The Castles of Scotland by Martin Coventry | Goblinshead | A comprehensive guide to 4,100 castles, towers, historic houses, stately homes and family lands
The Castles of Scotland by Martin Coventry | Goblinshead | A comprehensive guide to 4,100 castles, towers, historic houses, stately homes and family lands
The ‘Bible of Scottish Castles’…now available!
The ‘Bible of Scottish Castles’…now available! 

Abbotsford

Borders: About 2 miles west of Melrose, just west of B6360, east of River Tweed, at Abbotsford.

 

Private   NT 508343   OS: 73   TD6 9BQ

 

OPEN: Open all year: Apr-Sep, daily 10.00-1700; Oct-Mar, daily 10.00-16.00; closed 25/26 Dec and 1/2 Jan. Luxury self-catering accommodation. Visitor centre with exhibitions, shop and restaurant. Gardens and woodland walk. Venue for weddings and events.
Tel: 01896 752043   Web: www.scottsabbotsford.co.uk

 

The house can be easily accessed from the railway station at Tweedbank on the Borders railway, with a walk of just over a mile through Tweedbank Park with Gunknowe Loch.

Abbotsford House, the home of Sir Walter Scott, the famous author, and stands in fine wooded grounds and gardens by the River Tweed, near Tweedbank, Melrose and Galashiels in the Borders of Scotland. Abbotsford House

Abbotsford is a fine sprawling baronial mansion with turrets, battlements and corbiestepped gables, mostly of two storeys, and dates from the first quarter of the 19th century. 

Abbotsford House, the home of Sir Walter Scott, the famous author, and stands in fine wooded grounds and gardens by the River Tweed, near Tweedbank, Melrose and Galashiels in the Borders of Scotland. Abbotsford House (© Martin Coventry)

The house was designed by William Atkinson and then Edward Blore, with additions by William Burn in the 1850s, but may incorporate older work. 

Abbotsford House, the home of Sir Walter Scott, the famous author, and stands in fine wooded grounds and gardens by the River Tweed, near Tweedbank, Melrose and Galashiels in the Borders of Scotland. Abottsford House (© Martin Coventry)

There are two extensive walled gardens, and the house sits in a picturesque location above the River Tweed.

Abbotsford House, the home of Sir Walter Scott, the famous author, and stands in fine wooded grounds and gardens by the River Tweed, near Tweedbank, Melrose and Galashiels in the Borders of Scotland. Abbotsford House (old postcard)

Sir Walter Scott, the famous Scottish writer and historian, bought Cartley Hole farmhouse, by the Tweed, in 1812, which he renamed Abbotsford. He had the old house demolished in 1822, and it was replaced by the main block of Abbotsford as it is today. 

Bust of Sir Walter Scott in the library of Abbotsford House, the home of Sir Walter Scott, the famous author, and stands in fine wooded grounds and gardens by the River Tweed, near Tweedbank, Melrose and Galashiels in the Borders of Scotland. Abbotsford House: bust of Sir Walter Scott (© Martin Coventry)

Scott was the most successful and influential authour of his day, indeed some have credited him with inventing the modern novel format. He wrote many works, literary and poetic, including Invahoe, Rob Roy, the Waverley novels, and the Lay of the Last Minstrel.

Suit of armour in the entrance hall of Abbotsford House, the home of Sir Walter Scott, the famous author, and stands in fine wooded grounds and gardens by the River Tweed, near Tweedbank, Melrose and Galashiels in the Borders of Scotland. Abbotsford House: suit of armour (© Martin Coventry)

He was also responsible for the rediscovery of the Scottish Crown jewels, now on display at Edinburgh Castle, and with the rehabilitation of the Highlands and Scottish history and traditions, although he was a staunch unionist, having arranged the visit of Geroge IV to Scotland in 1822, the first reigning British monarch to visit Scotland since Charles II in 1650.

Armoury of Abbotsford House, the home of Sir Walter Scott, the famous author, and stands in fine wooded grounds and gardens by the River Tweed, near Tweedbank, Melrose and Galashiels in the Borders of Scotland. Abbotsford House: armoury (© Martin Coventry)

Scott collected many historic artefacts, and there is an impressive collection of armour and weapons at the house, including Rob Roy MacGregor’s gun, a crucifix of Mary Queen of Scots, Claverhouse’s pistol and the Marquis of Montrose’s sword. His library of more than 9000 rare volumes is also preserved at the house.

Woodland walk of Abbotsford House, the home of Sir Walter Scott, the famous author, and stands in fine wooded grounds and gardens by the River Tweed, near Tweedbank, Melrose and Galashiels in the Borders of Scotland. Abbotsford House: woodland walk (© Martin Coventry)
House and gardens of Abbotsford House, the home of Sir Walter Scott, the famous author, and stands in fine wooded grounds and gardens by the River Tweed, near Tweedbank, Melrose and Galashiels in the Borders of Scotland. Abbotsford House: house and gardens in the rain (© Martin Coventry)

There are also extensive gardens and grounds, and a private chapel which was added after Scott’s death.

Dining room of Abbotsford House, the home of Sir Walter Scott, the famous author, and stands in fine wooded grounds and gardens by the River Tweed, near Tweedbank, Melrose and Galashiels in the Borders of Scotland. Abbotsford House: dining room

The ghost of Scott is said to haunt the dining room, where he died in 1832 after exhausting himself trying to pay off a huge debt.  Sightings of his apparition have been reported in modern times. Another ghost, said to have been witnessed here, is the spirit of George Bullock, who died in 1818 and was in charge of the rebuilding of Abbotsford.

Abbotsford House, the home of Sir Walter Scott, the famous author, and stands in fine wooded grounds and gardens by the River Tweed, near Tweedbank, Melrose and Galashiels in the Borders of Scotland. Abbotsford House (© Martin Coventry)

Smailholm Tower has an exhibition of dolls illustrating some of the Border ballads from Scott’s Border Minstrely.

Abbotsford House, the home of Sir Walter Scott, the famous author, and stands in fine wooded grounds and gardens by the River Tweed, near Tweedbank, Melrose and Galashiels in the Borders of Scotland. Abbotsford House: from across the Tweed (old postcard)
Gunknowe Loch in Tweedbank Park, near Abbotsford House, the home of Sir Walter Scott, the famous author, and stands in fine wooded grounds and gardens by the River Tweed, near Tweedbank, Melrose and Galashiels in the Borders of Scotland. Abbotsford House: Gunknowe Loch in Tweedbank Park (© Martin Coventry)

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