The Haining lies in the Ettrick valley, 30 miles south of Edinburgh, and just over 20 miles north of the border with England. Once covered by a great forest that extended further than the limits of the present county, this vale was for centuries a regal game preserve, with rich hunting and also good fishing in the four large rivers, the Tweed, the Teviot, the Yarrow and the Ettrick. The ground by the estate house has been settled since at least c.1119, when, between Haining loch and the early mediaeval town of Selkirk, a royal castle was erected. Rebuilt under English occupation in 1301 then, in the Wars of lndependence, destroyed by 1334, only a great mound and ditch remain today. (Another motte — now mound — lies, history unknown, at Howden, just over the present estates south—east boundary.) As for the estate itself, first documented as a separate entity five and an half centuries ago, for most of that time it has been in the successive hands of three families; the Scotts (for c.160 years), the Riddells (76 years), and the Pringles (197 years). All three
are part of a closely related local network, for all that time owning land (in varied permutations and combinations), in a fifteen mile radius from The Haining. Each has had its own impact on the estate and its cultural value.
The Haining first appeared in records in 1463 as a holding of land or to 'Robert Scott of Hanyng' in the reign of James lll. Just how large the property was at that point is unknown. What is known is that it was a 'forest-stede', possibly the part previously 'hained' for the king. By 1507, John Scott (Robert's son), had secured few-ferm of the land, with lake, and the power to build. From the records the lands of Elliston had been added in 1576.
In 1625, Lawrence Scott, who had been granted The Haining by Robert, sold it to Andrew Riddell of Riddell. Under the Riddells, The Haining was just one of a number of family holdings, a property of his own for the oldest son of Riddell's second marriage, while Riddell itself, about four miles south-east of Selkirk, remained the family base.
It is known that, in 1661, Riddell lowered the level of the loch and in 1701, Andrew, sold The Haining to Andrew Pringle of Clifton for his second son, John, a lawyer.
Little is known during the fifty years or so of John's management, other than on his death in 1754 and that his eldest son allowed The Haining to pass by purchase to his younger brother John, a merchant in Madeira.
A plan drawn and dated 1757 (above) shows the extent of the estate with lines of fields (with names), burns, tree belts, wells and so on. A park around the loch is clearly marked off from the rest of the property. There was a direct route (now gone), from the house to the kirk, a 'old' garden roughly where the stables now stand and the gully west of the house (Clockie Sorrow), runs interrupted down to the Selkirk (West Port) road, but little other major difference from today's layout of boundaries is evident.
The Old House.
The house itself is shown both on plan and inset elevation as an H-shape form significantly different from the L-shape on not only both Wood's map of sixty-six years later (and in the more accurate OS map of 1858 shown below), but also prints and photographs. Either this is the house as it stood (one wing being demolished in the new building works fifty years or so later, and the central portion being lowered by one story, or it is a scheme to restyle the house, drawn up for the new owner and eventually rejected.
Given the elevation's decidedly seventeenth-century appearance, and given the elevations decidedly seventeenth-century appearance, the first is more likely, for Pringle was used
to the most modern of modern design — his father and brother both living (and dying) in the neat little villa of Hawkhill while in Edinburgh and is unlikely to have contemplated so retrospective a rebuilding.
A group of structures shown north-west of the house is presumably stables, barns and so on.
On John the merchants death in 1792, his great-nephew Mark, inherited. Within two years, he had set about the building of a new house in the latest style. Lawrie's view of 1799 gives an indication on the likely look of the building at that time.
Mark's death in 1812 left his elder son John to succeed at the age of seventeen. John joined the army at the age of twenty-two and two years later returned home to take over the estate.
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