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Monteviot House


Monteviot House is set above a bend in the River Teviot and overlooks well-preserved mid-19th-century parkland. The high-walled retaining terrace and bastion date from about 1860 and there is a late-19th-century arboretum. The gardens were redesigned in 1960 by Percy Cane. They now include a formal herb garden, a rose garden, a river garden with island shrub borders and an oriental water garden.

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:

Type of Site

Extensive 19th century park and woodland countryside estate with diverse garden components around the house, including an impressive Victorian arboretum, a river garden designed by Percy Cane in the 1960s and a more recently established Oriental water garden.

Location and Setting

Set in the lower Teviot valley just 2.5 miles (4km) to the north of Jedburgh, Monteviot is a large designed landscape characterised by its extensive park and woodlands around the river and the prominent hill landform of Peniel Heugh, which rises steeply to the north. Monteviot House itself, together with the main gardens, occupies a higher shelf of land above the river, a good vantage point for long landscape views south over the fertile valley terrain towards the Cheviots. The formerly arterial north-south route of Dere Street once crossed the river here. Established by the Romans and used for centuries after, it is now partly followed by a long-distance walking trail that enters the northern woodland policies from the bleaker higher ground of Ancrum Moor to the north-west.

Scenically prominent by virtue of the extent of the designed landscape and the landmark Waterloo monument on Peniel Heugh, Monteviot also has a strong amenity focus through its seasonally open gardens, walkers' trails and countryside visitor centre at Harestanes, the former Home Farm. Other land use includes arable cultivation, grazing for livestock and some commercial forestry. Although part of a much larger working estate, the designed landscape at Monteviot can be clearly defined: Encompassing some 748ha (1848ac), the boundary is formed by the extent of woodland plantations and shelterbelts that enclose the core fields, parks and gardens, the road from Ancrum (to the west), and the small settlement of Bonjedward (to the south east).

Landscape Components

Architectural Features

Monteviot House, is an extensive, multi-period country house overlooking the River Teviot. While likely to contain some 16th century fabric, the core of the building remains an early 18th century, 2-storey, Palladian-style villa. Subsequent adaptations include Neo-Tudor extensions by Edward Blore (1830-32) and substantial alterations and additions by Walter Schomberg Scott in 1961-3, including a long entrance wing and gabled family accommodation to the west. A late 19th-century, stone rubble bell-tower with timber, open bellcote stands among trees opposite the entrance while to the north west, the prominent courtyard, red sandstone stables now function as private residences. Built during the late 1870s, partly from an existing structure, they feature a symmetrical principal elevation, round-arched pend entrance and conical-roofed, round recessed Scots Baronial corner towers at either end of the north and south ranges. The wall walk and bastion to the west of the house were in place by the late 19th century, while the paved rose garden terrace was part of Percy Cane's designs of the 1960s. Tucked away to the south west of the house, a renovated, mid-19th-century cottage overlooking the river once served as a tea-house. Nearby, the long suspension bridge, built in 1999, replaces a Victorian structure erected in 1858. The circular, grey rubble sandstone dovecot, by the riverside path, is a partial survivor from the earlier estate landscape with the later, rebuilt upper courses resting on a 16th to 17th-century base.

Located some distance to the north-west of the house, the rectangular walled garden features limestone, coped, brick-lined walls that stand to a height of about 3 metres. A potting range lines part of the outer, north wall. In the western part of the designed landscape, the Harestanes Visitors' Centre incorporates the original Home Farm and steading. A detached 2-storey farmhouse and kitchen garden wall stand to the south. Built during the 1870s, with some early 19th century fabric, this complex of red sandstone buildings is a fine example of a former model farm. The neighbouring single-storey and attic Harestanes Cottages were almost certainly built around the same time.

At the former east entrance to Monteviot, the single-storey, linked Jedfoot Cottage and Jedfoot Lodge were built in the earlier 19th century, while to the south, the row of semi-detached, late 19th-century villas known as Bonjedward cottages, forms a good example of housing for estate workers. Old Toll Cottage, situated on the main road at the western edge of the designed landscape is a mid-19th century, single-storey gabled cottage with distinctive octagonal stacks.

Most prominent in the wider landscape is the hill-top Waterloo Monument on Peniel Heugh, designed by Archibald Elliot and built in 1817-24 to replace a former monument by William Burn, which collapsed in 1816. It comprises an extremely high, tapering sandstone column on a plinth base, with upper viewing platform, and additional superstructure of balustrade, roof, spire and weather vane, added in 1867. Standing at a height of 56m (187 feet), the monument is a distinctive regional landmark.

