A Baronial Mansion, probably by Wm. Ayton, 1625 with c1700 extensions and later 19th century additions.
The building which has three storeys with an attic and garret is built in an L shaped plan. The main building runs north to south and the wing runs west from the main building at the north end. This creates two re-entrant angles. The semi-octagonal turnpike stair tower in the south west corner is corbelled out to a square at the attic floor level; it has a flat roof with a renaissance balustrade. At the north east angle of the main building there is a circular tower. This tower has a small chamber, near the entrance of which a mural stair rises to the first floor. Angle-turrets are corbelled out at different levels at the south east and south west corners. A number of gun loops are provided in the turrets.
The pedimented dormer window heads bear initials for John Couper, the elder, and HS for his wife, Helen Skene of the Skenes of Hallyards. Beneath one monogram on the south of the building is the date 1625.Castle Gogar ©
In the main block at ground level are two interconnecting vaulted chambers; the basement of the wing is also vaulted. The first floor, which was originally the main hall, is now a modernised living area, which contains a bow-ended drawing room. Some of the panels are of Memel pine and there are romantic landscapes painted in oils on other panels.Castle Gogar Gates ©
The gates are of ornate wrought iron and were brought from Caroline Park at Granton. The upper panels are foliated thistles supported by scrollwork.
The gate piers have small urn finials of the early 18th century.
It has been called the most baronial of Edinburgh’s late 16th and early 17th century mansions and was originally called Gogar House.
The current occupier is Lady Steel Maitland, in whose family the mansion has been retained for over 200 years.
Index drawn up about 1629, of Records of Charters granted by different Sovereigns of Scotland between 1309 and 1413
By KING ROBERT I (‘The Bruce’) (1274-1329)
Carta to Alexander Seton, the lands of Gogar, in vic. De Edinburgh.
Carta to Alexander Seytoun, of the lands of Gogar,
By ROBERT DUKE of ALBANY (Created in 1398 for Robert Stewart third son of Robert II).
Carta Con. of a charter by Walter de Haliburtoun of Dirleton, to George de Haliburtoun his brother, of the lands and miln of Gogare. The original charter is dated at Dryltoun, 8th June 1409; witneffes, George de Dunbarr Earl of Marche, Henry de Sancto Claro Earl of Orknnay, William de Lyndefay, William de Sancto Claro, Robert de Lawedre, Walter de Haliburtoun, Alexander de Haliburtoun, John de Haliburtoun, William Bonvile, William de Cranyftoun, and William de Hafwell.
In 1409, Walter de Haliburton of Dirleton disponed the lands and miln of Gogar to his brother, George de Haliburton, and his title was confirmed by a charter of Robert Duke of Albany on 11th May 1411.
Payment was made in 1501 for ward of Gogar Castle, which indicates a building here prior to the one constructed by Couper.
In 1516, Robert Logan of Restalrig held the lands of Gogar, and they are since described as part of the Barony of Restalrig. The Logans continued as proprietors of part of the lands until the beginning of the seventeenth century, when Robert Logan of Restalrig, who was implicated in the Gowry conspiracy, sold them to Alan Cowper, one of the clerks of Session, whose title to them was ratified by Parliament on 17th February 1601.
In 1520 Alexander Forrester of Corstorphine feud the west half of the Templelands to John Ochiltree in Gogar. In the rental of the Lordship and Preceptory of Torphichen 1539-62 there is an entry for “Thomas Ochiltries land in corstorphin vjd”.
