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Harmony Hall

House (19th Century)

Site Name Harmony Hall

Classification House (19th Century)

Alternative Name(s) St Cuthbert's House; Melrose Abbey Grounds;

Canmore ID 55749

Site Number NT53SW 40

NGR NT 54706 34270

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2020.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Scottish Borders, The
  • Parish Melrose
  • Former Region Borders
  • Former District Ettrick And Lauderdale
  • Former County Roxburghshire

Archaeology Notes

NT53SW 40.00 54706 34270

NT53SW 40.01 54655 34290 Stables

(NT 5470 3427) Harmony is a Regency house of three storeys and an attic, standing immediately W of Melrose Abbey. On plan it comprises an oblong main block running E and W and facing S. This was the original house. Two parallel wings have subsequently been added on the N, one on either side of the circled bay that contains the staircase.

RCAHMS 1956, visited 1947

NT 5470 3425 An archaeological watching brief in the grounds of Harmony Hall was carried out during the machine-excavation of service trenches as part of the renovation of the house and gardens, within the precinct of Melrose Abbey.

In the courtyard to the N of the hall, excavation revealed several substantial levelling deposits overlying a buried soil and a charcoal-rich ashy layer which contained a fragment of tile of probable medieval date. Two culverts, also likely to be medieval in date and potentially associated with the main monastic drain to the N, were also encountered.

In the garden area to the E of the house levelling and surfacing deposits from the paths overlay a deep topsoil. A number of stone features were also revealed. These included what are thought to be early 19th-century deposits associated with paths running to the N entrance of the house. An unmortared stone feature likely to represent the footings of a substantial stone wall running approximately N-S were encountered in the NE corner of the garden. Although undated this potentially pre-dates the development of a garden on the site.

Sponsor: National Trust for Scotland

T Holden 1998

Architecture Notes

NT53SW 40 54706 34270

NT53SW 40.01 54655 34290 Stables


(NT 5470 3427) St Cuthbert's, or Harmony Hall, is a Regency house of three storeys and an attic, standing immediately W of Melrose Abbey. On plan it comprises an oblong main block running E and W and facing S. This was the original house. Two parallel wings have subsequently been added on the N, one on either side of the circled bay that contains the staircase.

RCAHMS 1956, visited 1947


Publication Account (1998)

Harmony Hall, a Regency dwelling of three storeys figure 22.Q, is one of the many comfortable villas erected in the town to accommodate the growing number of substantial families in the town. Built in 1807, it was named after the Jamaican plantation of the owner, Robert Waugh. A three bay residence, fronting to the south, the centre bay has an advanced and pedimented entrance with steps and a projecting Ionic columned porch. The south front is of coursed squared whinstone with freestone dressings, while the flanks and rear are of course squared rubble. There are two more modern wings to the rear. The property is surrounded by tall, rubble walls with a flagged cope, broken by a gate with corniced piers to the east. Nicknamed 'Melancholy Jaques', Robert Waugh rarely emerged from behind his protective walls.

Information from ‘Historic Melrose: The Archaeological Implications of Development’ (1998).

Watching Brief (November 2001 - December 2001)

NT 547 342 An archaeological watching brief in the grounds of Harmony Hall (NT 53 SW 40) was carried out in November and December 2001 during the machine topsoil stripping and excavation of foundation trenches for a new greenhouse and potting shed.

The remains of a mortar and stone foundation wall were revealed, as well as other features, including a cast-iron water pipe, brick platform and remains of a water tank, and levelling surface associated with an early 19th-century greenhouse.

In the E of the stripped area, a number of garden/cultivation soils and garden development deposits were uncovered. Fragments of 19th- and 20th-century pottery were recovered from these. The natural subsoil was not exposed anywhere in the excavated area.

Archive to be deposited in the NMRS.

Sponsor: NTS.

M Hastie 2002

Archaeological Evaluation (2 July 2007 - 5 July 2007)

NT 54693 34248 An evaluation to a depth of 0.4m below ground surface was carried out on 2–5 July 2007. It aimed to ensure that archaeological features relating to Melrose Abbey were not damaged by the use of the lawn for events. A gravel rich drainage layer containing 18th-century artefacts overlaid possible natural clay subsoil at 0.4–0.42m.

