Gosford House, the large and magnificent mansion of the Earls of Wemyss, set in fantastic landscaped grounds with pleasure grounds, woodland and ponds, standing near Longniddry in East Lothian in southeast Scotland on the banks of the Firth of Forth.
Lothians: About 2 miles north-east of Longniddry, on minor road south of A198, south of Firth of Forth, at Gosford House.
NT 453786 OS: 66 EH32 0PX
OPEN: Open Easter and some Thu-Mon in Jun & Aug for guided tours: confirm exact details with house. Events and weddings. Access to Pleasure Grounds with permit from Gosford Bothy Farm Shop or from Estate Office.
Tel: 01875 870808 / 870201 (office hours) Web:gosfordhouse.co.uk
Site of L-plan tower house, which had a small stair tower in the re-entrant angle with a turnpike stair. To the tower was added a new building, designed by William Burn in 1832, but this extension was demolished in 1885, as was the old tower in 1938. James V visited in the 1530s.
The site marked is on Blaeu’s map of The Lothians as ‘Gosforde’, and stood about 300 yards east of the present mansion, near the stables. ‘Gosfoord’ is marked on Adair’s map of East Lothian, and is depicted in laid-out gardens and woodland.
The property was held by the Murrays, Douglases, Sinclairs from 1458, and then by the Achesons from 1561, then by the Auchmutys from 1622. Sir John Auchmuty of Gosford was the Master of the
Highness’s Wardrobe of the kingdom of Scotland in 1633 (when the tower, fortalice and manor place are noted). Gosford went to the Wedderburn family in 1659.
The barony was sold in 1784 to the Earls of Wemyss (also see Wemyss Castle).
The Charteris family were originally from Amisfield Tower, near Dumfries. They bought a property called Newmills, near Haddington, and renamed it Amisfield [NT 529742]. Amisfield House, a classical mansion which dated from the mid 18th century, was demolished in 1928 because of dryrot and some of the materials, including a fireplace, were built into the new house at Gosford. The grounds had been used as a POW camp during World War II, and a golf course was laid out near the site of Amisfield House. The gate piers survive, as well as the walled garden with neoclassical pavilions, stables and ice house. Janet Charteris, heiress to a large fortune, married James Wemyss, 6th Earl of Wemyss, and their son Francis inherited the Charteris fortune and name.
In a 5,000 acres of fine landscaped grounds with extensive ponds overlooking Edinburgh and the Firth of Forth, Gosford House, a large and impressive mansion of two storeys and a basement, was designed by Robert Adam for Francis, 7th Earl of Wemyss (then also of March from 1826), although the wings were demolished, and then rebuilt in 1890 by William Young. Francis (the family name was then Charteris Wemyss Douglas), 7th Earl, is buried in the impressive pyramidical mausoleum in the grounds, and other notable features are the curling house and boathouse, as well as many geese and nesting herons.
The house has a magnificent staircase and marble hall, although despite its size, now only has eight bedrooms. The house was used as a hotel between the wars, and then by the army during World War II and there was a prisoner of war camp in the grounds. The north wing is unroofed and a shell and the central block is being restored after damage from a fire in 1940 and dryrot.
The south wing is the family home of the Earls of Wemyss and March, now represented by the Charteris family. The family still own much property in East Lothian, including Redhouse Castle as well as Neidpath Castle near Peebles in the Borders. They also owned Seton Castle, and members of the family were buried in Seton Collegiate Church (see Seton Castle, above) and at Aberlady (see entry for Kilspindie).
The house featured in the 2000 movie House of Mirth, based on the book by Edith Wharton and starring Gillian Anderson, and in the 2011 supernatural drama The Awakening, starring Rebecca Hall. The house is used as a location for the stables at Verseilles in the second series of the TV drama Outlander.