John Mylne with William Bruce advising, 1667 classical house. Restoration of W front of 1767 house. 3-storey with vaulted basement and attic, 13-bay (grouped 2-3-3-3-2), classical house, altered in 19th century, 1905-8 alterations and 1945 conversion to Eventide House by James Gillespie and Scott, now in use as Church of Scotland Eventide home. Ashlar with base course, moulded string courses and cavetto eaves cornice, architraved windows, chamfered arrises and stone mullions, stone dormers. Coursed whinstone to S and partially to N and E with patches of heavy pointing, evidence of alterations.
W (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: near-symmetrical advanced, pedimented 3-bay centrepiece with door at centre of blinded pilastered arcade of 3 depressed arches with keystones and fluted pilasters bearing Doric capitals framing 6 smaller pilasters, windows in outer bays, pediment with tympanum bearing Rothes coat-of-arms (part of Lorimer's re-working). Flanking 3 bays each side recessed, 2-outer bays each side advanced. Extreme right bay with door: regular fenestration at 1st and 2nd floors. Round-headed dormers over bays 4 and 10, and centrally positioned betweeen outer bays, pedimented dormers immediately flanking centrepiece and over bays 9 and 11, all dormer windows slate-hung and bearing medallions, balustraded parapet.
E ELEVATION: 3-storey, 11-bay, with conservatory adjoining at left side. Steps to centre door with shaped pediment, 4 windows to right grouped 1-2-1, 3 windows to left grouped 1-2 with door at outer left obscured by conservatory; regular fenestration at 1st and 2nd floors with stair window in bays 4 and 8; long, low flat-roofed dormer window over 2 penultimate bays to right.
S ELEVATION: 3-storey, 3-bay with raised basement, canted window to right of centre at ground and 1st floor, window over; further windows in bay to left to each floor.
N ELEVATION: 4-storey (basement above ground), 4-bay with 2-storey, 3-bay piend-roofed extension to left and single storey, 3-bay lean-to extension to outer left. Door to outer right with 2 windows to left at ground, regular fenestration at all other levels of main building, fire escape to left with windows in penultimate left bay at 3rd and 4th floors converted to doors. 2-storey extension with 2 barred windows at each level, further window at 1st floor on E return face over single storey extension with centre pedimented door and barred windows in flanking bays.
Mainly 12-pane glazing pattern with thick astragals in sash and case windows, 4-pane glazing pattern in W facing dormer windows and 15-pane glazing pattern in fixed stair windows. Graded grey slates to piend and leaded platform roof. Ashlar coped dormerheads and paired cavetto coped stacks with base courses.
INTERIOR: classical decorative scheme, partially masked by requirements as nursing home. Paved lobby with slate diamonds. Portico enclosed to form large hall with dominant fireplace, deep-set panelled door with prominent keystone echoed in Lorimeresque doorway. 2 sets of stairs with alternate straight and barleysugar/turned wood balusters, moulded risers, wide N-S dividing landing altered to house bathrooms. Some fine carved chimneypieces, doorheads and cornices. Panelled coombed ceilings to attic.
CONSERVATORY: fully glazed Victorian conservatory rectangular plan with glazed lantern, ashlar base course, band of glazed pivot ventilators above and interior with ornate cast-iron columns, flange brackets and shelving.
TERRACED GARDEN AND BOUNDARY WALLS: 3 terraces with rubble retaining walls to S, access through pedestrian gateways with timber and cast-iron gates to 17th century staircases; formal garden to E possibly some remains of 1731 Robert Adam gardens. Large carved stone flower basin (fountain?) on triangular plinth with remains of 3 seated sculptured figures in classical drapes, deeply-carved ivy-leaf decoration to fluted stem and paterae detail to cornice. Extensive coped whinstone rubble boundary walls.
Statement of Special Interest
Sir Norman Leslie acquired Fythkil (original name of parish) circa 1282, renaming it after family lands in Aberdeenshire; the family becoming Earls of Rothes in 1457. Earliest evidence of a house on this site is 1667-72 for John, 7th Earl and only Duke of Rothes, said to have been similar to Holyrood Palace, built around a court and with a gallery 3' longer, plans and drawings of the E and W fronts appear in VITRUVIUS SCOTICUS. Destroyed by fire on 28th December 1763, the present much smaller house was built, supposedly a restoration of the least damaged W side for John, 11th Earl. In 1919 the house was acquired by Sir Robert Spencer Nairn who, as he saw the advancing development of Glenrothes, gave it to the Church of Scotland in 1952 for use as an Eventide Home.
Leslie House is the largest and earliest Restoration house in Fife. The sadly eroded shaped pediment above the E door, was possibly removed from the main entrance and was originally inscribed with the coroneted monogram of the 7th Earl and his countess, Anne Lindsay. The Sir Robert Lorimer attribution for the 1905-8 alterations now seems highly unlikely; the Gillespie Scott Archive Lists plans for an altered bay window (S elevation), opening in drawing room, strengthening of gallery and billiard room floors and the addition of a servants law and brushing room (N elevation exclusion?), with numerous alterations to buildings within the policies. The S facing outer R dormer window is not attainable from the interior, being hidden behind wall panelling. Group with West Lodge, West Gate, Duke's Lodge, Duke's Lodge Gates and Forester's Lodge. Upgraded B to A September 2002.
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