A couple of weeks ago we decided to take ourselves off for a visit to Newhailes, a National Trust for Scotland property near Musselburgh and not far from Edinburgh. Have a look at the Undiscovered Scotland website here.
We were told not to take any photos of the interior, something that I know the National Trust high ‘heidyins’ are now allowing in all their properties, but this house only has small guided tours and the guide was having a nightmare with a couple of the other visitors so I decided not to argue the point. You can see some of the interiors when you click on the link above.
The house has been conserved and preserved rather than buffed up to look as it would have looked when newly built. It gives it a more lived in feeling rather than the sort of stage set look that you often get when viewing these old buildings.
The original owner of the house designed it himself, he was the architect James Smith and he bought the land in 1686, but over the years the house has been added on to. James Smith had originally intended to become a Roman Catholic priest and studied in Rome but he gave up to become an architect. He ended up marrying twice and fathering 32 children, so I think it’s fair to say that he must have realised just in time that he was not cut out to be a priest!
The house is copiously decorated with shells, particularly scallop shells which are of course the emblem of Saint James (no I’m not a Catholic, it’s just one of those things that I thought everyone knew) but I had to tell the guide about that and I’m not sure she believed me. Anyway, it made me laugh to think that James Smith had purloined the saint’s emblem for his own use.
If you’re in that area Newhailes is definitely worth a visit.
The word heidyins does of course mean – those in charge.