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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 08/12/1971.

Group Items: N/A, Group Cat: A, Map Ref: ND 2703 8927.


Possibly 1738. W R Lethaby, circa 1898 and 1900 additions. Repair work, 2000. Rectangular-plan walled garden incorporating circa 1898 tea-house and 1900 chapel, both by W R Lethaby, and earlier doocot. Tall, exposed random rubble walls; flat wallhead. N corner harled on exterior of wall and surmounted by ball finial. Opening in E wall; plain doorway to SE and W; timber boarded doors.


2-storey, square-plan tea-house in SE angle of kitchen garden. Apple-house to ground floor; tea-house at upper floor. Exposed sandstone rubble; dressed sandstone surrounds to openings.

E ELEVATION: forestair to exterior of kitchen garden wall; plain timber hand rail. 1st floor door to left; leaded window to right.

S ELEVATION: 1st floor tripartite window. Square-plan stack to left rises from garden wall and breaks eaves.

W ELEVATION: ground floor door to left; 1st floor tripartite window to right.

N ELEVATION: ground floor leaded window; 1st floor tripartite window above.

Stone mullions to tripartite windows; leaded windows to outer lights in N facing tripartite window. Timber boarded door. Conical slated roof. Pole with weathervane in inner angle of garden wall.

INTERIOR: floorboards to tea-house; timber panelled walls. Window cills to each window; decorative timber panel above 1 window. Timber benches; central timber table and chairs. Fireplace in SW angle; sandstone surround and mantel; green glazed tiles to fire jambs.


2-storey, square-plan doocot in SW angle of kitchen garden. Rubble stone; harling. Shed to ground floor; doocot above.

E ELEVATION: ground floor door to right.

S ELEVATION: not seen, 2000.

W ELEVATION: plain elevation.

N ELEVATION: central ground floor window; 1st floor door.

Windows and doors now gone, 2000. Conical roof; stone slates.

INTERIOR: stone nesting boxes.


Low rubble wall encloses rookery to S of kitchen garden. Approach to Melsetter House from the SE; driveway bordered by dry stone wall; pair of circular sandstone gatepiers; conical coping stone; ball finial. Identical pair of gatepiers to W to roadway. Dry stone walls border roadway leading to steading; curved W wall echoes quadrant gatepiers to Laundry House (see separate List Description).


A-Group with Melsetter House, Chapel, Walled Garden, Lodge and Gatepiers, Burial Enclosure, Estate Office, Gardener's Cottage, The Hall, Laundry House and Spinning Cottage. The Kitchen Garden is situated to the SE of Melsetter House. Lethaby retained but heightened the walls of the earlier garden and added the tea-house tower to match the existing doocot. The garden is currently grassed over and the doocot is redundant, however, the tea-house remains in use. Lethaby was one of the most prominent exponents and promoters of the Arts and Crafts movement. Thomas Middlemore, a Birmingham industrialist bought the Melsetter Estate in 1898. At that time it comprised the entire island of Hoy, as well as the adjacent smaller islands of South Walls, Fara and Rysa. Melsetter had been the home of the Moodie family from the late 16th century until around the earlier 19th century. The majority of the remaining structures at Melsetter were retained by Lethaby, although greatly modified. The remodelling/construction of the house and surround buildings at Melsetter was one of Lethaby's most important commissions. It is unusual in that it involved the redevelopment of an entire complex of buildings, which form a harmonious whole. The designed landscape at Melsetter is significant, it has outstanding scenic and architectural interest and is included in the Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes.


1st Edition OS 25" Map (CXXII.8), 1881; Land Use Consultants, AN INVENTORY OF GARDENS & DESIGNED LANDSCAPES IN SCOTLAND, Vol 3, 1985, pp125-130; G Rubens, WILLIAM RICHARD LETHABY, 1986, pp129-140, 148-154; L Burgher, ORKNEY, 1991, pp75-76; J Gifford, HIGHLANDS AND ISLANDS, 1992, p343; T Garnham, MELSETTER HOUSE in ARTS & CRAFTS HOUSES I, 1999.

© 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).