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House Information

Abbotsford (Cartley Hall)

Melrose, Scottish Borders, Scotland

Historic County: Roxburgh, Roxburghshire

Start Date: 1814

Completion Date: 1824 w/1850s addition

Status: Fully Extant

House Open to Public: Yes

Country House: Yes

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The House from the Walled Garden

The House from the Walled Garden

The House, from across the lake, from an 1829 engraving in "Neale's Views of Seats"

The House, from across the lake, from an 1829 engraving in "Neale's Views of Seats"

The House from across the lake from a 19th century postcard

The House from across the lake from a 19th century postcard

The Entrance Facade from a 19th century postcard

The Entrance Facade from a 19th century postcard

The Entrance Facade from an early 20th century postcard

The Entrance Facade from an early 20th century postcard

The Drawing Room

The Drawing Room

The Dining Room

The Dining Room

The Library from a 19th century postcard

The Library from a 19th century postcard

The Chapel

The Chapel

Abbotsford Apartments, Commonwealth Avenue, Boston

Abbotsford Apartments, Commonwealth Avenue, Boston

  • Architects
    Architect: William Atkinson
    Date: 1814-24
    Designed: House
    Architect: Sir Edward Blore
    Designed: Ideas for exterior of House
    Architect: William Burn
    Date: 1853-55
    Designed: Southwest Wing for J.R. Hope-Scott
  • Seat of

    Past Seat Of: Sir Walter Scott, Bt., 1812-32; Sir Walter Joseph Constable Maxwell-Scott, unitl 1954; Dame Jean Maxwell-Scott, until 2004.

    Current Ownership Type: Individual / Family Trust

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Visitor Attraction

    Current Ownership Use / Details: Owned and operated by The Abbotsford Trust.

  • House, Family & Collection History

    Earlier Houses/Buildings: An earlier farmhouse named Cartley Hall was demolished by Sir Walter Scott in 1822 and replaced by the current house.

    Built / Designed For: Sir Walter Scott, Bt.

    House & Family History: In 1812, using income from his increasingly successful books, Walter Scott bought the Cartley Hall farmhouse along the Tweed. He demolished the old farmhouse in 1822 and replaced it with the current Scottish Baronial house (a style Scott helped to make enormously popular) that he renamed Abbotsford. The Entrance Hall is decorated with wood paneling from Dunfermline Abbey Church. In the 1850s a new wing was added by Scott's heirs to provide more private living accommodation away from the eyes of the increasingly large number of visitors that were coming to Abbotsford. Scott was created a baronet in 1820 by King George IV for his work in raising the profile of Scotland -- including architecturally -- and for his contributions to literature. The famous author died in the Dining Room at Abbotsford on September 21, 1832 and was buried at Dryburgh Abbey. Abbotsford, already a popular destination during Scott's lifetime, became a pilgrimage destination after his death, a tradition which it continues to serve today.

    Collections: The Library contains 9,000 rare volumes; there is also an important collection of armor and a collection of curiosities, including Rob Roy souvenirs, a desk that belonged to King George IV, and a glass belonging to Robert Burns. On June 28, 2006 the firm of Lyon & Turnbull, Edinburgh, auctioned some contents of Abbotsford formerly belonging to the late Dame Jean Maxwell-Scott.

  • Listed Information

    House Listed: Category A

    Park Listed: Outstanding

  • Garden, Outbuildings & Chapel

    Garden, Park, Follies and Outbuildings: In the early 19th century the old Scottish Parliament building in Edinburgh was demolished and some of the stonework found its way to the grounds of Abbotsford.

  • Historic Publications References

    J.B. Burke (Burke's Visitation of Seats): 2.S. Vol. I, p. 244, 1854.

    Country Life: CLXXII, 886 [Sir Walter Scott and his collection], 1982. C. Wainwright in Jun 9, 1989.

  • Film & TV

    Location for Movies / TV: "Castle in the Country" (2008 - BBC TV documentary series, episode 4.4).

  • Bibliography

    Title: Abbotsford Guidebook
    Author: Maxwell-Scott, Walter
    Year Published: NA
    Publisher: Scotland: The Abbotsford Estate
    ISBN: 0859332705
    Book Type: Light Softback

    Title: Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600-1840, A - SOFTBACK
    Author: Colvin, Howard
    Year Published: 1995
    Publisher: New Haven: Yale University Press
    ISBN: 0300072074
    Book Type: Softback

    Title: Hudson's Historic Houses & Gardens, 1999
    Author: NA
    Year Published: 1999
    Publisher: Oxfordshire: Norman Hudson & Company
    ISBN: 0953142620
    Book Type: Softback

  • Access

    House Open to Public: Yes

    Phone No: 01896-752-043

    Fax No: 01896-752-916

    Email: enquiries@scottsabbotsford.co.uk

    Website: http://www.scottsabbotsford.co.uk

    Historic House Member: Yes