Drives and Approaches

Minor roads and tracks converge at the centre of the designed landscape, just north of Monteviot House. Among them are three of the four 19th-century access routes. Probably the most impressive was the route that arrived from the north. Although now bypassed by a minor road, the original drive remains navigable as a woodland track. Curving slightly through the woods, it is lined by enormous Wellingtonia that soar above the surrounding canopy and which lend grandeur to the process of movement along this linear space. Two matching sets of stone gatepiers, linked to low curving walls, announce a transition from this drive to the final short approach through lawns and specimen trees to the stables and Monteviot House itself. This junction point is also crossed by the B6400; a road forming the approach from Ancrum, to the west, and Nisbet, to the east. To the south of the river, a further eastern approach entered just north of Bonjedward by the old Jedfoot Bridge railway station (closed 1948), and is marked by Jedfoot Cottage and Lodge. Now a minor footpath, this was a formerly more defined route that led through Jerdonfield Park to Monteviot via the mid-19th-century suspension bridge over the Teviot.


Extensive parkland with an abundance of mature trees occupies the low-lying ground around the River Teviot. Stretching to the south and south west of Monteviot House, across the river, and as far as Bonjedward and the lower slopes of Monklaw Hill, this swathe of landscaped ground is not only crucial to the setting of the house, but also lends character to the wider Teviot valley scenery. The early Ordnance Survey map editions reveal the progressive development of the parks: By the late 1850s substantial numbers of trees had been planted throughout this area, both in small loose groups, and in more substantial clumps along the field divisions (1856-9, OS). Over the next decades, field divisions were removed, ensuring a greater sense of continuous, attractive parkland, which could be appreciated both from the house and immediate garden grounds. In spite of the loss of some older trees during the later 20th century, the distribution of clumps mapped by the Ordnance Survey at the end of the 19th century closely matches that of the present day (1896-9, OS). The species mix includes oak, beech, ash, sycamore with occasional Scots Pine.


Like the parkland, the woods at Monteviot follow a structure established during the 19th century, although the descriptions in both the first and second Statistical Accounts of Scotland indicate that a significant amount of planting had already got underway during the preceding century (1792 vol II: 323; 1845 vol III: 182). The most substantial area encompasses Pond Wood and Divet Ha' Wood in the north west of the designed landscape, where a woodland path still follows an older circular route past the old curling pond and through an attractive mix of mature broadleaf and conifer trees, with some overgrown rhododendron. These woods are linked by thick, curving strips to a loop of woodland that stretches around the steep, lower flanks of Peniel Heugh. To the south, the parklands terminate in Calderwood Wood on the north-facing slope of Monklaw. Much of these areas have long been managed on a commercial basis, although there is now an increased focus on amenity and woodland conservation. While earlier to mid-20th century planting concentrated on conifers, such as Sitka spruce and Scots pine, the emphasis in more recent decades has shifted to the reestablishment of hardwoods, including beech and oak. The environmental charity, the Borders Forest Trust is now based at Monteviot where since 1996, they have run 'Woodschool', a centre for the creative and sustainable use of local hardwood timber ( ).

Water Features

First developed in 1988 from a boggy area of woodland, the Oriental water garden now provides a lush, secluded garden setting. Largely enclosed by woodland, it consists of a series of islands that can be navigated via arched, wooden bridges designed by the present Marquess. The still water of the surrounding pools contrasts with the trickling sound of the nearby springs, which feed the garden, while the associated plant collection is of considerable interest in its own right. Supplemented by the present head gardener from the 1990s onwards, there is now a varied collection of trees, shrubs and foliage plants. Of particular interest are the types of candelabra primulas, some scented, and the juxtaposition of delicate plants interspersed with structure plants such as Rheum, Gunnera and Rodgersia ( ). More recently, work has commenced on the development of the Dene Garden, immediately to the north east. Perhaps a more dynamic water garden, the sloping wooded ground features bridges, walkways and water channels and has been planted to promote a diverse mix of attractive foliage.

The Gardens

Monteviot contains a number of distinct, specialist garden areas located to the south and west of the house and linked by attractive paths and walks, such as the unifying top terrace walk, a new laburnum tunnel from the river garden, and a recently developed woodland walk that connects the water garden and arboretum. Occupying a total of over 14ha (36ac), these diverse gardens offer contrasting environments and feature a wide range of exotic trees and well-maintained planting schemes designed to offer colour, scent and interest right through from April to October.

