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Leuchie (also known as North Berwick House)


The designed landscape at Leuchie comprises early-19th-century parkland, mixed ornamental woodland dating from the mid-18th century, formal lawns and an early-19th-century walled garden. This garden contains an ornamental planting of herbaceous borders and lawns with specimen trees.

The following is from the Historic Environment Scotland Gardens and Designed Landscapes Inventory. For the most up-to-date Inventory entry, please visit the Historic Environment Scotland website:

Location and Setting

Leuchie is situated on the relatively flat coastal landscape of East Lothian about 1 mile (2km) south-east of the town of North Berwick and 8.5 miles (14km) north-west of the town of Dunbar. A minor road between North Berwick and the village of Whitekirk, which lies south-east of Leuchie, forms the western boundary of the policies. The policies of Balgone House lie to the south- west; otherwise, the surrounding landscape is largely agricultural. Relief from the flat nature of the landscape is provided by North Berwick Law 570' (187m) which lies to the north-west and is a feature in the view from the west drive to the house. Views to the coast of Fife, beyond the Firth of Forth, can be gained on a clear day. The policy woodlands are of some significance in the local scenery.

Leuchie House presently stands within some 105 acres (43ha) of policies which are bounded to the south and west by minor roads. Documentary map evidence of the development of the designed landscape is provided by General Roy's map of c.1750, a survey map of 1804 by Forrest, the 1st edition OS map of c.1860, and the 2nd edition OS map of c.1900. Comparison of these maps indicates that between 1804 and 1860 the southern extent of the policies receded to the present boundary whilst a new northern and eastern boundary was formed by a woodland strip which extended out to the wooded Roundhall north-east of Blackdykes. The extent of the policies remained similar until 1922.

After the woodland and parkland north of the west drive were sold to meet estate duty, the woodlands were subsequently felled, opening up the views to the north of the house.

Landscape Components

Architectural Features

Leuchie House, listed category A, was built in 1779-85. It is a three- storey mansion with a bowed south front and balustraded pediment. The original architect is unknown and it was altered and enlarged between 1835-87 by the 6th Baronet. It is now a convent and hospice. A new house was built in the walled garden in the early 1960s to the design of Law & Dunbar- Nasmith and is the home of the Hamilton- Dalrymple family. This house was built on the inner side of the east wall and incorporates the original gardener's cottage. A wall running parallel with the west wall is dated 1807. The statues within the garden by Thomas Campbell are of the 4th Sir Hew and Lady Jane, 1829. A lodge stands at the entrance to the west drive. The stables stand on the edge of the park to the east of Leuchie House and they are dated 1859. The heated wall within the walled garden has an unusual vent system throughout the length of the former glasshouse.


The 19th century parkland at Leuchie was laid out between 1804-60. It extended beyond what is now the southern boundary of the policies. Included in the informal design were avenue trees which were part of the earlier grid pattern indicated on General Roy's map. The most significant of these avenues lay to the north of the house, and this remained as a feature as shown on the 1st edition OS map of c.1860. Wooded roundels were planted to the east of it. The 2nd edition OS map indicates that by 1900 the distinctive lines of trees and roundels in the parks had faded but could still be detected. Most of the trees in the largest park area, to the north of the house, have been felled; only three avenue trees remain now in the field. Some, including sycamore and lime, have been retained in the strip running parallel with the west drive which is maintained for amenity.

Within the policies today are two fine areas of parkland. That to the south- west of the house is grazed and has specimen trees which date from the early 1800s and others which are younger. The park to the south-east of the house, known as The Paddock, has no park trees.


The woodlands at Leuchie in the mid-18th century appear as the strip plantations in the grid pattern indicated on General Roy's map of c.1750. By c.1850, when the 1st edition OS map was surveyed, extensive plantings had been established as part of the designed landscape of the period. The 2nd Baronet who succeeded in 1737 is recorded as saying 'it has been the vanity of my long life to cultivate, adorn and perfect my paternal acres by plantations' indicating that he planted before the new house was built in 1779, five years before his death. Comparison of the survey map of 1804 and the 1st edition OS map however, indicates that the woodlands of the present designed landscape were largely laid out c.1804. The woodlands to the north of the house were felled during World War II which resulted in Blackdyke Strip, Halfland Strip and The Roundhall being separated from the core of the designed landscape although they remain today.

The woodland along the southern boundary is a young coniferous plantation, replanted in 1957. Mixed amenity woodland extends between the west gate and the walled garden and consists mainly of beech, horse chestnut and ornamental conifers. There is a good age range of trees throughout dating from the mid- 18th century. Laurel is well-established in the understorey.

A path through this wood from the house to the walled garden is lined with yew trees. Lady's Walk lies to the west of this path and there are many wild flowers and spring bulbs alongside these paths.

The Gardens

A formal lawn lies to the west and south of Leuchie House. A round lawn and bowling green indicated to the north of the house on the 1804 survey was lost in the course of the Victorian alterations. There is no evidence of the existence at any time of any other more elaborate garden layout.

Walled Garden

The walled garden lies to the south-east of Leuchie House. It is walled on all four sides. Additional outer walls are indicated on the west and south sides on the 1st edition OS map but only that on the west side now remains. It is built of stone and is lower than the brick walls of the main garden. The date 1807 is inscribed above an archway over the path from the garden to Leuchie House.

The interior of the walled garden is divided into two by a dividing wall which runs parallel with the north and south walls. A large greenhouse was incorporated against the south side of this wall but was removed around the time of World War II. This wall was heated and contains unusual window-style vents through into the glasshouse area.

