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[Page] 57

Dean's House
Of the old houses with characteristic features a few specimens are presented in Peebles. The most conspicuous is a massive building on the south side of High Street with sharp slated roof and a turret at one of its corners. It is provided with a port-cochere giving access to a courtyard and doorway behind in the usual continental style. A garden opening on the courtyard slopes towards the Tweed green. This remarkable building at one time belonged to the Cross church and by a charter of James VI 1624 came into the possession of the Hays Lords Yester afterwards Earls of Tweeddale from whom as is seen by the Signature of the time of James VII 8th February 1687 it passed to William first Duke of Queensberry in liferent and to his second son Lord William Douglas first Earl of March in fee. The property thus came into the Queensberry family about the time the Duke acquired possession of Nidpath.
According to a tradition in Peebles this tenement was formerly called the Deans House. It is so named in Armstrong's map (1775) opposite the mansion there was at no distant day an open drain already referred to as the Dean's Gutter and here on the north side of the Street is an alley still called the Dean's Wynd. The Deans House bears the appearance of having undergone several alteration. looking at the various circumstances connected with it we have little difficulty in concluding that from being originally a mansion belonging to a distinguished churchman it was modernised by the Yester family on coming into their possession and subsequently improved by the Duke of Queensberry about 1690 as a town mansion for his son the Earl of March. Under the name of Queensberry Lodging it was jointly with Nidpath the residence of the first and second Earls of March and here it is said the third Earl subsequently fourth Duke of Queensberry was born on the 16th of December 1725. In 1781 as appears by the burgh records the property was sold by the Duke to Dr. [Doctor] James Reid by whom and by his son Dr. [Doctor] John Reid it was many years possessed and it is still owned by the family. At present the mansion is occupied by the Revd. [Reverend] T. R. Wyer as a boarding house and academy for young gentlemen.

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