granite and slate Gothic heap


Senior Member
Duncan’s house was built on low ground close to a wide sandy bay. It was huge, a four-storey, granite and slate Gothic heap, a house from a fairy tale with a turret at one corner.
Source: Raven Black by Ann Cleeves

Would this house be an approximation for the bolded description? Why heap though? There is an element of Gothic architecture. I am not about the granite cladding.


Thank you.
  • se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I am familiar with the word "pile" used to refer to a large building in collocations like "gothic pile"; I suppose "heap" is an attempt at an informal variant of this.

    The building may be gothic in some senses (scary, old-fashioned, the kind of place where ghosts traditionally dwell) but it is not gothic in the architectural sense (pointy windows, an emphasis on upward lines, etc). Gothic architecture - Wikipedia


    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I'm wondering whether he had in mind "Gothic pile".

    Oxford Dictionaries definition:

    A large imposing building or group of buildings.
    ‘a Victorian Gothic pile’
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