Saturday 13th July at 2.30 PM – Marchmont House, near Greenlaw, Berwickshire with Ian Hardie
By invitation of the proprietors. Marchmont House is arguably one of Scotland’s finest mansions. It is an imposing Grade A listed Palladian masterpiece built in 1750 by Hume-Campbell, 3rd Earl of Marchmont.
The current proprietors purchased the House and estate in 2005 and have undertaken a most ambitious restoration – such that last year they won the 2018 Historic Houses / Sotheby’s Restoration Award. The House is full of paintings, sculptures and period furnishings. Members will be taken on a private tour of the House led by the House Curator Frances Raemaekers and will include artwork ranging from the 16th to 21st centuries. The tour, lasting between 2 and 2.5 hours, will end with tea / coffee and biscuits.
Saturday 22nd June at 2.30 PM – Portmore Gardens, near Eddleston, Scottish Borders with Ian Hardie
By invitation of the proprietor Mrs. C Reid, Portmore Gardens are located 1 mile north od Eddleston on the A703 (heading south on the left, post code EH45 8QU The entrance is identified by a lodge and stone pillars.
The Gardens have been lovingly created by Mr and Mrs Reid over the last 30 years. They surround a David Bryce designed mansion house.
Highlights include a restored 1.5 acre walled garden, large Edwardian glasshouses, and a water garden leading to a woodland walk with views of the Borders landscape.
The history of the estate of Keith Marischal has been a topic of dispute for almost two hundred and seventy years. On the 9th February 2019 there will be a joint presentation on the hidden histories of the property. Keith Marischal was the ancestral seat of the Keith family from at least the twelfth century. By the sixteenth century they were described as the richest earls in Scotland, their power centred on the famous Dunnottar Castle near Aberdeen. Keith Marischal remained symbolically important as their ancestry home and for its useful proximity to Edinburgh. The house and barony were sold due to the financial mismanagement of the seventh Earl Marischal in November 1642.
Dr Miles Kerr-Peterson will explore the history of the building over the centuries as the Keiths’ medieval tower developed into a grand Renaissance Palace before parts were gradually demolished. On one side of a courtyard once stood a great hall “which surpassed anything of the kind” 110 feet in extent and 3 stories in height, almost as long as the Great Hall of Stirling Castle. David Affleck, curator of the current Exhibition on The Last of the Hepburns of Smeaton will reveal the work done in the 19th C. to show that while the Hepburns had acquired the estate from the Keiths, the 17th Century Sir Robert Hepburn of Keith who died in 1683 was not descended from the Hepburn of Smeaton line. This is significant as there are families living in Australia who believe that they had an ancestral link with the Hepburns of Keith and through him, the earlier Smeaton line. In addition, the birth name of Sir Robert’s nephew was Congalton. He had adopted the surname of Hepburn as a requirement of his uncle’s will and became an active Jacobite in 1715. Accounts that the Hope family of Hopetoun had acquired Keith Marischal estate before 1715 can now be disproved.
Taken together, the hidden histories of the property and the ownership can now be revealed and will demonstrate the significance of the estate and its Keith and Hepburn owner in this part of East Lothian’s history.
The presentations are part of the winter lecture programme of the East Lothian Antiquarian and Field Naturalist’s Society and will be held at the Maitlandfield Hotel Haddington on Saturday 9th February at 2.30.
There are two outings planned in early Summer 2018:
- To Stenton Village on Saturday 9th June
- To Doon Hill on Saturday 7th July
A visit to Melville Castle Hotel was the final outing of the season. It was led by the president who gave a short summary of the history of the building. The estate was noted as far back as 1155 when it belonged to Galfrid de Malleville. In the 18th century it became the seat of Henry Dundas, Viscount Melville who was virtually ruler of Scotland until his death in 1811. The estate remained in the possession of the Dundas family until c1980. It is now a hotel where Members had tea and visited the restored main rooms.
After the Castle visit certain Members explored the forested grounds. The most notable tree is a majestic Spanish Chestnut which was planted some 450 years ago by a companion of Queen Marie Stuart, Seigneur David Rizzio as an act of friendship.
On Saturday 19 August 2017 the East Lothian Antiquarian & Field Naturalists’ Society made its 4th Summer Programme visit to Torness Nuclear Power Station.
Members thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience finding the strict security procedures, technology and grand scale of operations most interesting.
The guide also alluded to a somewhat unexpected field naturalist aspect being the power station having been awarded the Biodiversity Benchmark by the Wildlife Trusts for its work in protecting and enhancing the unique and diverse wild life around its operation. Most of the Members were not aware of the Torness Coastal Walkway and on another occasion this may be explored.
The visit was rounded off with tea and biscuits provided by the most enthusiastic and knowledgeable guides.
The next Society visit will be to Keith Marischal House on Saturday 16 September.
Photo credit © EDF
East Lothian Antiquarian and Field Naturalists Society made a visit to Penicuik House and Estate on Saturday 10th September.
Penicuik House was destroyed by Fire in June 1899.When the Society last visited some years ago the house was still largely full of rubble and covered by vegetation.
The East Lothian Antiquarian and Field Naturalists’ Society had their third summer programme visit on Saturday 6 August 2016. Members received a very warm and enthusiastic welcome from the owners of Monkton House, Old Craighall, near Musselburgh.
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.