Ballencrieff Castle was nothing but a pile of stones fifteen years ago. But in one of Scotland?s most extensive restoration projects to date, the East Lothian castle has been transformed into one of the finest residences in the country. Painstaking renovation under the watchful eye of Historic Scotland ensured that no elements were left to chance. It took two years to gather up fragments of the original fireplace in the great hall but the end result, deemed to be 90% accurate, exemplifies the care invested in the project.
The castle has a fascinating history. Originally commissioned in 1507 by James IV for his private secretary James Murray, it remained in the Murray family for some 600 years. James IV and James Murray both died in the battle of Flodden in 1514 and in 1545 the castle was destroyed. Forty years later, John Murray rebuilt for it his bride Margaret Hamilton. From 1703 ? 21 five famous brothers were born in the castle including Patrick fifth Lord Eibank and General James Murray who became the first British Governor of Canada in 1763. The castle was accidentally burned down a hundred years later and was a ruin until 1997.
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?The sheer size and intricate arrangement of the towers, turrets and turnpike stairs and corridors and the magnificent decorative ceiling was enough to put off any less dedicated builder,? says author and historian Nigel Tranter who observed the restoration project, ?It is a valuable example of our heritage in stone and our tradition preserved for posterity?.
Just seventeen miles from Edinburgh, Ballencrieff enjoys a commanding position with views to the coast and out over the East Lothian countryside. A number of good golf courses, game shooting estates and riding centres are within easy reach as well as sailing on the Firth of Forth.
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Despite being a genuine, fortified castle, Ballencrieff is a manageable size. A magnificent great hall complete with minstrel?s gallery is accessed by a beautiful staircase from the ground floor where there is also a spacious kitchen and dining room. Over the three floors there are seven bedrooms with a good ratio of bathrooms, all enjoying views out over the Firth of Forth and the surrounding countryside.
The gardens are attractive and easy to maintain with a landscaped bank providing shelter from the wind. Mainly laid to lawn, the grounds are interspersed with trees and plants.
Offers over £975,000 are invited. For more information please call Strutt and Parker, Edinburgh on +44 (0) 131 226 2500.