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Hopetoun House

A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

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Hopetoun House, the seat of the Earl of Hopetoun, in Abercorn parish, Linlithgowshire, near the southern shore of the Firth of Forth, 3 miles W by N of South Queensferry, and 12 WNW of Edinburgh. A stately classical structure, it consists of a centre, erected in 1702 from designs by Sir William Bruce of Kinross, to which many years after Robert Adam added N and S wings, that, surmounted by octagonal dome-roofed towers, are connected with the body of the house by sweeping colonnades. The interior contains a library, rich in illuminated MSS. and early specimens of printing, and a fine collection of paintings, of which an ' Ecce Homo ' by Van Dyck, his portrait of the Marchese Spinola, a curious Teniers, and a hunting scene by Cuyp were exhibited at London in the Old Masters Collection (1882-83). The N wing is occupied by extensive stables ; and the spacious apartment (100 x 39 feet), which forms the S wing, and was formerly used as a family riding-school, in Sept. 1881 was converted into a ball-room on occasion of the coming-of-age of the present Earl. Standing on a raised natural terrace, the house commands a magnificent prospect up the Forth's basin to Ben Lomond, and down the blue, widening Firth to the Isle of May. Its own grounds, too, are of singular loveliness-.12 acres of garden, laid out like those of Versailles, and a deer park and other policies, whose trees are unrivalled for size and beauty. Chief among them are a cedar of Lebanon (1748), an Abies miranda (1836), a tulip tree of Canada, the ' Dark Avenue ' of beeches, a cluster of noble oaks, an avenue of fourteen ash trees, three Spanish chestnuts, yews, larches, etc.* The ancestor of the Hopetoun family was a cadet of the Craighall or Pinkie Hopes, Sir James Hope of Hopetoun, Lanarkshire (1614-61), eminent as a lawyer and a mineralogist. His son, John (1650-82), in 1678 purchased the Linlithgowshire baronies of Abercorn and Niddry ; and his grandson, Charles (1681-1742), in 1703 was created Earl of Hopetoun, Viscount Aithrie, and Baron Hope, in the peerage of Scotland. In the peerage of the United Kingdom the title of Baron Hopetoun was conferred in 1809 on James, third Earl (17411816), of Baron Niddry in 1814 on his half-brother, Sir John Hope (1766-1823), the famous Peninsular general. The latter, as fourth Earl, feasted George IV. at Hopetoun House on 29 Aug. 1822, prior to the king's embarkation for England at Port Edgar. John Adrian Louis Hope, present and seventh Earl (b. 1860 ; suc. 1873), is seventh in descent from Sir James, and holds 42,507 acres, valued at £43, 960, 2s. per annum, viz. 11,870 acres in Linlithgowshire (£20, 618, 10s.), 7967 in Haddingtonshire (£15,497, 15s.), 941 in Fife (£1717, 17s.), 19,180 in Lanarkshire (£5492), and 2549 in Dumfriesshire (£634).—Ord. Sur., sh. 32, 1867. See Ormiston and Keith House, and John Small's Castles and Mansions of the Lothians (Edinb. 1883).

* The height and girth of these and other trees are given in the Scotsman (7 Oct. 1880) and in Trans. Highl. and Ag. soc. (1879-81).

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

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