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Edinburgh, Cammo Road, Cammo House

Country House (17th Century)

Site Name Edinburgh, Cammo Road, Cammo House

Classification Country House (17th Century)

Alternative Name(s) Cammo Walk; Cammo Estate; Cammo House Policies; Cammo Park

Canmore ID 50712

Site Number NT17SE 62

NGR NT 17399 74698

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2023.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council Edinburgh, City Of
  • Parish Edinburgh (Edinburgh, City Of)
  • Former Region Lothian
  • Former District City Of Edinburgh
  • Former County Midlothian

Archaeology Notes

NT17SE 62.00 17399 74698

Cammo [NAT]

OS 1:10,000 map, 1989.

For North Lodge and gatepiers (NT 1709 7522), see NT17NE 121.

For associated Grotto Bridge (NT 17091 75221), see NT17NE 171.

For standing stone at NT 17477 74681 (within Cammo House policies), see NT17SE 55.

NT17SE 62.01 centred NT 174 747 Garden

NT17SE 62.02 NT 17348 74416 Walled Garden with Gate-piers, Outbuildings and Bee Boles

NT17SE 62.03 NT 17496 74393 Stables

NT17SE 62.04 NT 17353 74714 Sundial

NT17SE 62.05 NT 1727 7456 to 1739 7463 Canal

NT17SE 62.06 NT 17587 74251 Water Tower (Water House)

NT17SE 62.07 NT 17705 74914 Home Farm

NT17SE 62.08 NT 17746 74851 East Lodge

NT17SE 62.09 NT 17594 74127 Knoll

NT17SE 62.10 NT 17775 74858 Bridge

NT17SE 62.11 NT 17762 74850 Rubble Bridge

NT17SE 62.12 NT 17753 74844 Gate-Piers with Railings and Boundary Wall (East Lodge)

NT17SE 62.13 NT 1752 7439 Stables

Cammo, Cammo Walk. A collection of fragments. The house was built by John Menzies in 1693 and the park laid out by Sir John Clerk in 1710-26; the estate passed in 1741 to the Watsons of Saughton and in 1980 to the National Trust for Scotland. It is managed in association with the City of Edinburgh.

Approach from the N across a single-span bridge (NT17NE 121), dated 1762 and with stepped finials on the piers; there are the remains of an earlier bridge beside it. Gate-piers with fluted friezes and a roofless lodge dated 1789 with rosettes on the door piece.

Only the lower parts of the house walls survive. Artisan mannerist doorpiece, the pediment broken by a coat of arms, very much in the manner of Robert Mylne.

Canal (NT17SE 62.05) on the S. U-plan stables (NT17SE 62.04), dated 1811; semi-elliptical blind fanlights over the doors and an octagonal centre tower.

Outside the park, round early 19th century watertower (NY17SE 62.06) with a battlemented parapet.

Gifford, J, Mc William, C and Walker, D 1984.

Architecture Notes

NT17SE 62.00 17399 74698

ARCHITECT: William Adam (several additions)

Copied from catalogue slip

'Cammo House Inventory of furniture and fittings', 1987 - manuscript notebook


Caledonia Mercury Inf. from John Gifford, Buildings of Scotland:

April 20, 1742 Sale of furniture: consisting of:

standing Beds, Feather Beds, Tapestry Chairs, Tables, Mirrours of different kinds, a good collection of Prints, fine Marble tables, Marble Vases, four fine figures of Marble, representing the Judgement of Paris by Sinor Tugini, and four antique Marble bustos...'


GD 150/3199/11

Building of a stair and 'rubble building in walls, arches etc. and passages under the terrace'

Estimate amounting to ?205.10.10.

(James Salisbury, Architect. (Working 1774 - 1800))

GD 150/3199/12

Paving the floors of the cellars. Additional estimate from James Salisbury, Architect, (working 1774 - 1800) amounts to ?12 or ?14. 23 March, 1787

GD 150/3199/13

Building of a stair and cellars under the Terrace. Letter from James Salibury, Architect, (working 1774 - 1800) to Charles Watson Esq of Saughton. He offer to furnish all materials and carry out the work for the sum of ?200.

4 April, 1787

GD 150/3199/14 - 22

Building of a stair and cellars for Charles Watson of Saugton Esq by James Salisbury, Architect, (working 1774 - 1800). Receipts amounting o ?300

1787 - 1791

GD 150/3199/31 - 32

Greenhouse built for Charles Watson of Saughton. Receipted accounts from mason and glazier. Mason: Walter Young


GD 150/3311/91

Chimney piece of Sienna and Statuary marble. Receipted account from John Veitch, Edinburgh forsupplying and setting up the chimney piece for Charles Watson of Saughton.


GD 150/3311/92

Chimney pieces. Receipted account from John Liddle, Edinburgh, for 3 chimney pieces, the one for the Drawing room 'richly carved' supplied to Charles Watson of Saughton.

1781 - 1782

GD 150/3312/3/56

Completion of the Dining Room. Joiners have repaired the old work and completed new work which included bound work in doorshutters, soffits, pilasters and moulds for architraves. An upholsterer has canvassed and papered the room.

