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
Local Authority
Shetland Islands
Planning Authority
Shetland Islands
HU 40012 9565
440012, 1109565


David Rhind, 1867, with additions of 1897. Asymmetrical Scots Baronial former country house (now hotel). Original house comprised of 2-storey L-plan range wrapping around 2-storey L-plan entrance range to give double-pile arrangement with wings extending from E and S gables; later single storey and attic wings to E; southern wing of L-plan, terminated to S by 2-bay pavilion; balustraded screen wall extending NW to gabled northern wing. Stugged, squared and snecked sandstone walls with polished and droved ashlar dressings and details; coursed rubble walls to wings with droved ashlar dressings. Base course, string course at 1st floor, stop-chamfered arrises to windows.

SW (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: 2-storey, 3-bay principal elevation of original house at left; 3-centred arch to entrance door in centre bay; architraved panel, 3-light window at 1st floor, and arrowslit in gablehead all centred above. 2-storey, 3-light canted window centring gable of NW range advanced and overlapping at left. Dormer with gabled stone dormerhead in regularly fenestrated bay recessed at right. Dormered single storey and attic, single bay wing recessed and extending to right; 3-stage tower in re-entrant angle comprising

2 narrow windows at ground, single window centred at 1st floor with string course above staggered at centre; band course with incised quatrefoils below eaves cornice. Later wing recessed and extending to right comprising 2-bay link to pavilion gable (advanced at right) with windows centred at each floor.

NW ELEVATION: 3-bay principal elevation of original house at right; ground floor obscured by modern addition, bipartite window in dormer with gabled stone dormerhead containing coat of arms breaking eaves in centre bay, dormer window in bay to left, shouldered 2-flue wallhead stack breaking eaves in bay to right. Single storey and attic wing recessed and extending to left.

NE (REAR) ELEVATION: blank gable of pavilion to outer left; modern infill obscuring ground floor of link at right; gabled dormers breaking eaves; balustraded screen wall linking to N wing at outer right.

SE ELEVATION: 2-storey, 2-bay pavilion comprising entrance door at ground in bay to right; gabled stone dormer breaking eaves above; 2-storey, 3-light canted window breaking eaves in bay to left.

Modern glazing throughout. Purple slate roof, in fish-scale pattern at ridge; conical roof to tower with diamond pattern slates and weathervane finial; piended roofs to canted windows; cast-iron gutters and downpipes with decorative hoppers and brackets. Finialled ashlar skew copes to gables and dormers of original house; crowstepped skews to later work. Stugged sandstone ashlar and rubble stacks (bull-faced to later work), corniced, with circular and octagonal cans.

TERRACE, AND BOUNDARY WALLS: ha-ha to SW of principal front with ramp at centre flanked by cast-iron urns on fluted pedestals. Coped flagstone wall parallel to ha-ha with regularly-spaced, battered, stugged sandstone piers (railings removed). Random rubble wall stepping downhill and enclosing garden to SW. Series of random rubble walls enclosing policies to NE; stugged sandstone gatepiers with pyramidal caps to principal entrance and farm.

Statement of Special Interest

Sumburgh House was built for the powerful Bruce family to replace what is now Sumburgh Home Farm (see separate listing). The design precedes the Zetland County Buildings in Lerwick (1874), also by Rhind. This is a building of good quality construction, and, sited next to 'Jarlshof', is a landmark at the south end of Shetland. Its current rather severe appearance is partly due to insensitive additions of the 1970s, and replacement of the original windows with stained timber double glazing (1996).



Mike Finnie SHETLAND (1990) p52. John Gifford HIGHLANDS AND ISLANDS (1992) p510.

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: 06/05/2021 15:51