Lennoxlove (formerly Lethington)

Lennoxlove, Haddington, East Lothian. Formerly Lethington, this was a key Maitland residence from about 1300 until 1682. Now it is the home of the Duke of Hamilton. The web site is excellent, with diagrams and lots of pictures and well worth a visit (as is the house!). There are many Maitland coats of arms in the old part of the house.

The first record of Maitland connection with Lethington is a charter of confirmation dated 1345, which indicates that the family had been in possession of the castle for some time. At that period, Lethington consisted only of the tower at the east end of the present building. During the tumults of the 16th century, when William Maitland of Lethington was Secretary of state, he found himself on the losing side of a factional struggle and the castle was confiscated, despite the fact that it was his father's property and not his own. It was only in 1583, eleven years after William's death that his younger brother John, restored to favour at Court, was able to recover the house for his father who died soon after.  John Maitland's nephew James, inherited Lethington, converted to Catholicism, and married a Maxwell lady. A rather unseemly negotiation followed.   James was forced to flee the country as a Catholic. The Maxwells were both Catholic and also notorious reivers in Nithsdale in southwest Scotland. They did not approve of a marriage of one of their ladies to the family of jumped up lawyers who were making life difficult for them. They did not protect their new kinsman from persecution.  His Uncle John, secretary of state, bought Lethington for a negligible price, but probably facilitated his nephew's flight in exchange.

The Duke of Lauderdale bequeathed Lethington to his wife to enable her to sell it to raise funds to repay the mortgages raised to extend and furnish Ham House as a palace. It was sold in 1684 to the fury of Charles Maitland, the 3rd Earl.  In due course it was re-sold.  The property was purchased by the trustees of Frances Teresa Stuart, Duchess of Richmond and Lennox following her death in 1702 for the benefit of her "neare and deare kinsman the said Walter Stuart". The Duchess had stipulated that the property be called "Lennox's Love to Blantyre. This lengthy title was subsequently shortened to Lennoxlove

Website for the house: www.lennoxlove.com

A house of great historic interest dating back to before the 14th century. Containing treasures from the Hamilton Palace collection of portraits, furniture and porcelain. Also on show is Mary Queen of Scots death mask, silver casket and sapphire ring.

Season: The House is open from Easter to the end of October.

Days: Wednesdays, Thursdays, Sundays and some Saturdays (Please check beforehand for Saturdays)

Times: Guided tours hourly from 12:30 until 15:30.

Groups are advised to pre-book.

Other times can be made by appointment. Guided Tours with refreshments can also be arranged.

Entry Prices: £10.00 (adults)

Parking: Extensive parking facilities for cars and buses are available near to the House.

Telephone: 01620 823 720

Disabled Access: Limited access (the Hall, Oak Room and Servants' Hall) can be gained by disabled visitors via the front door (by arrangement) where there is a low step, otherwise touring the House involves staircases. There is disabled access to the Garden Cafe and the toilets.

Visit the website for full details: www.lennoxlove.com