Mellerstain House is largely an 18th century country house, but may incorporate the remains of an earlier castle, or may have replaced it entirely.
At the end of the 12th century the lands of Mellerstain were owned by the de Haitley family, but the property changed hands several times over the centuries, being owned by the notable Border families of Haliburton and Napier amongst others.
In 1642 Mellerstain were granted by Charles I to George Baillie of Jerviswood, who lived in a tower house on the site of the present house until his death in 1646, when the property passed to his son Robert.
Robert was involved in the Rye House Plot against Charles II, and was sentenced to death for treason in 1684. His estates were forfeited, and following his execution in Edinburgh his sone George fled to Holland. George however became an officer in the Prince of Orange’s Horse Guards, and returned to Britain in 1688 along with the future WIlliam III.
The Mellerstain estates restored to the Baillies, George Baillie commissioned WIlliam Adam in 1725 to design a new house. The old tower house was apparently demolished to make way for the new. But work on the new house stopped following George’s death in 1738, with only the flanking wings completed.
The family lived in one wing, and the servants in the other, until 1770 when George’s grandson, George Hamilton, brother of the 7th Earl of Haddington, commissioned Adam’s son, Robert Adam, to finish the house and finally join the wings to one another.
Mellerstain has remained the property of the Earls of Haddington, who use the name of Baillie-Hamilton following George Hamilton’s adoption of his grandfather’s surname.
The family seat was previously Tyninghame House, but following the death of the 12th Earl of Haddington in 1986 that was sold, and Mellerstain House became the family seat.