infobox UK place
country = Scotland
official_name= Pencaitland
population= 1566
os_grid_reference= NT444689
unitary_scotland= East Lothian
lieutenancy_scotland= East Lothian
constituency_westminster= East Lothian
constituency_scottish_parliament= East Lothian
post_town= TRANENT
postcode_district = EH34
postcode_area= EH
dial_code= 01875

Pencaitland is a village in East Lothian, Scotland, about 16 miles south-east of Edinburgh, 6 miles south-west of Haddington, and 1 mile east of Ormiston.

The River Tyne divides the village into Easter Pencaitland and Wester Pencaitland, crossed by a three-arched bridge dating from the 16th Century. An ancient cross in Wester Pencaitland indicates that there would probably have been a market there. A large industrial maltings, which was built in 1965, is situated just before the entrance to the village at Wester Pencaitland.

Winton House

Half a mile north-west of Pencaitland is Winton House, the original square Tower house being built in the 15th century on land granted to the Setons by David I c1152, and mentioned in a charter to them from William the Lion in 1169. It was burnt by the Earl of Hertford's forces during the Rough Wooing, and subsequently repaired, restored, and later enlarged by George Seton, 3rd Earl of Winton, commencing in 1619. Architecturally, Winton is one of the most important houses in Scotland, due largely to the work of William Wallace, who was appointed the King's Master Mason in 1617. [ McWilliam, Colin, "The Buildings of Scotland - Lothian, except Edinburgh", London, 1978, p.472-4, ISBN 0-14-071066-3]

This "peculiar and beautiful structure", as Burton calls it, is situated on a steep embankment sloping down to the valley of the Tyne. Hunnewell ("Land of Scot") says: "this Jacobean mansion was that of Ravenswood in "The Bride of Lammermoor". There is, of course, a ghost-room in the upper part of the house; but I saw nothing uncanny about it, twice that I was there."

In 1630, Lord Winton had completed half of the house, beginning at Wallace’s Tower, which had been burned, and continuing as far as Jacob’s Tower. Another room, called the King’s Chamber, is said to have been occupied by Charles I when he came to Scotland to be crowned in 1633, although most records have him staying at Seton Palace.

Thinking that better times were now at hand, the Earl of Winton caused to be carved on a fine stone tablet upon the frontispiece of his new building a crown supported by a thistle between two roses, signifying the union of Scotland and England. Under it he caused to be inscribed in deep letters of gold this Latin verse: "Unio Nune Stoque Cadoque Tuis". Mylne makes a note upon this, saying: "Ye Union was ye cause of the families' ruin".

The Wintons' tenure lasted until 1715 when George Seton, 5th Earl of Winton engaged in supporting the Jacobites. He was captured and taken to the Tower of London, and ultimately forfeited his land. The Earl's capture ended an era when kings were entertained and master craftsmen were engaged fresh from Edinburgh Castle to embellish Winton House in the style of the Scottish Renaissance. In the absence of the Earl but in his name, Winton was requisitioned by Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1745 when his rebel army camped on the Winton estate.

Winton is now the family home of Sir Francis and Lady Ogilvy.


Three-quarters of a mile south-west of Pencaitland is Fountainhall, a late 16th century mansion extended in the early 17th century on the same intimate scale and with the same materials, fine-grained harlings matching the pale yellow sandstone of the chimneys, crowstep gables, and other dressings. The estate's original name was Woodhead, and was purchased by John Pringle in 1635 who carried out extensive alterations and enhancements. On August 13, 1681, the estate was purchased by John Lauder of Newington, a rich Baillie of Edinburgh, for whom the house and lands were erected into the feudal barony of Fountainhall, becoming the seat of that family. Tradition states that the part of the property to the east contained a courtroom for the barony.

Most of the internal finishings are the work of the Lauders from the early 18th century, with much panelling and plaster cornices. After the Lauders finally parted with Fountainhall in the 1970s, the removal of a lath-and-plaster wall revealed a tapestry "in situ", dating from about 1700. There is a 17th century walled garden adjoining the east of the house, and to the south of the house is a ruined 17th century dovecote, later imitated by the erection of another, identical, nearby. The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland suggest that the two buildings flanked an 18th century pedestrian access to the house. [ McWilliam, Colin, "The Buildings of Scotland - Lothian, except Edinburgh", London, 1978, p.205-6, ISBN 0-14-071066-3]


The Pencaitland parish Church of Scotland, at Easter Pencaitland, is apparently of the 16th or early 17th century, but probably standing on medieval foundations. The west tower contains the Saltoun aisle, formerly entered through a fine mid-seventeenth century door in the west wall; and there is a chapel at the northern end. Immediately east of the Saltoun aisle is a two-bay chapel, said by some to date from the 13th century. The west tower is square for most of its height, but at the top it contains an octagonal belfry and dovecote. The building has a pointed slated spire dating from 1631. Over the centuries the building has been much altered. The front row of pews in the Saltoun aisle are of Dutch character in Oak, c1600. The organ was installed in 1889. [ McWilliam, Colin, "The Buildings of Scotland - Lothian, except Edinburgh", London, 1978, p.376-7, ISBN 0-14-071066-3]

Former Ministers include David Calderwood (1575-1650) and Robert Douglas (1594-1674), one time leader of Scotland's moderate Presbyterians. On the west wall a Renaissance tablet to Katherine Forbes, daughter of the Rev. John Forbes, Minister to the English Merchant-Adventurers at Delft gives a year of death of 1639. She was the wife of a Pencaitland minister, John Oswald, whose initials are carved over the west door.

The Manse, to the south of the church, was erected in the early 19th century in a 'pretty Gothic' style with canted bays.


The Pencaitland to Ormiston railway walk follows the course of the Edinburgh - Haddington branch railway line which was closed in 1965.

Pencaitland is also the location of recording studio Castlesound Studios, a former primary school, where the band Orange Juice recorded their first two singles for the Postcard Records label. Simple Minds, Runrig, REM, Martyn Bennett and The Blue Nile have all recorded at Castlesound, in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

Located a short distance from the village is Glenkinchie distillery, which produces a fine single malt, marketed by United Distillers as part of their "Classic Malts" range.

Famous sons & daughters

* The Lauder Baronets of Fountainhall.
* Sir Andrew Lauder, 5th Baronet of Fountainhall.
* Jock Taylor (1954-1982), British World Champion motorcycle sidecar racer.


External links

* [ Undiscovered Scotland: Pencaitland]
* [ Winton House]
* [ Castlesound Studios]
* [ Gazetteer for Scotland: Overview of Pencaitland]
* [ Pencaitland Primary Blog]
* Historical data from the [ Topographical History of Scotland] (1846) and the [ Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland] (1903).

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