Calder House is a large 16th century mansion, but almost certainly incorporates earlier work.
The barony of Calder was possessed by the Douglas family until the first half of the 14th century when, upon the marriage of Eleanor Douglas, daughter of Sir Archibald Douglas, to Sir James de Sandilands. Eleanor’s brother, William Douglas, the 1st Earl of Douglas, gave the barony of Calder to Sandilands in 1348 as a wedding gift.
Much of the present Calder House dates to the mid-16th century, and is L-plan in form. The massively thick walls, up to 2.4 metres in places, suggests that this Renaissance mansion incorporates part of an earlier castle.
In the 17th century the north-west wing was extended twice, first with the addition of a new scale and platt staircase, then later with more work. Further additions were made around 1780, and around 1820 a semi-circular two storey entrance porch was added to the east side of the north-west wing. In 1880 the north-west wing was further extended to the west.
The Sandilands, who still own Calder House, were historically an influential family, and James Sandilands was Preceptor of the Knights Hospitaller of the Order of St John of Jerusalem from 1550 until the Order’s suppression in 1554. In 1564 he was created the 1st Lord Torphichen by Mary Queen of Scots, a title the family continue to hold.
Calder House has played host to numerous important figures over the centuries, including John Knox, who celebrated the first Protestant communion there in 1556, and Frédéric Chopin who stayed there on his visit to Scotland in 1848.