Craigsanquhar has been owned by the McClendon Family since 1999 when it was changed from a private home to a luxury hotel, restaurant, and wedding venue.
In 2011, the family welcomed Jason Herkes to the family and to the business. With him came a wealth of knowledge in the Scottish shooting world thanks to his days as a young lad beating on some of Scotland’s most prestigious sporting estates. He also took great interest in field trialing dogs having great success with his English Springer “Hill Billy Jimmy” at just 15 years of age.
Thanks to this introduction and several years of vetting our business in the sporting and shooting industry, Craigsanquhar honors the lifestyle of Scottish country sports with quality shooting experiences, exceptional hospitality, and genteel accommodations designed to etch lasting memories for all our guests.
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Craigsanquhar House is the former home of the Spens family of Lathallan whose ancestry can be traced back to King Robert III of Scotland and King Edward III of England.
The lands of Craigsanquhar belonged to the Spens family from 1385 to 1524 and were bought back in 1792 by Dr Nathaniel Spens. The small corner of cut stone to left of the front lawn is all that remains of the original tower house which the early Spens returned to. The architect of the house as it stands today was William Burn, the architect of many distinguished buildings in Edinburgh. Nathaniel’s initials surmount the entrance doorway and occur again in the carved figurine and flag-like windvane over the roof. The estate remained in the Spens family until 1925.
Dr. Nathaniel Spens
Dr. Nathaniel Spens was the son of Thomas Spens, the 15th Laird of Lathallan, and his wife Janet (née Douglas). Dr Spens obtained his medical degree from the University of St Andrews and was admitted into the Incorporation of Surgeons of Edinburgh on 24 July 1751. After practicing as a surgeon in Edinburgh, he increasingly became more interested in the practice of physic, becoming a Licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh in 1773 and Fellow of that College the following year. He went on to become Treasurer of the College and its President in 1794.
Dr Spens was a prominent member of the Royal Company of Archers (the Monarch’s bodyguard in Scotland). Amongst the prizes for which the Archers compete to this day is the Pagodas Medal, presented to the Company by James Spens, son of Nathaniel, in memory of his father. His yew bow, which was presented to the Royal Company by his son Dr Thomas Spens, is still on display in Archers’ Hall. His portrait by Sir Henry Raeburn (1756 – 1823) in the uniform of the Royal Company hangs in Archers’ Hall in Edinburgh. 150 copies were made in 1796, one of which hangs in Mansion House today.
The archery butts
The archery butts to the northeast of the walled garden remain of this time and have nurtured the skill of several generations of his descendants. The Edinburgh Arrow is an annual archery competition held by the Royal Company of Archers. The Edinburgh arrow is the longest running annual archery competition in the recorded history of the sport. The competition takes its name from the silver arrow which is awarded for first prize. The Spens family won the silver arrow on the following occasions:
- 1756 Dr. Nathaniel Spens
- 1771 Dr Nathaniel Spens
- 1786 Dr. Nathaniel Spens
- 1793 Dr. Thomas Spens
- 1797 Dr. Thomas Spens
- 1830 Dr. Nathaniel Spens of Craigsanquhar
- 1832 Dr. Nathaniel Spens of Craigsanquhar
Dr. Thomas Spens
Dr. Thomas Spens, the older brother of Nathaniel Spens was a keen archer and an avid golfer. Thomas Spens of Lathallan is noted as a participant in the original golf tournament held at the Royal & Ancient Golf club in St. Andrews.