The old castle of Dawyck, of which nothing now remains, stood on the site of what is now the 19th century mansion of Dawyck House.
The earliest reference to Dawyck comes around 1200, when a transaction was witnessed by, amongst others, “Gylmor hund apud Dauwic” (Gillemuire Hund at Dawyck) and “Mihhyn senescallus de Dauwic” (Mihhyn steward of Dawyck).
Dawyck, or Dawic, Castle is thought to have been built in the 13th century by the Veitch family. A William le Vache signed the Ragman Rolls in 1296, and while he is not specifically named as “of Dawyck”, Veitch family tradition has it that Dawyck was his seat.
The first Veitch to be designated as “of Dawyck” seems to be William’s grandson, Barnabas le Vache de Dawyk, who was born at Dawyck in 1370 and died there in 1436.
During the 16th and 17th centuries the Veitch family had a feud with their neighbours the Tweedie family of Drumelzier.
Dawyck was one of a series of towers along the Tweed valley, each of which was visible from the next. Elibank would signal to Holylee, Holylee to Scrogbank, Scrogbank to Caberston, Caberston to Bold, Bold to Purvishill and then on to a continuing chain from Innerleithen to the north-west.
The signal would then pass along to Traquair, Grieston, Ormiston, Cardrona, Nether Horsburgh, Horsbrugh, Haystoun, Peebles and on to Neidpath. From Neidpath it would continue to Caverhill, Barns, Lyne, Easter Happrew, Easter Dawyck, Hillhouse, Dawyck, Dreva and on to Tinnis.
The Veitch family owned Dawyck until 1691, when John Veitch of Dawyck, heavily in debt at the time, was forced to sell the castle and barony of Dawyck to Sir James Nasmyth, a lawyer who became known as the “De’il o’ Dawick”. Sir James was related to the Veitch family, being the great-grandson of Thomas Nasmyth and Joana Veitch who had married in 1569.
The Nasmyth family seem to have later renamed the property New Posso during the 18th century.
The castle was demolished in 1830, and between 1832 and 1837 a new Elizabethan style mansion was built on the same site for Sir John Murray Nasmyth of Posso, 4th Bt., to a design by William Burn.
In 1897 the Balfour family acquired the Dawyck estate, and Mrs Alexander Balfour commissioned the architect John Archibald Campbell to build Baronial additions in the same year. In 1909 she commissioned Sir Robert Lorimer to add extensions to the house.
The Balfour family donated the gardens of Dawyck House to the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh in 1978, and they are now open to the public.
Alternative names for Dawyck
Daick; Daik; Dalwick House; Dauwic; Dawic; Dawick; Dawik; Dawyck Castle; Dawyck House; Dawyk; New Posso; Old Castle of Dawick; West Dawyck; Wester Dawic