Amisfield House, Haddington from the north bank of the river Tyne

Amisfield Walled Garden lies within Amisfield Park, an 85 hectare country estate. The park once formed the grounds of Amisfield House, a mansion built by the Earl of Wemyss in the 1750s.

The walled garden would have been used to provide a constant supply of fresh fruit and vegetables for the house, but its impressive buildings suggest that it also was used as a showpiece garden to demonstrate its owner’s enormous wealth.

Amisfield Pleasure Grounds’, thought to be c.1800

An undated plan, entitled ‘Amisfield Pleasure Grounds’, thought to be c.1800. 
Note the parkland setting, with its clumps of trees, extending over the River Tyne as far as the Haddington to Dunbar post road 

The garden was built between 1782 and 1788. The ‘Union Jack’ layout of the paths in the garden is the one historical influence that we have taken from maps of the garden made in the 19th Century.  Interestingly a drawing from 1800 denotes the layout we have today, whereas a slightly later map from 1855 indicates that two of the diagonal paths in the south of the garden had been removed.  Our current path layout replaces these diagonals with our grass apple walks, maintaining this symmetrical pattern to Amisfield but acknowledging this original development of the design.

The glasshouses and an intact pavilion from a period postcard dated 1906
The glasshouses and an intact pavilion from a period postcard dated 1906

The garden was used for traditional cultivation until World War II, after which it operated as a market garden and as arable land. Amisfield House was demolished in 1928 and large parts of the park were incorporated into Haddington golf course, which lies adjacent to the walled garden. The Wemyss family sold the park to Haddington Town Council in 1969 and parts of the grounds were used to develop housing and a water treatment works. The garden was planted up by the Council in the 1980s with the intention of using it as a tree nursery. This was never commercially successful and the garden fell into a state of neglect for the next 25 years. In 2013 the Amisfield Preservation Trust was granted a 99-year lease on the garden and surrounding woodland from East Lothian Council, the current owners of Amisfield Park.

Our research into the history of Amisfield Park is set out in this downloadable booklet