A charter of 1324 records a donation from Helen Lockhart to John of Cowie ... of the lands of Craiglockhart.
The lands of Craiglockhart would have spanned the east and west Craiglockhart Hills. Wester Craiglockhart Hill, the Craig, stands over 500 feet above sea level. On the west shoulder of the hill are the ruins of Craiglockhart Castle, a 13th century medieval keep associated with the Lockhart of Lee family.
The tower still exists. It is nearly square in plan, measuring approximately 28 feet by 24 feet with walls between 5 and 6 feet deep. The most comprehensive description of the tower is in the ‘10th report of the Royal Commission on the Ancient Monuments of Scotland, 1929’ (although it is not mentioned in the 1951 Edinburgh volume of 'The Royal Commission on Ancient and Historical Monuments'). The report notes that in 1505 the King granted to Thomas Kincaid ... on resignation by Patrick Kincaid of Craiglockhart, the lands of the same with tower and fortalice. By the mid-15th century and throughout most of the 16th the Kincaid family owned Craiglockhart. They forfeited the land at the beginning of the 17th century and the estate passed to the Crown.
The Seventeenth Century
In 1609 the lands of Craiglockhart were bought by George Foulis and sold to a John Gilmour of Craigmillar in 1661. Some time later the estate was re-acquired by the Lockhart Family until 1689 when its owner Sir George Lockhart of Carnwath was murdered. It was then held by the Porteous family and George Porteous built a small mansion house on the site of the modern building and let the farm land to tenants.
The Eighteenth Century
In 1726 the lands were sold to John Parkhill and remained in his family until 1773, when they were sold to Alexander Monro, secundus, Professor of Anatomy at the University of Edinburgh.
A small watercolour entitled Craiglockhart 1853 (now in the University's possession) shows a two-storey building which stood a little to the north east of the present building, overlooking the pavilion lawn.