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The Haining estate covers approximately 900 years of history and detailed are highlights from those centuries. The Haining lies in the Ettrick Valley, at the heart of the Scottish Borders, within the Royal Burgh of Selkirk, 30 miles south of Edinburgh and just over 20 miles north of the border with England.

This is an area of outstanding beauty with a long and sometimes troubled history. It was once an extensive royal hunting reserve known as Ettrick Forest covering an area far greater than the present county, and including good fishing in the four large rivers, the Tweed, the Teviot, the Yarrow and the Ettrick.

In 12th century Scotland the Kings, like their English and continental counterparts were great hunters with many hunting grounds and residences throughout the kingdom and visited them frequently for sport and to assist effective control of government.

The ground by the estate house has been settled since at least c.1119, when, between The Haining loch and the early medieval town of Selkirk, a royal castle was erected, the ruins of which are situated at the top of Peel Hill.

The Scottish Borders saw much action during the turbulent Wars of Independence with castles frequently changing hands. William Wallace spent time in the locality.

1301 – The castle wall was rebuilt by order of Edward 1st and re-captured by the Scots in 1303. In 1334 the castle was destroyed. All that remains today is a motte and bailey within a wood.

1463 – The Haining first appeared in records as a holding of land to “Robert Scott of Haynyng” in the reign of James III. What is known is that it was a ‘forest-stede’, possibly the part previously ‘hained’ for the King. The word “Haining” is thought to mean “plantation or part of the wood reserved for the King” at a time when all lands were Crown property.

From this time for over 400 years The Haining estate developed in the successive hands of three families: the Scott’s for about 160 years; the Riddell family for about 76 years and the Pringle family for about 197 years. Each family would put its own stamp on the estate.

Around 1507 John Scott secured ‘feu-ferm’ of the land with loch, and permission to build. The size of the property at this time is unknown. The original farmhouse and steading were built west of the present house. As the estate prospered the residence was gradually enlarged to become the “White House” depicted on views and early photographs.

1625 – Lawrence Scott sold The Haining and its estate to Andrew Riddell of Riddell. The Haining, believed to be around 7000 acres was one of a number of Riddell family holdings.

Andrew Riddell who married firstly Agnes daughter of Sir George Ramsay of Dalhousie, MC 1 Feb 1667, and secondly Violet Douglas, said by Douglas’ Baronage to be a daughter of William Douglas of Pumpherston. There are quite a number of charters under the Great Seal relating to this generation. Andrew had by Agnes Ramsay an heir John, later first baronet, also James 2nd son and Walter. Andrew had, by Violet Douglas, his second wife, a favourite son called Andrew, on whom he settled Haining, which continued in this branch of the family till early last century, when it was sold to the second son of Pringle of Clifton. Andrew of Haining married a Stewart of Traquair, and dying young, his widow married secondly Sir William Douglas, ancestor of the Marquis of Queensberry. His son and successor, John Riddell of Haining, was Sheriff Principal, and M.P. for Selkirkshire, and his grand-daughter, Magdalene Riddell, who married David Erskine of Dun, after succeeding to Haining, sold it, and the marquis of Ailsa, as the heir of the Erskines, now represents the Riddell’s of Haining.

The Hon. Sir William Douglas of Kelhead, second son of the first earl of Queensberry. He was an officer in the army, and governor of Carlisle in 1647, was created a baronet of Nova Scotia, by patent dated 20th February 1668, and died before 1673. He was twice married; first, to Agnes, daughter of Fawsyde of Fawsyde, parish of Tranent, Haddingtonshire; and, secondly, to Jean Stewart, of the Traquair family, rehct of Andrew Riddell of Haining, and by the former had five sons and several daughters.

1701 – Andrew Riddell sold The Haining to Andrew Pringle of Clifton. He purchased the estate for his second son, John Pringle, who was a lawyer and later became known as Lord Haining.

1707 – The year the Treaty of Union with England was signed. Arguing over political differences, John Pringle’s younger brother Mark killed Scott of Raeburn in a duel in a field on the outskirts of Selkirk, now an area of housing known as Raeburn’s Meadow. Mark left hastily for Spain, becoming a merchant, returning only many years later.

Little is known during the 50 years of John’s management of the estate. He encountered financial difficulties and died in 1754. On his death, his eldest son Andrew, Lord Alemoor, declined The Haining as its affairs were said to be embarrassed. Andrew allowed the estate to pass by purchase to his younger brother John Pringle, a merchant made wealthy in Madeira.

1757 – The estate was extended with lines of fields, burns, tree belts and wells with the use of John Pringle’s wealth. There was a direct route from the house to the Kirk. The route is now lost but the Auld Kirk still stands in Selkirk’s Kirk Wynd. A garden was created where the stables now stand, and the burn, known as Clockie Sorrow, flowing from the loch, was partly culverted in the deep gulley next to the stable courtyard.

1792 – After John Pringle the merchant’s death, his great-nephew Mark Pringle inherited the estate and in 1794 set about building a new house: A three–storey Georgian mansion of local whinstone with the entrance to the south side of the loch.

1812 – Mark Pringle died and his eldest son John Pringle succeeded at the age of seventeen. John joined the army at the age of twenty-two as a Cornet in the 7th Dragoons. Two years later he returned home to take over the estate and later became an MP for Selkirk.

