Standing at the heart of one of Scotland’s most important 18th-century designed landscapes Penicuik House was designed and built in the 1760s by Sir James Clerk, 3rd Baronet of Penicuik, with John Baxter the Elder, a renowned builder of that period, responsible for many of Scotland’s most distinguished 18th-century country houses. Later extended with two large wings by the eminent Victorian architect David Bryce in 1857, the house quickly became established as one of the finest second-generation neo-Palladian houses in the country until a fire in 1899 devastated the roof and interiors and left the once-magnificent building in ruins.
In 1985, the Penicuik House Preservation Trust was created with the aim of preserving and allowing public access to the ruined house for the first time in over a century. Work began in 2007 and was completed in 2014, paving the way for a new project, launched in 2015, to focus on restoring the numerous fascinating built structures within the Designed Landscape.
Since 1654, the Penicuik Estate has been home to the Clerk Family, one of the most remarkable families in Scottish cultural history. Today, the Estate is run as a diversified rural business including an extensive in-hand farming operation, tenanted farms, forestry, recreation, renewables and conservation interests. Present members of the Clerk family live in the stable block adjacent to Penicuik House which was converted by Sir George Clerk, 8th Baronet, and his wife Aymée, following the 1899 fire, to make the family home.