Gosford House

Gosford House and North Berwick Law
©2021 Gazetteer for Scotland

Gosford House and North Berwick Law

The home of the Earls of Wemyss and March, this extensive mansion, designed by Robert Adam (1728-92), lies on Gosford Bay, 2 miles (3 km) north northeast of Longniddry.

Gosford House was begun in 1790 and completed in 1800, but has been much altered subsequently. The 8th Earl of Wemyss did not like the style of Adam's wings and had them demolished, leaving the house as the solitary main block until 1890 when new wings were built by architect William Young, considerably extending the house. Young also created the stunning Italianate marble hall in pink alabaster, employing Sir William Arrol (1839 - 1913) to create the steel-work to support the enormous central dome.

Sadly the house was struck by fire in 1940, while requisitioned by the military, which destroyed one of the large rooms in the central block and subsequent dry-rot resulted in a large part of the roof being removed. This was not replaced until the 1980s but the fire-damaged room remains abandoned and in need of restoration. Despite this, the 12th Earl of Wemyss made Gosford his primary residence in the early 1950s. The house contains a remarkable art collection, primarily due to the 10th Earl, who was a passionate and genuine collector who ignored the current fashion and bought what he actually liked. The collection includes works by Botticelli, Murillo and Rubens.

The building has served as a location for several films, including Lucia (1998) and The House of Mirth (2000).

The surrounding estate includes classical stables, also by Adam, a mausoleum, ice-house and on the north side two octagonal lodges lying either side of impressive gates.

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