Edinburgh, Craigiehall House, Grotto

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Alternative Names Craigiehall Policies; River Almond
Canmore ID 50424
Site Number NT17NE 42
NGR NT 17034 75239
Former Region LOTHIAN
Former County WEST LOTHIAN
Datum OSGB36 - NGR

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Architectural Notes

NT17NE 42 17034 75239

For remainder of military headquarters HQ (centred NT 16671 75424), see under NT17NE 29.00 (Craigiehall House and related buildings).

For nearby Grotto Bridge (NT 1709 7522), leading into the Cammo Estate, see NT17NE 171.

A stone Grotto and Roman style bath house in a picturesque style situated on the N bank of the River Almond 59m W of the Grotto Bridge (NT17SE 171).
The lower part of the bath house has a square chamber with a barrel-vaulted roof and what appears to be a large square 'plunge bath'. Entrance to the bath house is from the E elevation by a series of stone steps which take a right angle to the S into the chamber. The chamber was not accessed on the date of visit.
Water is fed to the bath chamber via a rock-cut channel and a wooden sluice gate with most of the mechanism surviving. The sluice admits water to a small recatngular open chamber with iron bar across the top, presumably for a filter to hang to stop large objects proceeding into the bath chamber. The water then exits the bath house via another rock cut channel which may or may not be natural, but which has certainly been enhanced by man.
The upper roofless floor is an oval chamber with fireplace, small arched rebate and three window openings to the River Almond. It measures 7.60m diagonally and 6.60m across. There is the remains of a small parapet and a series of drilled holes on the wall suggesting some form of ironwork or railing. Only one of the three window openings surtvives to it's full height, the other two along with the surrounding walls at the river-facing elevation have collapsed.
The upper room is accessed by a now bricked -up door on the N elevation, measuring1.9m in height and 1.02m across.
On the same elevation are two bricked-up windows, one, on the E side measuring 0.4m by 0.34m with evidence of a grill, the other, a very small diamond-shaped opening is also bricked-up. On the W side of the upper storey is a round arched niche, possibly for a small statue.
The building originally had a thatched conical roof, a print of c1760 giving an impression of what this may have looked like.
The grotto may possibly have been designed by Robert Adam as the building is in a similar style to his many drawings of Roman ruins (Innes 1982).
Visited by RCAHMS (DE, EL), 18, 19 September 2007.

Notes and Activities

Archaeological Notes

Books and References

Innes, C B (1982) Craigiehall: the story of a fine Scots country house, Photocopy of typescript
Page(s): 43 Held at RCAHMS D.7.33.CRA

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Charity SC026749