Inveresk | Environment

Land ownership | Townscape, Buildings & Landscapes of Distinction

There are two Scottish Wildlife Trust wildlife sites in this part of the parish – Carberry Estate (NT363695) and Cowpits wood (NT347707) – and there is a community woodland on the restored bing area of Wallyford. Carberry Tower has a notable collection of fine trees – particularly the Sequoia Avenue planted in the 1870s. One of the greatest environmental concerns from the 1980s to date is the spread of giant hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum), particularly along the banks of the river Esk. Highly toxic chemicals – furano-coumarins – are contained in the leaves and in the sap and contact with these can cause blistering and, in some cases, permanent scarring.

By 2000, the parish still had some farmland, but the encroachment of housing onto what formerly was mostly rich market garden land seems to have been unstoppable, particularly in the latter years of the period. The boundaries of Musselburgh itself, Inveresk village, and Wallyford are now very blurred, and continue to edge ever outwards.

Land Ownership

In 1945, there were three main landowners in the rural parts of the parish: Sir Archibald Philip Hope of Pinkie; Wemyss Landed Estates Co. (Longniddry); and Lord Elphinstone.

The following summary is taken from the Valuation Roll of 1945:

Sir Archibald Philip Hope owned:

Whitecraig and Rosebank farm (tenant John S. Hamilton); Pinkie Mains (tenant Mrs Agnes M. and James G. Todd); Pinkiefield farm and Midfield (tenants Misses Agnes, Elizabeth and Mary Kidd, and John Amour); Gullaflat (tenant James W. Scarlett); land and houses at Cowpits (tenant J.W. Scarlett); Monkton House (tenant Douglas S. Murray); Monkton and Cairnie farm (tenant William S. Dryborough); Crookston farm (tenant Trustees of late John S. Johnston).

Wemyss Landed Estates Co. (Longniddry) owned:

Wallyford farm (tenant George Bertram Shields); Wallyford football ground (tenant Wallyford Bluebell Football Club per Wallyford Greyhound Racing Co.); the school grounds at Wallyford (tenant Midlothian County Council); Monktonhall golf course (tenant Musselburgh Town Council – owned the clubhouse).

Lord Elphinstone owned:

Carberry Tower (where he lived); Carberry Mains and Trows (tenants Agnes, James and John Peace); Hillhead and Backhill farm (tenant Joseph Neilson); and Carberry Colliery.

Other landowners included:

Barbachlaw farm: Colonel A.C.P. Cochran (tenants William and Peter Braes). Whitehill Mains: Sir J.D. Wauchope (tenant Niddrie & Benhar Coal Co. Ltd). Drummore farm: John H. Scarlett of Goshen farm. Sweethope farm: R.L. Scarlett. Monktonhall House (18th century): Mrs Jessie Marr. Monktonhall farm: David Lowe & Sons, who also owned part of Stoneyhill farm.

Until 1997 Newhailes was owned by the Dalrymple family and was the home of Lady Antonia Dalrymple.

After 1945:

When Carberry Estate was broken up in 1961 the farms were sold to their tenants and the Church of Scotland acquired Carberry Tower and policies. At the same time Buccleuch Estates (owners of Dalkeith Palace Estate, which abuts Inveresk parish boundary) purchased the woodland and fields surrounding the policies.

The National Trust for Scotland acquired Newhailes House and policies in January 1997, being donated by the trustees of Sir C.M. Dalrymple. The contents were acquired with grant aid from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the National Art Collections Fund and the Secretary of State for Scotland, on advice from the Historic Buildings Council, Scotland, from a generous legacy and by public appeal. A programme of restoration, conservation and presentation of the property to the public was begun in 1998 with co-finance from the European Regional Development Fund and Historic Scotland, whilst the associated Conservation Plan has been part-funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

In the mid 1980s, the building of the new A1 dual carriageway resulted in agricultural land being purchased from the farms around Inveresk. Much of this land had been market gardens run by Mr Scarlett of Sweethope (now an hotel), Mr McNair of Pinkiehill farm and Mr Lowe who operated on several farms. This land is no longer used for market gardening, presumably because of the labour intensity of such operations and is now given over to the growing of barley, wheat, oil seed rape, potatoes and beans. The cottages, which used to house farm labourers (Pinkiehill had seven such cottages) have largely been sold off or leased to long-term tenants.

Charles Fraser

By 2000 the surrounding agricultural land was largely made up of owner-occupied arable farms, several owned by the same families who had earlier been tenants.

Townscape, Buildings and Landscapes of Distinction

Inveresk Village is not exactly a ‘townscape’ but this part of the parish remains a Georgian time capsule. The Village’s appearance has been ensured since April 1961, when some 30 houses (dating between the 17th and 19th centuries), were named by the then Secretary of State for Scotland as ‘outstanding examples of Scottish domestic architecture’ (Musselburgh News 1961, April 21) and thus could not be demolished. Since 1957, the efforts of the Inveresk Preservation Society (see Leisure) have helped retain the Village’s particular charms.

