Mellerstain House, a magical castellated mansion of the Baillie-Hamilton Earls of Haddington, has a stunning and largely original Adam interior, set in beautiful colourful gardens and expansive landscaped grounds with a lake, cafe and shop, near Earlston in the Borders in southern Scotland.
Borders: About 5 miles east of Earlston, on minor roads west of A6089 or east of B6397, at Mellerstain House.
Private NT 648392 OS: 74 TD3 6LG
OPEN: Open Easter wknd (Fri-Mon), then May-Sep, Fri-Mon 12.30-17.00, last entry 16.15; gardens and coffee shop same days, 11.00-17.00. Holiday cottages on estate. Events.
Tel: 01573 410225 Web: www.mellerstain.com
The best Adam house in Scotland, Mellerstain House is a magnificent castellated mansion house in beautiful landscaped grounds and colourful gardens with a fabulous series of rooms in largely unaltered Adam style.
There was probably a tower or old house here, and ‘Mailerstains’ is marked on Blaeu’s map of The Merse. This was replaced by Mellerstain House, designed by the architects William Adam and his more famous son, Robert. The wings of the house date from 1725, while the central block was not completed until 1778.
There are magnificent, largely unaltered interiors, especially in the library, music room (former dining room) and drawing room, with carefully designed proportions, classical plasterwork and friezes, and glowing colours. The great gallery is another outstanding chamber.
The house has a large collection of art, as well as a colourful terraced garden, and stands in 200 acres of parkland with a large pond and extensive woodland.
The lands of Mellerstain were mentioned in 1451, when they were given to the Halyburton family by James II. At the end of the 15th century they were held by the Haitlie family until about 1640 when they were given to the Edmonstones of Ednam, then in 1642 passed to the Baillies of Jerviswood, a property near Lanark.
The family were Covenanters and Robert Baillie was arrested for treason and sentenced to death. The Baillies were ruined after being heavily fined and then forfeited, although their fortune was restored in 1691 after the overthrow of James VII.
Mellerstain was built for George Baillie of Jerviswood, and was home to Lady Grisell Home (now better known as Grisell Baillie), who in her youth was involved in the intrigues of the Covenanting times. She is well known as a poet and for her Household Accounts, an insight into the workings of stately home in the 18th century.
Mellerstain passed by marriage to Charles Hamilton, Lord Binning, eldest son of the Earl of Haddington, and was owned by the Baillie-Hamiltons, Earls of Haddington, until 1987, who moved here from Tyninghame House. The property is now managed by The Mellerstain Trust.
The house is said to be haunted, but the manifestations are said to be friendly rather than frightening.