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This building is in the Orkney Islands Council and the Walls And Flotta Parish. It is a category A building and was listed on 09/12/1977.

Group Items: N/A, Group Cat: N/A, Map Ref: ND 3060 9622.


W R Lethaby, dated 1902. Substantial extension to and remodelling of former croft. 2-storey L-plan main block with smaller single storey orignal range incorporated at S end of S wing. Arts and Crafts house with crowstepped gables, wide low 1st floor windows at eaves and distinctive chimney stacks with deep coping slighly tapered above band course to main block. Harled with stone dressings. Overhanging eaves to main block. Stone cills extended slightly to either side of windows. Coped gable to earlier block.

N (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: 4-bay. Entrance with gabled rectangular-plan porch to left of centre (diamond-shaped plaque to gable carved with date '1902' and initial 'M'); entrance set back with panelled part-glazed timber door. Small flanking windows; wide low window above. Windows to each floor to flanking bays (those to 1st floor low/wide). Window to outer right bay to ground floor.

S ELEVATION: 9-bay. Gable end of S wing projects to outer left. Narrow window to left of single storey original range; 4 windows (grouped 1-3) to right return. Gable end of S wing of main block set back; 2-bay right return; 2 small windows to left of ground floor; one to right; low wide window to each bay to 1st floor. 8-bay section set back to right. Gabled bay to centre; entrance with glazed 2-leaf timber door to ground floor; breaking eaves dormer above; carved rectangular plaque to gable. Window to each floor to flanking bays (4 to left, grouped 2-2; 3 to right, grouped 2-1); those to 1st floor low and wide, apart from 2 narrower ones (to central bays to left).

E ELEVATION: central window to each floor of gable end.

W ELEVATION: gable end projects slightly to outer right; window to each floor. 3 service entrances set back slightly to right of S wing of main block; 2 to left with boarded timber doors; 2 to right with 4-light rectangular fanlights. Low wide window above that to centre. Stair window to left. Single storey original range adjoins to right. Projecting gabled bay/porch to left of centre; central window; entrance with boarded timber door to right of right return. Narrow window set back to right.

Mainly 12-pane timber sash and case windows and 8-pane casements. Stone (Caithness) slate roof. 3 ridge stacks and one gablehead stack to main block; all with with deep coping slightly tapered towards apex above band course; round cans.

INTERIOR: good interior with chimney-pieces. Plasterwork cast from moulds used at Melsetter House, although less elaborate.

GARDEN WALL: coursed rubble wall with rubble coping encloses garden area to SE of house. Pair of square-plan gatepiers with slab coping immediately to E.

OUTBUILDINGS TO SW: small single storey, rectangular-plan outhouse (originally containing store rooms) immediately to W of 2-storey rear wing. Coursed rubble with stone slate roof. Entrances to N and S gable ends; one to right of E elevation; all with boarded timber doors. Window to right of E elevation. 3 windows to W elevation. Larger outbuilding with loft to SW; rectangular-plan with small outshot with catslide roof to outer left of E elevation. Formerly stable/coach house. Coursed rubble with stone slate roof. Large entrance with plain 2-leaf timber door to right of E elevation; window to left. Entrance to right return of outshot to left. Entrance to right of W elevation; timber door with glazed diamond-shaped panel; flanking windows (that to right small); large entrance with sliding timber door to left. Loft door to N gable end. Entrance to outshot to right of S gable end.


A very fine house incorporating vernacular and free Arts and Crafts features by one of the most prominent exponents and promoters of the Arts and Crafts movement. The distinctive chimney stacks with their deep tapered/stepped coping and the low wide attic windows are very much of his style and are found on other buildings of his at Melsetter, e.g. the former factor's house (now The Estate Office) (see separate list descriptions). Lethaby worked on a number of buildings in the parish for Thomas Middlemore, a Birmingham industrialist, who purchased the estate of Melsetter (at that time including the entire island of Hoy) in 1898. Lethaby made every effort to ensure that his buildings were in keeping with the local landscape and traditions and often, as here, incorporated earlier structures into his designs. Rysa Lodge was built for Middlemore as a lodge for guests who wished to go shooting. Only the original croft appears on the 2nd Edition OS Map of 1902.


2nd Editon County Series OS MAP; 1/2500 (1902); Godfrey Rubens, WILLIAM RICHARD LETHABY (1986) pp139-40, p300; P Jones, MELSETTER HOUSE in THE ARCHITECT'S JOURNAL, 10th October 1990 pp50-54; Leslie Burgher, ORKNEY, AN ILLUSTRATED ARCHITECTURAL GUIDE (1991) p78; John Gifford, THE HIGHLANDS AND ISLANDS (in the 'Buildings of Scotland' series, 1992) p341.

© Crown copyright, Historic Scotland. All rights reserved. Mapping information derived from Ordnance Survey digital mapping products under Licence No. 100017509 2012 . Data extracted from Scottish Ministers' Statutory List on . Listing applies equally to the whole building or structure at the address set out in bold at the top of the list entry. This includes both the exterior and the interior, whether or not they are mentioned in the 'Information Supplementary to the Statutory List'. Listed building consent is required for all internal and external works affecting the character of the building. The local planning authority is responsible for determining where listed building consent will be required and can also advise on issues of extent or "curtilage" of the listing, which may cover items remote from the main subject of the listing such as boundary walls, gates, gatepiers, ancillary buildings etc. or interior fixtures. All category C(S) listings were revised to category C on 3rd September 2012. This was a non-statutory change. All enquiries relating to proposed works to a listed building or its setting should be addressed to the local planning authority in the first instance. All other enquiries should be addressed to: Listing & Designed Landscapes Team, Historic Scotland, Room G.51, Longmore House, Salisbury Place, EDINBURGH, EH9 1SH. Tel: +44 (0)131 668 8701 / 8705. Fax: +44 (0)131 668 8765. e-mail: hs.listing@scotland.gsi.gov.uk. Web: http://www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/historicandlistedbuildings.

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Buildings are assigned to one of three categories according to their relative importance. All listed buildings receive equal legal protection, and protection applies equally to the interior and exterior of all listed buildings regardless of category.

ACategory A

Buildings of national or international importance, either architectural or historic, or fine little-altered examples of some particular period, style or building type. (Approximately 8% of the total).

BCategory B

Buildings of regional or more than local importance, or major examples of some particular period, style or building type which may have been altered. (Approximately 51% of the total).

C(S)Category C(S)

Buildings of local importance, lesser examples of any period, style, or building type, as originally constructed or moderately altered; and simple traditional buildings which group well with others in categories A and B. (Approximately 41% of the total).