The History of Arniston Estate

The origins of the Estate

Arniston Estate

The estate originally belonged to the Knight’s Templar and then the Knight’s of Saint John. George Dundas and his second wife, Katherine Oliphant from Dundas Castle in South Queensferry acquired the land from the Crown in 1571 for a younger son. A tower house stood on the site from which two rooms were incorporated in to the present house you see today. The Dundases were a legal family dating back to the 1570s. In the 1700s they were one of the most powerful families in Scotland with two of the lairds being appointed President of the Court of Session.

Building Arniston House

Robert Dundas
Emily Knox

Robert Dundas, the first Lord President commissioned William Adam to draw up plans for the current house. He began building in 1726 and the house was completed in the 1750s by John Adam. Formal gardens were laid out to the south of the house to a design by William but were then replaced by Capability Brown style parkland in 1750s. The house was devastated by dry rot in the 1950s.

In the present day

Dining Room

The present owners, The Dundas-Bekker family embarked on a restoration programme in the 1970s beginning with the task of re-leading the roof.  Historic Scotland grant aided the ambitious and successful project.  Further grant aid for the next restoration phase resulted in the John Adam Drawing Room and Dining Room being lovingly returned to their former glory in the 1990s. The restoration programme is ongoing. Althea Dundas-Bekker and her daughter, Henrietta Dundas take great pleasure in guiding visitors around their home and look forward to welcoming you.

Come and Visit

Find out about our opening times and prices, or contact us on 01875 830 515 to arrange a private group visit.