By 2000 the Village had been designated as the Inveresk Outstanding Conservation Area and encompassed many buildings listed by Historic Scotland, including the A listed St Michael’s Kirk. The conservation area was soon extended to incorporate the Village south of the railway line.

The Inveresk House and Eskgrove Estates were split up into separately owned plots during the 1980s, with outbuildings being converted into houses. One new house was built in the grounds of Inveresk House (Oliver’s Mound), with two new houses in the grounds of Eskgrove: Netherfield House (originally Sommerset House) and Moonfleet in the 1990s. In Eskgrove, two further houses were due to be completed post-2000.

In one such case at Inveresk Gate, in the late 1990s 27 new properties were developed and the house has been divided into seven separate freehold apartments. Inveresk Gate had been owned by the family of Admiral Sir Berkely Milne from 1785-1946 and then the government bought it for the Seaweed Research Institute (see Economy). In 1956 Inveresk Gate was bought by Arthur D. Little Ltd, later Inveresk Research. By December 1995 the company had completely moved its business to Elphinstone, leaving the site to become overgrown and prone to vandalism, and by 1996 the house and its 13-acre site were the subject of planning proposals. Despite vigorous campaigning and fears that it would be turned into a ‘suburban ghetto’ (East Lothian Courier 1997 October 3), permission was granted to Braemar Homes, albeit with over 40 conditions attached. The development went ahead under CALA Homes, which was accused of flaunting some of these conditions (East Lothian Courier 1999 September 3).

There is a small industrial estate at Kirk Park.

The gardens of Inveresk Lodge are maintained by the National Trust for Scotland and are open to the public throughout the year (LUC 1985 pp127-130). In addition, several gardening courses are run by the trust in the gardens. Helen E. Brunton, of the Brunton Wire Works family, presented the Lodge to the NTS in 1959. Inveresk Lodge is a popular venue for married couples to have wedding photographs taken in the beautiful gardens.

Wedderburn House (also known as Inveresk Combination Poorhouse) was built in 1861 as a hospital and poorhouse. It was designed by the celebrated 19th century Scottish architects Peddie and Kinnear. Small twin wings, a large rear extension, a lodge and a bungalow were added later. Two storeys high and of natural grey sandstone with slate roofs and corniced chimney stacks, it is set in landscaped grounds extending to 2.4ha (5.9 acres) with beautiful widespread views over Musselburgh Golf Course and beyond to Arthur’s Seat. Its main frontage, which faces south, features large twin wings with crow stepped gables, skewputts, square urn finials and round and square ‘turret’ corners. The decorative intertwined letters PK for Peddie and Kinnear are carved in the form of an armorial high up to the left of the right hand twin wing. The main door has a moulded surround with the date 1861 carved in the lintel. Two flights of steps lead down into the south garden. Windows are predominantly sash and case with twin mullions between those in the twin wings.

There is a decorated ventilator pipe (from mines underground) at the Wedderburn Terrace entrance and the lodge is further down the drive. There are decorative iron railings and a gate at the Delta Place and Smeaton Grove entrance. It is known that Wedderburn House was the home of Catherine Adamson Chalmers, her children and her father at least from 1881-83.

Prior to 1948 it was used to provide some accommodation for paupers, including single parents. From 1948 it was used as a combination house to provide residential care, mainly for older people, under the local authority and nursing care under the National Health Service.

From 1976 it was used as a day centre for adults with a learning disability under the then new Lothian Regional Council social work service, hostel facilities being provided for those able to manage stairs and with mild impairment. From 1990 it was used by ELCAP (the East Lothian Care and Accommodation Project) and residents were progressively rehoused into the community by 1995. Later on it was used by the Church of Scotland social work department to provide care in more suitable premises for former residents of the Algrade Home at Humbie. It closed in January 1998, becoming derelict and vandalised, the lodge at one time being set on fire.

In spring 2001 it was put up for sale by East Lothian Council, offers over £3.5 million being invited. The development brief stated that Wedderburn House and the lodge should be retained, being suitable for conversion to residential, community/social or hotel/conference uses; that boundary walls should be restored; that the modern bungalow in the north west garden could be demolished; that approximately 16 new detached houses, not exceeding two storeys and in keeping with the character of the area, could be built, eight in the north east garden and eight in the north west garden; that a full archaeological site investigation would be required in the sensitive part of the north east garden in advance of any development; that the south garden provided an essential landscape setting for Wedderburn House and should not be developed; that mature trees should be retained; and that a footpath link to Wedderburn Terrace and the river Esk should be provided from Delta Place and Smeaton Grove.

