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Marriott Dalmahoy Hotel & Country Club - Kirknewton, EdinburghA former seat of the Earls of Morton, Dalmahoy House lies 1¼ miles (2 km) southeast of Ratho on the western edge of the City of Edinburgh Council Area. This fine baronial mansion was built in 1725 by architect William Adam (1689 - 1748) for George Dalrymple, Lord Dalmahoy (1680 - 1745). It was sold to James Douglas, 14th Earl Morton c. 1750. The house comprises three storeys arranged in seven bays. The east front retains its sandstone details contrasted against harled walls, but the west front was significantly altered in the 19th century. An additional wing was built in 1787 by Alexander Laing (d.1823) and an entrance porch was added to the west front in 1830 by William Burn (1789 - 1870).

It is said to be haunted by the second daughter of the 8th Earl of Morton, Lady Mary Douglas, whose portrait hangs in the hotel(1).
Known as the White Lady, her ghost is said to have been spotted wandering the hotel’s corridors and apparently haunts one room in particular – stay in Lady Mary’s Room if you dare!  However, her presence is reported to be calming.  Lady Mary Douglas married Sir Donald Macdonald, 10th of Sleat on 24 July 1662 at Perth and in 1684 he was sued as for being unfaithful. Her mother, Elizabeth Villiers, Countess Morton, had as her niece, Barbara Villiers, the mistress of King Charles II.

The house was restored and extended in 1990 as part of its conversion to a luxury hotel, golf and country club. The hotel includes a sport and leisure club, with swimming pool, sauna and gym.

The mansion is set in 405 ha (1000 acres) of wooded parkland in the shadow of the Pentland Hills. It is still owned by the present earl of Morton, but is let on a long lease.

(c) The Gazetteer for Scotland, used with permission.

It is to be assumed that the following is no longer true:

It may be mentioned that at Dalmahoy House, in the possession of the Earl of Morton, is the Bible of his ancestor the Regent Morton, supposed to be the only complete copy remaining of the original Scotch Parliamentary Bible; it is a beautifully-printed folio, ornamented with numerous emblematical devices, and, according to the notice in the title page, was published at Edinburgh by order of James VI. in 1579. Here are also preserved the keys found a few years ago, in the process of draining Lochleven, as mentioned in the article on Kinross. They are supposed, from strong circumstantial evidence, to be the identical keys thrown into the loch by George Douglas, at the time of his assisting the escape of Queen Mary; they are five in number, and held together by an iron chain, and are now in the possession of Lord Morton. The same nobleman has in the library at Dalmahoy the original warrant upon which Mary was confined in Lochleven Castle, and also a letter of Knox, the Reformer, to the lord of Lochleven, dated 31st March, 1570. The incumbency of Ratho was at one time held by William Wilkie, denominated by some biographers the "Scottish Homer."  -  From: 'Rabbit Isle - Renfrewshire', A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland (1846), pp. 399-416. URL: .

Dalmahoy Douglas crest   Douglas coat of arms
Douglas coats of arms - rear entrance Main door

1.  I am not sure that this still holds true. The Earl of Morton informed me in 2014 that all Douglas portraits had been removed from the hotel  It is likely now to be in the Dalmahoy Mansion house.



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Last modified: Friday, 17 May 2024