Fountainhall House

(Penkaet Castle)

Fountainhall House, by Pencaitland
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Fountainhall House, by Pencaitland

A much-extended laird's house, Fountainhall lies 1¼ miles (2 km) southwest of Pencaitland in East Lothian. It was built, under the name of Woodhead, by the Pringles in the late 16th century and extended c.1638. In 1685 the property was sold to Sir John Lauder (1646 - 1722), later Lord Fountainhall, who changed the name. This fine A-listed building now comprises four interlinked blocks in cream sandstone with ashlar dressings. These blocks represent the successive phases of construction. The interior of the house is much as it was in the early 18th century, with a fine roll-moulded fireplace in the drawing room on the first floor, pine panelling and plain cornices. Tapestries would have once covered the walls as decoration, and indeed when a later lath-and-plaster wall was removed in the 20th century, a tapestry was found in situ on the wall behind. There are fine cast-iron door fittings and a pair of iron jougs hang outside by the roll-moulded doorway. The Lauders sold the house to author Professor Ian Holbourn (1872 - 1935), who had survived the torpedoing of the RMS Lusitania in 1915. He renamed the house Penkaet Castle, but later owners restored the name Fountainhall. The house is said to be haunted, with one ghost being associated with a bed which Holbourn had been given, and which was said to have been slept in by King Charles I (1600-49).

There is a 17th-century walled garden to the E and a ruined doo'cot of the same period to the S.

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