Birkhill House – Earlston, Roxburghshire, Scottish Borders

Birkhill House was originally home to a Scottish Laird. There has been a building on the site since the 1500s and sections of the current house date back to the late 17th Century.

The house eventually became part of the Thirlestane Castle Estate before being sold off in 2017.

During the turbulent years of the Border raids (1513-1603), many houses in the Scottish Borders were fortified to protect the families and their lands from the ongoing raids. You can see evidence of this from the high boundary wall that surrounds Birkhill House. 

The existing house is now a traditional Scottish design from the 1700s. There were many additions over the years, which is evident in the materials used.

The oldest part of the house surrounds the front door. The timber sash and case windows are slightly smaller and are in a 6 over 6 astragal design.

The east wing was added in the 1800s. Although they have tried hard to retain the original look of the property in the extension, if you look closely you can see the windows are slightly larger and are manufactured using a different internal mould. (Please see our case study on window moulds).

Hermitage Windows were commissioned in 2017 to upgrade all the sash and case windows to heritage ‘Slimlite’ double glazing as well as restoring some of the original features throughout the property. As the building is category B listed, special care had to be taken to replicate materials, dimensions, and moulds.

The local council requested that all sashes be replicated to their original design as opposed to making all the windows the same generic mould. This was to retain the ‘journey’ of the house through the centuries and allow people to appreciate this in the future.

As well as upgrading all the timber sash and case windows we restored the original shutters, doors, and timber panelling. This consisted of carefully removing these items, transporting back to our workshop, and stripping all existing paint from them. Repairing any damaged or rotten timber by delicately cutting out the affected areas and piecing in new timber sections. The original ironmongery was retained and restored throughout and, when this was not possible, new items were sourced on a like-for-like basis.

Unfortunately, not all the original period features survived over the years. In this case, new items were manufactured to replicate the originals, items including timber shutters, detailed timber panelling, architraves, and external doors.

This contract was carried out in several stages over a two-year period for a wonderful family and we wish them all the best in their new home.