Haining and the other estates of Robert Pringle descended to his only sister, Margaret Violet Pringle, children of Mark Pringle (d1812). This lady married Archibald Douglas, Esq. of Adderston, whose family are cadets of the house of Cavers; issue, one daughter. In compliance with her brother’s settlement, she and her husband assumed the name and designation of Pringle of Haining in addition to that of Douglas. The life-rent of which is subsequently enjoyed by her daughter Mrs Pattison.

In 1819 John Pringle on returning from the Continent commissioned the architect Archibald Elliot to give Haining the appearance of an Italian villa. It became a grand affair with its north and south facades being remodelled. This included a graceful first floor balcony and pillars to the south and arcaded portico to the front.

Grecian statues overlooked the peaceful loch; new stables and a courtyard were built; a forecourt and screen; a town gate lodge; a game larder; an ice house and the west drive over Clockie Sorrow were all erected.

1823 – A large, beautiful walled garden was established on the triangle of land east of Peel Hill. Also the line of the driveway to the west lodge appears to have been altered, to run north of the house across the gully, Clockie Sorrow.

1825 – John Pringle is said to have brought a menagerie of animals back from his travels abroad including a bear, a monkey and a wolf. These animals were housed in two small caged enclosures west of the stables, still present today.

1831 – John had a sudden and tragic death aged 35 years when returning home from a fishing trip. Driving in his gig, the horse bolted at the entrance to the stable block, he fell and received a fatal head injury. A commemorative carving of the horse’s skull can still be seen today at the top of the grand archway entrance to the stables.

John’s brother Robert inherited and he too was a soldier, a Captain in the 7th Hussars and then becoming a Member for Parliament in 1834. Robert Pringle owned and bred the first Scottish line of the Dandie Dinmont Terrier Dogs at The Haining. Today, all Dandie Dinmonts can be traced through the male line to Old Ginger who was bred at The Haining in 1842. One of these two Pringle brothers was said to have been engaged to a Russian Princess. The Pringle Portraits remain in the House today.

1842 – At the age of 44 years, Robert Pringle died unmarried. Robert’s mother and aunt continued to live at The Haining until they died.

1849 – Robert Pringle’s married sister, Mrs Margaret Violet Pringle–Douglas, inherited the mansion and lived there. Her only daughter, Anne Elizabeth Pringle-Douglas, in the same year married a John Pattison and lived in Melrose. The Douglas name was dropped and subsequently her family became known as Pringle–Pattison.

1868 – Margaret died and Mrs Anne Elizabeth Pringle-Pattison and her husband lived at The Haining.

1871 – Anne Elizabeth had no children and at the age of 45 years she made her will leaving The Haining and its estate to her husband’s cousin Andrew Seth on condition that he take on her family name. They were a family she liked and knew well.

1898 – Anne Elizabeth Pringle-Pattison died leaving The Haining to Andrew Seth, then Professor of Logic and Metaphysics at Edinburgh University. He honoured the name change condition and became known as Professor Andrew Seth Pringle-Pattison. Andrew brought his wife Eva and young family of six children to live in the house – Marjorie, Norman, Ernest, Elinor, Harry and Ronald.

There had not been any young children at The Haining for nearly 100 years since the early 1800’s when John, Robert and Margaret Pringle were raised there. This was the period when The Haining flourished into a much loved family home, with the children growing up and enjoying the freedom of the house, its estate and loch.

The White House remained the servant’s quarters and housed the kitchens. There was much entertaining of guests and fond memories of family picnics.

1914-1918 – The Great War. Professor Andrew Seth Pringle-Pattison’s four sons served. Norman returned safely. Ernest was a Doctor. Harry gained an MC and was wounded with a bullet through the throat. Ronald was killed in battle in 1916, aged 19 years.

1931 – Andrew Seth Pringle-Pattison died, his wife Eva having died six years earlier. His eldest son Norman inherited and sold the house and estate in 1939.

1939-1945 – Second World War. The house and the estate were requisitioned by the Army. The Welsh Fusiliers were stationed at Haining until 1941 and then the Polish Free Army until 1945. The house underwent considerable internal structural changes and around 1943, sadly, the White House burnt down.

1945–1959 Throughout this period the house had three private owners. In 1959, Haining and its estate was bought by Andrew Nimmo-Smith, grandson of Professor Andrew Seth Pringle-Pattison. He was one of nine grandchildren and his mother was Elinor Pringle-Pattison.

Elinor married Francis Clement Nimmo-Smith and her portrait remains in the House today. Between 1970 and 1980, Andrew Nimmo-Smith maintained the house, converted the stable block into holiday lets and undertook extensive woodland management.

Andrew Nimmo-Smith lived in the house until his death in 2009, when he left The Haining, including 60 acres, “for the benefit of the community of Selkirkshire and the wider public”. Ownership of the house passed to The Haining Charitable Trust.

Pringle Home Douglas, who was born 18 Sept. 1784, may have been instrumental in establishing a tile works in Haining, near Selkirk, which was an early manufacturer of tile used for drainage.

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Last modified: Tuesday, 01 February 2022