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

Millhouse, including detached outbuilding to west and garden wall to east, and excluding outbuilding with extensions to the southwest, Kirkwall Road (A965), Stromness, OrkneyLB46156

Status: Designated

Documents

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Summary

Category
C
Date Added
05/05/1999
Last Date Amended
04/02/2016
Local Authority
Orkney Islands
Planning Authority
Orkney Islands
Parish
Stromness
NGR
HY 26013 10705
Coordinates
326013, 1010705

Description

Mid to late 19th century, single storey and attic, 3 bay, rectangular-plan, former millworkers house and associated outbuilding to the west (rear), prominently located on the Kirkwall Road, 1.5 kilometres north of Stromness. In accordance with Section 1 (4A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 the following are excluded from the listing: the roofless outbuilding with extensions to the southwest.

The house is of split-faced flagstone rubble (with a cement render) and raised, painted margins. The timber door to the centre has deep ingoes and a rectangular fanlight. Single sash and case windows flank the main door. There is a single sash and case window off centre to the right in the south gable. There is a lean-to porch to the rear. The building has large corniced gablehead end stacks, shouldered skews, grey slated roofs and small roof-lights to each pitch. The timber sash and case windows have a 12-pane glazing pattern. There is a low garden wall to the front of the house.

The internal plan form, seen 2015, is typical of mid to late 19th century vernacular houses in Orkney, with a hallway running perpendicular to the main entrance, leading to two principal rooms at either end. A staircase opposite the entrance leads to the attic. There is a recessed press cupboard in the south room gable wall. Timber doors to the upper floor are cut to follow the pitch of the roof.

A former byre/cart-shed outbuilding is located to the rear (west) of the house. This building is of exposed flagstone rubble on a long, narrow plan running east to west. It has a lean-to addition to the east gable and Caithness stone-slabs to roof. The roof pitch has been raised slightly.

Statement of Special Interest

Millhouse was built as the millworker's house for the nearby Cairnston Mill and is surviving evidence of modest 19th century estate improvement architecture near the significant Orkney fishing and trading town of Stromness. In accordance with Section 1 (4A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 the following are excluded from the listing: the roofless outbuilding with extensions to the southwest.

What sets Millhouse and its associated outbuilding apart from much of the surviving vernacular architecture of this building type on Orkney is a combination of its largely unaltered exterior (particularly the principal elevation of the house) and the internal plan form of the house which have changed little since the mid-19th century. The little-altered setting, and the local, traditional building methods and materials, in both the house and the outbuilding are also of interest.

Millhouse is prominently set on elevated ground with its principal elevation facing the main Stromness to Kirkwall Road with views southward across the bay towards Graemsay and the mountains of Hoy. Surviving examples of 19th century vernacular dwelling houses on the Orkney mainland that have not been significantly altered externally or in plan form, and are located within a largely unchanged setting, are increasingly rare.

The long, stone-slab roofed outbuilding to the immediate west of the house is likely to have had a variety of uses connected with the Cairston millworkers during the 19th and early 20th century, and its survival adds to the interest of the house. Both the house and the outbuilding are constructed of split-face flagstone rubble, evidencing local, traditional building methods and materials commonly used during the 19th century in Orkney. The broad end stacks and deep doorway recess are characteristic of rural Orkney house building of the 19th century. Naismith in his book 'Buildings of the Scottish Countryside' notes that the 12-pane glazing pattern, evident at Millhouse, is characteristic of Stromness buildings, with 4-pane glazing traditionally favoured over most of the Orkney mainland (Naismith, p.205).

Millhouse was built as part of improvement works to the Cairston estate, north of Stromness, carried out during the mid-to-late 19th century. The National Gazetteer of 1868 records that Cairston House (now called Garson House – see separate listing) was the 'principal residence of Stromness parish' and 'seat of Pollexfen, the chief heritor'. Fenton notes that 'by the 1870s there was an excellent meal-mill on the Cairston estate' (Fenton p.400). Groome's Gazetteer of Scotland, 1882-1885 entry for Stromness Parish states that 'much has been done on the Cairston estate in the way of draining, building, and other improvements'.

Millhouse is first shown on the 2nd Edition Ordnance Survey Map (surveyed 1903) with a path running between it and the now disused Mill of Cairston, located 70 metres southwest of Millhouse. The long narrow outbuilding with the stone-slab roof to the west (rear) of Millhouse and a portion of the other outbuilding (excluded from the listing) is shown on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey Map (surveyed 1880). These outbuildings are likely to have been constructed around the same time as Cairston Mill, which was built before 1870. The field boundaries in the current landscape (2015) appear to be largely consistent with that shown on the 1st Edition Ordnance Survey map.

The outbuilding to the southwest of Millhouse has substantial extensions to the west and south, the south wall has been rebuilt in concrete blockwork and it has lost its slate roof. Because of these substantial changes it is not considered to be of interest in listing terms at the time of this review and is excluded from the listing.

Statutory address and listed building record revised in 2016. Previously listed as 'Kirkwall Road, Millhouse, including ancillary structures and boundary walls'.

References

Bibliography

Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland: http://www.rcahms.gov.uk/canmore.html CANMORE ID: 229070.

Ordnance Survey (surveyed 1880, published 1882) Orkney, Sheet CVI.3 (Stromness). 25 inches to the mile. 1st Edition. London: Ordnance Survey.

Ordnance Survey (revised 1900, published 1902) Orkney, Sheet 106.03 (Stromness). 25 inches to the mile. 2nd Edition. London: Ordnance Survey.

Imperial Gazetteer of Scotland (1868), Volume 2, Stromness, p.769: http://digital.nls.uk/gazetteers-of-scotland-1803-1901/pageturner.cfm?id=97480674&mode=transcription [accessed 20/08/2015].

The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland (1868) http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/sct/OKI/Stromness/Gaz1868.html [accessed 20/08/2015].

Orkney Ordnance Survey Name Books (1879-1880) Orkney, Volume 22.

Groome F. H. (1882 and 1885) Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical – Parish of Stromness. Edinburgh: Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works - http://www.scottish-places.info/parishes/parhistory86.html#sthash.A41Gu7Pt.dpuf [accessed 20/08/2015].

Fenton A. (1978) The Northern Isles: Orkney and Shetland. Edinburgh: John Donald Publishers. pp.397-400.

Naismith R. J. (1989) Buildings of the Scottish Countryside. London: Victor Gollancz Ltd. p.203-206.

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 www.historicenvironment.scot/advice-and-support. You can contact us on 0131 668 8914 or at designations@hes.scot.

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