Ravelston House

Ravelston House
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Ravelston House

Located on Ravelston Dykes Road in NW Edinburgh, Ravelston House is a fine three-storey seven-bay classical mansion in polished ashlar, with fine views to the south. The house was built c.1790 for Alexander Keith, Knight-Marischal of Scotland, and is now A-listed. Low pavilions lie to the E and W. A bow in the centre of the garden front of the main block and a semi-octagonal tower in the centre of the entrance front rise to four storeys. A sweeping stone stair rises to the entrance. The lowest floor is a basement, semi-sunken on the entrance front but fully exposed to the garden.

The interior is in the Adam style, although this largely dates from 1915-16, executed for Mrs Clark. The octagonal entrance hall is particular notable with its original plaster roundels. There are many other fine features, including a fire surround in a bedroom with reliefs of the Nelson Monument and St. Cuthbert's Church, dating from c.1810. The author Sir Walter Scott (1771 - 1832) was a regular visitor.

In the grounds is Ravelston Tower, the stair-tower of Old Ravelston House, a Z-plan tower-house built in 1622 for Sir George Foulis, who had purchased the estate two years before. The 17th century double-lectern doocot was once home to more than 2000 pigeons, but was converted into a residence in 1974. There was once a fine walled garden. Stables and a coach-house date from c.1875.

Parts of the estate had been sold off earlier in the 20th century, but the house and remainder of the estate were sold by the Stewart-Clark family to the Edinburgh Merchant Company c.1960. The house and parkland immediately adjacent were developed as part of Mary Erskine School from 1964. Ravelston House now contains the Principal's study, Home Economics, Music and Bursar's departments of the school. The modern school buildings are connected by a canopy.

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