Listed Building

The only legal part of the listing under the Planning (Listing Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 is the address/name of site. Addresses and building names may have changed since the date of listing – see 'About Listed Buildings' below for more information. The further details below the 'Address/Name of Site' are provided for information purposes only.

Address/Name of Site

Craigiehall, excluding 1853 and 20th century additions to the north, South QueensferryLB45432

Status: Designated


Where documents include maps, the use of this data is subject to terms and conditions (


Group Category Details
100000019 - See notes
Date Added
Last Date Amended
Supplementary Information Updated
Local Authority
Planning Authority
NT 16674 75394
316674, 675394


Craigiehall is a 2-storey, raised basement and attic, 6-bay, rectangular-plan, classical country house, designed by William Bruce in 1695-9 with Thomas Bachop as mason. The house is dated 1699 and the work was completed around 1703, with the inclusion of a pavilion wing. There is a circa 1830, 3-bay addition to the north by William Burn, which adjoins a (possible 1703) single-storey, piend-roofed pavilion at the northeast corner. A further extension to the north service block was added by David Bryce in 1853. Robert Lorimer carried out some further, mainly internal, alterations (1926). Further additions were made to the north from 1951. In accordance with Section 1 (4A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 the following are excluded from the listing: 1853 and 20th century additions and extensions to the north.

The house is built from polished ashlar sandstone and has rusticated quoins and a channelled basement. There are moulded architraves around the windows to the principal and upper storey and cornices to those on the principal floor. The building has a base course, cill courses, and a dentilled cornice and there are 3 flat-roofed bipartite dormer windows to the east and west elevations.

The east (principal) elevation has an advanced central pedimented 2-bay section with the date 1699 and a coat-of-arms in the tympanum and a stone pineapple to its apex. A central flight of steps leads to an architraved entrance door at the centre of the ground floor, with a carved urn in a swagged roundel above and flanked by single windows. The advanced, flat-roofed section to the far right is by William Burn and has a single window at each floor in the left reveal. An advanced, low, 2-storey, piended-roof pavilion adjoins this section at the northwest corner.

The south elevation has 4-bays with a central loggia at basement level, flanked by single windows on outer bays. This supports a tripartite canted window, with a wrought-iron balustrade above.

The west elevation has a projecting, pedimented 2-bay central block, with a coat-of-arms in the tympanum, the initials SCA and WEA and the date, 1699. The 3-bay bow dining-room extension is at the outer left.

The windows are predominantly timber sash and case windows with small pane glazing patterns. The house has a 1953 platform roof with graded grey slates.

The interior was seen in 2016. There is some surviving 17th century decoration on the ground floor, but the majority of the original room layout has been reconstructed in the 19th and 20th centuries. The entrance hall has 17th century oak panelling, with elaborately carved door architraves and oil landscape paintings above the doors, possibly by the 17th century Edinburgh artist, James Norie. The wrought iron balustrade to the stair between the ground and 1st floor has floral decoration, and incorporates monograms of 2nd Earl of Annandale and wife, together with roses, thistles and tulips. There is one 17th century oak fire surround with decorative carving in a room to the west and there is an early 20th century, decorative timber fire surround by Robert Lorimer with stone inset in the room to the south. Panelled timber doors to the ground floor and decorative cornicing to the main public rooms. There are some vaulted corridors in the basement.

Statement of Special Interest

Craigiehall (1695-99 and extended by William Burn in 1830) is an important example of the small yet innovative country house in Scotland. Dating to the late 17th century, it is among a relatively small number of surviving early classical houses of this early period in the development of the classical country house. It shows innovation in its planning and retains significant late 17th century features to its interior. While alterations have taken place over time, it has intrinsic interest as a surviving late 17th century country house by William Bruce, one of the most influential Scottish architects of the time who, along with James Smith, introduced the classical country house to Scotland.

In accordance with Section 1 (4A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 the following are excluded from the listing: 1853 and 20th century additions and extensions to the north.

Age and Rarity

Craigiehall was built for the 2nd Earl of Annandale and replaced an earlier tower house on the same site. The current house is depicted on the Military Survey Map by William Roy, (published from 1745-55), with an avenue of trees to the west on the central axis of the property, and with two formal gardens to the north and south of the house. The property is described by Gifford in The Buildings of Scotland (1988) as 'Edinburgh's only example of the comfortable Dutch-classical country house popularized in England by Hugh May and Sir Roger Pratt'.

