Makerstoun House and Estate


A defensive pele tower was built on the site in 1128 by Walter Corbet, of Shropshire. the tower was built on the orders of Earl David. The pele tower was extended in 1300, and rebuilt by a Thomas Makdowell in 1590.

The Makdougall Family owned the estate, and therefore the tower, through marriage. They lived at Makerstoun for several hundred years.

From 1714 to 1725 the house was extended on plans by William Adam, (the father of Robert Adam who designed the Edinburgh New Town.) In 1828 further additions were made, including castellations.

In 1800, the heiress Miss Makdougall married Thomas Brisbane of Ayrshire. Thomas Brisbane would later serve in a distinguished military career under the Duke of Wellington; the career won him the name General Sir Thomas Makdougall-Brisbane (see bottom right image.) In 1821 Brisbane was appointed Govenor of New South Wales, Australia. The city Brisbane was founded on the River Brisbane, named after Brisbane himself. A keen astronomer, he built numerous observatories, inluding one situated within sight of Makerstoun House today. In 1833 General Sir Thomas Makdougall-Brisbane succeeded Sir Walter Scott as President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Brisbane died in 1860.

In 1921, James Jardine Bell-Irving, director of Jardine & Matheson Hong Kong, bought the Estate and Makerstoun House from the Scott-Makdougalls.

Bell-Irving's Daughter married the 15th Earl of Lauderdale from Thirlstane Castle near Lauder. Unfortunately their only son, Ivor Viscount Maitland, was killed in action in North Africa in 1943, leaving no direct male heir to either Makerstoun or Thirlstane.

The House and Estate were inherited by Ivor Viscount Maitland's three daughters; Mary, Anne and Elizabeth. Lady Mary married Lord Biddulph in 1958.

In 1959, Nicholas Biddulph was born in Westminister, London. In 1960, the Biddulph family moved to Makerstoun.

The House burnt down in 1970, and was rebuilt based on the original William Adam plans. The redesign won the Award of Exceptional Merit in the European Architectural Heritage Year of 1974.

Robert Biddulph died in 1988, he had led a successful business running grouse moors that had been left to Ivor Maitland's children after his death. The late 60s and early 70s saw some of the best numbers of grouse ever seen on the Burncastle moors.

In 1993 the younger Lord Biddulph, also known as the Baron of Ledbury, married The Hon Sian Diana Gibson-Watt.

In 1997, the present owner Lord Biddulph and his wife Lady Sian Biddulph, started living at Makerstoun. The House is currently home to Lord Biddulph and his two sons, David and Robert. The roof was replaced in 2012.