A brief history

We’re often asked about the history of the house and what it used to be. So here’s the story of when it was built, and how it became what it is today.

The Craw family

The Netherbyres estate was originally owned by the Craw family for 250 years. William Craw, who had a passion for mathematics, built the first ‘modern’ harbour at Eyemouth and in the 1740’s, he created the unique elliptical walled garden at Netherbyres, believed to be the only elliptical garden in the world. William Craw died in 1750.

The current house

Although earlier houses stood in its place, the Category B listed house as it now stands now was commenced in 1835, at the very end of the Georgian era just two years before Queen Victoria was crowned.

The house was built by Captain Sir Samuel Brown, a Naval Officer who was famous for his design and patent of chain suspension piers and bridges, including the Union Bridge over the River Tweed, still in use today. The house was designed by George Angus and the impressive Grand Hall was designed to replicate the bow of a ship, to reflect Brown’s shining heritage.

Netherbyres House when first built in 1840's
Netherbyres House, est. 1840’s

The extension

The house was extended in the 1860’s and the front door moved into the position it is today. This was done by Ramsay L’Amy of Dunkenny, when he married an heiress from Ayton and acquired her two spinster sisters in the deal. He built the new wing to accommodate them, and made sure to keep hold of the only key to the one connecting door. That’s one way to keep the in-laws at bay!

A game of croquet in the 1860’s
Sitting on the front steps in 1860

The Coats of Arms

The stained glass window at the top of the Grand Hall staircase displays the coat of arms of Ramsay L’Amy and displays the motto ‘Per Varios Casus’ meaning ‘Through many difficulties’.

The same motto is carved into the stone coat of arms above the main door.

Crest above the door at Netherbyres

The coats of arms of Captain Sir Samuel Brown is carved into the stone above the window in the extension, displaying the crest of a lion and the motto ‘Floreat majestas’ translating as ‘Let majesty flourish’.

The Furness family

Netherbyres House was bought by Sir Christopher Furness in 1928 and the family continued to live in the house until 1991, when it was donated to charity by Colonel Simon Furness, and all the furniture was auctioned off by Christies.

The Grand Hall during the furniture sale in 1991
Netherbyres House
Netherbyres House in 1991

The Royal Gardeners’ Benevolent Society turned the house into a retirement home for gardeners, and Colonel Simon Furness built himself a garden house overlooking his famous walled garden, and still lives there today (and kindly donates us some home-grown fruit and veg from time to time).

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