Penicuik House

Penicuik House (alternative spellings: Penycuik, Pennycuik) survives as the shell of a formerly grand estate house in Penicuik, Midlothian, Scotland. The 18th-century palladian mansion (at NT2172659208) was built on the site of an earlier house by Sir James Clerk, 3rd Baronet. It was destroyed by fire in 1899 and a major restoration was completed in 2014 by G Brown Stonemasons.

Penicuik House restoration, 2011
Penicuik House, 2014

Old Penicuik House and New Penicuik House (the former stables block in which the Clerk family were living even before the fire) are both designated Category A listed buildings by Historic Environment Scotland.[1][2]


The merchant John Clerk returned to Scotland from France in 1646 and purchased the estate and barony of Penicuik, the "Penicuik Policies", including the older Newbiggin House, which he extended and improved. The estate became the residence and title of his descendants.[3][4]

Penicuik House was built in 1761 by Sir James Clerk, the 4th Laird of Penicuik and 3rd Baronet. Clerk had travelled widely, especially in Italy, and had studied Italian architecture. Now a roofless shell, it is constructed of ashlar, it has a central hexastyle portico with two-way stair, piano nobile, basement and Palladian windows. The interior was gutted by fire in 1899, but formerly had many fine rooms. The house was a great meeting point for figures of the Scottish Enlightenment, who came to view its collection of paintings, including a noted ceiling painting of Ossian's Hall, by Alexander Runciman.

Replica of Arthur's O'onEdit

Penicuik House stable block, with domed dovecote; a replica of Arthur's O'on.

The deliberate destruction of Arthur's O'on so appalled Sir James Clerk, that in 1760 he decided to have a dovecote built, as an exact replica of the temple, on his stable block at Penicuik House.[2]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Historic Environment Scotland. "OLD PENICUIK HOUSE (Category A Listed Building) (LB14634)". Retrieved 1 January 2019.
  2. ^ a b Historic Environment Scotland. "NEW PENICUIK HOUSE (FORMERLY STABLES) (Category A Listed Building) (LB14635)". Retrieved 1 January 2019.
  3. ^ Burke, John (1832). A General and heraldic dictionary of the peerage and baronetage of the British Empire. Vol. I. H. Colburn and R. Bentley. p. 257.
  4. ^ "The Clerk Family". Penicuik House Project. Penicuik House Preservation Trust. Archived from the original on 31 August 2009.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 55°49′11″N 3°15′03″W / 55.8197°N 3.2508°W / 55.8197; -3.2508