History

Leuchie House and the Hamilton-Dalrymple family

The Leuchie estate has been owned by the Hamilton-Dalrymple family since 1701 when the 1st Sir Hew Dalrymple of North Berwick bought the land and the old house on it.

Although there is no record of what the original house looked like or whether the 1st Sir Hew lived there, his grandson, the 2nd Sir Hew, is known to have used Leuchie as his country house. In the 1770s, with the estate prospering as a result of Scotland's agricultural reforms, he decided to build a new Leuchie House - a three storey mansion on the foundations of the previous house. He also laid out the grounds as we know them today and carried out the planting which became such a feature of the estate.

The family continued to live between Leuchie and the Lodge in North Berwick until the 1850s when the 6th Sir Hew decided to extend his country house, as was common practice in Victorian times, transforming the building into its current structure.

Following the death of the 6th Sir Hew, and subsequently his widow, the 8th and 9th Baronets and their families chose to take up residence at the Lodge, and to let out Leuchie House.

It was 1939 before the 9th Sir Hew moved back into Leuchie, where he lived with his family until his death in 1959.

A new chapter for Leuchie

In the 1960s, Sir Hew Hamilton-Dalrymple, the 10th Baronet, and his wife, Lady Anne-Louise, took the decision to move into a smaller house in the Leuchie grounds with their four sons, leasing the main house to an order of La Sagesse nuns at a peppercorn rent.

When La Sagesse no longer needed Leuchie, Sir Hew helped the MS Society’s founder, Sir Richard Cave, to launch the Richard Cave Multiple Sclerosis Holiday Home in 1970, run by the Sisters of the Order of Servites. In 1998, the MS Society took over the running of Leuchie as a respite centre, until 2010.

Becoming an independent charity

In June 2010, the MS Society took the decision to close its four respite centres in the UK, including Leuchie House. 

Following a high profile Save Leuchie campaign, manager Mairi O’Keefe secured a support package which allowed Leuchie House to be set up as an independent charity.

Launching on 4 July 2011, the new status has enabled Leuchie to widen its reach, and to provide a unique short break package that has improved the lives of thousands of people with MS and other neurological conditions.