Baberton House

Juniper Green,  built 1612


John Scott
Balerno, Edinburgh

John  Scott is a local historian at Balerno.

Baberton House History  (1612 - 2006)

-  Builders

-  Carvings

-  Lease to Charles X

-  Current use of the house


Margaret Dakers
(née Szawluk)
Sighthill, Edinburgh

Margaret Dakers lived at Baberton House from 1952 to 1958.

Life at Baberton House History  (1952-1958)

-  Our Life at Baberton House

-  Cook

Gamekeeper, Handyman and Chauffeur

-  The Gardener

-  The Drive

-  Windows and Stone Carvings

-  The Green Room

-  The Lounge

-  The Double Bedroom

-  House Sold


Jonathan Cullen
Gifford, East Lothian

Jonathan Cullen lived at Baberton House from 1958 to 1977.

Life at Baberton House History  (1958-1977)

-  Our Life at Baberton House

-  The Gardener

-  The Lodge Cottage

-  The Sundial

-  The Well

-  Ghosts?

-  History of Baberton House

-  Old Documents

-  Renovation Work


Michael Craig

Life at Baberton House History  (1960s)

-  Horses

-  Tadpoles

-  Rats

-  Gardens

-  Aeroplane Crash


Jackie Quinn
Newhouse, North Lanarkshire, Scotland

Life at Baberton House History  (1960s)

-  Horses

-  Tadpoles

-  Rats

-  Gardens

-  Aeroplane Crash


Diane Wardlaw
Florida, USA

History of Baberton House

-  New Book




1612 - 2006


"Baberton House was originally known as 'Kilbaberton' when it built in 1612.

The major part of the house as we see it today was built by James Murray, Principal Master of Works (Architect) to King Charles 1.

He was an architect of some influence. His works include:

-  the north quarter of Linlithgow Palace

-  additions to the Great Hall at Edinburgh Castle

-  the design of Parliament House

- the reconstruction of Holyrood Abbey for the coronation of King Charles I."


"Carved on the dormer windows at the rear of the house are 'JM' and 'KW', the initials of the original owners,  Sir James Murray and his wife Katherine Weir.

Carved over the window pediments on the original house are:

-   the 'Star' or 'Mullet' which figures on the Arms of the Murray's of Philiphaugh & Blackbarony

-  the 'Crescent' borne by Murray's of Stanhope and likewise by the Veres or Weirs."

Lease to Charles X

"Charles X the de-throned and exiled King of France leased Baberton House in November 1830 from the then owner Archibald Christie.

A ceiling ornamented with 'Fleur-de-Lys' was erected in the room called the King's Room in honour of his residence"

Current use of the house

"Cruden Investments purchased Baberton House in 1979.  They use it as their head office have confirmed they have no intention of converting it into apartments."

John Scott, Balerno, Mid Lothian, Scotland:   March 7, 2006





Our Life at Baberton House

"I was born in 1950 and came to live at Baberton House around 1952/53 and I left when I was 9 years old.

I attended Juniper Green School from 1956 when I was 5 years old until I was 12½

My family and I occupied the kitchen wing of the house.

The people who owned Baberton House at that time was Mr Charles Robertson and his wife Charlotte who was American.

I loved that house and have moved through all the rooms in my dreams so often."


"My mother, Margaret, was Scottish, originally a Fifer.  She worked as cook for Mr and Mrs Robertson.

She cooked for 40 people, single-handed, when Mrs Robertson, a typical American who did things on a large scale, decided to entertain or hold a bazaar.

Of course, there were maids in attendance to see to cleaning of the house, laundry etc.

Sometimes, Mrs Morrison, the gardener's wife would come in and lend a hand with a variety of tasks, and more so if it was a large dinner party.

I do not know who attended these."

Gamekeeper, Handyman and Chauffeur

"My father, Wladek Szawluk, was Polish.  He worked as a gamekeeper, handyman, chauffeur, etc.  He was called John by everyone who wouldn't try to learn his Polish name."

The Gardener

"The gardener and his wife Mr and Mrs Morrison lived in the lodge which you have on the picture."

Baberton Lodge

   Postcard by A R Montgomery, Juniper Green  -  View of Juniper Green ©

The Drive

"When I was at school, I walked up the drive-way from Baberton House every day.

