A landscape of ideas

It was Sir John (2nd Baronet) and his son Sir James (3rd Baronet) who provided the vision for the 18 built structures within the Designed Landscape, as well as configuring a series of delightful walks and routes within the Estate for their own and their visitors’ enjoyment and entertainment.

Starting with the Roman Bridge in 1737, followed by the Hurley Cave, Knights Law Tower, the Chinese Gates and the Ramsay Monument, the fascinating stories behind the built structures reveal as much about the social and cultural position of Scotland and the Scottish Enlightenment, as they do about Sir John, Sir James and their shared passion for the enhancement of their natural environment.

Knight’s Law Tower was built between 1748 and 1751

Knight’s Law Tower was built between 1748 and 1751

Later structures were added, continuing this passion down through the generations, and include a number of bridges as well as the Spear Lodge and Gates which were completed in 1874. Today, many of the built structures require expert conservation and restoration work to return them to their original state, make them safe for visitors to explore, and to open up the walks and vistas which form such an important part of Sir John’s and Sir James’s design and vision.

The built structures

Roman Bridge (1737-1741)
Hurley Cave and Ponds (1740-1748)
Knight’s Law Tower (1748-1751)
Scobie Well (1748)
Chinese Gates (1758)
Ramsay Monument (1759)
Walled Garden and Garden House at Eskfield (1763)
Eskfield Bridge (1796)
Spear Gates and Lodge (1874)

In addition, the Saw Mill, Bastion Wall, Ravensneuk Castle, Ice House, the Curling Hut by the Black Pools or Low Tower, the Bothy, Chinese Bridge and the Water Willie Fountain and Well provide focal points within the Designed Landscape. The 18th built structure, the Clerk Mausoleum, is not situated on the Estate itself, but within the churchyard of St Mungo’s, the Parish Church in Penicuik.