Melville House

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For the publisher, see Melville House Publishing. For the Alexander Graham Bell museum in Canada, see Bell Homestead National Historic Site.
Melville House

Melville House is a 1697 house that lies to the south side of Monimail near Collessie in Fife. It has been a school and a billet for soldiers. The building was the most expensive building in Britain ever reclaimed by a bank.


Mellville House was built in 1697 by the architect James Smith (c.1645–1731) for George Melville, 1st Earl of Melville (1636–1707). The remains of the 14th-century Monimail Palace which the Melville's had bought in 1592 were incorporated into the grounds as a folly.

Alexander Leslie, 5th Earl of Leven daughter, the novelist to be, Lady Mary Hamilton was born here in 1736.[1]

The former Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Francis Brown Douglas, died here on 8 August 1885.[2]

During the 20th century the house was used to billet Polish soldiers during World War II before being bought by Dalhousie Preparatory School, when they moved premises from Dalhousie Castle in Lothian. It remained a private preparatory school from 1950 to 1971, and later became a special education school from 1975 to 1998.[3] In the early 2000s it was refurbished as a private home, and was sold on several years later. After the purchaser failed to sell the property for a £4.5m asking price, Melville House was repossessed by the South African bank which had lent the money, making it the most expensive repossessed property in Britain.[4]

Melville House is a category A listed building,[5] and the grounds are included on the Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes in Scotland.[3] The Melville State Bed, made in 1700 for the Earl of Melville, was given to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London in 1949 where it is described as "the most spectacular single exhibit in the Victoria and Albert Museum's British Galleries".[6]


  1. ^ * McMillan, Dorothy (2004). "Walker, Lady Mary (1736–1822)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/12115.  (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  2. ^ BIOGRAPHICAL INDEX OF FORMER FELLOWS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF EDINBURGH 1783 – 2002 (PDF). The Royal Society of Edinburgh. July 2006. ISBN 0 902 198 84 X. 
  3. ^ a b "Melville House". Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes in Scotland. Historic Scotland. Retrieved 12 November 2013. 
  4. ^ "£2.5m price for repossessed home". BBC News. 12 May 2009. Retrieved 12 May 2009. 
  5. ^ "Melville House". Historic Scotland. Retrieved 12 November 2013. 
  6. ^ "The State Bed from Melville House". Retrieved 2008-11-03. 

Coordinates: 56°18′41″N 3°08′05″W / 56.3114°N 3.1348°W / 56.3114; -3.1348