Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing under the Planning (Listing Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 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. The further details below the 'Address/Name of Site' are provided for information purposes only.

Address/Name of Site


Status: Designated


There are no additional online documents for this record.


Date Added
Supplementary Information Updated
Local Authority
Planning Authority
Kirkcaldy And Dysart
NT 25625 91768
325625, 691768


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.



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

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. Other than the name or address of a listed building, further details are provided for information purposes only. Historic Environment Scotland does not accept any liability for any loss or damage suffered as a consequence of inaccuracies in the information provided. 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: 27/01/2023 11:45