Cabusnethan Priory in photograph
The Priory was built for the Lockhart family of Castlehill and their family crest was carved above the main entrance and etched in every balustrade of the main staircase inside. The crest represents a casket, heart and lock and derives from the tradition that the ancestors of this family carried Robert the Bruce’s heart back from the holy land. The site was also the birthplace of John Gibson Lockhart, Sir Walter Scott’s biographer and later son in law.
There are few remaining examples of early 19th-century Neo-Gothic mansions remaining in Scotland as many were demolished in the late 1950s and 1960s. Cambusnethan House is a notable building in its own right as a good example of the neo-Gothic style, and also because so few buildings of this type still remain.
The house is two and three storeys high with turrets at each corner, a three-storey bow in the west elevation and a massive square porch. Characteristically, the house was very ornately decorated with a variety of architectural details; castellated roof lines, scrolled pinnacles, narrow pointed windows and drip moulds, and various cornices, besides carved motifs and decorated chimneys. Some of the ornate pinnacles have been removed in the interest of safety.
They day was complete with an amazing sunset.