In autumn 2002 a planning application was made by Gemcross Homes for the alteration and conversion of Wedderburn House into four houses and ten flats; for the alteration and extension of the lodge to form a house; for the demolition of the modern bungalow in the north west garden; and for the building of 17 new detached two-storey houses in the north east and north west gardens. It is hoped that this planning application will be modified to meet local objections concerning access problems and the overlooking of some existing houses.

Stephen Edwards, Chairman Inveresk Village Society

Carberry Tower, together with its associated buildings – stables, lodges – is B listed by Historic Scotland. After the death of Lady Elphinstone in May 1961 the 16th century Carberry Tower and its policies were gifted to the Church of Scotland for use as a youth and conference centre. In February 1996 the Church of Scotland transferred ownership to a new trust. The Carberry Trust now administers the house; it is used as a residential Christian conference centre for ‘renewal, education, mission and fellowship’ and its facilities are available for other organisations to hire (LUC 1987, pp29-34).

The A listed Newhailes (built 1686) is a gem of a late 17th century house with impressive 18th century additions and interiors. The house is set in a unique 18th century designed landscape, of which the basic structure is still intact while the detail is just waiting to be rediscovered. The National Trust for Scotland opened Newhailes to the public for the first time on 1 June 2002. Due to the fragile nature and size of the house, visitors are welcomed on pre-booked guided tours. The fascination with this magical place is such that before Newhailes even opened over 4,000 bookings had been made. The untouched feel of Newhailes lends it a ‘Sleeping Beauty’ magic.


Newhailes House

The National Trust for Scotland provided the following:

This mellowness induces a sense of enchanting excitement which was first experienced by trust staff when the house and estate were taken into our care in 1997. Our conservation philosophy has aimed to retain this enchantment so that visitors will experience the same enthralling sense of discovery. Specialists have worked to conserve the house in a manner which leaves it as untouched as possible by modern man (while nonetheless stabilising the buildings and arresting decay to prevent further deterioration). The mellowness of the house has been retained, in order to ensure an experience of tangible authenticity, rather than recreate a spruce and immaculate reconstruction of an historic house. Meanwhile, the hidden designed landscape will be retained while research is carried out regarding the structure and content of these unique policies.

The house at Newhailes was built in 1686 by the distinguished Scottish architect James Smith. In 1707 it was bought by Sir David Dalrymple, of the Scots legal and political dynasty, who were responsible for significant improvements and additions to the house, for its rich, artistic interiors – including one of the most important rococo interiors in Scotland – and for the 18th century designed landscape. The most remarkable of these additions was the library wing, which played host to many famous figures of the Scottish Enlightenment, reportedly being described by Dr Johnson as ‘the most learned room in Europe’. Much of the original decoration and furnishing has survived intact, though worn. The trust is working to conserve the house in such a way as to leave it as ‘untouched’ by modern hands as possible, retaining the mellowness of its interiors rather than attempting the recreation of an immaculate dwelling as first built.

At the beginning of September 2001 the building contractors finally handed back the site to the trust. For months they had worked on stabilising the fabric of the building. With Newhailes vacated by the workmen, the project conservator, house steward and an army of volunteer conservation cleaners then worked on the removal of the contents from storage and have gradually been carrying out condition reports, engaging in any necessary cleaning, finally re-introducing the contents into the house.

The designed landscape at Newhailes continues the Enlightenment theme with classical statues of gladiators and sphinxes, sadly now missing, accompanying the raised walkway, grotto and woodland walks of the important 18th century designed landscape, which is now overgrown and ruined. This designed landscape was originally a piece of art in its own right. Ongoing research, including archaeological work and examination of the diaries of Christian Dalrymple and accounts dating back to the early 1700s, will help inform the way the trust treats the possible restoration of the landscape in the future. In the first years of opening the visitor will not see a freshly restored landscape, rather will be able to witness the beginnings of a long journey of discovery on the road to restoring the landscape. Further funding will be required to see this come to fruition.

Monktonhall is a late 18th century house with an earlier core; prior to this period it was part of Wemyss Estates. It eventually passed to David Lowe & Sons and was occupied by various members of the Lowe family. It suffered from subsidence. It was divided for multiple occupation c1970. David Lowe & Sons sold the rest of Monktonhall in 1976.

Monkton House at Old Craighall was in a moribund condition in 1954 but it had been by-passed by Cromwell and so had been spared the bombardments, which were the fate of other fortified houses. John Calderwood- Miller bought it for £250. He initially restored the 14th century tower and then saved the later additions. Michael Bennett-Levy carried on with meticulous restoration and offered the house for sale in 1996 (the first public sale for 600 years) for £425,000. It was withdrawn, unsold.

Wallyford House was ruinous throughout the period; built in 1671, it was demolished in the 1970s to make way for the Inchview housing scheme (Bourhill p43).