My daughter and I were very dismayed to find that we could only get so far down the drive-way last summer, then found that access had been cut off.

When I lived at the house I only walked along a small section of the drive-way as there was a small short-cut path.

This ran down through a marvelously constructed tunnel of trees and branches, across a small wooden bridge, amongst other bridges which my father built many years ago around the same area, to come out at the bottom of a huge green lawn with Baberton House sitting majestically at the very end of it."

Windows and Stone Carvings

"Looking at Baberton House, to the left of the ivy-covered frontage there was a clean section of wall with three windows running down it and carvings around the windows."

The Green Room

"My mother used to say that the middle window, which belonged to what was called the Green Room, had a ghost because if ever we went out and we returned home in the evening, the light was always found to have been left burning although the room was rarely used."

The Lounge

"The middle windows on the first floor of the ivy-covered part of the house belonged to a plush lounge including grand piano, etc. 

These windows looked down on the front lawn."


"I did not often go to the top level of the house.  However, on the top level, directly near the stairs, neatly tucked into the right-hand corner, was a beautiful bedroom.  At least it was used as a bedroom when we were there  It had a four poster bed.

I think it was a cosy wood-panelled room with brown walls. It was made for its four poster bed. Whether the bed was an original one left from bygone days, I do not know. 

I have dreamed of looking into that room, and of course I am a little girl again when I dream.  I wonder if it was me standing at the foot of that bed upsetting that member of the Cullen family long ago."

The Double Bedroom

"There was a large double bedroom situated on the first floor.  It had a pattern with stars on the ceiling.  I was told that King Louis of France ( I don't know which one) slept in that room.

ANSWER:  "It was Charles X the de-throned and exiled King of France"  [John Scott]

The windows of that room looked out from the left-hand side of the house and onto what was a sunken rockery garden.  This garden is now sadly occupied with houses.  I cannot believe that the developers were allowed to come so close to the house."

House Sold

"After Mrs Robertson died, Mr Robertson remarried and sold the house.  A very large family by the name of Cullen bought it.  They had horses.  One of the girls was called Larch.

Then, the next thing I knew was that it had been bought by a man who made some alterations and discovered a well under a stone floor in what used to be our living room.  My mother was always saying how cold that room was.  No wonder!

He then sold it onto Crudens. 

My daughter jokingly said that maybe there was a chance that we could buy the property for a £1, as nobody wants those derelict buildings."

I would love to walk through the house once more before I get any older.  There was once the possibility of my doing that but the chance got away.  It is a house that should be loved one way or another"

Margaret Dakers (née Szawluk), Sighthill, Edinburgh:
   January 2, 6, 7, 8 + February 24 + March 29, 2006





Our Life at Baberton House

"I am one of the Cullens who lived at Baberton House, from 1958.  It was a superb house to grow up in.

We were a family of seven children.  I was one year old in 1958, and my younger sister was born in October of that year. The rest of my family are all older, the eldest born in 1945.

In 1977, we sold up and moved out because of the development of Baberton estate, which by then was within 50 meters of Baberton House.

In 1958, when our family moved in to Baberton House, the edge of Edinburgh was two miles away, across farmland!

The Gardener

"Morrison the gardener continued working until he died, although I cannot remember the year.

The Lodge Cottage

"The lodge cottage was sold to the Golf Club and eventually demolished, for safety reasons as I recall. New classrooms for the school were built in it's grounds."

The Sundial

"The sundial on the lawn, if it is still there, was allegedly presented to the house by Bonnie Prince Charlie. "

The Well

"I remember my mother telling me about the well found in the room next door to the kitchen, just after we moved out. She had similar comments about the room always being damp and cold."


"We too had experiences of ghosts, and indeed I had to be moved from my bedroom at the top of the house when I was 4 years old because I was complaining of a girl at the end of my bed.

Other family members also saw various apparitions, as did some guests. These ghosts, if that is what they were, were benign, and we came to accept them as 'background noise'."

History of Baberton House

"If you look on some old maps, you will see that the house was originally called Balbertoun.

It was built on the remains of the original house, destroyed in a fire during a feud with the family from Riccarton some time before.

The current house was originally designed as a hollow "E", with the bay frontage installed in 1765, as the date above the door will attest.

Inside the lower hall, the original front door is still there, complete with the carved stone pillars. There are drawings in existence of the original building.

