This late Medieval townhouse was originally constructed in the 15th century and then repaired and extended upwards in the 17th century. Standing as it did, overlooking the main north-south route ten miles or so from Edinburgh, it attracted more than a passing interest from any invading army. It was burned, along with the adjacent town of Prestonpans in 1544 by the English army under the Earl of Hertford during the Rough Wooing and then again by Cromwell’s troops in 1650. After being rebuilt, its upper storeys were burned once again, by an accident this time, in 1663 and was finally permanently abandoned.
A prominent built feature on the low-flying Forth coast, it has been a treasured monument in the area ever since its last occupants left. Sir Walter Scott is known to have played there as a child when he briefly lived in the town with this aunt.
In the 20th century, it functioned as the unusual centre-piece of a commercial market garden and in the late 1960s, it was passed into the ownership of the National Trust for Scotland.