The property is approached through a gateway by a tree lined drive which leads to the courtyard between the castle and cottage. The impressive stone walls have scallop shells built into them which date back to the 15th century when they were thought to ward off witches. A black stone near the base of the wall was also incorporated to let any trapped witches escape, and cats were walled up during the building process to apparently ward off evil spirits.
There are gun loops and arrow slits, spiral stair cases, attics, vaults, outbuildings, gardens and secret spaces to explore.
The Chinese Room
Every ancient castle, steeped in Scottish history, needs one of these: a Chinese room of course! When we first saw it we had many doubts and questions, mostly involving the words “what the …” and “why”, but it has definitely grown on us since then and we hope you love it as much as we do. Love it or hate it, you can be sure of being endlessly fascinated by it.
Inspired by the Prince Regent’s Brighton Pavilion, it has individual panels, intricately and lavishly hand-painted with traditional Chinese imagery, and colourful wooden dragon lamps hanging from the cloud-decorated ceiling mural. It was photographed by the National Museum of Scotland for an exhibition as a fine example of Neo-Chinoiserie. The bolection panelling in the room is rare, but can also be found in the oldest part of Holyrood Palace.
The Old Kitchen
The original kitchen, looking as if the next person to walk through the door could be one of the 15th century Cistercian monks from Newbattle Abbey who built Monkton House, and the fireplace is big enough for Santa to have that extra mince pie.
Originally the great hall, now an elegant, French empire style dining room suitable for grand dinners, lavish parties or intimate wedding ceremonies. The marble and ormolu fireplace was rescued from the SS L’Atlantique, which was burnt in January 1932. The door out to the garden is believed to be one of only a handful in Scotland of its kind, opening to grand stairway down to the lawn.
Monkton House has 2 acres of gardens and woodland with plenty of space for everyone to enjoy the fresh air. There is a beautiful formal lawn, an orchard and hundreds of specimen trees.
- Entrance hall: Panelling taken from the RMS Franconia, the ship used by Winston Churchill and the British delegation as headquarters for the meeting with Roosevelt and Stalin at the Yalta Conference in February 1945 to discuss postwar reorganisation of Germany and the rest of Europe
- Old kitchen: vaulted stone walls and ceiling; original massive fireplace with brackets, hooks and tools for cooking on the open log fire
- The Vaults: 12m x 5m games room with pool table, table tennis table, etc., can be set up for parties, dinners and other events
- WC: antique toilet and sink; panelling from the RMS Franconia; decorative tiles – a real feature!
- Pine Room: large, comfortable, cosy, pine-panelled; wood-burning stove
- Kitchen: modern, with induction hob, electric oven, microwave, bean to cup coffee machine, dishwasher, etc.
- Dining room: French empire-style decoration, marble and ormolu fireplace rescued from the SS L’Atlantique, which caught fire in the English Channel in January 1932; door, believed to be one of only a handful in Scotland of its kind, opening to grand stairway into the garden
- Chinese Room: inspired by the Prince Regent’s Brighton Pavilion; individual panels, intricately and lavishly hand-painted with traditional Chinese imagery; colourful wooden dragon lamps hanging from the cloud-decorated ceiling mural; open fireplace with ornate mantelpiece; photographed by the National Museum of Scotland for an exhibition as a fine example of Neo-Chinoiserie; the bolection panelling in the room is rare, but can also be found in the oldest part of Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh
- Library: bookcases on every wall; reading nook; door to large spiral staircase up to the second floor
- Utility room: washing machine, dryer, storage, stairway and arched original door to courtyard
There are 5 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms on the second floor in the main house, sleeps up to 10 people:
- Ashray: Main suite with king size four poster bed; walk in wardrobe; fireplace; working shutters; large en-suite bathroom painted with Kandinsky-style murals; large jacuzzi bath; shower (sleeps 2)
- NicNevin: large bedroom decorated with William Morris wallpaper in Arts and Crafts style; king size bed; working shutters; en-suite bathroom: black and white-tiled, with bath and shower (sleeps 2)
- Ghillie Dhu: large bedroom; king size four poster bed; working shutters (sleeps 2)
- Shared shower room: travertine tiled shower room
- Selkie: king size bed; working shutters (sleeps 2)
- Brownie: king size bed at ground level; platform with single and king size beds; working shutters (sleeps 5)
Scots mythology: The Ashray or Asrai is a water faery which is completely translucent in appearance. They are unable to live on land and are completely nocturnal, so can only be found under water at night.
Scots mythology: Queen of Elphame (Fairyland), her name means “daughter of the divine”, goddess of wisdom and magic.
Scots mythology: a solitary male faerie, wild and shy but kind to children. Dresses in leaves and moss, said to have dark hair, particularly fond of birch trees.
Scots mythology: playful seals, they are able take off their fur coats and appear as beautiful humans. If you hide their skin, they can’t return to the water and are forced to remain human.
Scots mythology: also known as gruagach in Scots Gaelic, small household spirit, often dressed in rags, that does chores around the house and farm in return for offerings of food. If offered clothes or money they become offended and leave.
There are 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom on the first floor of the cottage, sleeps up to 4 people:
- Unicorn: king size bed; mullioned window overlooking the garden (sleeps 2)
- Wulver: king size bed; bright, cosy (sleeps 2)
- Shared bathroom: shower room
Mythical creature, noun: the Scottish national animal, symbolising purity, innocence and power. The horn is said to have healing power and can purify poisoned water.
Scots mythology, noun: a wolf-human hybrid, similar to werewolf in appearance, but who doesn’t transform. Gentle and generous, they live on fish, which they will share with people in need.