Sixteen Oxgangs of the lands of Gogar belonged formerly to a family of the name of Balfour and were sold by them in 1555 to a wealthy churchman, Robert Richardson, vicar of Eckford in Roxburghshire and afterwards Lord High Treasurer of Scotland and Master of the Mint. On his death, in 1571, his son Sir James Richardson of Smeaton, succeeded to his part of Gogar and his son, James Richardson, sold it to Adam Cowper on 19th June 1604, who by this purchase acquired the whole barony of Gogar.Castle Gogar ©
The next proprietor was his son John Cowper who built the existing mansion-house of the estate in 1625 and 1626, as appears from the initials of himself and his wife, J.C. and H.S. which are carved above these dates on the front of the house. He was created a Baronet of Nova Scotia in 1638 and killed when an explosion of gunpowder, on 30th August 1640 destroyed Dunglas Castle. His son, John Cowper, erected a monument to his memory in the old Churchyard of Edinburgh on which there is the following inscription “Joanni Cupero Gogarae Comarcho, ptri suo charissimo ejusdem nominis filius moerens merenti poni curavit vixit annos 46.Obiit cum multis aliis viris generosis de ecclesia nostra optime meritis, apud Dunglas.”
Sir John Cowper the younger, his successor, took an active part in public affairs and served on the Committee of War for Edinburgh during the English Civil War period. Later he became a Commissioner of Excise, a Justice of the Peace and a Commissioner for Midlothian in Parliament. In 1681, he reminded the authorities that he had been appointed a Major of Militia under the Duke of Lauderdale in 1668 but he was no longer able to carry out his duties due to age and infirmity. He had joined James Lord Forrester in his opposition to Cromwell and, in consequence, his rents were sequestrated. Sir John Cowper executed an entail of the lands of Gogar, in favour of his daughter Mary and her husband Thomas Chalmers, in 1685; however, the Court of Session reduced this at the instance of his creditors in 1697. On his death he was buried at the old chapel of Gogar.
In 1690, Peter Innes was appointed factor when the estate's financial affairs declined. To this man's credit he took care of the fabric of the building. Peter Simpson, slater attended the roof; Charles Gowan, mason in Corstorphine, repaired the chimney heads in 1695. He used 200 double flooring nails for scaffolding as well as 50 single garrons, (lengths of square timber). James Lonnie was his labourer and John Clerkson, Robert Ronald and James Charitie his assistant masons.
Innes let the property to Sir William Hope of Kirkliston; he paid cash as well as kain and butter. The tenants were made to honour their obligations in money, kind and service. John Allen had to do forty days threshing and dighting the third and teind of Gogar Mains and March Hall. Janet Barron, in addition to rent, paid her share of the stipend of the minister of Corstorphine, based on the crop for the year 1694.
William Letham, the smith, received divots and timbers to repair his barn and smiddy. Edward Yorston sent beir to Archibald Campbell, brewer in the Canongate of Edinburgh. David Wilkie in Ratho Byres provided the estate with half a pound of wax, while George Young in the Goyle was responsible for supplying a stone of butter.
In a letter to Innes written in 1700 after the sale of Gogar in which Chalmers was still having money troubles, he spoke of his landlady giving him a “bellum” because he had not paid for his chambers. He could not pay her until Myrton paid him for the property.
The estate was sold at a judicial sale in 1699, to Andrew Myreton, a wealthy merchant, who had previously acquired the adjoining lands of Leny, in Cramond parish, and afterwards purchased East and West Craigs, and Meadowfield, part of the barony of Corstorphine, and erected the whole into the Barony of Gogar in 1701. In the same year he was created a Baronet of Nova Scotia. He gave a silver communion cup to Corstorphine Church in 1719, it bears the inscription: - “This cup is the New Testament in my blood shead for the sins of many drink ye all of it.” He died in 1720, and was buried in Gogar Chapel,
REGISTERED ENTAILS In Scotland 1685 to 1784
No. Vol. Fol. Date of Tailzie
163 5 300 6 Aug 1720 MYRETOUN (Sir Andrew) of Gogar - Lands and barony of Gogar, and others.
His son, Sir Robert Myrton, b 1704 enclosed the estates.
Sir Robert, in 1744 to his disadvantage, excambed the Barony of Leny for the lands of Rathobyres owned by Charles Hope Weir of Craigiehall. This exchange is said to have been agreed on Christmas Day at Craigiehall when Sir Robert, who was visiting and was a known toper, was plied with burgundy and champagne to the detriment of his business judgement. He died at Gogar in December 1774, and is buried in the church there.
