East Lothian Antiquarian Society visited Nunraw House on Sat 10th August. They had visited Garvald village in July and this visit was in a sense a follow up because Nunraw House is the main residence in the parish.It was also in a sense a valedictory visit because we were informed on arrival that the house has been put up for sale.
The Party was hosted at Nunraw by Father Raymond
The president outlined the history of the estate and of the mansion house.
It was a property of the convent of Haddington at the Reformation.The last prioress was a Hepburn and the property passed to her family.The Hepburns built a tower house.They sold Nunraw to James Dalrymple in 1747.It was sold to James Hay in 1780. Robert Hay improved the house but had financial problems.It was sold to Walter Wingate Grey in 1880 who made further alterations.It was bought by the Cistercian Monks in 1946 who built Sancta Maria Abbey.
The president also outlined the part played by Robert Hay in the study of ancient Egypt.
The nature monastic life and the story of their stay in East Lothian was outlined.
The house has played an important role over the years as a retreat centre where people come for spiritual refreshment.
The intention is to build a new guest House close to the monastery.
The party were then led on a tour of the main rooms.They saw the historic painted ceiling and admired the fine woodwork installed by Wingate Grey.After tea most of the party visited the chapel at the monastery.
The next outing on 14th September is to Dalkeith Palace.