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Johnstounburn House

A fine B-listed country house in a parkland setting in SW East Lothian, Johnstounburn House lies a half-mile (1 km) south of Humbie and 1½ miles (2.5 km) east northeast of Fala.

The earliest records of Johnstounburn date from 1260, when the land here was given by John de Keith to the church and hospital at Soutra. The current house began in 1623 as a modest structure which formed part of an inn on the stage-coach route from Edinburgh to London. It became known as the Highwayman¿s Haunt, because it was a meeting-place for thieves who would rob the coaches as they slowly made their way up the slopes Soutra Hill. Having become a country house, it was greatly extended in 1730 and again in 1863, with the addition of a battlemented pseudo-tower house. The house and estate were purchased by Edinburgh Whisky Baron Andrew Usher in the 1884, who entertained shooting parties there until his death in 1898. He renovated the garden-front in 1895. The nephew of a subsequent owner was John Hunt, who climbed Mount Everest with Sir Edmund Hillary in 1953. Acquired in 1986 by Mount Charlotte Investments (later Thistle Group) to become a hotel, it was remodelled and opened in 1992. Sold again in 2000, the house was completely renovated by Nicholas Groves-Raines Architects and returned to being a private residence c.2005.

The historic gardens are of note, as is the unusual lectern doocot dating from 1730 and containing some 2000 nesting boxes.


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