Edmonstone Estate

Arrow finials on the curved wrought-iron gates at the south entrance on the A7 Old Dalkeith Road.


4 January 2012

Little France, Edinburgh

NT 29777 69488; 55.91331°N, 3.12501°W


The former estate of Edmonstone lies between the new Royal Infirmary at Little France to the northwest and the village of Danderhall to the east and is just within Edinburgh’s boundary with the county of Midlothian. In the 13th century the estate belonged to the Edmonstone family, a cadet branch of the House of Seton. From the 1620s it was owned by the Raith family and it subsequently passed by marriage into the hands of the Wauchopes.

There was originally a castle, upon whose site a mansion was built. The latter appears in maps as early as 1682. Parts of the house were rebuilt following damage by fires on two separate occasions: once around 1800 and again in 1830. The mansion was demolished in the 1950s, with only ruins of the adjoining stable block now remaining. Other surviving structures include an ice house next to the stable block, a walled garden, ha-has and boundary walls, and gateways and lodges to the south and east. The lodge at the east entrance, on The Wisp, is a private residence and that at the south entrance, on the A7 Old Dalkeith Road, a vandalised ruin.

Edmonstone Estate forms part of Edinburgh’s Green Belt. It has nonetheless been the subject of various planning applications over the years. EDI — a development company owned by Edinburgh City Council — purchased 150 acres of land from the Don-Wauchope family in a £20m deal in April 2004. At the time, grand plans were unveiled for a giant woodland park with paths and cycle routes. Initial public access to the new recreational open space was to have been provided by the end of 2005.

By the end of 2004 developers Boskabelle had lodged a planning application to build a £30m 80-bed private hospital at the site of the former mansion. Existing structures were to be renovated and incorporated into the design and existing woodland and parkland were to be managed and landscaped for public recreational use. In January 2009 further plans were submitted for a care home in the Walled Garden and a self-contained 170-home ‘care village’ next to the proposed hospital. And in May 2011 it was announced that Isle of Man-based developers Baywater IOM had different ideas for the estate and intended to seek planning consent for a supermarket, a hotel and 200 homes — in a ‘bid to kickstart’ regeneration of the Little France area.

Gardens and designed landscapes surveys – Edmonstone survey (Edinburgh City Council);
City maps out plan for vast £20m park (The Scotsman, 22 April 2004);
New hospital plan for ERI medical zone (The Scotsman, 24 December 2004);
Planners back ‘care village’ on green belt land near ERI (The Scotsman, 10 January 2009);
Bid to kickstart estate plans may stir up local resistance (The Scotsman, 12 May 2011)

Sandstone quadrants and gate piers at the south entrance

545 Old Dalkeith Road

Fluted frieze with rosette, south gate pier

Walled Garden. The garden featured heated walls. After the mansion was demolished in the 1950s, the walled garden served for a time as a market garden.

View from the Walled Garden of the new Royal Infirmary at Little France. The £190m purpose-built facility opened in 2003 when the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh moved out from its Victorian premises in the city centre.

Ruins of the Stable Block next to the site of the mansion

Stable Block

Stable Block


15 thoughts on “Edmonstone Estate

  1. What fantastic photos, Graham. I love seeing this architecture and it’s perfect in black and white. And you just gave me an idea. 🙂 I’m staying near a town that has some older architecture, but I just don’t feel it, but maybe if I shoot it in black and white? 🙂 Great post! 🙂

  2. Hola graham, estas historias me encantan, y cuando vienen con fotos tan hermosas y explicativas como éstas, mucho mejor. Qué bueno todo!!!!!. Como siempre un millón de gracias!!!!!!

  3. Have just read in the Edinburgh Evening news that this whole area has been earmarked for over 100 new houses and this history will soon be gone. Please object to Edinburgh city council to stop more greenbelt land being lost.

    • you have my vote im up there all the time i love the country side was there today with my metal detector dont worry i always leav it the way i found it found some nice verry old coins on that land date fromm 1100 ad so there is a lot of histery there it would be a shame to ruin it by building houses on it as for the wild life where would the dear go if we build more on it leav it alone we should fite to keep it that way the council just dont care as long as thay make money from it

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