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Drum, The

A mansion house located in the Gilmerton District of Edinburgh, The Drum lies 4 miles (6 km) southwest of the city centre. Built as Somerville House between 1726-34 for Lord Somerville, it is a fine Palladian mansion by William Adam (1689 - 1748). It was originally intended to have two flanking wings, but only one was ever built, incorporating an earlier tower house of 1585 by master-mason John Mylne (d.1657). The house was used as a billet by Jacobite troops after capturing Edinburgh in 1745; it is said the Somervilles saved their silver by throwing it from the Dining Room window.

The Drum is particularly noted for its fine plaster stucco-work, which is incorporated into the ceilings, wall panels and chimney-pieces of the hall and all principal rooms. This is in two phases, by Samuel Calderwood and Thomas Clayton.

The More Nisbett family acquired the house in 1862. The old Mercat Cross of Edinburgh was removed to a location in front of the Drum in 1756, perhaps because it was from this that the Old Pretender had been proclaimed King by his son, the Bonnie Prince. It was returned to its current location in 1866 on the instructions of Prime Minister Gladstone (1809-98).


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