One of Midlothian’s most historic buildings has been reopened by The Countess of Rosslyn, following the completion of a programme of conservation and repair. Collegehill House, adjacent to Rosslyn Chapel, dates back to 1660 and was used as an inn until 1863. The building is now in the care of Rosslyn Chapel Trust and available for self-catering holiday accommodation through a partnership with the Landmark Trust.
The programme of work to the house was carried out by Rosslyn Chapel Trust over two phases. The first phase (April to August 2017) included reharling and lime washing the exterior, repairs to the roof and chimneys, and conservation repairs were carried out to the windows. Within the second phase (January to April 2018), interior damp-proofing works were carried out, improvements were made to the basement and bathroom, the heating has been upgraded and the interior redecorated. The main contractors were Campbell & Smith.
Ian Gardner, Director of Rosslyn Chapel Trust, said: ‘Collegehill House enjoys a very prominent location, adjacent to Rosslyn Chapel, and so it is seen by many thousands of people each year. This extensive programme of conservation and repair, both to the exterior and interior, means that it will be appreciated by those passing by, and those staying as guests, ensuring the continuation of this former inn’s long tradition of welcoming guests to the area.’
The conservation project was overseen by Page\Park Architects. Douglas Walker of Page\Park said: ‘The careful conservation, restoration and renovation works at Collegehill House have given the house a new lease of life. Page\Park‘s role overseeing this work has led to a faithful upgrading of the historic fabric with a new interior upgrade which lifts the quality of accommodation while maintaining the unique character of the house.’
Collegehill House is a Category-B listed building. Its origins go back to 1660, when it was built as an inn by Sir John St Clair, 17th Baron of Rosslyn, and it is likely that stone was quarried to build it from the ruins of Rosslyn Castle, which was attacked in 1650. Modifications were made around 1760, when the rear wing was built and more around 1800, when the east wing was added. Throughout its history, it has welcomed thousands of guests, with some notable ones such as Robert Burns, Alexander Nasmyth, William and Dorothy Wordsworth, James Boswell and Dr Johnson. In 1931, King George V and Queen Mary visited, before visiting the Chapel. A succession of innkeepers acted as custodians to the Chapel, to which sole access was through the inn, and this arrangement was formalised in 1866, when the inn relocated to the village and the building became the home of The Earl of Rosslyn’s Factors and then Chapel custodians. It opened with the Landmark Trust in 20012.
The house provides accommodation for six people and bookings can be made through the Landmark Trust website.
Photos: Rob McDougall