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Newton House, Millerhill


Newton House, its garden walls and doocot date from the late-17th and early-18th century and the enclosed parkland from the mid-18th century. The early 20th-century gardens are a recreation by the owner and consist of yew-hedged compartments with more naturalistic areas further from the house.

The following is from the Historic Scotland Gardens and Designed Landscapes Inventory. The site was removed from the Inventory on 01/09/2015.

Type of Site

A 17th century laird's house with characteristic adjoining rectangular walled garden and improvement field system.

Location and Setting

Newton House is situated 2.5km north of Dalkeith, immediately to the south of the B6415, which runs parallel to the Edinburgh ring-road (A720) close to its intersection with the A1 at the Old Craighall roundabout. The site faces south-east and slopes gently and smoothly towards the River Esk.

The garden at Newton is enclosed on all sides and as a result there are limited views out across the adjacent low-lying farmland. Despite the views from the house and gardens having been disrupted by the construction of the Edinburgh ring-road (A720), Newton is important in the locality. The house set in its garden, with its associated farm complex and enclosed parks, occupy a prominent position in the landscape viewed from the south-east round to the south-west.

The site is compact, defined by the walls of the walled garden, and the approach ground leading off the old Dalkeith/Musselburgh road (B6415). The fields or 'parks' outwith the garden boundary which are part of the 18th century enclosure system are also included.

Landscape Components

Architectural Features

Newton House is a late 17th century laird's house of seven bays and three storeys. A pilastered doorcase was added to the south front in 1820 and an extension was added to the rear of the house in 1855. The Doocot is adapted from a 16th century circular tower with conical roof and gun-loops at the base. The stone Garden Walls are 17th or 18th century, 2-2.5m in height. There is also a brick, late 18th or early 19th century, fruit wall with stone copings.

Drives and Approaches

Newton House is approached off the B6415 along a straight lane with agricultural land to either side. The lane sweeps around to the south-east of the house where there is a small turning circle.


The square parks to the north-east and south-west were enclosed in the mid 18th century (Leslie, 1756). They remain agricultural use.

The Gardens

The garden is divided into two separate areas by a fruit wall to form a separate orchard along the east side of the garden which comprises roughly a third of the width of the whole garden. Espalier fruit trees grow against this wall and the perimeter stone wall. Box-edged borders line the walls with a perimeter grass path leading around the whole compartment. The central garden area is planted with fruit trees, and arranged with further box-edged beds. This section appears much as shown on the 2nd edition OS 25", 1892.

West of the fruit wall, the remaining two-thirds of the garden is sub-divided into garden rooms by yew hedges planted in an axial arrangement, aligned on the south front of the house. The layout of the garden becomes more naturalistic at the edges, with a winding perimeter path leading through Rhododendrons (Rhododendron sp.) and other shrubs under a canopy of sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus) and yew (Taxus baccata). The west side of the fruit wall also has espalier fruit trees fronted by a box-edged herbaceous border. The central area has formal beds, divided up by stone paths, of old-fashioned shrub roses underplanted with herbaceous plants. A sundial stands at the focal point of the garden. To the west of this area is a small rose garden consisting of box-edged beds, in a style reminiscent of a knot garden. There is a wooden summerhouse in the corner, and beehives are placed amongst the roses. To the south is a grass tennis court with a line of yew trees at the southern end with a single free-standing yew nearby. This hedge may survive from one of the earlier garden layouts. To the east of the tennis court and south of the sundial garden, aligned on the front door, is a formal yew garden; roughly rectangular in shape, with a central yew roundel planted with a single ornamental cherry (Prunus sp.). The yew edges have clipped pillars, peacocks and ball finials. The north hedge is clipped with a serpentine top. The grass plats on either side of the roundel contain two senitel yews.

A small wood of mature sycamore, underplanted with Rhododendrons and laurel (Prunus laurocerasus), shelters the house on the northern approach.


The following is from the Historic Scotland Gardens and Designed Landscapes Inventory. The site was removed from the Inventory on 01/09/2015.

Reason for Inclusion

Newton is a good example of a 17th century laird's house with walled garden, surrounded by enclosed mid-18th century parks characteristic of the Lothian lowlands. The early 20th century formal garden, laid out by an amateur owner within the earlier garden enclosure, overlies the site of a 17th and 18th century garden.

Main Phases of Landscape Development

Newton House, garden walls and doocot are late 17th and early 18th century. Extensions to the house date from 1820 and 1835. The present garden layout was carried out 1910-15, overlaying the 18th century garden.

Site History

In 1754 Newton existed as a considerable farm town, situated in a prosperous lowland area. The east farm at Newton came into the possession of John Wauchope of Edmonstone and was let to one tenant as opposed to the western part of Newton which was shared by three tenants. By 1756, land improvements had been made and the enclosed fields laid out around the house were designed to correspond with the alignment of the mansion. The house sat centrally in within an eleven-acre enclosure with regular enclosures laid out, to either side on the east and west, and a southern enclosure of 4 ha (10 acres) by the riverside. This was followed by a large, 28ha (70 acre) field to the south of the house, between it and the river and including Old Newton Church (Third, 1957). By 1754, the walled garden to the south of Newton House was laid out with simple quartered plats and cross-paths. The enclosure fields in the immediate vicinity of the house were bordered with trees.

From this mid-18th century enclosure period the Wauchope family of Edmonstone owned Newton House. Margaret Cowan, the grandmother of the present owners, leased the house from the Wauchopes.

Today, Newton House stands within a cluster of trees, but nothing survives of the farm town. The enclosure fields have been enlarged and Old Newton Church, now a ruin, with its graveyard and adjacent rig and furrow system, lies to the south-west of Newton House, but divorced from it by the A720. The present garden layout is traditionalist-inspired and was laid out from c 1910 by Margaret Cowan within the original 17th century walled garden. A brick wall for growing fruit was added in the late 18th or early 19th century.

Margaret Cowan's maiden name was Logan-Hume, set up from the Silverwells Nursery at Edrom, now Edrom Nursery, where they specialise in alpines (q.v. Inventory, Volume 5, p.302-4). In the late 1920's Margaret Cowan moved to Eastfield Farmhouse, Lillesleaf, where she established another garden.

Features & Designations


  • House (featured building)
  • Description: Newton House is a late 17th century laird's house of seven bays and three storeys. A pilastered doorcase was added to the south front in 1820 and an extension was added to the rear of the house in 1855.
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  • Doocot
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  • Garden Wall
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Key Information





Principal Building

Domestic / Residential





Electoral Ward





  • Historic Scotland