Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Hungry House...Gosford, East Lothian



In the woods of Gosford Estate is a lovely old cottage in a state of ruin.
Referred to today as Gosford Kennels the house was the former Weymss and March Estate Gamekeepers house.
The House was always known locally as Hungry House, as seen here on the 1832 John Thomsons Atlas of Scotland...



Some more recent maps showed it as spelt Hungary House - as in the country Hungary,  more of that name in a bit. What ever the spelling we have always referred to it as Hungry as in starving for food hungry!.

The last Estate Gamekeeper was Peter Rennick who moved out of Hungry House when he retired in 1989/90.
I grew up on Gosford Estate and we lived in former farm workers cottages at Craigielaw.
As a teenager i helped Peter out as a lot of generations of kids from Aberlady did with the pheasant rearing and feeding and `beating` at pheasant shoots and we were rewarded with learning to shoot and driving vehicles around the estate. Driving well before the legal age -:)  . We also got to ride our motorbikes around the Estate which at Gosford is over 3000 Acres.
Known to a lot of people as `The General`,  Peter was well known and a popular person.
He served in Egypt in WW2 and his life was keepering on the Estate.

With the estate without a patrolling Gamekeeper after he passed away and Hungry House left unmaintained eventually it was vandalised and plundered for scrap leaving it in a sad state of condition.

Planning applications have been made to restore the keepers cottage and kennels to its former glory as part of the restoration of the estate to a fine shooting Estate again one day.

Today it is still a lovely building despite the Deterioration...





I read somewhere that the house was built by Hungarian POWs from the Napoleonic Wars hence the name on some maps as `Hungary` house, but i cannot confirm that.
What i have noticed  is the House is different to all other houses on the Estate.
The hexagon chimneys are what are called `Polygonal ashlar` ...





Out buildings that i remember being used to store pheasant feed and fire wood...



Nearby are the two game Larders...



Not much remains inside, the sinks in the wash room...



The roof has collapsed in the kitchen...



Hard to believe i used to cook chips and fry collected eggs on this stove!...











Bedroom i used to sleep in, usually with a couple of Gun dogs lying on top to keep warm in winter!...



To the rear is the former kennels, this had 3 main kennels with full size doors plus small kennels in the compound area. quiet here today, with just the wind and bird song, once there were often over 20 dogs here.
Sadly all the arrowhead fencing and gates have been stolen for scrap value from the walls and between the kennels...







Around the back was where we kept our push bikes and motorcycles.
Still a few bits buried in the dirt if you poke around...




The doors into the 3 Kennels have scratch marks from years of dogs that were here...





I originally wrote this post with a huge paragraph about the former gamekeeper Peter who had lived here when we grew up as kids. Peter was for myself as a teenager a big influence on how i wanted to live my life.
He once said to me `to do what you want to do and not to do it for what it earns you is a far richer life`, he was so right!.
Sometimes people you meet have a big influence on you as i have said, Peter had a big influence on a lot of people. The turnout for his funeral showed this...
I edited the post as it was supposed to be about the ruin of Hungry House, but the character of Hungry House is in many peoples memory shaped by Peter!, From The 12 bore shotguns propped against the Fire Place, cartridge's lying about everywhere, huge logs poking out the fire, wet dogs lying sleeping in the heat of the hearth after a days shooting,  and fresh game hanging in the kitchen, and that smell that is always in a keepers house...

It is always nostalgic returning to places where you grew up, and memorys of good times come flooding back,
I will return to Hungry House again on here with a tale or two about `The General`...

Some film...
Song is `American Beauty` by Thomas Newton






2 comments:

  1. I wonder it it ever WILL be renovated?

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  2. Was there yesterday and it looks pretty sad. Still possible to renovate but at very high cost. Thanks for all the history and information--very interesting

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