Yester House is an early 18th-century
mansion near Gifford in East Lothian, Scotland. The
lands of Yester were granted to Hugo de Giffard, a
Norman, in the 12th century. Yester Castle, around 1
mile (1.6 km) south-east of the present house, was built
by the Giffords in the later 13th century.
The heiress of the Giffords
married into the Hay family, who were raised to the
peerage in 1488 as Lord Hay of Yester. In 1646 the 8th
Lord Hay was created Earl of Tweeddale, and considered
the building of a new house at Yester. The 1st Earl
acquired his title for his support of Charles I, but
later served in two Commonwealth Parliaments. His son,
the 2nd Earl of Tweeddale, was appointed to the Privy
Council of Scotland after the Restoration. He began
improvements to the estate, including the planting of
over 6,000 acres (2,400 ha) of woodland. It was around
this time that the medieval village of Yester was moved
to its current location at Gifford. The Earl consulted
Sir William Bruce in 1670, with a view to commissioning
a new house, although nothing was done at this time.
Formal gardens were established and parkland laid out
through the 1680s and 1690s.
For his support of William of
Orange, the 2nd Earl was appointed Lord Chancellor of
Scotland in 1692 and 1st Marquess of Tweeddale in 1694.
John Hay, 2nd Marquess of Tweeddale, who inherited the
estate in 1697, appointed James Smith and Alexander
McGill to begin work on a new house in 1697. The 2nd
Marquess supported the Acts of Union and served at
Westminster as a representative peer. When he died in
1713 the building work was still underway; the main
house was complete by 1715, when the 3rd Marquess died.
John Hay, 4th Marquess of
Tweeddale, also served as a representative peer from
1722. The interior of the house was complete by 1728,
but in 1729 the 4th Marquess appointed William Adam to
make alterations to the roof and main façade and in the
mid-1730s to the interiors. William was succeeded as
architect at Yester by his sons Robert and John, who
carried out alterations inside in 1761, and another
redesign of the façade in the 1780s, as well as
redesigning the gardens in an informal style in the
1760s. The house was altered in the 1830s, with the
entrance moved to the west front, and was modernised at
the end of the 19th century by Robert Rowand Anderson
for the 11th Marquess.
The estate was sold in
the late 1960s after the death of William Hay, 11th
Marquess of Tweeddale, in 1967, to two antiques dealers.
In 1972 it was bought by the Italian-American composer
Gian Carlo Menotti because of the acoustics of the
ballroom. After Menotti's death, the house was marketed
by his family with a price of between £12 million and
£15 million. According to the sales particulars the
house has a gross internal area of 34,580 sq. ft. In
September 2010 the guide price was reduced to £8
million, with the exclusion of 120 hectares (300 acres)
of woodlands from the sale. In 2015 the estate was sold
to Nicola and Gareth Wood, son of Sir Ian Wood.