Pilmuir House 2626

Haddington, Scotland

Brief Description

The present layout of the walled garden with its central path follows that established by the early-19th century. The planting in the garden consists of espalier fruit, mixed borders and areas of orchard and mature trees. New planting has been carried out in the late-20th century.

History

Pilmuir House, the doocot and the garden walls with their beeboles all date from the early-17th century. By the 1750s, land improvements had been made and the enclosed fields laid out around the house were designed to correspond with the alignment of the mansion. By 1925 Sir Henry Wade, a surgeon at Leith hospital, bought the house and garden. He carried out restoration work on the property. Upon Sir Henry Wade's death in 1955, his estate was left to Sir Henry Wade's Pilmuir Trust.

Detailed Description

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:

http://portal.historic-scotland.gov.uk/hes/web/f?p=PORTAL:DESIGNATIONS:0

Type of Site

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

Location and Setting

Pilmuir lies 6km south-west of Haddington and immediately north-east of East Saltoun in a flat, open landscape approximately 90m above sea level. The River Tyne flows close by to the north.

The walled garden is enclosed and as a result there are no views out to the south. The views internally in the garden are aligned on the main central axis. However, from the north side of the house there are views into the surrounding farmland.

The garden's extent and general landscape configuration have changed little since the early 18th century (Adair, 1736: Elphinstone, 1744). In the 1740s, Pilmuir consisted of the present 17th century house with attached walled garden, surrounded by enclosed parks. The fields or 'parks' outwith the garden boundary are here included as the 'essential setting', although in some instances boundaries have been lost as adjacent fields have been merged.

Landscape Components

Architectural Features

Pilmuir House dates to 1624. A datestone over the entrance on the north front incorporated the monogram and coat of arms of William Cairns and his wife. Of three-bay construction, the house is of two storeys with a dormered attic. Originally, the front door was on the north front, in the tower (still extant). In the 18th century, the main entrance changed to the south , and a flight of stone steps accessing the first floor were built. Other details include crow-stepped gables, dormers and stone ridge tiles. The Garden Walls are high, rubble, harl pointed, with copings which vary from a pitched stone top, probably original, to sections of rounded coping. The walls, approximately 2.5-3m high, surround the garden on its east, south and west sides and on its north are contiguous with the retaining wall. The South Gateway is 19th century, and comprises a grand semicircular entrance with rusticated gate piers, central gate and two side gates. The North-east Gateway is probably also 19th century. The wooden gates have a scooped top with knobbed spales. There is a small square alcove in the adjacent wall.

Outside the garden to the north-west are lean-to potting sheds. Within the walled garden is a lectern Doocot, contemporary with the house, which has 1000 stone nesting boxes and flight holes incorporated into the lectern roof. Two pairs of Bee Boles in the north wall of the garden are placed close to ground level. Each pair shares a lintel and is set into a projecting wall panel. The Greenhouse, situated on the north wall, is a small, recently-restored, 19th century or later, lean-to type.

North of the house, on the east-west drive, are the Lodges and Gates; mid 19th century, single-storey, with ochre harling like the main house. The lodge is T-plan with a gabled porch on the south side and said to be on the site of an earlier cottage. The gate piers are similar to those on the south side of the walled garden. The Coach House/Stable to the north-east of the house is a 19th century, single-storey, stone-built block, contemporary with the lodge.

Drives and Approaches

Today, a drive leads from the Kirklands Lane southwards, along the east side of the walled garden. In 1811, a lane led parallel to the west side of the garden and joined up with the east-west Kirklands approach; this route survives as a footpath.

Parkland

Of the square parks that were laid out around Pilmuir by the mid 18th century, some fields have been merged and their original configuration and field boundaries is now lost.

To the east, on the earlier Pilmuir estate boundary, is a shelter belt planted atop a bank. It consists of a mixture of deciduous and coniferous trees, and could be an 18th-century planting. These include common oak (Quercus robur), Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris), and common beech (Fagus sylvatica), holly (Ilex aquifolium) and hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) provide a shrub layer.

The east drive is planted with a mixture of common lime (Tilia x europaea), horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum), Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) and sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus). There is also some holly (Ilex aquifolium) and Laburnum (Laburnum anagyroides). The limes are possibly an 18th century planting. The drive running parallel with the east wall of the garden is planted on its east with a beech hedge and holly trees interspersed evenly alongside. The west boundary is a mixture of deciduous trees and shrubs, predominantly sycamore and elder (Sambucus nigra). A holly hedge has been planted on the outside of the south wall of the walled garden in the same manner as the drive to the north of the house.

