Spott House today has the appearance of a 19th century mansion, however it is built on top of a much earlier castle.
The first mention of the Spott estate is in 1296, when Elias de Spot signed the Ragman Rolls. Whether or not a castle existed at this time is unclear, however there would have been a building of some form, and it wouldn’t be a great leap to suggest that it was defendable. The estate was later owned by the Humes, Douglases, Murrays, and Hays. A Robert Hay was the last of the Hays to own Spott House, and in 1836 it was sold to a James Sprott. It remained in the Sprott family until 1947.
Spott House may have been visited by James VI in 1595, and there are traditions relating to the Battle of Dunbar in 1650, which was fought to the north-east of Doon Hill. The Scottish general, Sir David Leslie, is said to have spent the night before the battle at Spott House while his troops were encamped on Doon Hill. Another legend has it that Oliver Cromwell spent the night at Spott following his victory.
The earliest part of Spott House can be found in the basement of the south wing, where massively-thick walls hint at what once stood there. Rising a further three storeys and attic is the south block, which is said to be a tower house dating back to 1640. The adjoining north block features chamfers around the windows, and a turnpike stair at its centre, which both also indicate a 17th century date.
Spott House stands on red sandstone bedrock on a spur extending from the south-west of Doon Hill, and is naturally moated by a fork in the Spott Burn. This moat was crossed by a drawbridge which led to the entrance on the west side, although it was later culverted and the burn runs under an arch measuring 2.4m high.
In 1830 Spott House was remodelled by William Burn, and while many older details remain, the look of the house was altered greatly to suit the taste of the times. The main entrance was made grander with the addition of a Jacobean-style surround, crow-stepped gables were added to the roofs, and the interior underwent an extensive redesign.
Spott House was completely restored some time after 2000, and now forms the centrepiece of an extensive private country estate.
Alternative names for Spott House
Where is Spott House?
Spott House is in the parish of Spott and the county of East Lothian.
Grid reference:NT 67906 75287
Lat / long:55.969576,-2.515609