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
Planning Authority
NK 3684 60073
403684, 860073


Designed by James Playfair (circa 1791-97), erected 1891 on occasion of Cairness House centenary. Outstanding principal approach to Cairness House with monolithic rusticated square-section gatepiers and sphinxes, linked by low walls with inset decorative ironwork railings to single storey, square-plan, pavilion-roofed lodges with pedimented centres incorporating arched windows in arched recesses flanked by niches. Ashlar with rock-faced base course, incised frieze, cornice, blocking course and fluted central stacks.

FURTHER DESCRIPTION: lawns to front of principal S elevation with eaves height boundary walls abutting outer angles, that to left with small square-headed window and piended roof of low structure behind. N elevations mirror pedimented S fronts, drive elevations each with deep-set timber door.

4-pane and plate glass glazing patterns in timber sash and case windows. Coped ashlar circular stacks.

GATES AND RAILINGS: decorative ironwork to 2-leaf gates and railings.

Statement of Special Interest

'A' group with Cairness House and Walled Garden. It is now known that the very fine lodges and gates at the principal entrance to Cairness House were built 100 years after James Playfair designed them circa 1791-7, to mark the centenary of Cairness House and complete the design. At the time of the original listing the lodges were understood to be contemporary with the house, but it is now known that they were built to mark the centenary of Cairness House. Playfair's inspired design anticipates the quality of his work at Cairness House, itself described as "arguably the finest neo-classical mansion in Scotland" (McKean).

List description revised 2008.



2nd edition Ordnance Survey map (1899-1901). Charles McKean Banff & Buchan An Illustrated Architectural Guide (1990), pp140-3. Information courtesy of owners of Cairness House.

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: 22/03/2019 04:21