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Listed Building

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


Status: Designated


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  • Category: B
  • Group Category Details: A - see notes
  • Date Added: 08/12/1971


  • Local Authority: Orkney Islands
  • Planning Authority: Orkney Islands
  • Parish: Walls And Flotta

National Grid Reference

  • NGRND 26953 89328
  • Coordinates326953, 989328


Probably mid 18th century with minor alterations. Single storey with hayloft to main block; L-plan; former barn with crowstepped gables and regularly disposed ventilation slits to hayloft. Coursed rubble with partial remains of harling and sandstone dressings. Chamfered reveals to principal openings to principal (S) and E and W elevations; long and short surrounds to larger original openings throughout.

S (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: principal (threshing) entrance (altered and with replacement sliding door) to left of centre. Wide inserted/enlarged window to left. Former entrance (now window) to right; deep lintel with monogram to right (intertwined initials probably B W S M). 5 regularly disposed ventilation slits to hayloft. Stone steps with coped parapet to outer right; continued around corner to E side and incorporating outhouse belonging to adjacent property (former cottages, now 'The Laundry House') within harled base.

N ELEVATION: principal (threshing) entrance to right (plain timber door). Flanking windows and one to left formerly entrance. 3 ventilation slits to hayloft. Gable end of rear wing projects to outer right; entrance with boarded timber door to right. Lean-to addition to outer right; window to left and one to right return.

W ELEVATION: gable end (main block) to right; large window (originally loading door) to loft. Rear wing adjoins to left; near central former entrance (now boarded window); small window (boarded) to left.

E ELEVATION: steps project to lower level (adjoining adjacent property). Large window (originally loading door) to gable above. Lean-to addition adjoins to right; entrance to left.

Mainly multi-pane fixed timber frame windows. Stone slate roof. Coped stugged mid-pitch stack (an addition) at W end of main block (no cans).

INTERIOR: roof trusses replaced. Loft floor missing but supporting beams still in place. Timber and stone flagged floor.

GATEPIERS TO W: pair of square-plan gatepiers by W R Lethaby of 1898-1900, linked to former barn by small section of rubble wall. Coursed rubble with band course at apex surmounted by pyramid coping.

Statement of Special Interest

A-Group with Melsetter House, Chapel, Lodge and Gatepiers, Kitchen and Walled Gardens, Burial Enclosure, Estate Office, Gardener's Cottage, Laundry House and Spinning Cottage. A substantial, largely intact, traditional barn probably of mid 18th century date. Almost the only structure to be left entirely unaltered during the reconstruction of the buildings at Melsetter by W R Lethaby between 1898 and 1900. Presumably this was because Lethaby admired it. Lethaby was a leading exponent and promoter of the Arts and Crafts Movement and widely adopted traditional vernacular features in his buildings. The Melsetter Estate was the home of the Moodie family from the later 16th century until the earlier 19th century. It is likely that the barn might date from the ownership of Benjamin Moodie, who was the laird in the mid 18th century. When the estate was bought (and the buildings at Melsetter redeveloped) by Thomas Middlemore, a Birmingham industrialist, in 1898, it comprised the entire island of Hoy as well as the adjacent smaller islands of South Walls, Fara and Rysa. It was called 'The Hall' because functions were held here (information from Elsie Seater of Melsetter House).



1st Edition County Series OS MAP (1881); Godfrey Rubens, WILLIAM RICHARD LETHABY (1986) pp129-138 & p300; Leslie Burgher, ORKNEY, AN ILLUSTRATED ARCHITECTURAL GUIDE (1991) p77; John Gifford, THE HIGHLANDS AND ISLANDS (in the 'Buildings of Scotland' series, 1992) p343.

About Designations

Listed Buildings

We list buildings of special architectural or historic interest and these are selected according to criteria published in the, Annex 2, pp74-76.

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.

Enquiries relating to works to listed buildings should be made to the local authority in the first instance. Listed building consent is required for works which a local authority considers will affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest and local authorities also decide if listed building consent is required.

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 local authority is responsible for advising on what is covered by the listing including the curtilage of a listed building. For information about curtilage see

Legislation introduced on 1 October 2015 allows us to state that: an object or structure fixed to the listed building; any object or structure within the curtilage of the listed building; and, any part or feature of the listed building that is not of architectural or historic interest may be excluded from a listing. If part of your building is not listed under the new legislation, the part will be excluded in the statutory address and in the statement of special interest. 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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