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Country House (17th Century), Tower House (15th Century), Wall(S) (17th Century) (1680)

Site Name Lennoxlove

Classification Country House (17th Century), Tower House (15th Century), Wall(S) (17th Century) (1680)

Alternative Name(s) Boundary Walls; Lennoxlove Castle; Estate; Lethington; Liddingtoun; Lennoxlove House Policies

Canmore ID 56512

Site Number NT57SW 29

NGR NT 51507 72041

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number AC0000807262. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2024.

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Administrative Areas

  • Council East Lothian
  • Parish Haddington
  • Former Region Lothian
  • Former District East Lothian
  • Former County East Lothian

Archaeology Notes

NT57SW 29.00 51507 72041

(NT 51507 72041) Lennoxlove formerly Lethington (NR)

OS 6" map (1957)

Lennoxlove (NR)

OS 6" map (1969)

The first park wall around Lethington (Lennoxlove), enclosing an area rather more than a mile square, was built by John, Duke of Lauderdale (16th century). This wall was 12ft in height, reduced to 7ft many years ago.

NSA 1845 (J Cook and J Lorimer).

The mansion of Lennoxlove or Lethington (former name) is an extensive and composite structure of which the nucleus is the 15th century tower in the SW portion - once enclosed by a barmkin. (Tranter suggests that this tower probably incorporates a still earlier fortalice.) Only the 16th century gateway to the N of the tower remains of the barmkin. The tower itself is rubble-built and harled; L-shaped with the main block measuring 55ft by 38 1/2ft externally and the E-projecting wing 23 1/2ft by 31ft broad externally. The walls are 8 1/2ft to 10ft thick at base. The parapet walk appears to have been altered about the late 16th century and the cap house and attic floor were reconstructed in the 17th century. The tower has been extended in the 17th century and in more modern times. The 17th century building has been modernised and calls for no special attention.

The Maitlands bought Lethington from the Giffords in the 14th century, and it is probable that the oldest work represents the Gifford stronghold, the two periods of heightening being the Maitlands' work.

RCAHMS 1924, visited 1920; N Tranter 1962

Lennoxlove is as described.

Visited by OS (BS) 8 July 1975.

Architecture Notes

NT57SW 29.00 51507 72041

NT57SW 29.01 51490 72080 Out Buildings

NT57SW 29.02 51558 72041 Formal Garden

NT57SW 29.03 51842 73106 Acredales Cottages, Gateway

NT57SW 29.04 51962 72730 East Port and Gateway

NT57SW 29.05 51525 72026 Garden Gateway

NT57SW 29.06 51248 72656 North Lodge and North Port

NT57SW 29.07 51091 71389 South Port

NT57SW 29.08 50531 71721 West Lodge

NT57SW 29.09 51082 72342 Sawmill

NT57SW 29.10 51463 72079 Coach House

NT57SW 29.11 51736 71948 Politicians Walk

NT57SW 29.12 51828 73111 Lennoxlove Acredales Cottages, No. 1

NT57SW 29.13 51818 73108 Lennoxlove Acredales Cottages, No. 2

NT57SW 29.14 51810 73104 Lennoxlove Acredales Cottages, No. 3

NT57SW 29.15 51800 73101 Lennoxlove Acredales Cottages, No. 4

NT57SW 29.16 51790 73097 Lennoxlove Acredales Cottages, No. 5

NT57SW 29.17 51780 73094 Lennoxlove Acredales Cottages, No. 6

NT57SW 57 51555 72040 Sundial


Owner: Duke of Hamilton

Architects: Sir Robert Lorimer 1912-1914 restoration

Sydney Mitchell & Wilson - alterations and additions to coach-house 1914 and outhouse 1914

William Burn 1823 additions

James A. Arnott 1933 garden gateway

NMRS Plans:

Dick Peddie & McKay, Edinburgh Drainage Plan

Sanitary Protection Assoc 1905

Dick Peddie & McKay, Edinburgh Additions and alterations

Bin 19, Bag 3 13 Young Street 1910-1912

Dick Peddie & McKay, Edinburgh w.i. gates & commemorative panels

Bin 33, Bag 2 Sydney Mitchell & Wilson 1893


Scottish Record Office:

Sketch plan and elevation. Lord Blantyre's Pointers' Kennels.

1806 GD45/25/25

Possibly part of the extensive building programme undertaken by Lord Blantyre at this time.


