Gosford House

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Gosford House
East Lothian
Gosford House, near Longniddry, East Lothian, Scotland-16Oct2011.jpg
Gosford House
Grid reference: NT45297858
Location: 55°59’49"N, 2°52’44"W
By: Robert Adam
Country house
Owned by: The Earl of Wemyss
Website: gosfordhouse.co.uk

Gosford House is a neoclassical country house around two miles north-east of Longniddry in East Lothian, on the A198 Aberlady Road, in five thousand acres of parkland and coast.[1] It is the family seat of the Charteris family, the Earls of Wemyss and March.

This was the home of the late Rt. Hon. David Charteris, 12th Earl of Wemyss, chief of the name and arms of Charteris, until his death in 2008. In 2009, it was inherited by James Charteris, 13th Earl of Wemyss and March, although the Earl and Countess reside at Stanway House in Gloucestershire.[2] The south wing is the family home portion of the estate.[3]

Previous to ownership by 7th Earl of Wemyss in 1781 or 1784 (depending on the source),[4] the property was held by the Murrays, Douglases, Sinclairs from 1458, by the Achesons from 1561, then by the Auchmutys from 1622 and then by the Wedderburn family in 1659.[5]

Gosford was built by the 7th Earl between 1790 and 1800, to plans by the architect Robert Adam (1728–1792),[6] who died before the house was completed. The 7th Earl is buried in the Wemyss Mausoleum on the estate. He is the only member of the family to be buried in this building, a pyramid-style structure (because of his role as Grand Master Mason of the Grand Lodge of Scotland), that is now Grade A listed. [4][7] The 8th Earl inherited Gosford House. The property originally included the main block with flanking pavilions and colonnades. In the 1800s, damage from the damp air, aggravated by the use of sea sand, led the 8th Earl to demolish the wings. During 1830-1840, an earlier house on the property was rebuilt beside the stables. It was subsequently demolished.[8]

In 1891, 10th Earl, rebuilt the wings to designs by the architect William Young.[6] The south wing contains the marble hall.

The estate includes numerous listed buildings, notably the house, the stables and the mausoleum which are all Category A listed.[8][9][7] The grounds are included in the Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes in Scotland.[10]

In the 20th and 21st centuries

Between the two great wars, the House was used as a hotel.[8] During the Second World War, the British Army occupied the house, during which time part of the centre block was damaged by fire resulting from a party. Subsequent dry rot led to the roof being partly removed. It was re-roofed in 1987, and restoration of the central block is an ongoing process, which was progressed by Shelagh, Dowager Countess of Wemyss and March. The ponds in the policies were restored by James Charteris, 13th Earl of Wemyss who took over the family estate and title in December 2008 when his father died. Gosford can be seen from Edinburgh on a clear day. It is open to the public in the summer. The grounds contain an unusual and rare example of a Scottish curling house.[11]

A February 1971 report provided this summary of the House at the time:

Classical double pile mansion, 2-storey with basement. William Young replaced Adam's pavilions with Baroque pavilion wings 1891, and reorientated entrance to S, added arcaded loggia to E and W elevations. Polished yellow ashlar with base course, channelled basement, impost course, full entablature with noulded cornice, blocking course with balustraded sections and decorative urns. Moulded architraves, lugged or pedimented windows to principal floors.... The house contains a remarkable, extensive collection of paintings and porcelain.
Inside, the building exceeds the expectations raised by its elegant exterior. The Marble Hall, in the south wing, is arguably the most arresting of its many fine features. It was completed in 1891 by William Young for the tenth Earl of Wemyss and rises to a height of three storeys, with a magnificent double staircase leading to a surrounding picture gallery. The elaborate fireplace, alabaster colonnades and ornate plasterwork reflect the strong Italianate taste of the tenth Earl, while the Palladian screen of Venetian windows are reminiscent of Adam’s original designs.

The 13th Earl has authorized conservation work, partly to repair damage caused while the property was used by the Army.[12]

On film

Several film productions have utilized the site, including the 2000 film House of Mirth, directed by Terence Davies and based on the novel by Edith Wharton, and the second and third season of Outlander, the Starz! Network television series based on the novels by Diana Gabaldon.[13] The house also appeared in The Awakening (2011 film), starring Rebecca Hall.

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Gosford House)


  1. Gosford House on Historic Houses
  2. Frock and roll... Lady Mary Charteris's very alternative wedding: Evening Standard Tuesday 4 September 2012
  3. Gosford House on The Castles of Scotland
  4. 4.0 4.1 Wemyss Mausoleum: The Mausolea and Monuments Trust
  5. The Castles of Scotland: Gosford House
  6. 6.0 6.1 Gosford House: Gazetteer for Scotland
  7. 7.0 7.1 Gosford Mausoleum Enclosure and Gatepiers (Category A) - Listing detail (Historic Environment Scotland)
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Gosford House with Screen Walls and Garden Statuary - Listing detail (Historic Environment Scotland)
  9. Gosford Stables (Category A) - Listing detail (Historic Environment Scotland)
  10. Gosford House - Listing: Inventory of Gardens & Designed Landscapes
  11. Gosford Curling House (Category B) - Listing detail (Historic Environment Scotland)
  12. Gosford House conservation plan: Simpson and Brown Architects
  13. Film, Photoshoots and Product Launches: GosfordHouse.co.uk