There were two turrets in the interior corners, one of which is still used with it's internal spiral staircase. The other can still be seen from inside the attic space, looking vertically down.

The original stonework is still there, as was the original glass windows. Unfortunately I broke them while exploring the shaft as a child.

The kitchen wing was probably added at about the same time as the front, although I can't be certain."

Old Documents

"Just before we sold the house, dry rot was found in the east wing roof  and attic.

During remedial work some old documents and letters were found. The oldest was a letter dated 1642, from a woman to her sister describing the house and countryside. There was a bill from the blacksmith in Gilmerton from the 18th century, and a much more important letter concerning the Union of Parliaments.

Unfortunately my father passed some of these on to Crudens, and we don't know what happened to them."

Renovation Work

"When we moved out in 1977, the house was sold to Crudens.  They spent a lot of money on the house, but very little on the grounds, which have become overgrown, which is very sad.

On a final note of coincidence, the first caretakers after our family left the house were a retired couple called Mather. Long after they left I married their granddaughter.

I found out about the fact much later when I took my wife to show her where I grew up. She told me that she had already been there when visiting her grandparents.

The explanation was that her father had been a director of Crudens at the time, and knew "just the people" to act as caretakers while the renovations were ongoing

Jonathan Cullen, Gifford, East Lothian, Scotland:   March 27+28, 2006






"Reading about Baberton house brought back a few more memories - I think I met some of the Cullens, probably in the late 60's.  I certainly remember them keeping horses in the field at the bottom of the woods near the railway line.


"Also, I remember there was a small pond quite near the house which always had lots of tadpoles in it!  It was quite a challenge to catch tadpoles without getting caught yourself by (presumably) the gardener who used to 'prowl' about."


"We used to meet at a large tree beside a style - I think there was a footpath that went East over a small burn towards what would have been Hailes Farm.  There were lots of rats at that farm.


"Somewhere near where the Wester Hailes dual carriageway goes north from Gillespie crossroads there were a lot of 'prefab' houses.  Many of these houses had really nice gardens and I remember when they occupants were moved out people used to go and dig up plants before the houses were demolished.

Aeroplane Crash

"Also, I remember about 1965/66 an aeroplane crash-landed in the fields not far from Baberton house - probably about where Baberton Mains Drive is now.  It had two engines - I think it may have been a DeHavilland Dove.

It was guarded by a policeman, but he wasn't very diligent and we managed to get inside - I remember rows of canvas seats but not much else.  It was pretty basic!  Maybe the policeman chased us away!  I'm sure there was an article in the Evening News about it. The farmer used to grow wheat in those fields."

Michael Craig, Edinburgh, Scotland:   May 30, 2006

Michael adds that he spent his  'formative' years in and around Juniper Green, Colinton, Currie & Balerno. Most of his friends nave now moved to other parts, but he still keeps in touch with a couple of them.





The Cullen Girls at Baberton House

"I remember very well the Cullen girls Larch and Lucy at the pony club.  They were beautiful girls.  I was always in awe of Larch in particular.  She was special.  My little dog is called Lucy as Lucy Cullen always stuck in my mind so my dog is called after her in truth!"

I was very sad to learn that Larch has just died and in fact was laid to rest today."


"CULLEN FRASER Larch Katherine Christian (Inverleith, Edinburgh) Passed peacefully, on Sunday, April 27, 2008, eldest daughter of the late Mike Cullen, much missed by her mother, Fay Cullen also by her siblings, Michael, Sandy, Lucy, Simon, Jonathan and Cindy and particularly by her children Jamie, Elise and Sheridan and her grandchildren Sam and Isla.

A private cremation will be held, followed by a service of Thanksgiving at Whitekirk Parish Church, East Lothian, at 1.30 pm, on Thursday May 1, to which all friends are welcome."

Jackie Quinn, Newhouse, North Lanarkshire, Scotland:  May 2, 2008




New Book

Thank you to Diane Wardlaw for telling me that  she has included some of her research into the history of Baberton House and her family in Chapter 14 of her new book,  "Ancestral Earth - Part 3".

More information about Diane's books can be found by clicking on the 'books' tab on the home page of her ladath web site

Acknowledgement:  Diane Wardlaw:  Florida, USA:  May 14, 2009


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