11 bedroom detached house for saleMonimail, Cupar, Fife
Melville House is arranged in a symmetrical H plan with the central section of the house being effectively square and flowing around the magnificent reception hall with a grand timber staircase and galleried landing which opens to the library on the ground floor and great dining room / ballroom on the first floor. On either side of the central section are matching rectangular sections with independent staircases. The manner of the layout of the building means it can be occupied in a number of flexible ways.
The ground floor comprises the library and reception hall, a study, music room, dining room and kitchen along with a cloakroom and wc's. The first floor has the magnificent oak panelled great drawing room, 3 further fine panelled reception rooms, a billiard room and the master bedroom suite. The second floor has 10 bedrooms, the majority which will have en-suite facilities when completed. The third floor has attic rooms and storage. There is a staff flat in the raised basement, catering kitchen, boiler rooms, laundry room, wine cellar and stores. The house has a wealth of stunning architectural features including lavishly oak panelled rooms, panelled doors with pulvinated friezes, Ionic and Corinthian pilasters flanking marble fireplaces, intricately carved over mantels, dado panelling, operational shutters, astragal windows and hidden doors.
The East Wing, two storey cottage has been refurbished, hall, kitchen sitting room, wc and library on the ground floor; 3 bedrooms and a bathroom on the first floor. The West Wing cottage ground floor requires some refurbishment; it has a hall, kitchen utility room, wc and bedroom. The first floor contains a sitting room, 2 bedrooms and a bathroom. Both Pavilions have two stories crowned with an attic room. The East Pavilion comprises 2 en-suite bedrooms, a bathroom, sitting room and kitchen. The West Pavilion is ready for continuing refurbishment comprising an open plan kitchen, living area and wc, bedroom with en-suite bathroom. Each property has a substantial attic bedroom. A 19th century coach house sits to the east of Melville House. The building was converted to classrooms with a cleverly concealed full sized gymnasium when Melville House was a school. It was damaged by fire recently; walls, roofs and interiors are being professionally restored by insurers as a series of rooms, central hall, cinema room, wc's and garaging. It has outstanding potential as a leisure complex or office space.
Garden and Grounds
Melville House sits in 16.5 acres of gardens and grounds. The house is approached by a private winding drive which leads through parkland to the house. The north of the house has an expanse of grass which was formerly a cricket pitch with a pavilion to the west. The area could be enclosed to provide paddocks, if required. Adjacent to the drive is a fabulous tree house. To the south of the house, the original forecourt garden is now down to lawns with a circular path enclosing the central lawn which leads to the pavilions. To the east of the house adjacent to the former Coach House is a walled garden. To the west is a former tennis court.
The Melville dynasty can be traced back to 1153. They bought the estate of Monimail in 1592. The Melville's were protestant sympathisers during the reign of Charles II, George Melville and his son fled and were exiled in Holland. In 1689 Melville aided William III and Mary to the ascension of the throne. For his loyalty to the King for his part in the Glorious Revolution, George Melville was honoured with the position of Secretary for State of Scotland in 1689 a year later an earldom followed. Melville also served in later years as President of the Privy Council. He died in 1707. He was regarded as the most important of William's servants in Scotland at a time when the House of Orange held little ground in the face of Stuart loyalty. Thus it was vital for Melville to create a status of power and wealth amongst his countrymen and he commissioned the building of Melville house in 1692. In 1700 it was thought William III and Mary may visit Scotland and for this occasion it is understood the Melville State Bed was commissioned; it is now housed in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Melville House remained in the Melville family until 1949 when the property was sold and converted into a private school. Recently the property has been restored to a family home. The current owners bought the property in 2009 continuing an on-going modernisation programme.
George First Earl of Melville commissioned a Renaissance architect of modern Palladianism, James Smith, to design Melville House. Smith was believed to be a protégé of Sir William Bruce, Smith was appointed Surveyor of Royal Works in 1683 and also worked on Holyrood, Hamilton Palace and Drumlanrigg. Colen Campbell, a key figure in British Palladianism, described Smith as 'the most experienced architect of that kingdom'. Smith's design of Melville House is included in Colen Campbell's Vitruvius Brittanicus of 1717. Remarkably many of the floor plans and features remain the same today. Melville house is thought to be Scotland's finest example of a Palladian Mansion. Imposing in its symmetry and simplicity it is painted in the original ochre. The house is a classic H-shape, both front and back elevations have wings and 9 bays while east and west elevations have 6 bays each. It has three storeys above a raised basement, its height being emphasised by towering chimney stacks and a central cupola. Two storey wings are joined by screen walls to the main house. The forecourt garden to the south follows the original design. The former approach leads to the forecourt, the entrance pillars and walls flanked by two ogee-roofed pavilions, their weather vanes displaying 1697.
Smith's ability was shown to best effect in his architectural profiling of the interiors of this noble house. The house is large yet so compact. From the north a majestic oak panelled entrance hall leads to a Piano Noble or processional route through the entrance hall to the great stair behind and onto large reception rooms wainscoted in oak with original marble fireplaces, each individual with elaborate and exceptional carved wooden pediments soaring to the ceiling. Country Life in 1911 featured Melville House and reports of bold carvings of acanthus, bead and rail fire surrounds. The library on the ground floor and large dining room or saloon on the first having five south facing bays.
Melville House is set in an attractive countryside setting, on the north-east edge of the Howe of Fife. It is surrounded by woodland and agricultural land with a back drop of rising hills to the north. Melville House sits in the beautiful rolling Fife countryside ideal for the outdoor enthusiast to enjoy walking, cycling or riding. The county offers country sporting activities shooting and fishing can be rented locally and the Fife Hunt has the most northerly pack of fox hounds in the UK. There is both Polo and national hunt racing at Scone just beyond Perth which also hosts the annual Scottish Game Fair.
St Andrews is renowned as the world home of Golf. Fife offers many other coastal links golf courses at Elie, Crail, Kilconquar and Lundin Links. Ladybank has a good inland course nearby. The Open Championship golf course of Carnoustie beyond Dundee is just 26 miles away.
Cupar is a thriving market town offering an excellent mix of shops, supermarkets, restaurants, professional services and general amenities. Dundee (16 miles) is home to Scott's RSS Discovery and soon to be home for the Victoria and Albert museum. Dundee airport provides scheduled flights to London City Airport. Perth and Edinburgh can be accessed by the M90 motorway for other leisure, shopping and cultural facilities. Good private schools for all ages are available within easy reach St Leonards in St Andrews, the High School of Dundee, Strathallan and Dollar Academy.
Despite its rural setting, Melville House is well placed for access to all parts of the compass. Edinburgh International Airport is on the nearside of the city and readily accessible. The A91 connects to St Andrews and the motorway network at Junction 8 of the M90 while the A92 heads north to the Tay Bridge and south to Glenrothes (11 miles). There is a railway station at nearby Ladybank on the main east coast line to Edinburgh and onto London.
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