Gibson-Craig Estate Records

Scope and Content

The papers record the ownership and use of the Riccarton estate over seven centuries and includes records relating to the lands surrounding the Riccarton parklands including Malcolmstone, Hermiston, Curriehill and Currie village. Title deeds (1454-1776); estate and household records ((1540-1861); legal records (1586-1729); documents of debt (1581-1830); family and inheritance records (1623-1840); ecclesiastical records (1606-1838); maps and plans (1721-1855); personal records of Alexander Gibson (1745-1836), James Gibson (1785-1865), William Gibson-Craig (1829-1876); Calder Road Trust (1821-1859); records relating to the Forster family of Lucker, Northumbria (1601-1836) and Archibald Buchanan of Curriehill (1829-1889).

Administrative / Biographical History

The Riccarton estate lies to the South-West of Edinburgh. The first recorded mentinof a Riccarton is in the Ragman's Roll of 1296 which records a Mariorie de Ricardstone. In 1315 King Roberet the Bruce granted Riccarton and other lands as a dowry on the marriage of his daughter Marjorie to Walter the Steward. By 1392 Riccarton was owned by Mariota Wardlaw and her son Andrew. In 1508 James Wardlaw leased Riccarton House to Alexander Hepburn of Whitsome and Janet Napier his wife. In 1605 Riccarton Mains Farm was sold to Edinburgh Advocate Thomas Craig. In 1610 his son Lewis bought the rest of the estate, subsequently purchasing surrounding lands and extending the original tower house. Subsequent improvements to the parklands surrounding the house and enclosures of the farmlands were carried out by James Craig.

Due to the lack of male heirs the lands eventually passed to a relative James Gibson, who became James Gibson-Craig. In 1831 he was created the first Baronet of Riccarton. His son William was a liberal MP for Midlothian and then Edinburgh. Two grandsons were killed in wars - James in the Boer War and Archibald in the First World War. The younger brother Henry died childless, which led to the estate and title parteding company. The estates passed to the Sudlow family and the title to a cousin Eardley. In 1939 the house and parkland were comandeered by the army and the family never lived there again. In 1969 the estate was sold to Midlothian County Council, who gifted the estate to Heriot-watt University to form the Edinburgh campus.


The records are arranged chronologically in accordance with the classification scheme.

Access Information

The collection is available for consultation at the Edinburgh campus by appointment. Some plans are oversized and require advance notice to view.

Other Finding Aids

Full item level finding aid is available on CALM database in the search room.

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Helen Taylor, Archivist, Heriot-Watt University.

Custodial History

The estate papers were deposited with the Scottish Record Office in 1939 after the army commandeered the house and estate. The papers were subsequently transferred to the University in 1983 upon the appointment of an archivist.


Accruals are not expected.

Related Material

Tweedie collection HWUA TW.

Geographical Names