Archive: CHC and NTS

Funder: The National Trust for Scotland

David Connolly (Connolly Heritage Consultancy), 2008

Watching Brief (11 November 2008)

NT 54690 34240 On 11 November 2008 repairs were made to the courtyard. Late 20th-century stone slabs were removed and replaced with new slabs. The original pebble cobbles had previously been removed to form a base for a 1980s repair. A small section of the original slabs that had formed the parking area for a cart remained. These were recorded but not retained. Sand had been used to form a footing for the cobbles and beneath this was a mixed clay layer. A fragment of a 1760s glazed Scottish Manganese bowl was found on the interface between the two layers. This corresponds with the late 18th- to early 19th-century dates for the construction and redevelopment of the house.

Archive: RCAHMS

Funder: The National Trust for Scotland

David Connolly (Connolly Heritage Consultancy), 2008

Reference (February 2013 - February 2013)

Harmony Hall is an early nineteenth century suburban villa (built 1807) and garden situated in the heart of the Borders town of Melrose. The name Harmony was inspired by the Jamaican estate of the first owner, Robert Waugh.

Many of the house’s features stem from its purpose as a villa for pleasure and retirement – built for Robert Waugh, a retired Jamaican plantation owner. As a home to retire to, enjoyment of elegant architectural effects was an important factor in the design and this influenced the unusual architectural detailing that elaborates on the otherwise standard early 19th century Scottish villa design. These details include an unusual front portico, reminiscent of a Colonial veranda, and the rare polychrome stonework (the work of local firm Smith of Darnick).

The earliest known map of the area dates to 1826 and shows Harmony Hall, presumably in its original form and lacking the two northern annexes which bound the present courtyard. These structures had been constructed by the 1st Edition OS map of 1859. During this time the layout of the driveway and paths around the house had also changed.

The property was deliberately sited to take advantage of its fine views to the ruins of Melrose Abbey – both from the garden and from principal rooms.

Information from NTS

Sbc Note

Visibility: This site has been excavated.

Information from Scottish Borders Council

Sbc Note

Visibility: This is an upstanding building.

Information from Scottish Borders Council.

Sbc Note

Four trenches were excavated in the grounds of Harmony Hall. The site is located in what would be the eastern part of the outer west cloister of Melrose Abbey.

Harmony Hall is a three story Regency house constructed in 1807.

Trench 1. In the eastern part of the trench two stone lined culverts capped with large stone flags were identified.

The upper and smaller of the two culverts ran from east-west, below the larger and similiarly constructed culvert was encountered but not evcavated, it appeared to running approximatly north-south draining to the north. The water from the upper culvert ran into the lower one via an oval hole in the capping stones. It would seem likely that this culvert connects up with the main monastic drain the projected line of which run a short distance to the north of the present site.

In lowest layers of trench 1 to the west a fragment of medieval tile and flotation samples identfied the presence of oats together with fragment of charcoal.

Trench 2. A concentration cobbles and a narrow stone feature was excavated, the orientation of both the cobble layer and stone feature are coincident with a wide path running from the main garden gate to the north entrance of the house as seen in Wood's map of 1826.

Trench 3. In the north eastern corner of the garden the trench cut through a substantial stone feature consisting of a number of large angular stone with an abutting area of loosely packed stone rubble. Considerable quantities of 18th/ 19th century pottery was recovered from this area although its exact stratigraphic relationship to the stone feature cannot be determined. It is felt however that this feature could represent the footings of a larger wall running N-S across the site an in view of its uncertain date could potentially pre-date the main phase of landscape garden landscaping.

In addition a mortared stone wall was excavated running N-S across the trench. The OS map of 1859 indicates that this feature is likely to represent a greenhouse wall.

Trench 4. Nothing of archaeological interest was noted

Information from Scottish Borders Council Historic Environment Record



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