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St. Germains House, Tranent, East Lothian.
St. Germains House, Tranent

The St Germains House is a most magnificent mansion house dating from the 12th century, situated in outstanding grounds in an elevated position approximately half a mile west of Longniddry, and adjacent to the Seton estate, having fine views over the East Lothian countryside towards the Firth of Forth and Fife beyond.

This magnificent house is of stone construction with a slate roof and the property is approached by an impressive private driveway leading to the outstanding old common grounds which have a fine selection of mature trees and shrubs, the rear gardens are laid to lawn and have open views over the countryside. There is a Monkey Puzzle tree, Oak and Lime trees and there are numerous seating areas, both in the main garden and in an area of woodland garden to the east where there is a stream and an original icehouse.

The core of the present house was built during the 1500's by the Lord's Seton who owned the property, on the ruins of a Bethlehemite Hospital (of the Order of the Star of Bethlehem) and evolved over the next 250 years to its present outward appearance. The present structure was the result of work by the 1st Earl of Winton, for his younger son's.  The house and lands were passed by Charter to the younger son's of the head of House of Seton: in favour of George Seaton, of the lands of St. Germains, dated 20th June 1602.  In this charter George Seaton (later 3rd Earl of Winton) is designed nostro filio secundo genito, and Sir Alexander Seaton (later 6th Earl of Eglinton) , who has been referred to, as fratri germano juniori of George.  Sir John Seton, Knight, fifth son of the 1st Earl of Winton was later passed the house and lands and founded the last branch of the Seton's of St. Germains that lasted 3 generations.

It's earliest history is patchy and uncertain noting only that the Lord's Seton maintained certain Templar connections that were associated with the property.  However, it's later history does have historic connections with the East India Company in the person of Warren Hastings. He was once as a soldier with the Company and served latterly as Governor General of India. Hastings had a very good friend called David Anderson, who also served in India until the 1780's and Anderson bought St. Germains in 1782, moving here in 1804.

The house was visited frequently by Hastings and also by another friend of his from Edinburgh, the novelist, Sir Walter Scott. The estate remained in the Anderson Family until about the turn of the 20th Century, when it was bought by the Tennent Family, famous in Scotland for its lagers and beers. Last used as a complete house by the RAF as a convalescent home for injured airmen during WW2, St. Germains was converted into apartments in 1947 rather than face demolition. It retains quite a number of its original features to intrigue the curious.

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