended roof at centre, purple-grey slate piended platform roofs to wings pierced by harled-pointed and coped rubble stacks symmetrically disposed to W wing, single matching flue to E wing.
INTERIOR: Unusual oval-shaped hallway and oval stairwell with curved timber doors and cornicing. Decorative wrought-iron banisters to curving staircase. Pointed-arched window to internal wall at 1st floor landing. Central cupola to stair-well. Timber-lined ceilings. Some timber panelling and cornicing to ground floor rooms.
COURTYARD ENTRANCE GATEWAY AND OUTBUILDING: round-arched gateway at centre of W courtyard wall, flanked by basket-arched niches, armorial panel centred above and framed by colonnettes, rising into shallow full-width corniced pediment. 2-bay single storey and basement W wall of lean-to outbuilding extending to left, basement windows in right bay and offset to left of left bay, basket-arched niches in bays at principal floor.
SCREEN WALL AND PAVILION: harl-pointed rubble recessed to left of lean-to. Blind cruciform arrowslits flanking gateway to left of centre comprising 3-centred arch contained within pointed-arched recess, contained in turn within raised wallhead decorated by machicolation and bracketed cornice. Wall terminated by 2-bay single storey pavilion at outer left comprising 2-light Gothic window in left bay; ogee-arched recess in right bay containing vertically-boarded timber door, square and circular blind recesses centred above; open red brick belfry over cornice with Gothic strapwork to panel in pointed arch-head; random rubble shallow-gabled structure behind with lean-to wing on E elevation.
TOWER FOLLY: 2-stage battered lime-harl-pointed rubble tower with polished and droved ashlar dressings; oval plan with 'gatehouse' stair-tower adjacent to W. Pointed-arched doorway in W elevation of stair-tower, stone stair adjoining to N, accessing flagged top (formerly platt to timber 'drawbridge'). Random rubble ramparts extending from stair-tower to N and S, curving around hillock, terminated to S by corbelled harled brick bartizan. Symmetrical 3-bay principal elevation to W comprising arrowslits in outer bays at ground; pointed-arched entrance door centred at 1st floor with paired pointed-arched windows in flanking bays, oval shot-holes in each bay below bracketted eaves course with crenellated parapet corbelled out to bartizans at N and S extremities with wider pointed-arched windows slightly offset below.
TERRACE WALLS, STEPS AND GATEPIERS: upper terrace fronting W wing, courtyard entrance gateway and screen wall, low random rubble retaining wall bisected at courtyard entrance by stone steps terminated to W by square ashlar gatepiers with corniced caps; additional steps linking terraces to N; lower terrace bounded to W by low random rubble retaining walls curving out from gateway and curving in turn to enclose N and S extremities.
WALLED GARDEN, WALLS AND OUTBUILDINGS: series of random rubble walls enclosing areas to E of principal block, courtyard and pavilion; walled garden adjoining rear of principal block, rubble lean-to outbuilding spanning E side of E wall; further enclosure adjoining to S; square ashlar gatepiers with corniced caps in W wall. Gabled rubble outbuilding to rear (E) of pavilion with random rubble walled enclosure terminated by hillock to E. Keyhole-shaped ashlar Well Head open to S.
Statement of Special Interest
A fine example of picturesque landscape composition, Brough Lodge and its ancillary structures are arguably Shetland's most unusual group of 19th century buildings. The idiosyncratic application of styles and details used throughout this group of buildings is highly representative of the romanticised late 18th and early 19th century interest in military and foreign architecture. The group is a prominent landmark in the Fetlar landscape occupying higher ground overlooking Colgrave Sound.
An undated photograph taken prior to 1950 shows the principal block with a flat roof enclosed by a crenellated parapet (still extant with crenellations infilled) and bartizans at each corner. The photograph also shows cast-iron urns in the niches flanking the courtyard entrance arch, and the glazing and timber bridge of the tower folly. The tower occupies the site of an Iron Age broch, and was referred to in family correspondence as 'the observatory'. It is thought that it was used for this purpose by a Fetlar minister who was interested in astronomy. The Lodge retains a largely unaltered interior plan, with an unusual oval-shaped central hallway and stairwell with curved doors and fixtures to fit the shape of the room. This plan-form was fashionable at the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century, although remains uncommon in Scotland.
A wealth of architectural remnants and historical artefacts from the Lodge including stained-glass, furniture and photographs are currently held at the Fetlar Interpretive Centre for preservation purposes. Brough Lodge was built for Arthur Nicolson of Lochend who had bought most of Fetlar from the Bruce family. By claiming the inheritance of a distant relation, he became Sir Arthur Nicolson in 1826. (The Nicolson Coat of Arms is set in the courtyard wall).
Brough Lodge and its surrounds are included in the Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes where group has been designated as being of high to outstanding significance.
Category changed from B to A, March 2007.