Lothians: About 1 mile north of East Linton, on minor roads west of A198 or north of B1407, Smeaton Hepburn, at site of Smeaton House.
NT 593786 OS: 67 EH40 3DS
OPEN: Smeaton nursery gardens and tearoom. Public access is provided to the lake during daylight hours.
Tel: 01620 860501 Web: www.smeatonnurserygardens.co.uk
Site of castle or old house, and ‘Smyrton’ is marked on Blaeu’s map of The Lothians, then ‘Smitone’ on Adair’s map of East Lothian in wooded policies. The mansion, a two-storey classical mansion, was demolished in the 1950s and nothing survives but some steps and the walled garden with glasshouses, as well as the gate lodge of acround 1790 and the designed landscape including Smeaton Lake.
The lands were held by the Hepburns. Adam Hepburn of Smeaton Hepburn supported Mary Queen of Scots, and fought at the Battle of Langside in 1568. The property passed by marriage to the Buchans, and they took the name Buchan-Hepburn, and were made baronets in 1815. The family flourishes, holding the property until 1934 when it was sold to the Grays, but they now apparently live in St Andrews.
Smeaton Lake is a man-made feature, dating from 1820 and with a beautiful walk around its shores with fantastic vistas and many old and impressive trees. The lake was used for curling but this has not been possible since the surrounding trees were damaged in storms, the last gales being in 2005.
Prestonkirk [NT 592778], in the nearby Preston area of East Linton, is an attractive building in a prominent spot by the road. The present church was rebuilt in 1770, and then later remodelled, but includes the chancel of a 13th-century church dedicated to St Baldred and the 17th-century bell-tower. This is one of the churches, along with Tyninghame and Auldhame, where the body of the saint was said to have been buried. There are some old memorials, the earliest dating from the 17th century, in the graveyard as well as a watchhouse once used to deter bodysnatching. The building is still used as a parish church.
Preston Mill and Phantassie Doocot are also nearby and are in the care of the NTS.
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