From 1666 to 1863 – Sir Alexander Murray of Black Barony
Sir Alexander Murray of Black Barony obtained a Crown charter of the lands in 1666 and had a house built for his second eldest son. This was the first Cringletie House.
From 1863 to 1962 – The Wolfe Murrays & The Sutherlands
Two centuries later the house had fallen into disrepair and its then owner, Brigadier General James Wolfe Murray, decided to replace it with the present house.
It was designed by the famous Scottish architect, David Bryce (1803 – 1876) who is responsible for many landmark buildings across Scotland. With numerous features typical of Bryce’s work, such as the distinctive small towers at the corners of the top floor, the house was completed in 1863.
In 1904 a new family name appears – the Sutherlands. Elizabeth, one of Wolfe Murray’s daughters, married Sir George Henry Sutherland. To commemorate the marriage an artist was commissioned to paint the ceiling in the drawing room. It is based on an Italian painting and personalized to include the monogram of the couple G E S.
In 1921, James Wolfe Murray’s grandson (Captain George Wolfe Murray) leased Cringletie to his brother-in-law, Sir George Sutherland. Sir George modernized the house – enlarging rooms, adding bedrooms & bathrooms and transforming it from a Victorian family home to a much grander country house.
Other improvements undertaken by Sir George and later his son, Lt-Col Arthur Sutherland, included planting trees and thousands of daffodil bulbs around the estate.
From 1962 to 2003 – from country house to hotel
The Sutherlands left Cringletie in 1962 following the death of Lt-Col Arthur Sutherland. Recently introduced death duties prompted the sale of the estate. In November of that year the Ashdale Land & Property Company bought the entire estate, then comprising about 319 acres and subsequently split it into 11 lots. Three of these lots – comprising the house, woodland, Walled Garden and back field, 28 acres in all – were acquired by Dr George Morris of Edinburgh in 1963 for use as a nursing home.
Dr Morris sold the estate to Mr Christopher Slater in 1967 who operated it as an hotel; Mr Slater sold it on to Captain Thomas Agnew in 1970 who in turn sold it to Stanley & Aileen Maguire in 1971.
The Maguire family developed Cringletie as a highly acclaimed country house hotel during the 27 years following their acquisition. Mrs Maguire was head chef and famous for her Sunday lunches. The Maguire’s head gardener, Nick Cross, developed the Walled Garden into a spectacular vegetable and herbaceous paradise, well known throughout the Borders.
In 1971 Historic Scotland recognized the architectural importance of Cringletie House when it was granted Grade B listed status. Subsequently the Walled Garden was also listed.
The Maguires retired in 1998 and that year sold the property to the Wren’s Hotel Group who operated it for five years.
From 2003 to 2019 – major refurbishment work
In 2003 the Cringletie was acquired by Jacob and Johanna van Houdt with a plan to refurbish the property to create a luxury hotel.
Extensive works were undertaken by the van Houdts, advised by Edinburgh heritage architects, Simpson & Brown. This was a major project involving the renovation of all guest rooms and public areas, including the creation of The Sutherland Restaurant in its present configuration and the installation of a guest elevator.
Improvements to the grounds were part of the project, including tree planting, the creation of woodland walks and the restoration of the historic Walled Garden which dates back to the estate’s original establishment in 1666.
To honor the history of the house and its inhabitants, the van Houdts commissioned the design of a Cringletie tartan. A mixture of the Murray and Sutherland tartans, the Cringletie tartan has been used in the design of carpet in the hall and main staircase and uniforms for some estate personnel.
The van Houdts continued a programme of refurbishment to maintain the luxury standards created in their original works, right up until their retirement in 2019.
From 2019 to the present
Cringletie was sold to Cross Hotels Limited in February 2019. The intention of the new owner is to continue the progressive development of the estate.
The appointment of Mark Bain as lead gardener has seen further improvements to the grounds and internal work refreshing guest room décor and public areas has been undertaken.
A recently completed project (originally started by the van Houdts) is the Nature/Historical Trail. Developed in association with the Eddleston Primary School, assisted by renowned horticulturist Jim McKay and with sponsor support, Nature/Historical Trail was officially opened by Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant for Tweeddale, Professor Sir Hew Strachan FBA FRSE in October 2019.
Further restoration and renovation works are ongoing across the estate.