Lennoxlove House

Lennoxlove House
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Lennoxlove House

Lennoxlove is an historic 14th Century house lying a mile (1.5 km) south of Haddington. Originally known as Lethington, it was the home of William Maitland (1525-73), Mary Queen of Scots Secretary of State, and remained in the family until after the death of John Maitland, the 1st Duke of Lauderdale (1616-82). Many of the family are buried below the Lauderdale Aisle of St. Mary's Church in nearby Haddington.

The name Lennoxlove was after Frances Stuart, Duchess of Lennox (1647 - 1702). The house and estate were bought on her instructions in 1702 for her cousin Walter Stuart, later 6th Lord Blantyre. Gilbert Burns (1760 - 1827), brother of the poet Robert, became factor here in 1804. The 12th Lord Blantyre died without male heirs in 1900 and the house passed to his daughter and her husband Sir David Baird of Newbyth, a descendant of the noted soldier of the same name. In 1912, their son employed architect Sir Robert Lorimer to undertake a major restoration. Lennoxlove is now owned by the Duke of Hamilton, the 14th Duke having purchased the house in 1946. The Dowager Duchess lives on the estate, which extends to 926 ha (2287 acres), but the current Duke makes his home on the Archerfield Estate at Dirleton.

Inside the house blends from the mediaeval, in the form of the great hall, to modest Georgian. The treasure of the house is its important collection of portraits, furniture, porcelain and other artefacts, many of which came from the Hamilton Palace (South Lanarkshire, but demolished in the 1920s due to dangerous subsidence).

The Lennoxlove collection includes the boulle cabinet, given to the Duchess of Lennox by King Charles II, and a silver casket and sapphire ring belonging to Mary Queen of Scots, together with her death mask. Also amongst the memorabilia are a map and compass carried by Rudolf Hess, Adolf Hitler's deputy, who flew to Lanarkshire (10th May, 1941) in an attempt to involve the Duke in negotiating peace between Britain and Germany.

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