Listed Building

The legal part of the listing is the address/name of site only. All other information in the record is not statutory.


Status: Designated


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Date Added
Local Authority
East Lothian
Planning Authority
East Lothian
NT 51507 72041
351507, 672041


Remarkable and complicated mansion. Originally 15th century, 4-storey, tower house in L-plan with barmkin, enlarged to mansion house in 17th century, main later alterations in early 19th century and in 1912-14 (Robert Lorimer, architect).

TOWER HOUSE: L-plan, long sides facing S and W. Generally random rubble, squared quoins, margins very variable, some undressed, some moulded, probably originally harled. Parapet, with continuous rope and fillet corbelling, encloses L-shaped penthouse and joining cap-house at SW. Gargoyles drain parapet walk, open bartisans at corners. Openings numerous, irregular and varied, including several tiny windows, 1 very tall window to S, and gableheaded dormer breaking penthouse eaves. Roof in graded stone slabs with skews, crowstepped to penthouse. Stacks irregular and varied.

E WING: complicated and altered, originally of 2-storeys plus dormers (earlier 17th century, alterations early 19th). Essentially 3-storey, with 4-storey tower at SE corner, and 2-storey bay at NE end. Random sandstone rubble, varied dressings. String course at 1st floor and 3rd (tower only), topped by plain parapet with false machicolations. S elevation with recessed and symmetrical 3-bay block, central doorway (Lorimer 1912) with moulded architrave topped by heraldic crest; windows regular, tall to 1st floor and central opening bipartite. SW tower with regular windows on all 4 storeys to E, but on S has bipartite to 1st, slit windows to 3rd; tall narrow stairtower in W return with slit windows. Central section of E elevation (3 bays) has advanced end bays (southmost only to 1st floor level) with large tripartite and bipartite windows; N end bay (2 storeys) with bipartite window to ground.

E WING, N ELEVATION TO COURTYARD: very varied, irregular, and mostly plain. 3-storey elevations probably originally harled, raised margins to windows including an ocular stairlight. To N, abutting E wing, 2-storey M-roofed unit adjoins "gatehouse" (both early 19th century) adjoining courtyard arch (from original 15th century barmkin) in symmetrical gable with arched 1st floor windows. Arched doorway to courtyard on inner side of gatehouse.

Fenestration in Tower and E wing varied, mostly small-paned timber sash and case, a few 2-pane with leaded glass, some tiny and fixed. Roofs a mixture of piended, skewed and crowstepped in graded grey slate. Stacks numerous, some ashlar, some rubble, plain cans.

NW RANGE: circa 1676? Sir William Bruce, architect? 2-storey, 5-bay block in classical style, adjoining long single storey block to E on N side of courtyard. Main block in random sandstone rubble with rusticated quoins and rybats. Base course, double band course at 1st floor, eaves course and machicolated cornice. S elevation symmetrical, 5 windows to each floor, those on ground floor with cornice mouldings. W elevation similar, 2 bays. N elevation less regular, with central tripartite window on both floors, flanked on ground by 2 doorways, flanked on 1st by bipartite windows. Outer bays with single windows, except for large arched doorway in westmost bay to ground. Single storey block in random rubble with roughly-dressed margins, central door partly glazed, 8 flanking windows in irregular pattern.

Windows timber sash and case, 16 and 12-pane. Roofs in graded grey slate, piended to main block with single ashlar stack, cavetto coping and plain cans; 1 gable to single storey block with skews, 2 short stacks, ridged partially in stone "tiles".

OLD COACH HOUSE: circa 1676? Sir William Bruce, architect? 2-bay pavilion in identical classical style to NW range (q.v), round corner tower added to NE corner in 1914 (Sydney Mitchell and Wilson). W elevation retains double arch of coach house entrance, infilled by later ashlar to leave 2 windows, single window to 1st floor. S elevation with 2 windows to ground, 1 to 1st. N elevation with single window to 1st, door and window to ground with open modern lean-to carport. Corner tower with door, plain and boarded, with 1 window to 1st floor.

Windows timber sash and case, 16 and 12-pane. Roof in graded grey slate, pyramidal but ogee to tower. 1 ashlar stack with cavetto cope and plain cans.

N RANGE: 1914 Sydney Mitchell and Wilson. Single storey range in snecked sandstone rubble with smooth ashlar dressings. S elevation with 8 bays: 2 central windows are flanked by 2 doors, plain boarded with plain fanlights, flanked in turn by 2 arched windows to W end and 2 arched garage doorways to E end. Kennel compound adjoins E end. Rear (N) elevation with 3 distinctive swept, elliptical, dormer style rooflights.

Windows timber sash and case to S, small-paned. 2 skylights to S, rear "dormers" small-paned, inward opening. Roof piended, graded grey slates, stone ridge.

Statement of Special Interest

One of Scotland?s most ancient and notable houses. The Lethington estate was acquired in 1385 by the Maitland family who first built the L-plan tower house, which was burnt and damaged by the English army in 1549. The Maitlands became the Earls and, later, Dukes of Lauderdale. Numerous additions and alterations were carried out over the centuries. Interestingly, there was a scheme to Palladianise the whole building, but only the NW range and coach house were carried out. Ownership changed in the 20th century and the property was finally purchased by the Duke of Hamilton in 1947. By reason of a romantic venture, the name was changed at the behest of the Duchess of Lennox in 1703, although the original Lethington was in common use until the 20th century.



Blaeu?s Map 1654. OS Map, Haddingtonshire, 1854. OS Map, East Lothian, 1893. C McWilliam, LOTHIAN, (1978), p 279. RCAHMS, INVENTORY, (1924), No 70. McGibbon and Ross, THE CASTELLATED AND DOMESTIC ARCHITECTURE OF SCOTLAND, vol III, p256. Groome, Vol IV p496. Pitkin, TREASURES OF LENNOXLOVE HOUSE, 1960s, (booklet, RMR Ref 17629). J Small, CASTLES AND MANSIONS OF THE LOTHIANS, 1833.

About Listed Buildings

Listing is the way that a building or structure of special architectural or historic interest is recognised by law through the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997.

We list buildings of special architectural or historic interest using the criteria published in the Historic Environment Scotland Policy Statement.

The statutory listing address is the legal part of the listing. The information in the listed building record gives an indication of the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building(s). It is not a definitive historical account or a complete description of the building(s). The format of the listed building record has changed over time. Earlier records may be brief and some information will not have been recorded.

Listing covers both the exterior and the interior. Listing can cover structures not mentioned which are part of the curtilage of the building, such as boundary walls, gates, gatepiers, ancillary buildings etc. The planning authority is responsible for advising on what is covered by the listing including the curtilage of a listed building. For information about curtilage see Since 1 October 2015 we have been able to exclude items from a listing. If part of a building is not listed, it will say that it is excluded in the statutory address and in the statement of special interest in the listed building record. The statement will use the word 'excluding' and quote the relevant section of the Historic Environment Scotland Act 2014. Some earlier listed building records may use the word 'excluding', but if the Act is not quoted, the record has not been revised to reflect current legislation.

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Printed: 14/11/2018 07:22