Although built in 1840, the first 43 years of Norton House’s existence remain a bit of a mystery. But its history becomes clearer when it was bought in 1883 by John Usher of the famous Scottish brewing family. The first estate he acquired, it was probably purchased because of its close proximity to Edinburgh.
The elaborate Renaissance porch is the only external sign of the Usher family’s ownership. Inside, the house displays some highly eclectic tastes – from liver coloured marble pillars to the oak panelled staircase hall with its gallery on the half landing.
Details throughout the ground floor of the main house range from Jacobean to neo Adam. In the residents lounge, which was originally the dining room, you can find an oak dado, en-suite chimneypiece and William de Morgan tiles.
Move through to the connected drawing room to see a delicately mounted ceiling still painted in its original green and gold.
A man of strict integrity and strong religious views, John Usher was devoted to the Unionist cause and in 1899 was created the 1st Baronet of Norton and Wells. In 1901 his eldest son Robert, who was to become the 2nd Baronet upon the sudden death of his father in 1904, bought Rathboyes and enlarged the estate.
Norton House was to become the favourite residence of Colonel Sir John Usher, the 3rd Baronet. A keen rugby player – a mainstay of Edinburgh Wanderers rugby club – he was said to be an eccentric nobleman who always carried a shepherd’s crook and wore a monocle. Upon his death in 1951, the house was sold and became a hotel although the farms were retained by the family.
Throughout its history, Norton House has been a warm and welcoming home, built for pleasure. And now, as a Hand Picked Hotel, its understated sophistication and beautiful surroundings create the ideal place for you to relax and indulge.