Prestige viewing: Rare Haddington gem dazzles with grandeur

Stevenson House, two miles from Haddington in East Lothian, is a small estate surrounded by gardens, grazing and woodlands.

Picture: Itago Media

It is historically and architecturally important, and its situation – so close to Edinburgh in a peaceful, private oasis of its own – means that its launch on to the sales market has caused a bit of a stir.

Andrew Smith, director of country house sales at Rettie & Co. which is handling the sale, says: “It is prompting interest from people who aren’t actively looking to buy. There might not be another house like this for ten years on the market.”

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The main house dates from 1560, and is one of the few surviving examples in Scotland of the “Grange Plan”, a four-square frame around a central courtyard. Additions in contemporary styles were made in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.

Picture: Itago Media

It is also reputed to be the second-longest continually occupied private residence in Scotland, after Traquair House in Innerleithen.

In recent times, the house has undergone a huge refurbishment, after it was bought by race horse owner Raymond Anderson Green in 2000. The two-and-a-half-year project was completed by Edinburgh architect Lorn Macneal.

Smith says: “The work involved a new roof, wiring, plumbing, all damp and rot work, and some walls were taken down and rebuilt.”

The project involved stripping the building to its core and then reinstating and restoring original features, such as the cornicing, woodwork and pillars, while modernising and reconfiguring the layout. The the sash and case windows were refurbished and a new fire alarm, sound and security systems were installed, as well as a lift, new bathrooms and kitchen.

Picture: Itago Media

One of the most stunning features is a stonework mosaic in the distinctive central courtyard, commissioned from Lancashire artist Maggy Howarth, which can be viewed at various angles from three storeys of windows overlooking it.

Smith says: “You really get the full beauty from the top of the house... it is really impressive.”

The main house has eight bedrooms, three grand reception rooms and three less formal living rooms, as well a large dining-kitchen. The other houses on the estate were converted in the middle of the 20th Century by renowned architect Mary Tindall.

Little Stevenson, listed category B, was the laundry wing of the mansion house and dates from the 16th Century. It is now a very attractive three-bedroomed house.

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The Coach-House was converted as another independent residence in 1956. It is a substantial property with a living room, dining room, games room, four bedrooms and three bathrooms.

At the end of the drive is the South Lodge, a two-bedroomed cottage.

Trust Cottage, a gardener's bothy dating from 1856, is set in the east wall of the kitchen garden and is used for holiday lets to members of the National Trust for Scotland.

Consideration was given in all the restoration work to the use of traditional materials. A Civic Trust Award has been conferred on Stevenson for outstanding achievement in conservation.

Picture: Itago Media

The estate today is impressive, from the tree-lined driveway to the beautiful gardens that take in 20 acres of parkland. Paths run through the woodland so that walkers can enjoy the views, a walled garden and the river walkway by the Tyne. There are fishing rights and the grounds have extensive equestrian facilities.

The gardens are dotted with statues which are also historically significant, coming from various other country houses.

Smith says: “There are obviously fewer buyers at this level in the market, but it is all about the right person seeing and falling in love with the peace it offers.”

Checklist

Area Location offers sailing in the Forth, walking in the Lammermuir Hills and spectacular beaches. Nearby golf venues include the Open Championship links course at Muirfield, and Gullane, Luffness and North Berwick.

Schools State schooling at primaries in Haddington and Knox Academy. The private Compass School in Haddington and Belhaven Prep School at Dunbar, Loretto is also convenient at Musselburgh.

Picture: Itago Media

Interior The main house has eight bedrooms and six public rooms. Four other properties form part of the estate, the four-bedroomed Coachhouse, Little Stevenson, with three bedrooms, a gate lodge, and a bothy suitable for holiday lets.

Exterior There are 22 acres in all, including landscaped gardens, a two-acre walled garden, woodland, River Tyne frontage, paddocks and stabling. There is also a workshop, three garages and garden stores.

For more information, contact Rettie & Co. on 0131-624 9087.

Picture: Itago Media
Picture: Itago Media