Stobo Castle

Stobo Castle
©2022 Gazetteer for Scotland

Stobo Castle

Stobo Castle is a square toy-fort of a house set within fine policies on the eastern shoulder of Quarry Hill in the Scottish Borders, a position which offers spectacular views across the Tweed Valley. The Category A-listed mansion has operated as a residential health spa since 1978 and is located a mile (1.5 km) southwest of Stobo and 5½ miles (9 km) west southwest of Peebles.

Stobo was built 1805-11 in the Gothic-Revival style by Archibald and James Elliot of Edinburgh, for James Montgomery, whose father had bought the estate in 1767 from the Murray family for £40,500. Constructed in dark rubble with red sandstone dressings, this three-storey mansion features turrets at each corner with parapets between. These turrets and a central tower rise to four storeys. The entrance faces northeast and a fine porte-cochère was added in 1849 by John Lessels (1808-83). The principal rooms are located along the northeastern and southeastern elevations of the building, while a stable courtyard is attached to the southwest.

In 1905, the house and estate were purchased by wealthy gentleman cricketer Hylton Philipson (1866 - 1935) and he brought in J.M. Dick Peddie (1853 - 1921) and George Washington Browne (1853 - 1939) to make further alterations. Philipson created a Japanese water garden between 1909-13, which remains today, and used the water stored in three small artificial lochs, strung out along the Weston Burn, to generate electricity. He was also responsible for much of the decoration of the interior, representing fine design and craftsmanship, although the chimney-pieces are mostly original.

Having been neglected for some years, the house was sold in 1972 and threatened with demolition. Sold once again in 1975, it was refurbished as a health spa and opened three years later. The stable block was converted to extend the resort in 1997-98 and provided with a glass roof. A modern block, completed in 2003, extends the building further to the west, providing a swimming pool, gymnasium, juice bar and shop.

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