Two discrete garden areas, the Herb Garden and Rose Garden, lie immediately to the south of Monteviot House. They are accessed via a long, top-terrace walk, first established by the construction of a bastion and retaining terrace walls c.1860, and which promotes not only unity in the garden landscape, but also impressive views across the river and parkland landscape. The walk, which runs parallel to the house, leads past the herb garden, a small rectangular parterre garden first developed in the 19th century, and contained on three sides by the house itself. In this sheltered, courtyard-like space, where climbing and rambling roses ascend the surrounding walls, clipped box hedges define 16 symmetrically-arranged compartments. These are divided from one another by gravel paths and contain a small selection of herb varieties, including lavender, thyme, lemon balm and Golden Melissa ( ). At the west end of the terrace walk, a sandstone stairway leads down to the sunken rose garden, developed during the later 20th century. Accessed via an arched gateway, this is essentially a summer garden space adorned with a good collection of fragrant shrub and species roses. The planting mix was established from new in 2000 following the removal of overcrowded and ailing roses. In the same year, a small orchard was planted just beyond the low south wall of the rose garden and comprises 18 trees representing six varieties of dessert apple cultivars.

As the name River Garden implies, this principal garden at Monteviot extends right down to the river bank. Originally created in the 1960s by designer Percy Cane, this beautifully-maintained garden combines formal and informal elements with significant planting interest. 'Hard' garden elements include the 19th-century elliptical north terrace wall with central, seated alcove, and Cane's stone steps, which lead down the central axis of the mown grass slope towards the river, and again step down at the waters edge. The symmetrical composition betrays an Italianate influence, while part of the garden development included lessening the gradient of the sloping bank by the river, promoting a more smooth, levelled view of the immediate terrain. On either side of the wide lawn, a mixed hedge of holly, yew and ivy serves as a boundary for the garden, while flanking, luxuriant herbaceous beds extend along the upper parts of the slope. In 1984-94, changes to Cane's original design promoted a more informal style. A central avenue of Sargent Cherry trees was removed, while the straight edged island beds were given curves, reflecting the curving line of the perimeter walls and hedges (Morter 2000). Since the late 1990s, these twelve beds have become increasingly dominant components of the river garden, with the addition of a greater number of plants chosen for their flowering seasons and diverse colour, texture and foliage.

Walled Garden

The rectangular walled kitchen enclosure, built during the first half of the 19th century, is now let out as a commercial nursery and contains a café, work space, plant sales and a kitchen garden area. Visible historic components of the former estate garden are limited to structural elements, namely the brick-lined walls themselves, doorway openings in the centre of each wall and the exterior, brick-built potting shed along the north wall. Immediately opposite this shed, replacement glasshouses now occupy the site of former, 19th century glasshouses. Unlike the more decorative garden areas and parkland around the house, this more functional garden was built at some distance to the north west of Monteviot House. The author of a recent study on the Monteviot gardens notes that in addition to its removed location, there is a distinct lack of material evidence for more ornamental features sometimes encountered elsewhere (such as cast-iron gates, decorative edging to the brick and stone work, or signs of an internal glasshouse), leading her to conclude that above all, this garden served as an efficient area for production, rather than leisure or display (Morter 2000). Surviving monthly pay-lists and notes of estate expenditure from the 1860s and 1870s indicate that five gardeners were employed at Monteviot during this period, with entries ranging from the receipt of money for vegetables sold in 1864, payments for painting and glazing the glasshouse, and the purchase of coal for heating it (1866), and nets for the fruit trees (1875).


Initially conceived, planted and developed in the later 19th century as a pinetum, the arboretum contains an impressive array of over 100 exotic conifer and broadleaf specimen trees from all over the world. Efforts to catalogue and measure the trees in the later 20th century and again in 2000 confirmed the significance of the Monteviot collection with rare or outstanding specimens including unusual beech and oak varieties (Fagus sylvatica 'Albovariegata' and Quercus robur 'Variegata'), and fine examples of Western Hemlock, Japanese larch, Douglas fir and Noble fir (Morter 2000). Although a few older trees have since fallen, or commenced their decline, the collection is frequently supplemented with new additions, including specialist oaks, such as the Black oak and Turners oak, (Quercus velutina and Quercus turneri). Located to the west of the house, the arboretum is linked to the Oriental water garden by a woodland walk, recently developed with a range of new plants such as Japanese azaleas, Tasmanian treeferns, Antarctic beech and Tibetan cherry ( ).

Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts

Access contact details

The gardens are open between April and October. For details see:



Lord Lothian


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

Monteviot is an exceptional designed landscape that fulfils the criteria for national importance on a number of levels. Among a series of distinct garden spaces near the house is an outstanding example of a 19th-century arboretum, important both historically and for the range of trees it contains, and an artistically significant garden by the 20th century designer, Percy Cane. The scenically prominent landscaped park also contains a Site of Special Scientific Interest, a scheduled monument, and a number of built features listed for their architectural and historical merit, including the major local landmark of Waterloo Monument on Peniel Heugh.