The 2nd Earl of Annandale and his wife, Sophia Fairholm of Craigiehall were married in 1682. As they wished to have a new house, they asked the best architects of the day, including their friend and distant cousin, William Bruce, to put forward possible designs.

In 1694, before setting out a plan for the house, Bruce requested John Adair to assist with preparing a plan of the grounds to ensure that the building was conceived in harmony with its surrounding landscape. After Bruce prepared his initial plans, James Smith (the King's Master of Works in Scotland) was also called upon to provide Annandale with a scheme for a new house. While Bruce was still at this time regarded as one of the foremost architects in Scotland, he had fallen out of official favour, in contrast to Smith who was able to retain royal patronage following the demise of the Stuarts in 1689. Bruce's difficult political position meant he had to collaborate with other architects in order to continue to work. Bruce's design was finally chosen, although elements of Smith's design, such as the inclusion of the pedimented front, were incorporated. Tobias Bachop, a master stonemason who frequently worked with Bruce, was also employed at Craigiehall.

The corps de logis (main house) was completed in 1699 and the Annandale couples' initials, SCA (Sophia, Countess of Annandale) and WEA (William, Earl of Annandale), together with their coats-of-arms, are incorporated into the pediments to the east and west elevations. There is no remaining physical evidence showing that any pavilion was built to the south, but a north pavilion is still extant and may date to the Bruce design for the house. Lowrey (1988) states that a pavilion was added to the south in 1703, but this may refer to the north, rather than a south pavilion. The architect William Burn demolished the north quadrant when the dining room extension was added circa 1830. There were plans for a corresponding addition to the south side of the house, but this was not built.

The Earl of Annandale's son, James, took over the estate in 1715. Innes (1996) notes that he negotiated with William Adam for some alterations to Craigiehall, but suggested that these were never built. The house, including pavilions and quadrants are illustrated in William Adam's Vitruvius Scoticus (published in 1812), but the current north pavilion is not as large as the one illustrated in the book.

In 1741, the estate was bought by the Hope-Weir family, who were connected to the estate through the marriage of the Earl of Annandale's daughter, Lady Henrietta Johnstone, to Charles Hope, 1st Earl of Hopetoun. The Hon Charles Hope (later Hope-Weir) had completed a Grand Tour of France and Italy with Robert Adam. On his return in 1754-5, he had ideas for some improvement at Craigiehall, particularly in the grounds, gathered from this Grand Tour. He planted trees along the River Almond and constructed Craigiehall Temple (1759, LB26928), Craigiehall Grotto Bridge (1757, LB5563), the Grotto and Bath house (circa 1755-60, LB5562) and an ornamental lake, around 1760.

The 3-storey dining room extension to the north of the house was added by William Burn around 1830 and abuts the north pavilion at the northeast corner.

A new staff wing to the north of the house was added in 1853 by the Edinburgh architect David Bryce. (In our current state of knowledge this part of the building is not considered to be of special interest in listing terms.)

In 1916, Craigiehall was sold to neighbouring landowner and former prime minister, the 5th Earl of Rosebery. Rosebery had purchased the estate for his son, the Rt. Hon Neil James Archibald Primrose. Following his son's death in action just one year later, he leased out the house and policies. Craigiehall was rented first by textile merchant, James Morton in 1926. Morton employed prominent Edinburgh architect Robert Lorimer to carry out some major alterations to the house. These included re-plastering the interior, relaying the floors and inserting a bay window to the south. The house became a hotel and country club in 1933. Following requisitioning by the Army in 1939 it was bought by them in 1951. The Army put on a new roof, removed the pediment from Burn's dining room extension, and added a two-storey extension to the north west of the house (which is attached to the 1853 addition and is also excluded from the listing).

Craigiehall House, dating to the late 17th century, was conceived during the period of early classicism in Scotland when architectural patronage was promoted by the aristocratic and landed classes. It was also the new age of the gentleman architect, when figures such as William Bruce, James Smith and John Mylne emerged. From the date of the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660, Scotland experienced a significant increase in public building works exemplified by the restoration of the Palace of Holyrood, led by William Bruce, then Master of Works.

