Ashgrove House

Bay window, looking out to sundial plinth


3 April 2012

Loanhead, Midlothian

NT 27852 66410; 55.88539°N, 3.15497°W


Ashgrove House is a Category C(S) listed building on the edge of Loanhead next to its boundary with Straiton, part of the city of Edinburgh. The now derelict estate was last sold in 2007 for £1.5m and is at the heart of an area of former green-belt land now the subject of planning applications for housing development.

Originally known as Mayshade House — named after the hawthorn trees on the estate — the classical villa was built in 1753 by Edinburgh master mason John Baxter as his own home. Baxter worked with architect William Adam and collaborated with him on the building of Mavisbank House, Baxter’s first major construction project. Mayshade House underwent substantial modification in the 19th century. In the 1950s the estate was a piggery, but by 1968 many of the piggery buildings had been demolished.

In July 2009 Edinburgh-based developers Straiton Park Ltd submitted plans for residential and commercial development of 27 hectares of land centred on Ashgrove House. Midlothian Council granted consent in March 2010 with conditions, including the construction of a long-desired relief road providing access to Edgefield Industrial Estate in order to divert heavy goods traffic away from Loanhead’s residential areas.

However, Straiton Park argues that owing to current market conditions the original plans are no longer viable. It now wants to build more houses instead of creating the commercial park previously planned for land taken out of the green belt specifically for the purpose of employment-producing business development. In June 2011 it lodged an application — currently under consideration — for Planning Permission in Principle for the change of use of the area in question.

Ashgrove House, Cottage, Sundial, Boundary Wall and Gate Piers (British Listed Buildings)

Square stone gate pier at the entrance to the grounds. The 1970s housing estate Mayshade Road can be seen in the background through the trees

Entranceway gate pier

Earlier bothy remodelled as a cottage (1753) with the house in the background

Southeast elevation with full-height bay window and main entrance to the left through the later glasshouse. The carved round plinth (c. 1755) in the foreground is for a sundial. This is a separately listed structure, but the metal sundial itself is missing.

Garden folly



Sundial plinth, c. 1755

Sundial plinth, c. 1755


Decorative tile




Roof of glasshouse extension to southwest

Ornate cornice and Paisley-pattern ceiling

33 thoughts on “Ashgrove House

  1. I have vague memories of you and me being at a garden fete there in the late 1960s or very early 70s. Flora and Freda Hunter were the daughters of the owners at the time and were a few years above me at school.


    • I seem to remember a group photo of those attending being published in the paper at the time. Even after all that time, the place had a vague familiarity. The thing that struck the clearest memory for me was the big monkey puzzle tree next to the house. Shame to see the place in decay.


    • Thanks Lance. I’m glad I managed to capture something of the emotions that being there provoked. This was the only time I’ve been there since once visiting the place many, many years ago.


  2. I clicked on the link, and checked out the birds eye view. The estate is massive.

    You did this place justice by preserving the history with your photo’s, and description.


  3. hi I am Flora Hunter the ex owner of Ashgrove Estate. It’s sad to see the place in such a state. When I sold it in 2007 all it needed was new wiring other than that it was perfectly habitable. My father jept it up to date with double glazing and central heating installed!


    • Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Flora. I can imagine how sad it must be for you to see the place now in such a state. My sister and I have dim memories of attending a fete there in the 1970s when we lived in Loanhead.


    • Hi Flora, I have just today 18/05/13 stumbled across Ashgrove House and was taken about how beautiful the place feels. At the same momet, I was horrified to see it in such a miserable state and I cannot help but think this quiet place of nature must be preserved for the wild life and for the memory of Ashgrove.


    • Morning Flora

      It’s been such a long time, I knew of you and your late sister, your lovely Mum was my English and guidance teacher at Lasswade High. I also lived in the cottage for a while, I was the one your Dad called on when your Mum passed, so I have many, many, many happy, good memories of the estate and walking my two dogs there, bless your Mum, she said Fred, Jacqueline loves animals and I’d love her in the cottage and that was that!
      I’m sad to see these images, I’m sure the house could easily have been saved, the cottage too, but it was always the land and houses, houses, houses!
      I hope wherever you are you have found peace and happiness, I left Loanhead 9 years ago but still keep in touch and have a look around at what’s happening. The houses on the old Loanhead Hospital site are different and it’s a shame that a development of that quality didn’t go into the estate.