Receipted account for ?25.19.12 from Peter Dods.


GD 150/3314/1/2 - 3X

(Cross ref.GD150/3316/13)

Account for painting which includes work in Drawing room, dressing room and Dining room and for gilding the edges of shelves of cupboards. It amounts to ?36.9.9. William Somervell, Painter. Work measured by Archibald Aitkin.

1782 - 1783

GD 150/3314/1/31 - 31X

Account for furnishings and for plaster and wright work undertaken in Parlour, Dressing room and Garret. It includes providing moulds for architraves and enriched cornices, making skirtings and facings, bordering hearths with mahogany and supplying and hanging papers. Young and Trotter. The account amounts to ?190.8.4. Payments completed 1784.

1781 - 1782

GD 150/3314/1/32X

Account for supplying marble, setting up chimneys, altering and polishing old chimney and hearth. It amounts to ?12.1.11 1/2. Alexander Whyte, marble cutter.


GD 150/3315/1/65 - 69X

Papering, painting and repairs.

Receipted account from Archibald Bathgate for work undertaken for Charles Watson of Saughton and includes papering the High Back room and painting the High Front room. Payment to Charles Esplin for paper.


GD 150/3316/13

(Cross ref. GD/3314/1/2 - 3X)

Account for painting which includes work in Drawing room and Dining room. It amounts to ?29.0.9 William Somervell, Painter.

1783 - 1785

GD 150/3321/53 - 54X

Chimney piece for parlour. Receipted account from James Liddle, carver, Edinburgh.


GD 150/3325/31 - 34X

Building of a gate. Estimate for a gate to be built according to a plan and with stone from Redhall Quarry. Receipt for building the pillars. Robert Gray, mason.


GD 150/3325/63 - 64X

Receipted account form William White for supplying a large circular iron gate 'framed in the best manner' and weighing 666lbs. ?33.16.0


GD 150/3326/122 - 132

Building of a porter's lodge at the gate of the mansion house at a cost of ?62. Estimates (2), accounts for lime, measurement of the work and receipted account from Thomas Paries, mason.

1788 - 1789

GD 150/3326/134

Building the hall chimney. Receipted account from Robert Gray, Mason.


GD 150/3326/135 - 146

Building of a scullery and laundry 'according to the draught being intended to be built as additional wing to the house.' Estimates, accounts and receipts. Robert Gray, mason.


GD 150/3330/65 - 67X

Painting the Drawing room, dressing room and staircase. The work included a carved frieze and chimney piece. Receipted account form William and Nicol Somervill.


GD 150/3352/29/31X

Account, receipt and Measure of the slating done at the New Addition for James Watson by Thomas Stewart in 1814. It includes slating over the new rooms and staircase. Thomas Brown - Surveyor.


GD 150/3353/77

Addition to the mansion house. Receipted account from James Watson for altering the Plan of the new addition, writing the specification and inspecting the work.


GD 150/3353/98 - 103

Addition to the mansion house. Receipts and measurement of wright work. Payments amounts to ?451.11.9. Walter Wallace, wright.

1814 - 1815

GD 150/3352/106 - 107X

Dove marble chimney piece. Receipted account from Robert Burn and Co, Leith.


GD 150/3353/54 - 56X

Plasterwork in the new addition to the house. Receipted account amounting to ?67.8.6 for work undertaken by McLaurian and McIntyre.


GD 150/3353/109

Dimensions of the new wing built for James Watson of Saughton at New Saughton. Included in an account for harling and mason working. John Samuel, mason.


GD 150/3352/125 - 126

Receipted account for working 8 frames of tirlace (76 Feet) (tirlass) for the addition. Margaret Borthwick.


GD 150/3351

Building an addition. Receipt for sum due to his father for mason and plasterwork from James Wilson, junior.

1814 (receipted 1815)

GD 150/3330/104 - 105x

Slating 'the little house in the garden'. Receipts for slates from Thomas Paries.


GD 150/3311/14 - 16x

Building the orchard walls. Receipted accounts from Thomas Paries, mason.


GD 150/3310

Building the East and West walls of the new garden. Receipted account from Thomas Paries, mason.


GD 150/3326

Building of a porter's lodge at the gate of the mansion house at a cost of ?62. Receipt.


GD 150/3199

Building of a stair and terrace. Account and receipts from James Salisbury ?300.

1787 - 1791

GD 150/3199

Greenhouse built. Walter Young, mason. List of plants followed. ?45

1794 - 1795

GD 150/3326

Estimate and discharge of building additional wing at the house of New Saughton. Robert Gray, mason.


GD 150/3525/25

Sketch of a mineral well to be built by James Wyllie for 'James Walton of Saughton at Cramont'. Plan and elevation.



Sketch Plan of enclosures about Cammo shewing parterre, lodges, forecourt etc and adjoining buildings

Nov 9th, 1722

GD 18/1679

Conditions of sale of Cammo by Sir John Clerk to Mr to include bedsteads and hangings of rooms, equipment in kitchens and offices.......that all the prints in frames (Print Room) shall belong to sd purchaser with two largest tables in the House.