His only surviving daughter, Frances, was married to Sir William Augustus Cunyngham of Livingston, Bart. and their second son David Cunyngham, after his grandfather's death, inherited the estate (this was to avoid the first son having both Livingston and Gogar). David and his father took the settlement to the Court of Session which found in favour of David. To make the position absolutely sure Sir William had the decree confirmed by the House of Lords in 1777.
Sir William was the first master of the Linlithgow and Stirlingshire Hunt, 1775.
Myrton left debts and Cunyngham weakened his financial position by improving the estate and buying more land. Consequently Gogar was put to roup in 1786 with a price of £42,000 sterling.
A survey to assess the value of the estate, listed the tenants and properties: -
Rentals: - money payments, 111 hens, 57 carts of coal, making a gross rental of £1405 19s. 2d. From this there were deductions for the minister’s stipend, the feu duty on Gogar Glebe, teind duties to the City of Edinburgh and the schoolmaster’s salary so that the net rental was £1344 1s. 2d. The farmhouses were not considered to be in good condition. The mansion house though satisfactory was old fashioned and the pigeon house ruinous. Most of the land could be worked with two horses in a plough and a single horse in a cart. There were four residing tenants who kept their farms in satisfactory cultivation. They brought a great deal of dung from Edinburgh but used little lime.
The surveyors thought the expected price too high but attracting people looking for residential property might obtain it.
In 1789 William Ramsey of Barnton, an Edinburgh banker, and a director of the Royal Bank of Scotland bought Gogar for £37,000.
Notes from The Royal Bank show William Ramsay was an ordinary director of the Royal Bank of Scotland from 1781-1822 and a William Ramsay [sic] of Barnton was an extraordinary director 1806-1808 and 1834-1843.
Prior to the sale of Gogar to Mr Ramsay, Sir Grey Cowper, Bart. M.P., the heir-male of the family of Cowper of Gogar made an offer for it, which was refused.
Sir John Gibsone, Bart. of Pentland and his wife Henrietta Watson were living at Gogar Castle having leased it in 1775. Sir John died in 1781. Lady Gibsone gave up the tenancy in 1791.
In April 1792 Mrs Ramsay and her son, George, later known for his hunting and coaching exploits, went out to look over Gogar house and were “pleased with the grandeur and substantial appearance of the Place”. Later in that year William observed that “the beauty and value” of Gogar far exceeded his expectations. In 1791 George married Miss Jean Hamilton of Wishaw and between 1793 and 1804, their children were born at Gogar. William’s brother Peter died at Gogar and is buried in the churchyard.
In 1806 on Christmas Day William recorded that the storm on Christmas Eve had done great damage to Gogar House from which the family had made a “providential escape” by coming straight to Edinburgh to lodge the night in a Hotel.
In 1809, about 92 acres of the estate of Gogar were sold to three separate feuers at the rate of 200 guineas per acre, and these feus constituted the three villas of Gogar Park, Gogar Burn and Hanley.
Mrs Susan Maitland, eldest daughter of George Ramsay of Barnton, wife of Alexander Gibson Maitland the younger, of Clifton Hall, gave birth to a son at Gogar House on 20th October 1826.
George Dunlop jnr., (30) Factor.
William Dundas Advocate Depute, Chief Registrar of Scotland, Keeper of the Register of Entails,
Mary his wife,
Hon Elizabeth Dundas (84),
In 1860 Charles H. Ramsay of Barnton let the property to George Dunlop
George Dunlop (48) Solicitor, Edinburgh,
In1867 Sir Alex Gibson Maitland Bart of Barnton let it to a G. Dunlop.
In1870 Sir Alex Gibson Maitland Bart of Barnton let it to a James Skelton
James Skelton (71), W.S.
Georgina S. Mitchell (10) granddaughter.
James Skelton (81) W.S.
Georgina Mitchell (20) granddaughter
James Skelton (12) grandson.