Water Features

North-west of the house, and at the end of the main approach drive, is a small pond with stone revetting, incorporating a trough. It appears to be 19th century. East of the house is an earthwork which corresponds with the site of a canal (Andersen, 1811). In the park to the south of the walled garden is a well, called Lady's Well, also indicated in the 1811 survey.

Walled Garden

The path, running north-south from the gateway in the south wall to the door on the south front of the house, defines the central garden axis. Approximately 3m wide, it is dressed with grey stone chippings and opens out into an apron at the south front.

Espalier fruit trees line the walls, including apples, pears and soft fruit. The north-east corner of the garden is laid out with a Kitchen Garden, screened by a mixed shrub and herbaceous border. Grouped to the south are apple trees. The south-east and south-west corners are planted with a mixture of sycamore and Sitka spruce (Picea sitchenensis). Two mature horse chestnuts, a distinctive feature in the garden, are situated at the south end and there is a specimen near the house. They probably date from the 19th century. The central lawns are planted with a mixture of mature sycamore, Scots pine, ornamental cherry (Prunus serrulata sp.), ash (Fraxinus excelsior), and other mixed fruit trees.

North of the house, the lawn is planted with a mixture of deciduous and coniferous trees, including copper beech (Fagus sylvatica 'Atropurpurea'), common larch (Larix decidua) and Irish yew (Taxus baccata 'Fastigiata').

Features

Plant Environment

  • Walled Garden
  • Environment
  • House (featured building)
  • Description: A datestone over the entrance on the north front incorporated the monogram and coat of arms of William Cairns and his wife. Of three-bay construction, the house is of two storeys with a dormered attic. Other details include crow-stepped gables, dormers and stone ridge tiles.
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  • Doocot
  • Description: Lectern-type doocot with 1000 nesting boxes.
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  • Bee Bole
  • Description: Two pairs of beeboles.
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  • Garden Wall
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Espalier, Mixed Border, Orchard
Authorities

Electoral Ward

  • Haddington West/Saltoun
History

Detailed History

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:

http://portal.historic-scotland.gov.uk/hes/web/f?p=PORTAL:DESIGNATIONS:0

Reason for Inclusion

A 17th century laird's house with adjoining rectangular walled garden and improvement field system. Pilmuir House, garden walls and doocot date to 1624, and the present garden layout (renewed 1996) follows that established by 1811.

Main Phases of Landscape Development

Pilmuir House, garden walls and doocot date to 1624. The house was altered in the 18th century. The present garden layout (renewed 1996) follows that established by 1811.

Site History

The house dates from the early 17th century. In 1624 it belonged to William Cairns and his wife Agnes as commemorated in a marriage stone set over the north door, although the family had long been settled at Pilmuir. In 1653, the house passed to Cairns' son, and then to his sister's son, William Borthwick, a surgeon in Edinburgh. Thereafter, it was sold to a second cousin, William Borthwick of Falamill, who owned it until 1778.

By the 1750s, land improvements had been made and the enclosed fields laid out around the house were designed to correspond with the alignment of the mansion (Roy's Survey, 1747-55). The house sat centrally within an eight-acre garden enclosure with regular enclosures laid out on all sides.

The layout of the garden in 1811, when the Grant family owned it, is know from a survey carried out for inheritance purposes. The approach to the house led down an avenue, lining the lane from Kirklands to the east, and across the north of the house, passing two small lodges or pavilions (no longer extant) placed formally in relation to the house. What could be interpreted as a forecourt was laid out on the north front, to the south of this drive, with two further flanking pavilions and, to the west, the stable block. Further to the north of the house and drive was a formal garden enclosure. The walled garden to the south was laid out symmetrically, with four grass-platts. A central path led along the north-south axis and a cross-walk led east-west, bordered by a hedge. East of the house, was a formal canal and, to the west, terminating the main approach drive, a pond, set out along the burn (Andersen, 1811).

By 1925, Sir Henry Wade, a surgeon at Leith hospital, who was President of the Royal College of Surgeons from 1935 to 1937, bought the house and garden. He carried out restoration work on the property. Upon Sir Henry Wade's death in 1955, his estate was left to Sir Henry Wade's Pilmuir Trust.

Contact

Telephone

0131 668 8600

Official Website

Click Here

Owners

  • Pilmuir Trust

References

References

Contributors

  • Historic Scotland