Article in Country Life by Clive Aslet c.1985


NMRS Plans:

Section and ceiling plan Lorimer 1913

alterations to China Room


Original drawings for ELD/76/12- ELD/76/32 inclusive are in possession of Duke of Hamilton at Lennoxlove, his permission to reproduce required. Drawings ELD/12-18 plans for an addition are bound into a book; later alterations (1825) have been superimposed on to the drawings in other hand. Drawings ELD/76/19-24 are bound together showing intended alterations.


Field Visit (6 May 1920)

The mansion of Lennoxlove or Lethington as it was formerly called, lies within a pleasant and well wooded park in the angle formed by the confluence of the Tyne and Gifford Water, a little over a mile to the south of Haddington. It is an extensive and composite structure, manifestly the production of several building operations, the nucleus being the south-western portion, which is a 15th century tower; this has been extended in the 17th century and in more modern times.

The tower is a massive and lofty building (fig. 50), L-shaped on plan (fig. 81) and was once enclosed by a barmkin, but the only remaining portion of this is the entrance which lies north of the tower. It is a wide 16th century gateway with a semi-circular head having a quirked cavetto moulding returning round the head and down the jambs. The tower is built of rubble and has been harled. The windows have evidently been enlarged and have a quirked edge-roll wrought on jambs and lintel. There are three main floors beneath and an attic floor above the parapet walk, which latter appears to have been reconstructed c. late 16th century. The walk returns along each wall. The parapet is without embrasures, has open circular projections at all angles except the south-western, where there is a cap house, and is borne on ac ontinuous corbel course rather reminiscent of that at Nunraw (RCAHMS 1924, No. 45). It consists of two members, of which the upper bears the billet enrichment and the lower is cabled. The surface water from the walk is discharged from waterspouts representing monsters. The machicolation borne on a squinch arch above there-entering angle is of ashlar and is a 17th century construction. Its parapet is looped for musketry, but the machicolation is blocked. The cap house and attic floor have been reconstructed in the 17th century.

The main block measures 55 feet by 38 ½ feet externally. The wing projects 231 feet eastward and is 31 feet broad. The walls at base are 8 ½ to 10 feet in thickness. There are two entrances to the tower, one at the re-entering angle and another in the east wall of the main block. Two entrances on the same level are not usually found in buildings such as this and suggest a reconstruction. The last mentioned is probably the original entrance, the panel above it bearing a shield charged: within a double tressure flory-counter-flory a lion rampant demembered (Maitland). The shield is supported by two eagles and is surmounted by a helmet with flowing mantling, wreathed and crested, a lion sejant affronte holding in the dexter paw a sword and in the sinister a fleur-de-Iys. On a label above the achievement is the Maitland motto ‘CONSILIO ET ANIMIS’. Another motto below the shield, is illegible. This entrance admits to a small vaulted lobby within the thickness of the wall, off which is entered the basement of the main building on the west and a small mural passage on the south. This passage may originally have contained a straight flight of stairs linking up with the turnpike stair at the re-entering angle which now ascends from ground to second floor. The other entrance is at the foot of this stair; above the door is a panel inscribed :


‘Who of the race of Maitland laid the foundations, who raised the tower, envious antiquity has concealed. John Maitland, Earl of Lauder, increased the lights, provided an easier stairway and made it more handsome in the year of the Christian era 1626’. As this inscription relates, the windows throughout the tower have been enlarged and the staircases altered to give easier communication. The entrance at the stair is furnished with a fine iron gate in situ, which is apparently of 16th century workmanship. It is in excellent preservation and still retains its two ponderous bolts, while a massive staple, which projects inwardly, was secured by a bar. At the stair-foot beneath the soffit of the steps a stand pipe is stated to lead from a well below.

The main block on the basement floor comprised one large chamber with a lofty barrel vault which is lit by a narrow light high up in the south and west walls; the mid-partition is modern. At the south-eastern angle of the chamber there is an access to a second well. At springing level of the vault there was probably an intermediate floor of timber, to which, from the floor above, a small mural staircase led down and apparently penetrated the vault and gave access. The wing also contains a chamber on the basement floor. This too is vaulted, but the ceiling is low and the floor is lower than that of the adjoining basement chamber with which it now communicates. There was originally no inter communication, and the only access and light to this eastern chamber was furnished by a hatch in the vault opening in the floor of a chamber above, which is entered from the wheel-stair five steps up from the stair-foot. This chamber has a fireplace and window, and its relation with the cellar below suggests that it originally served as a prison, but it should be noted that there is no sanitary provision.

