The Lauder family was connected with Hatton from the 14th century onwards. Robert Lauder settled his Hatton estate on the Maitlands, following his daughter Elizabeth's marriage to Charles Maitland (later 3rd Earl of Lauderdale) in 1653. Charles Maitland, Lord Hatton (d.1691) was the brother and heir to John, 2nd Earl of Lauderdale, Secretary of State to Charles II (1661-80), created 1st and only Duke of Lauderdale in 1673. Well known as the creator of extensive gardens at Ham House, Surrey, the Duke was the patron of Sir William Bruce whom he commissioned to improve his seat at Thirlestane Castle in 1673 (q.v. Inventory, Volume 5, p.404). Lord Hatton was appointed His Majesty's Deputy Treasurer and called in to assist Lauderdale in his management of Scottish affairs, in which post he was one of the lord commissioners of the Treasury concerning Charles II's restoration of Holyrood House. In 1679 Lord Hatton was appointed Surveyor of all the Royal Palaces and Castles in Scotland.
Between 1664 and 1692 he built a new mansion around the existing 15th century tower house, set within extensive formal gardens. Slezer's drawing (c1860) shows Argyle House (as it was mistakenly entitled) with a walled garden to the south, comprising two terraces with a central pond on the upper terrace being ornamented with a pavilion. These pavilions survive. Formal beds are indicated either side of the pool. The lower terrace also had a central pond with formal beds on either side. The walls are shown supporting espalier fruit trees.
Following Lauderdale's death in 1682 Charles Maitland succeeded to the earldom. Sir Robert Sibbald in his Scotia Illustrata (1683) described the 'noble dwelling of Haltoune where are fine gardens and a large park with a high wall about it'. On his death in 1691, Richard Maitland, the 4th Earl, who built the Great Gateway in 1692, succeeded him.
After the death of James VII (d.1701), Richard Maitland took exile in France so that his considerable debts would not encumber the Lauderdale estates. Richard was succeeded by his brother, John, the 5th Earl (d.1710), who added the east front to the house in 1704, linking the north and south wings built by Charles Maitland in 1664. He further ornamented the formal gardens with the Lion Gates, which still stand at the east avenue (1700), the addition of a small summerhouse (dated 1704), and he is possibly the builder of the bath house. This bath house, inserted into the first terrace wall sometime after the date of the Slezer drawing, is still extant. Originally the interior of the bath house was ornamented with statues in niches and the walls and ceilings were decorated with shells. Regrettably, all the interior decoration has disappeared.
Charles (d.1744), the 6th Earl, is known to have made improvements to the gardens and policies of Hatton, and following his death, these may have continued by James, the 8th Earl, created Baron Lauderdale in 1806. Certainly by 1763 (Plans 1763, SRO), the formal gardens had been extended southwards, considerably beyond the gardens portrayed in 1680 (Slezer, 1680). These included a complex of water gardens to the south of the lower terrace, including a cascade fed by diverting and widening the feeder streams which rise in the Dalmahoy Hills to form the Gogar Burn. The formal ponds were amalgamated into one large lake in the 19th century.
To the east of the walled garden was an extensive wilderness with radiating paths. The wider policies included a deer park to the north of the house on hilly ground, with an avenue leading to Craw Hill. Craw Hill itself was laid out with radiating rides which are clearly indicated on Roy's Survey (1747-55). South-east of this deer park lay the Old Deer Park (Plans 1763, SRO). Square parks surround the central core of the designed landscape.
In 1792 the 8th Earl, James, sold the estate to the Trustees of General Scott, and from that time is passed through several hands, with the estate being fragmented and with incremental changes to the landscape. From 1812 to 1815, Francis Jeffrey was the tenant, and the gardens seem to have been much neglected (Country Life, 1911). Captain Davidson took up residence at Hatton in 1820, attempted to restore parts of the house, improved the grounds and thereby incurred enormous debts. The factor appointed by the Commissioners, named by the Court of Sessions to administer the property, cut down many of the trees, including the Great Avenue to the east comprised of oak, beech and lime. In 1870 Lord Morton bought 500 acres, comprising the eastern portion of the estate and included it in the entail of Dalmahoy.
By 1875 the former 'deer parks were sadly curtailed, the fines timber felled, the artificial cascades and ponds except one all drained'. Lord Morton's son, Lord Aberdour, restored the house and the upper terraces. The Whitelaws then bought the estate but it was sold in 1947 to Mr Archie Stevenson. The house was destroyed by fire in 1952 and in 1955 it was demolished. A bungalow was built on the site of Hatton House, but the remnants of the terrace gardens survive.