Maitlandfield House History
Maitlandfield House (Bearford House)
The original town house was named Bearford House and was built in 1654.
Bearford’s House was one of the many properties of Francis Charteris, Earl of Wemyss and was transferred to the ownership of Lieutenant Thomas Maitland in April 1754 and it was around this time that the House was remodelled and renamed Maitlandfield.
Thomas Maitland in 1794 passed over the property to his son Charles Maitland who served with distinction in the Indian Army and had become The Colonel of the East Lothian Yeomanry in 1797.
In 1825 Charles Maitland son of Thomas Maitland, inherited Maitlandfield House.
In the 1840’s local goldsmiths Thomas and Agnes Howden took ownership of Maitlandfield House. Thomas Howden was also the Provost of the burgh in 1877.
In 1901 his son, Robert Howden MBCM, a ship’s doctor with a Master’s Certificate, inherited the property. He passed away in 1907 aged 43 years. He left the Maitlandfield to his son, another Thomas.
The last of the Howden family to own Maitlandfield was David Thomas Howden who lived in St Andrews, he sold the house in 1942 to George Paterson and Sons of Haddington for the sum of £1,400.00.
The Rayner family were the next residents of Maitlandfield. Frank Rayner, the assistant county treasurer and collector sold his house that stood at the end of the old wooden bridge over the Tyne. The Rayners lived at Maitlandfield House during the 1940’s. Frank senior played double bass in the orchestra for the Haddington Operatic Society. His family were teachers of English, Art and Music.
During World War II Maitlandfield was used by the Ministry of Food as offices and in 1952 it was taken over by the British Transport Commission to enable the widening of Mill Wynd.
The County Council acquired 330 sq yds. in 1952 and 5 years later the mansion was sold to Production Efficiency Ltd for £1,700.00 who in turn sold it to Matthew Dickson Carlaw, the borough Chamberlain of Haddington in 1958. Around this time he sold the ground floor to Frank Godek, a shopkeeper in Haddington.
1961 Mr and Mrs Godek took over the whole property including the cottage that stood at the Mill Wynd corner of the garden. Paterson’s Sawmill stood at the opposite side of the garden. The cottage was later transformed into a laundrette. The house was converted into six flat lets for newlyweds who were waiting for council houses with the average stay 2 years.
The Godeks converted the mansion into a hotel. The three rooms at the rear of the ground floor were knocked into one to form a large dining/function room and in 1967 an extension at the South end of the building was added to form new kitchens and a cocktail lounge. The cottage which had a been transformed into a workshop for Mr Godek who built bicycles and motorbikes there, had to be demolished and a further part of the garden lost for road widening.
In 1968 Maitlandfield was sold to Mr and Mrs Morga who took over the hotel complete with its clients. The Morgas gave up the hotel on 1987 and sold it to Ivor Reid Craig a local business person. The House was left for sometime in need of repair.
In 1990 Kirkton Investments purchased the hotel and carried out complete refurbishment adding the conservatory overlooking St. Mary’s Parish Church.
In 1999 the Maitlandfield House was purchased by De Freitas family, professional hoteliers for many years. They have made many changes to this great house including renovating the garden reinstating the fountain, the Stable Yard and have also upgraded and decorated the hotel to help it to remain fit for future Kings.