Nicholas Thorne's Family History Pages.

Three days in Scotland, August 2006
Auchindinny House, 2006.

Auchindinny House 2006

Front garden and drive from the house looking towards the road.

Front garden and drive

Introduction to Three Days in Scotland Cuttlehill, Fife. Craighall Castle, Perthshire Hay family tree in the form of a cartwheel. Auchindinny House Neidpath Castle, Tweeddale. Yester, Gifford and Garvald
Introduction to Three Days in Scotland Cuttlehill, Fife. Craighall Castle, Perthshire. Hay Family Tree in form of a Cartwheel. Auchindinny House Neidpath Castle, Tweeddale Yester, Gifford and Garvald.
Thursday 24th August  2006

Between the Pentland  and  the Moorfoot Hills. South of Edinburgh to the Southern Uplands in the search for the Hay's of Tweeddale and across to Yester.

My last full day in Scotland and I had plans for covering a large area geographically as well as historically. From my base at the B & B, in South Queensferry on the Forth where Charles Crosland Hay and Jeanette Wemyss must have tread in order to have crossed the water from their respective homes, I am firstly on the search for Auchindinny House near to Penicuik and the famous Rosslyn Chapel.

From the 1832 banns of marriage  I knew that while Jeanette was from Cuttlehill in Fife, and indeed this was the venue for their marriage, Charles' home at the time was given as Auchindinny House in the parish of Lasswade. On the map I found a small village of Auchendinny and so on the most beautifully sunny day of my visit, with not a cloud in the sky, I set off down the A701 out of Edinburgh with the purple topped Pentland Hills to my right.

Soon I was in the village and consulting a map that I had downloaded from the Internet. I knew that, if the house had survived, it would be after the stream, or river, and off to the left. I have to admit that after the disappointment that Cuttlehill had decayed to a few rubble foundations, I was not all that convinced that I would find the other half of the couple's residences. As I drove slowly up the road I spotted a long drive through a mature garden. I passed it, turned around and did another run the other way. My heart beat faster because through the foliage I could see the outline of a very old house.  I reversed the car and set off for the unmarked driveway turning boldly into it. Now, after my experience so far, I was sure that the Scots were a welcoming people. But a little niggle took root in my mind. This was a private property. What happens if they do not appreciate some unannounced visitor bowling up and asking if he can take photographs of their private residence? Might they call the Police, or perhaps set the dogs on me? Well again, I had come so far and I had to, at the very least, give it a try.

As I got out of my car, and went up the steps to the front door of the very fine 18th Century villa before me, some small dogs came bounding out of the open door to give a half-hearted growl. I gave a yank on the sparklingly polished brass bell pull and heard it ring somewhere in the house. Immediately a well spoken female voice, said:.

“I wonder who that could be?” and the casually dressed lady of the house, carrying her toddler grandson in her arms, came to the doorway.

I went through my spiel about my ancestor Charles Hay living in the house and pointed to the copy of the 'Extract of Old Parochial Records', that I had in my hand, as evidence to back up my story. She asked me to repeat the date and, pointing to the words and numbers in the bottom right hand corner of the document and under the seal of The General Register Office Scotland, I said: “June 1832.”

She told me that it tied in correctly. The house had been in her husband's family since it was built in between the years 1701 to 1707, except for being let out for approximately a hundred years up to the 1920's.

So Charles Crosland Hay had taken a lease on this gentleman's villa with its gardener's house and stable wing. It is where his and Jeanette's first born, Charles Selkrig Hay came into this world on the 25th April 1833 and who was destined to become, I believe, a District Judge in Ceylon. The owner of the house told me that many of the gentlemen taking a lease of the house in this time were officers in the local regiment which were then known as “The Royal Scots” the First of Foot - it has just been amalgamated in the latest defence cuts into the Royal Regiment of Scotland. I do not think that Charles Crosland Hay was in the army, but I do not know either way for sure.

The lady of the house seemed to know much about its architecture and explained that, in great-grandfather Hay's time, it would not have had the dormer windows, nor would it have had the “bathroom wing” at the back, as she referred to the 1930's extension in the centre of the rear façade. The house was an example of an early 18th century Palladian Villa designed by Sir William Bruce who lived from 1630 to 1710. It was one of his last commissions and was one of his smallest. With a smile my hostess explained that Sir William was responsible for the rather larger property, the rebuilding of  Hollyrood Palace!

I was shown the heavy stone staircase with its solid walls.

“This house was one of the first built in Scotland after they no longer needed to build fortified houses,” my hostess explained. “Thus they were still making staircases as they had in the past and had not introduced the more delicate wooden stairs, or banisters yet.”

A word on why the house name is spelt differently from the village today. The house name, it seems, is spelt with an 'i' - Auchindinny House. This is because that was the original spelling of the village name. In the 19th century, however, the village name had the 'i' replaced with an 'e' to become Auchendinny. The reason? The arrival of the railway and the printing of the timetable using the 'e' ! The owner of Auchindinny House likes to be keep to the old version.

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