Listed Building

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site only. All other information in the record is not statutory.

RAITH ESTATE, RAITH HOUSELB9681

Status: Designated

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Summary

Category
A
Date Added
24/11/1972
Supplementary Information Updated
26/03/1998
Local Authority
Fife
Planning Authority
Fife
Parish
Kirkcaldy And Dysart
NGR
NT 25625 91768
Coordinates
325625, 691768

Description

James Smith, 1694; Alexander Gavinlock, mason (see Notes); Thomas Kyle, wright; William Rowan, 'Overserer'. 2-storey and vaulted basement, 7-bay, piend-and-platform-roofed Palladian mansion, with carved pediment (by James Thomson and Alexander Baxter) and cupola (see Notes). 1785, 2-storey and attic, 5-bay, piend-and-platform-roofed pavilions and quadrant links added, and interior remodelled by James Playfair. Post 1895 porch (see Notes), and probably S balcony. Random rubble (formerly harled) with rusticated quoins and ashlar margins. Band course and eaves cornice. Ashlar porch with eaves cornice and blocking course. Pavilions of coursed and roughly squared dark whinstone rubble with contrasting sandstone ashlar dressings; that to W with full-height round-headed arches framing outer bays.

N (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: original block to centre. 3 slightly advanced centre bays with 7 steps up to projecting, flat-roofed, single storey porch with pilastered doorway, flanking narrow lights and slightly recessed flanking windows with paired pilaster to outer angles, further window to each return; 2-leaf panelled timber door and plate glass fanlight: 1st floor with 3 windows, and pediment rising above wallhead, tympanum decorated with coat-of-arms flanked by scrolled cartouches. 2 windows to each floor of flanking bays, and regular fenestration at basement level. Flanking quadrant links with tripartite windows to ground and 2 windows to 1st floor.

7-bay pavilion to right with regular fenestration, outer bays slightly advanced, and 2 small traditional piended dormer windows to left of centre.

Pavilion to left also with symmetrical fenestration; return to right with door to left and window to right at basement level, 2 windows above and bipartite window to centre breaking eaves into flat-roofed dormerhead.

S ELEVATION: not seen 1997. Plain rear elevation with panel (date 1694, monogram AM BD) at basement level.

W ELEVATION: 3 tall windows to pavilion, James Playfair, 1785; remaining detail not seen 1997.

E ELEVATION: not seen 1997.

6-, 12-pane and plate glass glazing patterns in timber sash and case windows. Coped ashlar and harled stacks.

INTERIOR: fine classical interior: entrance hall, drawing room, dining room, library (in pavilion) etc. Winding stair with wrought- iron balustrade.

Statement of Special Interest

The following information on the interior of Raith House is wholly extracted from the above-referenced works. Good interior with library in the pavilion wing; largely Playfair's work, with "very smart marble chimneypieces in principal rooms" (Gifford). The 17th century stair has a light wrought-iron balustrade worked with foliage and the coronetted initials of Alexander Melville and his wife Barbara Dundas; James Horne may have been the smith as he was paid for making 'ye ryvell of ye open stair' in 1695 (Gifford). The NSA comments upon the heavily moulded plaster ceiling of what was the entrance hall (p182). Drawings of a top-lit (square or circular cupola) central hall show 4 openings alternating with niches and columns (Macaulay).

James Smith designed two other very similar houses to Raith, namely Newhailes and Strathleven House in Dunbartonshire, but Sir William Bruce may also have been consulted. Raith was the first of the Fife lands to be held by the Melvilles, Earls of Leven and Melville; the house was built for Alexander Melville, Lord Raith, and his wife Barbara Dundas. Acquired by Robert Ferguson in 1725, it was altered and extended by his nephew and heir, William, with whose descendants it remains. Gifford mentions "another mason employed (on fairly minor work) was John Adam, probably William Adam's father". The present porch replaced an Ionic portico of circa 1800, this is illustrated in Millar, p120. The cupola has a weathervane with the initials AM, Macaulay suggests for Alexander Melville, but Bailey associates this with Alexander McGill who worked with James Smith.

Raith Estate lies in Kirkcaldy and Kinghorn parishes, other listed estate properties in Kirkcaldy parish are: Stable Court (Home Farm), Raith Ice House, Raith Tower, Secular Burial Ground, Laundry House, Lambswell, Bankhead of Raith Farmhouse with Walled Garden and Steading.

References

Bibliography

NSA. Groome's GAZETTEER VOL V, p234. Inv 367. A H Millar FIFE PICTORIAL AND HISTORICAL VOL II (1895). Drawings by Playfair in house. J Dunbar HISTORIC ARCHITECTURE, p101. Gifford FIFE (1992), pp352-3. J Macaulay CLASSICAL COUNTRY HOUSE IN SCOTLAND (1987). Previous list description (1972). Rebecca Bailey SCOTTISH ARCHITECTS PAPERS (1996), p258.

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 statutory listing address is the legal part of the listing. 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.

Listing covers both the exterior and the interior. Listing can cover structures not mentioned 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. For information about curtilage see www.historicenvironment.scot. 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.

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Printed: 16/12/2018 22:37