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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Group Category Details
100000019 - see notes
Date Added
Local Authority
Orkney Islands
Planning Authority
Orkney Islands
Walls And Flotta
ND 26953 89328
326953, 989328


Probably mid 18th century with minor alterations. Single storey with hayloft to main block; L-plan; former barn with crowstepped gables and regularly disposed ventilation slits to hayloft. Coursed rubble with partial remains of harling and sandstone dressings. Chamfered reveals to principal openings to principal (S) and E and W elevations; long and short surrounds to larger original openings throughout.

S (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: principal (threshing) entrance (altered and with replacement sliding door) to left of centre. Wide inserted/enlarged window to left. Former entrance (now window) to right; deep lintel with monogram to right (intertwined initials probably B W S M). 5 regularly disposed ventilation slits to hayloft. Stone steps with coped parapet to outer right; continued around corner to E side and incorporating outhouse belonging to adjacent property (former cottages, now 'The Laundry House') within harled base.

N ELEVATION: principal (threshing) entrance to right (plain timber door). Flanking windows and one to left formerly entrance. 3 ventilation slits to hayloft. Gable end of rear wing projects to outer right; entrance with boarded timber door to right. Lean-to addition to outer right; window to left and one to right return.

W ELEVATION: gable end (main block) to right; large window (originally loading door) to loft. Rear wing adjoins to left; near central former entrance (now boarded window); small window (boarded) to left.

E ELEVATION: steps project to lower level (adjoining adjacent property). Large window (originally loading door) to gable above. Lean-to addition adjoins to right; entrance to left.

Mainly multi-pane fixed timber frame windows. Stone slate roof. Coped stugged mid-pitch stack (an addition) at W end of main block (no cans).

INTERIOR: roof trusses replaced. Loft floor missing but supporting beams still in place. Timber and stone flagged floor.

GATEPIERS TO W: pair of square-plan gatepiers by W R Lethaby of 1898-1900, linked to former barn by small section of rubble wall. Coursed rubble with band course at apex surmounted by pyramid coping.

Statement of Special Interest

A-Group with Melsetter House, Chapel, Lodge and Gatepiers, Kitchen and Walled Gardens, Burial Enclosure, Estate Office, Gardener's Cottage, Laundry House and Spinning Cottage. A substantial, largely intact, traditional barn probably of mid 18th century date. Almost the only structure to be left entirely unaltered during the reconstruction of the buildings at Melsetter by W R Lethaby between 1898 and 1900. Presumably this was because Lethaby admired it. Lethaby was a leading exponent and promoter of the Arts and Crafts Movement and widely adopted traditional vernacular features in his buildings. The Melsetter Estate was the home of the Moodie family from the later 16th century until the earlier 19th century. It is likely that the barn might date from the ownership of Benjamin Moodie, who was the laird in the mid 18th century. When the estate was bought (and the buildings at Melsetter redeveloped) by Thomas Middlemore, a Birmingham industrialist, in 1898, it comprised the entire island of Hoy as well as the adjacent smaller islands of South Walls, Fara and Rysa. It was called 'The Hall' because functions were held here (information from Elsie Seater of Melsetter House).



1st Edition County Series OS MAP (1881); Godfrey Rubens, WILLIAM RICHARD LETHABY (1986) pp129-138 & p300; Leslie Burgher, ORKNEY, AN ILLUSTRATED ARCHITECTURAL GUIDE (1991) p77; John Gifford, THE HIGHLANDS AND ISLANDS (in the 'Buildings of Scotland' series, 1992) p343.

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.

Listed building consent is required for changes to a listed building which affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest. The relevant planning authority is the point of contact for applications for listed building consent.

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Printed: 26/05/2019 21:58