Important commissions for the remodelling of existing houses and the building of stately houses also began at this time, in emulation of the monarchy, including Thirlestane, Drumlanrig and Hamilton Palace. The ideals of Classicism and the antique based on Greek and Roman precedents were serious architectural considerations. The new European (in particular French, Dutch and Italian) as well as English architecture was eagerly followed such as the work of Inigo Jones or Jacob van Campen. At the more modest end of the scale, smaller country seats were conceived in the new fashion for convenience as well as opulence and a number of impressive new estates were built around Edinburgh to ensure easy access to Parliament and the law courts.

In Scotland, the trend for symmetrical and deepening floor plans which addressed the new function of separating the private from the public sphere in the house began at Panmure in 1666. A move away from the tower house to completely new house types began in the 1670s. A decisive break was Bruce's Kinross House (1679-93, LB11200) which finally disposed of the fortified, castle tradition with no gables, turrets or crowsteps, to fully embrace the symmetrical classical arrangement, constructed in fine ashlar, with full height pilasters, monumental entablature and cornice and pavilions in the style of a grand Italian palazzo (palace).

The convenience of the contemporary small house was exemplified by Dunkeld (1676) and Moncrieffe (1679) both by William Bruce (and both now demolished). These combined the ideas of the small French 'maison de pleasance' (house of pleasure) and the Italian palazzo (palace) but with the comfort of the occupants taking precedence.

After the Stuarts were deposed in 1689, rising minor lairds and landed classes who were occupied with the law or business in the capital were building small country houses within close distance to Edinburgh. Houses built during this time were still innovating the ideas of classicism which would come of age in the 18th century under the Adam dynasty of architects.

In our current state of knowledge the additions to the north of Craigiehall House, which do not directly incorporate parts of the 17th and 18th century components, are not considered to be of special architectural interest and are excluded from the listing.

Architectural or Historic Interest


The surviving 17th century decorative timber work has outstanding special interest because of its age and survival showing the contemporary and fashionable taste for finely carved crafted oak and pine panelled apartment interiors. Other decorative work, important for its survival, includes the scrolled decorative wrought-iron balustrade to the staircase. This type of ironwork decoration is found at the slightly earlier house by Bruce, Caroline Park (LB28040). The sopraporta paintings (painting found above the doors) in the hall may be by the Edinburgh family firm of James Norie, but this is not certain.

Plan form

The original Bruce interior plan form has been altered but the essential tripartite plan, when deeper house plans were introduced in around the 1670s, has been retained. Plan forms for houses of this date had evolved to provide more convenient layouts for public and private spaces. The location of the staircase in the centre of the plan is of significant interest for the development of the symmetrical house plan. This arrangement was followed in subsequent house designs and is evident at Hopetoun House (1698), also by Bruce, which included a central stair and cupola.

The principal floor was originally planned as having two ground floor apartments; a state apartment (dining room, drawing room, bedchamber and dressing room) on the north and west and a second apartment (ante-room, bedchamber and closet) on the south. Subsequent alterations, including the addition of the large dining room extension by Burn in the 1830s and the alterations in the 1920s by Lorimer, have created a less coherent floor plan. The upper floors have been altered in the latter part of the 20th century to provide military accommodation.

Externally, the rectangular plan form, typical of the 17th century house, can still be seen. The later additions to the north mean the property is now asymmetrical.

Technological excellence or innovation, material or design quality

The classical form and features which dominate the east and west elevations at Craigiehall are evidence of the increasing popularity of classicism as the preferred style for country houses in the latter part of the 17th century in Scotland. Classicism become more evident in Scotland after the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660 and Sir William Bruce was one of the main proponents of the new style. Craigiehall displays typical classical motifs, including the symmetrical façades, advanced pedimented sections, fine ashlar stonework, a rusticated basement and architraved windows.

The use of ashlar was increasingly important at the time, rather than the harling of previous houses and its use here shows Craigiehall as an up-to-date classical country house.

