The New House. What Pringle built stands as the core of the house today. A three-storied rectangular block with piend roof, symmetrically arranged. It had a central,semi-octaginal projection to the south (loch) front and on the north, probably a central flight of steps over a small area. Both arrangement and construction -whinstone (greywacke) rubble with reddish sandstone dressings — has marked similarities to houses built some years previously, at Torwoodlee (c.1783) for Pringle of Bowland) and the Yair (c.1788 for pringle of Whytbank).
All three buildings are charming but (apart from the wall—head balustrading), slightly 0ld—fashioned for their time, more of the 1740s/60s than the 1780s/90s. All have essentially the same simple plan, symmetrically based round a central stair, and, due to these similarities, all have been attributed to William Elliot, a Kelso architect—contractor, the designer of the Yair (or Zair). (The owners, though all Pringles, were not closely related but did move in the same local social circle.)
None of these houses is large. The block form gives sufficient space for a prosperous family's public rooms and bedrooms, but little for kitchen and servants' rooms. The largest of the three, Torwoodlee, accommodates these in the semi—basement. The Yair needed a rear wing. At The Haining, shown above, the old house was put to use; an unhappy juxtaposition of forms from which neither gained aesthetic benefit (in Lawrie's view of 1799, shown below, a strategically positioned tree leaves the new house to be appreciated unimpeded by the old).
The most lasting change Pringle made in the twelve years he had to manage his estates was in the appearance of the house. Almost his first act must have been to commission in 1821 Archibald Elliot, a prominent Edinburgh architect was asked to redesign and enlarge the whole house and demolish the old house in the process.
Elliot's plan of The Haining is unknown. On the basis of Lawrie's view, shown left, the main entrance was thought to have been on the south. the front illustrated, but the two basement windows, now internal, make it likely that the plan was essentially as it is today; that is, its entrance like that of Torwoodlee, and its sequence like that of Yair, compressed and reversed (the south front, with Loch, merely giving the most picturesque view).
The Architect William Elliot (1761 - c.1835), was the son of a minister,23 with a thriving practice locally. This was bolstered by those like Pringle of Whytbank, who, having made their fortune in the East or West Indies, returned home to buy and develop estates in the area (for example, Chesters House of 1786 and Crailing House of 1803). The Yair must have been amongst this young man's first commissions, and is a solidly pleasant design. The Haining, of ten years later, shows little variation.
The House Re-modelled Mark's death in 1812 left his elder son John to succeed at the age of seventeen a year after he had left his studies at Oxford. At twenty-two John joined the army as a Cornet in the 7th Dragoons (two years after peace had been declared with France), and left it two
years later as Lieutenant on half pay, returning home to take over the estate (where his mother and young sister had continued to live). After an unexpected visit by Prince Leopold (Victoria's uncle and future Belgian king) to Abbotsford in 1819, Scott remarks, "If I had had a day's notice we could have met him [Leopold] with a very respectable number of the gentry There was only young Clifton [ie Pringle], who could have come, and he was shy and cubbish, and would not, though requested by the Selkirk people".
Again according to the strongly disapproving Scott, young John (or 'that most disconsolate Dandie', as he called him), came back from Oxford and army a Whig, a supporter of the Act to reform the totally corrupt electoral system and vastly increase the miniscule percentage of the population with the right to vote. Apparently Pringle's attitudes were liberal in general - during 'Mr Pringle's time the people of Selkirk were admitted freely to The Haining grounds, where they revelled in the attractions not only of scenery and art, but of an extensive menagerie of wild animals'" — but he had only twelve years to put them into practical effect. In May 1831.
Scott wrote to a friend:
Burns [the architect] came to meet with Pringle of Haining but alas, it is two nights since, this poor young man driving in from his own lake where he had been fishing an ill broken horse ran away with [him] and at his own stable door overturned the vehicle and fractured poor Pringle's skull. He died yesterday morning, a bad business, so Young a man, the proprietor of a good estate and a well disposed youth. His politics were l think mistaken, being the reverse of his father's, but that is nothing at such a time?"
Craig—Brown reports that John Pringle's funeral 'was the largest ever seen in Selkirk up to that time. Having made use of his abilities to further the public weal, and of his wealth to help the poor, he was greatly Lamented for
The Estate By 1823 a large walled garden had been established on the triangle of land east of Peel Hill, also, the line of the driveway to the west lodge appears to have been altered at this time to run north of the house across the gully, Clockie Sorrow.
Unfortunately Elliot, the architect, died in 1823 and also, as a result of a national financial crisis, work on the new house was halted. Whatever the reason, work was halted when only the re fronting of the two main faces of the building was complete. (the two main sides remain much the same as when built in the 1790s), and the old building escaped destruction.
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