Main Phases of Landscape Development

1829-1880s, 1961-63, 1980s-present

Site History

The lands of Monteviot have been owned by the prominent Border family, the Kerrs, since the 16th century. With a number of other properties elsewhere, the site was apparently used mainly as a fishing lodge until the later 18th century when the decision was made to develop the existing farmhouse at 'Mount-Teviot lodge' as a comfortable country seat in its own right. Although much of the structure of the present designed landscape can be traced to the ensuing period of 19th century improvement, vestiges of past landscapes are known through the archaeological and historical record: Iron Age-to-Roman-period forts occupy the summit of Peniel Heugh, the line of Dere Street crosses part of Monteviot, while the former place-name 'Spital', recalls a medieval hospice that once stood close to the present house. Although subsequently remodelled, the old fishing lodge itself, built in the earlier 18th century, remains an integral element within the structure of the present Monteviot House.

Expansion and change occurred over several phases during the 19th century. In 1829, John Kerr, the 7th Marquess of Lothian, purchased the neighbouring land of Harestanes and commissioned the architect Edward Blore to design a much larger and elaborate residence. During this period, it seems that the old, adapted lodge already stood within a partially landscaped park with the authors of the Statistical Accounts mentioning plantation belts and 'many fine trees of great age' in 1792 and 1835 respectively (1845, vol III: 182). In the event, only one wing of Blore's Jacobean scheme was ever completed. Over subsequent years, however, other elements of the designed landscape were established including a walled garden, a suspension bridge over the Teviot, and a terrace wall and bastion to the south of Monteviot House (c.1860), a feature subsequently used to accommodate a walk, 'long, straight and formal'.[that] has the effect of unifying the various architectural styles of the house' (Cane 1967, quoted in Morter 2000).

Following the death of the 8th Marquess, Schomberg Henry Kerr succeeded as 9th Marquess of Lothian in 1870 and initiated new improvements. Surviving documents of this period reveal a typically busy Victorian estate employing carpenters, foresters and gardeners (NAS GD40/8/318), while correspondence and accounts of expenditure help chart the acquisition of plant material both for kitchen garden produce and for adornment in the flower gardens and lawns around the house (NAS GD40/8/314; NAS GD40/9/486). Recently discovered botanical paintings by Florence Woolward (1854-1936) shed light on some of the more exotic specimens cultivated at Monteviot at this time ( ). The park and woodland coverage were also extended during the late 19th century, while one of Schomberg's most important and enduring innovations was the establishment of a pinetum from the 1870s onwards, featuring a range of exotic trees and shrubs that continues to form the basis of today's arboretum.

Monteviot House was used as a convalescent hospital during the Second World War and subsequently as a rest home for missionaries until the late 1950s when Peter Kerr, the 12th Marquess, returned to Monteviot. The 1960s proved another key phase in the history of the designed landscape with Edinburgh architect, Schomberg Scott employed to modernise and remodel the house, and well-known garden designer, Percy Cane, (1881-1976) commissioned to transform the gardens by the house. The following years witnessed a further flurry of activity as the older Victorian terraces and lawns, with their walks and trees (1896-8, OS 25'), were adapted, landscaped and remodelled to make way for a new rose garden and a semi-formal river garden, with clear Italianate influences. In 1979, poet, sculptor and gardener Ian Hamilton Finlay (1925-2006) drafted a proposal for a new garden space, a work that in the end, did not come to fruition (Eyres 2006: 172).

The pace of change and development in the gardens and wider landscape has been maintained in more recent decades with a series of positive and interesting innovations ranging from increased hardwood plantation in the woodlands, through to the development of an Oriental style water garden (1980s-1990s), a Laburnum tunnel (2000), and a Dene Garden (opening decade of the 21st century). The present owner, the 13th Marquess of Lothian takes a close and active interest in the development of the gardens and is assisted by head gardener, Ian Stephenson (2012).


Victorian (1837-1901)

Associated People
Features & Designations


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


  • Dovecote
  • Description: Restored 18th-century dovecote.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Folly
  • Description: Baron's Folly with gothic windows.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • House (featured building)
  • Description: Monteviot House, is an extensive, multi-period country house overlooking the River Teviot. While likely to contain some 16th century fabric, the core of the building remains an early 18th century, 2-storey, Palladian-style villa.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Planting
  • Description: Herb garden.
  • Rose Garden
  • Water Feature
  • Description: Water garden
  • Ornamental Bridge
  • Planting
  • Description: River garden.
  • Herbaceous Border
  • Pond
Key Information





Principal Building

Domestic / Residential


Victorian (1837-1901)





Open to the public


Electoral Ward

Alewater and Denholm




  • Historic Scotland