The house has undergone a degree of alteration, including the renewal of the roof and the removal of the pediment from the Burn extension. A photograph dating from before the Second World War shows the Burn extension also with a pedimented roof, which was removed in the 1950s (Innes 1996). The house, however, retains its largely unaltered 17th century classical east and west elevations. It is not certain whether or not the pavilion to the northeast dates to the time of Bruce, but the position of the upper storey windows and decorative quoins may be circa 1700 in date. The extensive additions to the north of the house have been excluded from the listing, as they are not considered to be of architectural interest in their own right.

William Bruce (circa 1625-1710) was born in Fife and is widely credited as the founder of classical architecture in Scotland. He was one of the most influential architects of his day and his classically designed houses influenced many of the country houses that followed. He designed a number of key country houses, including his own house at Kinross (LB11200) and Hopetoun House, (LB613).

William Burn (1789-1870) had the largest architectural practice in Scotland in the 1830s and his clients included many of the aristocracy. He was a versatile architect and his work ranged over a number of differing styles. His country houses in the classical style include Camperdown, Dundee, (LB25078) and Craigielands, Dumfries and Galloway (LB9842).


Craigiehall is situated within its former estate policies, and is part of a group of associated estate structures which, although affected by later development, still visually conforms to late 17th and 18th century ideals in landscape design. They include the walled garden, the former stable court, two sundials, a doocot and a grotto and these are located to the west, south and east of the house.

There is an open grass area to the entrance front of the house, looking east along a traditional 17th century axial avenue (one of the sundials has been placed here). There is, however, no obvious alignment on any feature or building on this axis. To the rear of the house, in an open grassy area, there are other estate ancillaries, including the doocot, which relates to the earlier Craigiehall House, a second sundial, and the walled garden. All are visible from the house.

The majority of the estate to the north has been taken up by the various additional buildings constructed for the military headquarters since the 1950s.

Regional variations

While small, classical country houses were being built in other areas of Scotland at this time, a greater number of fine houses of this size began to emerge around Edinburgh. These building projects, from around 1685 onwards, met the needs of minor landed gentlemen and their families who wanted to establish a country residence in close proximity to Parliament and the law courts.

Close Historical Associations

The 2nd Earl of Annandale, and later the Hope-Weir family are closely associated with Craigiehall.

Statutory address and listed building record revised in 2016. Previously listed as 'Craigiehall'.



Canmore: CANMORE ID 50408

Maps, Plans and Archives

Roy, W. (1747-55), Military Survey of Scotland

Thomson, J (1820), Atlas of Scotland. Edinburgh: J.Thomson & Co.

Ordnance Survey (Surveyed 1854, Published 1856) Linlithgow Sheet VII.6. 25 Inches to the Mile map. Southampton: Ordnance Survey.

Ordnance Survey (Surveyed 1893, Published 1895) Edinburghshire Sheet 002.04. 25 Inches to the Mile map. Southampton: Ordnance Survey.

Ordnance Survey (Surveyed 1905, Published 1908) Edinburghshire Sheet 002.04. 25 inches to the mile map. Southampton: Ordnance Survey.

Printed Sources:

Adam, W., (1812), 1980 Edition. Vitruvius Scoticus. Edinburgh: Paul Harris Publishing. plates 86& 87.

Gifford, J. et. al. (1988) The Buildings of Scotland: Edinburgh. London: Penguin Books. pp.591

Glendinning, M. (1996) A History of Scottish Architecture from the Renaissance to the present day. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Lowrey, J. (1988). Sir William Bruce and his Circle at Craigiehall in Frew, J. & Jones, D (eds) Aspects of Scottish Classicism, Proceedings of a Symposium held at Chatelherault, Hamilton, May 18th 1988. Blakely Milroy: p.1-8.

Macaulay, J. (1987) The Classical Country House in Scotland 1660-1800. London: Faber & Faber.

MacKechnie, A., (2012) Introduction: Sir William, Bruce and Architecture in Early Modern Scotland. Architectural Heritage, Vol.23 Issue 1. pp1-14.

Innes, Major C.B., (1996) Craigiehall. The Story of a fine Scots Country House, Typescript.

Online Sources:

Scottish Dictionary of Architects, Sir William Bruce [accessed 17/05/2016]

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Craigiehall, South Queensferry. East elevation, during daytime with partly cloudy sky.
Craigiehall, South Queensferry. West elevation, during daytime with blue sky.



Printed: 21/05/2024 01:45