Many decades before the city of Abbotsford came to fruition, a fantastic estate was created in Scotland by famous poet Sir Walter Scott – the name of that phenomenal area was… Abbotsford House.
The House, located in Melrose, Scotland has a rich history.
According to Wikipedia, many of Scott’s works remain classics of both English-language literature and of Scottish literature. Famous titles include Ivanhoe, Rob Roy, Old Mortality, The Lady of the Lake, Waverley, The Heart of Midlothian and The Bride of Lammermoor.
Although primarily remembered for his extensive literary works and his political engagement, Scott was an advocate, judge and legal administrator by profession, and throughout his career combined his writing and editing work with his daily occupation as Clerk of Session and Sheriff-Depute of Selkirkshire.
A prominent member of the Tory establishment in Edinburgh, Scott was an active member of the Highland Society, served a long term as President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (1820–32) and was a Vice President of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland (1827–1829).
The first piece of the Abbotsford House was a family cottage constructed in 1812. He continued to expand the estate through a series of extensions over the years. It is estimated that the building cost $25,000 UK pounds or more than $2 million UK pounds in today’s value. That is equal to over $3 million CAD.
According to the house’s website, in 2007 Abbotsford House came under the care of The Abbotsford Trust – a new charitable trust created following the death of Dame Jean Maxwell-Scott, the last descendant of Scott to live at Abbotsford.
The Patron is The Duke of Buccleuch and the Trust aims to preserve and protect Abbotsford for future generations and act as a guardian of Scott’s legacy by continuing to educate the public about his home and his work.
In order to guarantee Abbotsford’s long-term future as a visitor attraction, the Trust began to raise the £14.5 million required to save the house, its buildings, lands and contents for Scotland and the wider world in 2009.
With help from statutory bodies, such as The Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic Scotland, over £12 million was raised for the capital project which has allowed us to restore and conserve the house and its collection of 9,000 books and 4,000 objects, all of which were collected by Scott.
Alongside the restoration of the house a new Visitor Centre was created, including a free to access introductory exhibition on Sir Walter Scott and Abbotsford; this opened in August 2012 and had welcomed over 35,000 visitors by the following July, despite the historic house still being closed for restoration. In July 2013 the house successfully reopened to the public and welcomed over 70,000 visitors in its first season following redevelopment.
An Endowment Fund has been established to support essential heritage maintenance costs. In addition the Trust continues to fund raise for educational and community programmes; hosting visits for people of a range of backgrounds who would otherwise not visit Abbotsford, and who gain from the facilities and experiences we can offer. A range of conservation and restoration projects, access to our world famous collection, and support for our volunteering programme also require ongoing financial support.
The house regularly hosts events such as tours, forest walks and many other activities. You can event stay overnight in the house.