Basic Biographical Details

Name: Philistas Rognvald Howard Stoughton Holbourn
Designation: Architect
Born: 25 May 1913
Died: 1998
Bio Notes: Philistas Rognvald Howard Stoughton Holbourn (his surname sometimes erroneously spelt 'Holbourne') - the third and last son of Professor John (Ian) Holbourn (who had become Laird of Foula, Shetland on buying the island in 1900) and his wife Marion Constance Archer-Shepherd - was born on 25 May 1913 at the family home at Mayfield Terrace, Edinburgh. Two years later, returning from a lecturing tour in the USA, his father was to survive the sinking of the Lusitania by a German torpedo, an event that would mark him for the rest of his life. Nevertheless he continued to take lecturing posts in the USA, and his family must presumably have joined him there, while keeping strong connections with their Scottish homes. In 1922 Professor Holbourn bought the mansion of Fountainhall in Pencaitland, East Lothian in 1922 and renamed it Pencait Castle, also spelt Penkaet or Penkeith (the name has since been reverted to Fountainhall).

Like his father, the younger Holbourn studied at Oxford: he took a two-year part-time course at the Ruskin School of Drawing, from 1934 to 1936, earning him an MA Oxon. It was halfway through this, in September 1935, that his father died; he was vacationing in Foula at the time and did not receive word of the death until the day of the funeral.

From 1936 to 1941 he studied at Edinburgh College of Art, initially on the intermediate certificate course and then on the diploma course. He spent a month working for Rowand Anderson, Paul & Partners in 1937, nine months in the office of H V Ashley & Winton Newman at 1 Gray's Inn Square, London in 1938-9, and two months undertaking practical and consultant work for the Church of Scotland for a new manse at Foula. The summers of 1937, 1938, 1940 and 1941 were spent sketching and measuring for the National Buildings Record.

Holbourn was a member of the Edinburgh Architectural Association in 1939-40, and was admitted ARIBA on 21 October 1941, his proposers being G P H Watson, F C Mears and Leslie Grahame-Thomson. His nomination papers indicate that he was living at Penkeith Castle at that time.

He later became a Fellow of the Royal Town Planning Institute, and he was in the County Planning Office in Brecon, Wales at the time of his retirement in late 1976. He resigned his RIBA membership the following year.

He died in Cardiff in November 1998.

Private and Business Addresses

The following private or business addresses are associated with this architect:
 AddressTypeDate fromDate toNotes
Item 1 of 1Penkeith Castle, Pencaitland, East Lothian, ScotlandPrivate1941 *  

* earliest date known from documented sources.

Employment and Training


The following individuals or organisations employed or trained this architect (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate fromDate toPositionNotes
Item 1 of 3Rowand Anderson, Paul & Partners19371937Apprentice(?)One month's office experience during studies
Item 2 of 3Ashley & Newman19381939Apprentice(?)Nine months' office experience during studies
Item 3 of 3County Planning Office, BreconAfter 1941Late 1976  


RIBA Proposers

The following individuals proposed this architect for RIBA membership (click on an item to view details):
 NameDate proposedNotes
Item 1 of 3(Sir) Frank Charles Mears21 October 1941for Associateship
Item 2 of 3Leslie Grahame Thomson (or Leslie Grahame-Thomson; later Leslie Grahame MacDougall)21 October 1941for Associateship
Item 3 of 3George Patrick Houston Watson21 October 1941for Associateship


Bibliographic References

The following books contain references to this architect:
Item 1 of 2RIBA1939The RIBA Kalendar 1939-1940 London: Royal Institute of British Architects 
Item 2 of 2Wang, Ren Horng-James et al The Lusitania Resource, Wang, Ren Horng-James et alaccessed 30 June 2011

Archive References

The following archives hold material relating to this architect:
 SourceArchive NameSource Catalogue No.Notes
Item 1 of 1RIBA Archive, Victoria & Albert MuseumRIBA Nomination Papers A c.7920 (combined box 200)