Auchinleck House was built between 1755 and 1760 by Alexander Boswell, 8th Laird of Auchinleck (1707-1782) and the father of James Boswell (1740-1795) the celebrated diarist and biographer of Samuel Johnson. It was the third house to be built on an estate granted to Lord Auchinleck’s forebears in the 16th century. Like his father before him Alexander was a lawyer. In 1754 he was created Lord Auchinleck, a non-hereditary title in recognition of his appointment as a Judge of the Court of Session, Scotland’s supreme civil court.
Lord Auchinleck had carved above the main entrance an epigram from Horace (Epistle xi, 29-30) which reads ‘Quod petis hic est; Est Ulubris, animus si te non deficit aequus’ which translates as ‘What you seek is here in this remote place, if you can only keep a balanced disposition.’