      All the best


      • many thanks for sharing your memories Jacky. When Dad passed I couldn’t afford to renovate Ashgrove and had no choice to sell up but if I had known that those developers would demolish the house and cottage in the end I wouldn’t have sold to them I would’ve hung on for a different buyer. My cleaners who are a husband and wife team who live in Loanhead now said at one point that there was talk of the Green Party starting an investigation into why the two properties which were both listed buildings had got the go ahead for demolition and also how come all the wonderful old trees which were subject to tree preservation orders were cut down. Personally I was more horrified at the loss of the trees than the houses. I don’t think I’m the only one that smells a rat and suspects some skulduggery and backhanders going on? I left Loanhead at 18 and have lived in the same house in Marchmont Edinburgh for more than 40 years. If you ever want to chat you can find me on facebook.
        best wishes, Flora


  4. So sad I was there with my mother Flora when her father passed away I’m so sad to see it like this now. It was full of magical things when I was there. 😦


  5. the garden fete that everybody remembers was in the 1960’s. The structure called a “folly” in the photos was designed and built by my father in the 1990’s following a visit to China. It’s a Chinese style gate and there used to be two marble dogs of Fo stood on either side of it and through the gate was a terracotta warrior imported like the dogs of fo from China by my father Alfred Charles Hunter. As a point of interest the estate was bought by my mother for £6000 in 1958


      • Just in case they come here looking for a trip down memory lane I would very much like to get in touch with childhood friends Gillian Fortune Alison Gibson and Audrey Gordon friends from the 60’s and 70’s. I am easily found on facebook


  6. There has been a major fire at Ashgrove House. The local newspaper the Midlothian Advertizer reports 40 firefighters fighting a huge blaze. I believe the roof has gone. Has anyone here seen the damage?


  7. Been walking my dog there for a couple of years now, disgusted that all the trees are coming down and today the house and cottage where demolished. It was just a hinderance to there plans for unaffordable housing estate from Cala homes. Shame for the huge variety of bird species, deer etc but that’s PROGRESS!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I am horrified that Ashgrove has been demolished 😦 buildings of architectural interest and historical interest just wasted to make way for homes of no architectural merit. How have they got away with this! The buildings were listed and there were tree preservation orders in place so I thought the old place was safe. If I had known they were going to ruin a magnificent place I would never have sold it to them 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  9. An absolute disgrace what has been allowed to happen to such a beautiful historic building. This is typical of Midlothian council. What have they done about it. Nothing as usual they are running scared of the housing developers. They do not want to upset the developers. as they have their targets to reach. It is a shame what they are getting to do with the green spaces in and around loanhead


    • I agree that it’s a disgrace that we have lost Ashgrove House and cottage. I thought they were safe cos they were listed buildings. Also of deep regret are the loss of the fine trees hundreds of years old which had tree preservation orders on them. Shocking loss


  10. It was a little haven there for wildlife and for people – sad to read that it is no more and that my prediction from 04 Feb above is coming to pass.


  11. The dirty deed is complete, another fire Nov 2015. Excuse for the bulldozers to moved in and flattened the house, cottages, even the folly. I was photographing it in Oct 2015, and will now nip back this weekend to try and save a brick or two. Very sorry sight which will soon disappear for ever.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I played at Ashgrove House on many an occasion with Freda, when at Primary School, the house was magical for myself and friends, we had never seen anything like it, such a great loss


    • Ah I no doubt I wouldn’t recognise you now Evelyn but the mention of your name which was so familiar to me brought back many happy memories of my beloved sister Frieda and all her little friends.


  13. Pingback: Ashgrove House | GeoTopoi

Share your thoughts...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.