Reference to the 1st edition OS map indicates that the southern area of the garden was laid out as an orchard whilst the northern area appears to have had a more ornamental layout. The 18th century plan shows the garden divided into six compartments. It is thought to have been remodelled after the death of the 6th Baronet in 1887. The south compartment is further subdivided by box hedging and fencing. Of these smaller units, some remain cultivated for vegetables whilst others have been laid down to grass. Gates into this area through the east wall were gifted to the present Baronet by his wife and mother. His initials are incorporated in the ironwork.

The northern garden compartment is now the private garden of the Hamilton- Dalrymple family for whom the new house was built in the east wall in the late 1950s. Fruit trees remain on the south-facing wall which is lined along the ground by a broad mixed herbaceous and shrub border. The garden is now largely lawn with specimen trees, including yews from the earlier layout and a weeping beech which has been planted in recent years. A rose garden has been established near the new house.

Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts

The following is from the Historic Environment Scotland Gardens and Designed Landscapes Inventory. For the most up-to-date Inventory entry, please visit the Historic Environment Scotland website:

Reason for Inclusion

An early 19th century informal landscape of parkland, woodland, lawns and walled garden that together form an attractive setting for the category A listed Leuchie House.

Site History

The present house was built in 1779-85 and replaced an earlier house which stood within a formal grid pattern landscape indicated on General Roy's map of c.1750. The landscape was informalised between c.1800, possibly by J.C. Loudon, to the present structure, initially incorporating the existing formal avenues and features of the previous layout although they appear to be less significant on the 2nd edition OS map of c.1900 and have now gone.

The earliest known owners of Leuchie, sometime known as North Berwick House, were the Earls of Fife who held the lands between the 12th - 14th centuries. During the reign of Robert II (1371-90) it passed into the hands of the Douglases. In 1455, the lands were forfeited by James, Earl of Douglas, but were restored to his heir, Archibald, Earl of Angus (Bell-the Cat) in 1479. In that year, they were created into a free barony.

By the 17th century, the barony had passed to the Johnstones of Elphinstone who retained it at least until 1673. The Hon Sir Hew Dalrymple who, in 1698, was created Lord President of the Court of Session and, in the same year, a Baronet, purchased Leuchie in 1699. Whether he bought it from the Johnstones or not is uncertain. Sir Hew had owned lands in the area prior to the purchase of Leuchie and, the year after the sale, they were united into a new Barony of North Berwick which extended over some 3,000 acres. His grandson, Hew, the 2nd Baronet, inherited the title and estates in 1737 at the age of 25. He embarked on the Grand Tour between 1739-40 and returned to take up a seat in Parliament for the Haddington burghs. He carried out some tree planting, demolished the old house and commissioned the building of the present house in 1779. He lived for only five years after its completion before his death in 1790.

He was succeeded by his son, Hew, 3rd Baronet, who assumed the additional surname of Hamilton on succeeding to his uncle's Bargany estate in Ayrshire (q.v.). Bargany became the principal home of the family. The 4th Baronet, Sir Hew, succeeded in 1800 and in the same year married the daughter of the 1st Viscount of Camperdown. (Through the connections with the Duncan family, plant material from their estate in Dundee may have been brought to Leuchie as at Bargany). The 4th Baronet commissioned John Claudius Loudon to undertake some work between 1800-1804. (A.A. Tait The Landscape Garden in Scotland p192 and Farmers Magazine VI, p126, 1805). Loudon apparently compiled a 'red book' for Leuchie House and made a clay model that shows 'all the trees, hedges, roads, rivers, buildings, etc.... by which any gentleman may try, upon the model, the effect of any proposed alteration or improvement'. This was apparently accompanied by an elegant manuscript volume, illustrated by drawings and sketches. Loudon described North Berwick as 'a good house, surrounded by an extensive suite of enclosures, sub-divided by straight lines or strips, or double rows of trees in the ancient style; the object being to continue the general effect of a park as to wood and pasture, with the utility and convenience of enclosures.' He also commissioned the survey plan of the policies by Forrest in 1804. Comparison of this plan with General Roy's map of c.1750 indicates the extent of planting carried out by the 2nd Baronet.

On the death of Sir Hew in 1834, Bargany passed to his daughter Henrietta who married the Duc de Coigny, while Leuchie and the baronetcy passed to his brother John. Between 1800-60 the landscape was informalised to that shown on the 1st edition OS map. Some of the planting may be attributable to the 4th Baronet's nephew, Sir Hew, the 6th Baronet, who inherited Leuchie in 1835, and who was responsible for the major alterations to the house between then and 1887. During World War II the woodlands to the north of the house were felled. The north parks were ploughed and have since continued to be farmed intensively.

The 10th Baronet, Sir Hew Hamilton-Dalrymple, inherited the estate from his father in 1959. He leased the house to the Servite Order and commissioned a new house in the walled garden for his family. As a result, the northern area of the walled garden assumed the role of private garden to the house and has been developed and improved in recent years. Leuchie House is now used as a holiday hospice.

Associated People
Features & Designations


  • Historic Environment Scotland An Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes in Scotland


  • House (featured building)
  • Description: Leuchie House, listed category A, was built in 1779-85. It is a three- storey mansion with a bowed south front and balustraded pediment.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Heated Wall
  • Description: The early-19th-century heated wall features a window-style vent system along the length of a former greenhouse.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Lawn
  • Herbaceous Border
  • Specimen Tree
Key Information





Principal Building

Health And Welfare





Open to the public


Electoral Ward

North Berwick East




  • Historic Scotland