Old Linthill is a tower house dating back to the first half of the 17th century.
Originally known as Linthill or Linthill House, but later renamed to distinguish it from the newer farm to the west, Old Linthill was built on an L-plan. The main wing runs approximately south-west to north-east and consists of three stories plus an attic within a steep roof.
Projecting approximately to the north-west from the north end of the larger wing is a shorter wing, also three storeys and an attic in height.
Within the re-entrant angle is a square stair tower, rising a storey higher than the wings between which it nestles, with the original entrance via a doorway at ground level.
At some point in history the main entrance was moved to the centre of the long south wall, at first floor level and reached via a short flight of stone steps.
Exactly when Linthill was built is unclear, however there is a mention of a William Home of Linthill in the Records of Parliament from 1643, and certainly the first half of the 17th century matches well with the style of the tower house.
Linthill has long been associated with the Hume or Home family. Following the marriage of Reverend Ninian Hume of Billie and Margaret Hume, daughter of Sir George Hume of Wedderburn in 1726, they made Linthill their home. They had nine children together and were served by a butler, Norman Ross.
Following Ninian’s death in 1744, Lady Billie, as Margaret Hume was known, continued to live at Linthill, and continued to be served by Norman Ross. Lady Billie travelled around the estate, personally collecting rents from the tenants, and kept the money in a locked box under her bed, with the bedroom door secured with a strong lock.
On the 12th of August 1751, Ross hid in Lady Billie’s bedroom, and under the cover of darkness attempted to silently retrieve the keys to the box. However Lady Billie awoke, and in the ensuing struggle Ross killed her with a knife.
Ross escaped by jumping from a window, breaking his leg in the process, and following a manhunt he was captured and sent to Edinburgh for trial, where he was found guilty on the 18th of November 1751. His execution is notable for being the last to occur under the Old Scots Criminal Code, where the guilty party’s right hand was cut off prior to hanging.
One of Ninian and Margaret’s children, Patrick, inherited Linthill, but following a Grand Tour in Europe apparently thought Linthill to be too basic accommodation for a European gentleman, and set about building himself Paxton House as somewhere more fitting. However he seems to have lost interest in Paxton House, and in 1766 he inherited Wedderburn Castle, and switched his attention to there.
Today Linthill is still owned by the Homes of Wedderburn, and is now rented out as self-catering holiday accommodation.