On the first floor level the main block consists of one large chamber with a lofty barrel-vaulted ceiling. The three hatches in this vault are noteworthy, as they appear to be provided for the emission of smoke from a central hearth on the floor of the hall; the chimney flue in the north gable behind the modern fireplace would therefore be an insertion. The windows have certainly been altered as noted above, by Sir John Maitland and in modern times. On the east wall at the level of the vaulting spring an inscribed panel, which formerly stood out of doors, has been inserted. The lower portion of the panel is shield shaped and is charged per pale: dexter, a lion rampant (demembered ?) within a double tressure flory-counter-flory and sinister, 1st and 4th, a chevron within a tressure flory-counterflory, 2nd and 3rd six cinquefoils three and three: being the shields of John Maitland 1st Lord Thirlestane and Janet Fleming his wife. Above the armorial bearing is an inscription in debased Gothic lettering, which is insufficiently preserved to be read. Intercommunicating with the hall is a chamber in the wing which was the kitchen; in the east gable above the 17th century fireplace there is the wide segmental arch of its original fireplace. In the partition between hall and kitchen there is a mural staircase, which now descends only fora short distance and originally led to the intermediate floor beneath the vault; off it is an access to the well. In the south-west angle of the hall is the entrance to a second wheelstair, which gives access to the apartments over the hall and to the cap-house. Adjoining it are the remains of a sink with slop outlet. The wheel-stair at the re-entering angle ascends to an entresol chamber over the kitchen and has an inward projection into the chamber.

The 17th century plaster work of this apartment is interesting; the ceiling is panelled stelliformly and has moulded and florally enriched pendants. The" fields" of the panels are enriched with three devices (a) beneath an earl's coronet the initials I M S in monogram for John Maitland, second Lord Thirlestane, 1stEarl of Lauderdale, and Isabel Seton his wife(b) their armorial bearings (c) a cherub's head. The fireplace in the corner has a primitive firebasket and hobs. Above it is a triple panelling of plaster (fig. 174); the central panel may not be in situ but removed from another apartment. It bears a shield charged per pale with the arms of the 1st Earl and his wife as above. On a label above is the motto ‘CONSILIO ET ANI MIS’ and on a strapwork label below the shield the date 1618. The side panels are dated 1632.The plaster cornice below the ceiling is massive and rather coarse in section, not an unusual feature in 17th century work. The south-east angle of the chamber contains a garderobe apparently without a flue; adjoining this is a doorway that seemingly connected with the southern end of the hall, where there was a timber upper floor or loft. The second floor contains two apartments in the main block and one in the wing. These have been remodelled. The attic floor also comprises three apartments, which are lit by dormer windows with triangular pediments surmounted by finials. The gables are crowstepped, the timber roof is covered with stone flags, the parapet walk has been repaired and IS floored with cement.

The 17th century building has been modernised and calls for no special mention.


(a) On the south-east angle of the 17th century extension is an angled dial dated 1644.

(b) A rather unusual dial (fig. 82) has been erected in the south garden adjoining the mansion on the east. It is dated 1679 and was removed by the present proprietor from North Barr House, Renfrewshire. On a base of two octagonal steps a female figure clothed in the costume of the period supports a dialstone on her head. She wears a fluted skirt with draped panniers, a high waisted stomacher, passimented at the neck, with puff sleeves intaken at the elbow and ruffed at the forearm. In her left hand she holds a fan, and in her right she bears a rose disposed against her bosom. Around her neck she wears a necklace of beads with a heart-shaped pendant and in her ears drop-shaped ear-rings. The dial stone is an octagonal block with 17 faces. The perpendicular faces are alternately cupped and plane. On the horizontal dial are the initials D. McG. for Donald MacGilchrist, who built the house of North Barr in 1676, and the date 1679. The figure is 3 feet 11 ½ inches high, the dial stone is 1 foot 2 ½ inches high and the steps are each 8 inches high.

(c) On the lawn south of the mansion is around horizontal dial with a baluster shaft. It is undated but on its metal face is engraved ‘David Lyon sculpsit’.

The first two sundials are illustrated in Proc. Soc. Ant. Scot. xxiv., pp. 173 and 247.

Lennoxlove Tower is still occupied and has been restored by the present proprietor. On the Maitlands of Lethington, see RCAHMS 1924 Introd. p. xxiv.

RCAHMS 1924, visited 6 May 1920.


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