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Prestonpans, Hamilton House / Hamilton Dower House, Magdalens' House, The Barracks, Sir John Hamilton's House, Magdalene
For copyright information please contact ELC Archaeology Service
- HER number: MEL71
- Site Name: Prestonpans, Hamilton House / Hamilton Dower House, Magdalens' House, The Barracks, Sir John Hamilton's House, Magdalene
- Grid Reference: 338978 673982
- Civil Parish:
- Summary: Laird's house, 1628
- Description: NT37SE 4 3898 7397
(NT 3898 7397) Hamilton House (NR)
OS 1:10000 map (1973)
(1) (2) (3) (4) Hamilton House, formerly known as Magdalens' House, was built by Sir John Hamilton, Lord Magdalens, in 1628. This date appears on a panel above the original entrance, now built up. A two-storeyed building, its plan consists of a main block lying N-S with a wing projecting W at both ends, forming three sides of a square enclosing a sunken courtyard.
The house was much run down when it was bought by the National Trust for Scotland in 1937. It has since been restored for private occupation, and is not open to the public.
R Prentice 1976; N Tranter 1962; RCAHMS 1924; D MacGibbon and T Ross 1887
Hamilton House (NTS wall-plaque) is an outstanding example of a 17th century country laird's seat. It is in excellent condition.
Visited by OS (RD) 4 January 1972
(5) Historic Scotland Listed Building Description: Dated 1628, probably incorporating earlier fabric; later additions and alterations. Single storey and attic, asymmetrical, U-plan, gabled laird's house. Harled and whitewashed, with chamfered stone margins. Crowstepped gables. Strip quoins to stacks.
W (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: 6-bay, comprising 2-bay central section, projecting gabled wings to outer left and right, creating open courtyard, with entrance stair tower engaged in re-entrant angle to right, turret corbelled out at attic engaged in re-entrant angle to left, both breaking eaves. Central section with pair of windows at ground, pair of piended dormerheads breaking eaves aligned above. Single small windows at ground and attic to outer left. Canted S stair tower, with central doorpiece at ground, comprising roll-moulded jambs surmounted by decoratively tooled broken pediment, with cornice continued as string course, vertically-boarded studded timber door. Pediment with shield centred in scrolled cartouche, divided per pale comprising 3 cinquefoils to dexter, 3 crescents over mullet to sinister (arms of Hamilton and Simpson), crescent, star and date 1628 within foliate decoration; moulded window surmounted by broken pediment aligned above, with tooled inscription in lintel reading 'Praised be the Lord My Strength and My Redeimer', with pointing index finger, and winged cherub and thistle to pediment. Turret corbelled out to left with small window centred at attic. Return to right with window centred at ground, window aligned above, hugging eaves, infilled former doorway to left; return to left with window to left of centre at ground, window in part-infilled former door to right, window centred at attic, hugging eaves. Roll-moulded segmental-arched pedestrian gate to outer left with modern timber door, in wall projecting to street. Single bay gable to right with window to right at attic; single bay gable to left with window to right at attic.
S ELEVATION: 3-bay, regular fenestration at ground with gabled dormerheads breaking eaves aligned above at attic, with decoratively tooled pediments and decorative cinquefoil finials. Centre pediment with intertwined monogram of letters I, H, K, S (for John Hamilton and Katherine Simpson), flanked by date 1628, with crucifix cipher rising from left limb of letter H at apex; pediment to left with shield centred in scrolled cartouche, comprising 3 cinquefoils, flanked by initials I, H; pediment to right with shield centred in scrolled cartouche, divided per fess comprising 3 crescents over single mullet, flanked by initials K, S. 19th century postbox to outer right at ground.
E ELEVATION: 4-bay, with gabled outer bays. Door with vertically-boarded timber door to outer left, segmental-arched doorway and window to left of centre at ground, pair of windows to right of centre at ground. Pair of gabled dormerheads breaking eaves flanking centre. Small window to left of centre at attic in gable to left; window to right of centre at attic in gable to right. Evidence of former wall to left of centre at ground, to left gable.
N ELEVATION: ground floor obscured by wall; 3 gabled dormerheads with decorative pediments, breaking eaves, single window hugging eaves to outer right.
Predominantly 12-pane timber sash and case windows. Graded grey-slate roof, with stone ridge. Cast-iron rainwater goods. Gablehead, ridge and shouldered wallhead stacks; corniced and coped, with circular cans. Stone skews with beaked skewputts.
INTERIOR: modernised, large contemporary fireplace with shields and intertwined monogram of letters I, H, K, S, in Hall, some window arches with large decorative corbelled supports; variety of wall cupboards; variety of moulded stone fireplaces; exposed beams in Hall.
BOUNDARY WALLS, DOORWAY, GATEPIERS AND RAILINGS: circa 1930, low coped rubble wall and gatepiers, with ashlar coping, with geometric-pattern iron gate and railings, incorporated into earlier rubble-coped rubble wall at principal elevation. Rubble coped random rubble wall adjoining house to right at S elevation incorporating vertically-boarded timber pedestrian gate to left, corniced architraved doorway with modern timber door, to right.
(6) A seventeenth century laird's house, apparently U-shaped in plan, though really two L's put together.
- For more information contact: East Lothian Council HER
- Related Places:
- Associated Periods:
- Bibliographic reference: Edinburgh Architectural Association. 1879. Vol. 2 1878-9.
- Bibliographic reference: Forman, S. 1958d. 'Hamilton House: a 17th century laird's house in Prestonpans, now the property of the National Trust for Scotland', Scot Fld Vol. 105 Part 662 1958, p.44-5. vol. 105, No. 662. p. 44-45.
- Bibliographic reference: Ross, T. 1905i. 'Magdalens House', Trans Edinburgh Architect Ass Vol. 3 1905, p.123.
- Bibliographic reference: Forman, S. 1967. Scottish country houses and castles. P. 68-69.
- Bibliographic reference: Adam, W. 1812. Vitruvius Scoticus: being a collection of plans, elevations, and sections of public buildings, noblemen's and gentlemen's houses in Scotland: principally from the designs of the late William Adam Esq., architect. 26??
- Bibliographic reference: Prestonpans, Hamilton House. 1959b. 'Hamilton House' [photograph], Architect Prospect 1959, p.27. 37.
- Bibliographic reference: Prestonpans, Hamilton House. 1959a. 'A corner of ''Magdalens'', Prestonpans', Architect Prospect 1959, p.27. 27.
- (1) Bibliographic reference: Prentice, R. 1976. The National Trust for Scotland guide. 96-8.
- (2) Bibliographic reference: Tranter, N. 1962-70. 'The fortified house in Scotland'. Vol.1, 32-3.
- (3) Bibliographic reference: MacGibbon and Ross, D and T. 1887-92. The castellated and domestic architecture of Scotland from the twelfth to the eighteenth centuries. Vol.2, 545-50. fig.966.
- (4) Bibliographic reference: RCAHMS. 1924. The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments and Constructions of Scotland. Eighth report with inventory of monuments and constructions in the county of East Lothian. 103-4, No.158.
- (5) Bibliographic reference: Historic Scotland. Historic Scotland Listed Building.
- (6) Bibliographic reference: East Lothian District Council. 1986. Preston Tower.