BROUGHTON PLACE INCLUDING SUMMERHOUSE, TENNIS COURT, WALLED GARDEN, GATEPIERS AND STABLEBLOCK (Ref:2031)
This building is in the Scottish Borders Council and the
Broughton, Glenholm And Kilbucho Parish.
It is a category A building and was listed on 23/02/1971.
Group Items: N/A,
Group Cat: N/A,
Map Ref: NT 11691 37236.
Rowand Anderson & Paul & Partners, 1935-1938 (Basil Spence partner-in-charge); subdivided into flats and later gallery by Law and Dunbar-Nasmith, 1975; further alterations to service wing, 1980s; gallery converted to dwelling, 2011. 3-storey with attic breaking wallhead, L-plan interwar country house with large tower to N corner and extensive single storey Z-plan wing to SW, with dormered attic; set within private estate with formal gardens and tennis court to SE, on a hillside above a small rural village. Harled, brick cavity walls; some pink sandstone ashlar margins. Ground floor openings predominantly with roll-moulded ashlar jambs and lintel and chamfered cills. Variety of gabled dormers with carved initials to tympanum; predominantly 1980s gabled dormers to Z-plan. Crowstepped gables.NW (ENTRANCE) ELEVATION: 2-bay section, flanked by large round tower to left and stairtower to right. Off-centre right nail-studded oak entrance door with moulded ashlar surround; elaborately carved marriage plaque above entrance. Vertically boarded timber door with rectangular fanlight to right, added 1975. Roughly regular fenestration. Scrolled dormerhead to left and triangular dormerhead with finial to right. Z-plan single storey wing to right: advanced gable to left with large square window in moulded surround at 1st floor and elaborately carved triangular plaque above depicting Celtic fairytale.SE (GARDEN) ELEVATION: stair tower to right re-entrant angle with timber door in moulded ashlar surround. 2-bay projecting gable to right, with irregular fenestration including centred window at ground floor; enlarged opening at 3rd floor to right with simple iron balustrade. 2-bay section to left; regular fenestration; centred vertically boarded timber entrance door with inscription 'O ALL YE GREEN THINGS UPON THE EARTH', BLESS YE THE LORD' to lintel; 4-light mullioned, transomed and corniced window to left of entrance; triangular dormerhead with carved thistle finial to left and pointed arched dormerhead to right. Z-plan single storey wing to left: original dormer to right of SE pitch.NE ELEVATION: large round tower to right. Gable breaking wallhead to right of centre. Roughly regular fenestration. Catslide dormer to left.Predominantly 6-over-6 sash and case timber windows; 16-over-16 sash and case timber windows, some with bespoke double glazing to ground floor drawing room. Pitched slate roof; slightly bellcast roofs to towers. Corniced end and ridge stacks with cylindrical clay cans. Cast iron bell on bracket to SW end stack.INTERIOR (seen 2011): fine neo-Jacobean decorative scheme to original public rooms with high-quality decorative plasterwork incorporating thistle and rose motifs by L Grandison and Son, Peebles; finely detailed fixtures and fixtures including wrought-iron rails to S turnpike stair by Thomas Hadden incorporating various floral motifs and newels in the shape of birds, non-original rail to top landing. Double-height ground floor; entrance hall with small, round arched fireplace with exposed stone surround, roll-moulded ashlar surround to opening leading to drawing room, chamfered ashlar jambs to window. Decorative wrought iron hinges and latch to main entrance door. Large drawing room to NE with painted panelled dado, elaborately carved radiator grills incorporating rose and thistle motifs, buffet niches, stone fireplace set within painted timber surround and decorative plasterwork to beams and cornice. Octagonal plan library at ground floor of large tower with walnut panelling to walls, elaborately carved radiator grills incorporately scholarly motifs, elaborate fireplace surround, ribbed plaster ceiling. Predominantly original stone and timber fireplaces with patterned glazed tiles. Predominantly panelled timber doors. Timber serving hatch to original dining room.SUMMERHOUSE AND TENNIS COURT: circa 1935-1938. Tennis court with 2-storey, circular-plan summerhouse to NW corner; to E of house. Rubble coped random walls enclosing concrete surfaced court; raised section to N end of court; elaborate wrought iron gate to centre of W wall. Summerhouse with large flat-arched opening at ground and 1st floors, that to 1st with vertically boarded timber sliding door and leading to tennis court; oval window openings; stone forestair with cast iron balustrade leading to round arched opening with vertically boarded timber door at 1st floor; slate ogee roof with iron weathervane depicting tennis player; flagstone floor at ground floor.WALLED GARDEN: circa 1935-1938. Rubble coped random rubble walls adjoined to house and tennis court enclosing large garden to S of house. Ashlar coped with ball finials stepped section to S wall over round arched opening with quoined jambs and elaborate wrought iron gate from Spain. Low rise steps with cobble infill layed in diamond pattern to formal knot garden; statue of infant Hercules holding serpent in right hand surmounted on a plain stone column on circular base to centre of knot garden and relocated from original owner's London home. Large stone urn from Rhonda, Andalucia on lower lawn.GATEPIERS: circa 1935-1938 Random rubble piers surmounted by carved lions in resting position by Hew Lorimer, to NW of house.STABLEBLOCK: 1936-38. 7-bay, single storey flanked by 2-storey, 5-bay wings to form symmetrical U-plan stableblock/garageblock to NW of mansion house. Harled brick cavity walls, ashlar margins to gables; 1st floor openings set close to eaves. Flat-arched openings with garage doors to central bays; flanked by window and entrance. Wing to left: gable with window at ground floor to right and window at 1st floor to left; return with off-centre left entrance and flat-arched opening with garage door to right. Wing to right: mirror of wing to left. Timber, sash and case windows, those to ground floor predominantly 6-over-9 pane, those to 1st floor prdomiantly 6-over-6 pane. Pitched slate roof. Vertically boarded, painted timber entrance doors with fanlight; painted steel up-and-over garage doors. Ashlar coped, straight skews; ashlar coped, end and ridge stacks. Original light fitting flanking central flat arched opening. Interior: (seen 2011): timber horse stalls to SE corner.
