Saturday, 12 February 2011

Penicuik House

Today we paid a visit to Penicuik House, which is only a few miles from where we live but where we had never been before. John came and even Troi, the greyhound, ventured forth in the car.
It was another splendid and sunny day and we walked for over an hour in what were once the grounds of this large estate (1389 acres in total).

We came past this fairytale like little house. It is build into the wall around what was the semi-circular kitchen garden and the wall is still mainly in existence although all signs of the actual garden have disappeared. I loved the look of this small building, specially with the smoke coming out of the chimney. The windows are beautiful and this building was originally a pavilion build in the 1760s, although it looks like it is a private residence today. This picture was my blip today.

We then wondered around the wooded part of the estate, along the North Esk river and its tributaries. We might have been surrounded by huge evergreens, but the sun could still be glimpsed occasionally.

As you can see below the house itself or what remains of it, (building originally started in 1761 and was in the Palladian style) is completed surrounded by scaffolding and a high fence. A 6 year conservation project is in process, and it's being used to train people in ancient crafts such as stonemasonry.
The house was gutted by fire in 1899, although the good news is that many of its treasures were rescued before the flames could consume them. There were some boards nailed up against the fence that showed what the inside looked like and it was gorgeous. You can have a peep too as Penicuik House has a very good website with all the relevant information. Such a shame that grandeur has now all gone. Although having said that, I do like the ruins, with trees growing inside the house and the blue sky peeping through the windows

Some of the inside walls are still standing and it will be interesting to see how it will look after the restoration is complete. The ruins reminded me of the book Abandoned Mansions of Ireland which is reviewed in the Now Reading section on the right at this very moment. Penicuik house was 7 bays wide and 3 stories high, with an almost totally flat roof and an impressive entrance portico.
After the fire the Clegg family, who originally build the house and who had remained its owners over the centuries, moved out of the main house and into the stable block. It might have been a bit of a come-down but as you can see above the stables formed a very fine building in its own right. It even has a clock-tower.
We will definitely go back as there is much more to see and it will also be very interesting to see how the conservation progresses over the 6 years. When finished you will be able to visit the ground floor of this magnificent edifice.


Cat said...

The house & grounds are beautiful, it would be wonderful to be a part of that your photos of it all, Frida, & I hope to see more!

Terri said...

What a lovely day trip! Imagine how this will look when it is done...stunning I am sure.
You must have had a beautiful walk as the grounds look so pretty as well.
I am so glad you have been having such good weather.

Anonymous said...

I was delighted to see the picture which you had posted of the Fairytale house on your item about Penicuik House. My Aunt and Uncle lived there from 1947 to sometime in the eighties and, as their nephew,I was a regular visitor.In fact I lived there for two separate months when I was studying for my professional exams.One interesting feature of the house was that in the large lounge facing onto the garden there was a frieze containing a verse from a French poem by a poet called Rene Prudhomme.From memory it was "Ici bas tous les lilacs meurs, tous les chants des oiseaux sonts courts, the reve aux etees qui demeurent, toujours toujours toujours." The english title of this poem is "In this world".Incidentally my uncle was called Walter Scott but he was an Englishman from Newcastle.
Chris from Yorkshire

stuart macintyre said...

I spent my childhood on Penicuik Estate, lovely to see your pictures, the fairy tale house is called Old Gardens and i spent huge amounts of time there keeping the lady of the house company. I well remember playing or trying to with her sisters two boys, one of whom has written to you of his memories.Still have a picture or two of Walter and Dorothy Scott and always remember them at \Christmas as my wife uses her Christmas cake recipe. Happy New Year

Stuart Macintyre

Rod Pennicuik said...

I arrived at your blog via Google photos, searching for recent pictures of my sister in Melbourne.
I visited Penicuik in 1996 and 1998, taking lots of pictures of the town and House. My family has no connection to the ruin, but owned the estate some centuries ago, I'm told, and sold it to the Clarke family. In 1998, my wife and I were guests to lunch of Mr and Mrs Clarke, who were very hospitable and took us around the place and showed us the stable residence, posing for a snap, too.
Thank you for providing some quality photos. It is good to see the restorations progressing after we were told it won't happen because there are much better places to spend the money on.
We also enjoyed the glass works and staying at a nice BnB in Penicuik. We had a drink in a pub in town. The bloke on the bar didn't believe my wife when she mentioned our name. She had to show her driver license.
My family name has a double 'n'since the AIF added the second when my grandfather fought at Galipoli, Flanders and Ypres.
There you go, eh?


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