Set in 260 acres of beautifully landscaped parkland overlooking the River Forth, this 17th-century laird’s house near Linlithgow has been the home of the Dalyell family for 400 years. The present house was built in 1612 by Thomas Dalyell, an Edinburgh merchant who made his fortune at the court of King James VI and I in London.
In 1944, the Dalyell family gifted the house, its contents and the parkland, along with an endowment, to the National Trust for Scotland under its Countr House Scheme, keeping the right of the family to live in the house.
Visitors are welcomed into the family home and taken round the ten rooms open to viewing by knowledgeable and enthusiastic guides.
You will find the house has a comfortable, lived-in feel even in the grandest of the rooms – the High Hall and the King’s Room. Here you can see the magnificent plaster ceilings of 1630, commissioned by Thomas Dalyell and his wife Janet Bruce for the visit of King Charles I to Scotland in 1633.
View the interesting collections of family portraits, furniture and porcelain that reveal the lives and interests of the family. You can see the huge comb that belonged to General Tom Dalyell, founder of the Royal Scots Greys (now the Royal Scots Dragon Guards), and who escaped from the Tower of London to Russia. Discover the thimble and needlework of his granddaughter Magdalen, who made a set of ‘hingings for the haille hoose’ before departing for Virginia and becoming the great-great-great-great grandmother of US President Harry Truman. Also on show are drawings belonging to Sir John Graham Dalyell, scholar and scientist who taught Darwin and supped with Sir Walter Scott, along with the moving letters of Captain James Dalyell, who was scalped by native Americans while fighting in North America for king and country.
Discover the secret passage, the 14th- century bakehouse oven and see thumbscrews that ‘Bloody Tam’ is said to have introduced into Scotland.
Outside there are 260 acres of landscaped parkland to explore. Take a walk through the woodland to the tower on the hill for a wonderful panoramic view of central Scotland and to spot the ‘ship that will never sink’- Blackness Castle.
Other features of the landscape include the old barns where General Tam is said to have billeted his troops, Sergeant’s Pond where his regiment watered their horses, and his smokehouse, tucked away on the hill facing out towards the Pentlands.
Come and see history for yourself through the lives of one family, still living in the house today.
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