A party of Members and guests of East Lothian Antiquarian and Field Naturalists Society visited Mertoun,near St. Boswells, the home of the Duke and Duchess of Sutherland on Saturday 2nd July. They were welcomed by the Duke who outlined the history of the house, which was originally built by Sir William Bruce for Sir William Scott of Harden between 1703-5 and of the art collection. He then conducted the party on a tour of the mansion house. At the conclusion of the tour refreshments were provided. The President thanked The Duke, the Duchess and their staff for what was a most memorable visit.
The part then divided into groups. Some members went with the Duke to visit nearby Mertoun Kirk which was one of the few churches built in Scotland in the Commonwealth period. Others went on foot with the Duchess through the pleasure grounds to the magnificent walled garden while the remainder having enjoyed the pleasure garden went by car to the walled garden. The distance to the walled garden is explained because it is assumed that it predates the mansion and is at the site of the earlier Mertoun House. There is a dovecot there dating from 1567 which is thought to be the oldest in the country.
The gardens are run by the Mertoun Garden Trust and are open to the public from April to September.
The next visit is to Monkton house on Saturday 6th August.