Broughton Place is a rare and excellent example of an interwar Scottish country house set within a designed landscape by the internationally renowned architect Sir Basil Spence. Through the use of an irregular plan and irregular fenestration the design of Broughton Place emulates the organic growth of a extended medieval tower house. The house is a well-detailed combination of traditional Scottish towerhouse architectural details such as the round stair towers and crowstepped gables, with details that are characteristic of Spence's other domestic schemes such as harled brick construction, monumental chimney stacks, steeply-pitched tiled roofs and extensive multipane glazing. The Edinburgh sculptor, Hew Lorimer, created the elaborately carved panels, the carved dormerhead tympana and the lion gatepiers. The building retains its original setting, with garden and ancillary buildings also designed by Spence with significant input by the commissioning owners, the Elliotts. This includes a former potting shed, adjacent to the S of the walled garden, remodelled and incorporated into a new house in 2005 and a garage/stableblock in the traditional Scots style to the W.
The house was commissioned by Thomas Renton Elliott and his wife Martha, nee McCosh, who came from a Lanarkshire family of industrialists. The family lived at Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, London as Elliott was Professor Emeritus of Medicine at London University College Hospital, but on completion of Broughton Place relocated to Scotland. The initials of Prof and Mrs Elliott, and those of their five children (Mary, Martha, Walter, Edward and Andrew) are carved into the dormerhead tympanums. Mrs Elliott was a keen and knowledgeable gardener and was influential in the laying out of the garden.
Both Spence and his practice partner William Kininmonth prepared separate schemes for Mrs Elliott. Spence's earlier designs for the building illustrate a more irregular, elongated plan, taking into account the orientation of the sun, views and practical arrangements and similar to his other country houses such as Gribloch (1937) (see separate listing). However Mrs Elliott desired a family home in the style of a traditional Scottish tower house, similar to the work of Robert Lorimer. The executed scheme reflects these wishes and it is clear from Spence's letter of 10 July 1963, addressed to the Editor of House and Garden, that the design was not his intention 'I have always tried to keep this [building] dark as it is a complete pastiche' (RCAHMS).
Following Mrs Elliott's death in January 1975, the house and policies were sold. Prior to the sale the Elliotts had commissioned Law and Dunbar-Nasmith to convert the property into luxury flats to ensure its long-term survival.
Sir Basil Spence was one of Scotland's most accomplished and prolific 20th century architects. Spence leapt to prominence during the Festival of Britain in 1951 as chief architect for the Exhibition of Industrial Power in Glasgow. Some of his most renowned works include Coventry Cathedral and the British Embassy in Rome. From 1931-34 Spence was in partnership with William Kininmouth until their architectural practice was subsumed to become Rowand Anderson & Paul & Partners. Kininmonth and Spence were profuse in the design of domestic commissions. This included single dwellings, such as Glenwood, Edinburgh (1931-32), Quothquhan near Biggar (1937) and Gribloch near Kippen (1937), as well as municipal housing schemes such as 12-30 Victoria Street, Dunbar (1935) (see separate listings).
The house is constructed on the site of the former Broughton Place which was owned until 1762 by Apostate John Murray. Murray was Secretary to Prince Charles Edward Stuart during the 1745 rebellion, but after the defeat at Culloden he tried to escape to Holland but was captured at his home. Murray turned King's evidence and was pardoned in 1748. However he was branded a traitor and sold his Scottish home which was subsequently destroyed by fire in 1773. An old well, known as `Prince Charlie's Well, survives to the N of the house.
List description revised and category changed from B to A, November 2011
Sir Basil Spence Archive, Canmore ID 262057, 282344 and 49860, RCAHMS. S Forman Scottish Country Houses and Castles, (1967) pp98-99. C A Strang Borders and Berwick: An Illustrated Architectural Guide, (1994) pp252-253. C B Fenton `First Buildings 1932-9' in P Long and J Thomas (eds) Basil Spence Architect, 2007 pp 40, 42-43. K Cruft, J Dunbar and R Fawcett The Buildings of Scotland: Borders, (2006) pp142-143.
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