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

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.

Find out more about listing and our other designations at You can contact us on 0131 668 8914 or at


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Printed: 21/08/2019 23:36