Excludes all the pictures in oile collores shall belong to said Sir John likeways all the moveable chimnies with their apurtenanbes, all the tables except the two afore mentioned all the glasses or mirrors all the chairs all the feather beds and bolsters sheets and blankets of any kind whatsoever all the chaires the clock a scrutoire in Sd Sir John's Bedchamer etc............


Publication Account (1951)

175. Cammo House.

Permission to inspect this property could not be obtained, and consequently no first-hand description of it can be given. According to Small (1) the mansion was erected in 1693, was rebuilt to the design of William Adam, and was considerably extended in the 19th century. Small's illustration shows the older part as a rectangular harled block of four storeys with a battlemented wall-head.


(1) The Castles and Mansions of the Lothians (1883),i, unpaged.

Project (1997)

The Public Monuments and Sculpture Association ( set up a National Recording Project in 1997 with the aim of making a survey of public monuments and sculpture in Britain ranging from medieval monuments to the most contemporary works. Information from the Edinburgh project was added to the RCAHMS database in October 2010 and again in 2012.

The PMSA (Public Monuments and Sculpture Association) Edinburgh Sculpture Project has been supported by Eastern Photocolour, Edinburgh College of Art, the Edinburgh World Heritage Trust, Historic Scotland, the Hope Scott Trust, The Old Edinburgh Club, the Pilgrim Trust, the RCAHMS, and the Scottish Archive Network.

Field Visit (13 July 2003)

Pediment with coat of arms above. Central date 1693. Ears (?) either side. Above is a face (?) with badly eroded scrolls.

The house was built in 1698 for John Menzies. John Gifford et al in 'The Buildings of Scotland, Edinburgh' say that the coat of arms is in the manner of Robert Mylne. (1)

Inspected By : Joan M. Kennedy

Inscriptions : 1693

Signatures : None Visible

Design period : 1698

Information from Public Monuments and Sculpture Association (PMSA Work Ref : EDIN0530)

Excavation (7 July 2017 - 30 September 2017)

NT 17399 74698 (NT17SE 62) An excavation programme, undertaken over 4 days between 7 July 2017 and 30 September 2017, aimed to establish the extent of any remains of the mansion house known as Cammo House, the outline of which was lost when it was demolished in 1979.

Trench one was a training trench for visitors to the open days (6–7 July 2017). Trench two was placed 4.9m from the NE corner of the ruin of Cammo House. Here we found a flagged floor, beside a small area of cobbling. A drain abutted the wall within the flagged area. On extending the trench 2m to the W we found the remains of a wall.

Two small trial pits were dug to trace the path of the wall NW. At 12m from the ruin we dug Trench three (1.55 x 1.40m) in which we found the wall return.

Trench four was dug 4m from Trench three and this confirmed the trajectory of the back wall of the extension to the original 1693 Cammo House.

More work will be done in 2018 as part of the EAFS Cammo Project to continue our search for the outline of the building.

The number of finds from the Cammo Project must be some kind of record. Over the four days worked so far, some 638 items were retrieved. Of these, 184 were located by a group from the Scottish Detector Club who joined us for the opening weekend. The more interesting retained items

included a tiny pendant (religious object?), a Timex watch, buckles (one possibly 17/18th century), paraffin lamp fittings, dog tags, a musket ball, 1910 Bahrain coin, a book clasp and a small metal alligator. The four trenches excavated at the rear of the house yielded considerable quantities of domestic pottery and glass sherds, including some very thick flat glass, and iron objects. One piece of clay pipe stem was stamped BURNS CUTTY and ........HIE EDINBURGH.

Archive: NRHE and City of Edinburgh Council SMR (intended)

Funder: Edinburgh Archaeological Field Society, Almond Neighbourhood Partnership, Friends of Cammo, and Scottish Detector Club

(Source: DES, Volume 18)

Geophysical Survey (29 May 2017 - 8 July 2017)

NT 17399 74698 (NT17SE 62) The ground resistance survey of 11 (20 x 20m) grids was carried out, 29 May – 8 July 2017, as part of an ongoing programme of fieldwork at Cammo Estate. The survey covered the existing house remains and policies on all four sides. The area of the staircase on the S of the house was not surveyed. A scaled ground plan dated 1976 showed the footprint of the demolished extensions of the house to the NW and E. Foundation remains which were tentatively located to the NW were later proved by limited excavation. A large linear higher resistance anomaly

was noted in the parkland to the SSE of the house which may represent a garden feature, although extension of the survey was not possible due to adjacent woodlands and shrubberies. There are further anomalies to the E of the house which may represent traces of the former attached structure.

Archive: NRHE and City of Edinburgh Council SMR (intended)

Funder: Edinburgh Archaeological Field society, Friends of Cammo, and Almond Neighbourhood Partnership

Ian Hawkins – Edinburgh Archaeological Field Society

(Source: DES, Volume 18)


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