The way Melville House was built means that it can be occupied in a number of flexible ways as long as the building is arranged in a symmetrical H plan with the central section of the house being effectively square and flowing around the magnificent reception hall with a grand timber staircase and galleried landing which opens to the library on the ground floor and great dining room / ballroom on the first floor.
On both sides of the main section of the mansion there are matching rectangular sections with independent staircases. The library, the reception hall, a study, a music room, a dining room and a kitchen are to be found on the ground floor.
Upstairs, on the first floor there is a beautifully oak panelled drawing room, three more reception rooms, a billiard room and the master bedroom suite. The second floor has other ten bedrooms.
Melville House is surrounded by about 17 acres of gardens and grounds. From the gate of the property, you go along a private winding drive which leads through parkland to the house. The north of the house has an expanse of grass which was formerly a cricket pitch.
Melville House was built in 1697 by the architect James Smith for George Melville, 1st Earl of Melville. The remains of the 14th-century building which the Melville’s had bought in 1592 were incorporated into the grounds as a folly.
During the 20th century the house was used to billet Polish soldiers during World War II before being bought by Dalhousie Preparatory School.