Abbotsford House

Abbotsford House is located on the banks of River Tweed in the small town of Melrose in the Scottish Borders area of Scotland. The estate was once a small farm of 100 acres and was purchased in 1811 by famous novelist and poet, Sir Walter Scott. Scott built a small villa on the property and continued to build additions to the house to create the mansion seen today. Scott had some of the stones brought in from ruined castles and abbeys in Scotland and had them built into this Scottish Baronial mansion. Scott was a collector of books, ancient furniture, armor, weapons, and other historic relics, many of which are located in the Museum of Scotland. Scott had the jougs (metal collars used to punish criminals) removed from Threave Castle and attached them to the castellated gateway he had built at Abbotsford. Although construction finished in 1824, Scott only enjoyed his home for one year before he found himself in debt. In 1830, his creditors gave the library and museum to him. Scott died in 1832, but the property became totally disencumbered in 1847 due to Scott’s publisher, who cancelled the bond upon the castle in exchange for the family’s share in Scott’s published works. The two Scott’s sisters who last owned the property installed electricity in 1962. The sisters Dame Jean Maxwell-Scott and Patricia Maxwell-Scott opened Abbotsford House to the public in 1833 to help pay for the mansion’s upkeep. Dame Jean was once a lady–in-waiting for Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester. The mansion continued to be occupied by Scott’s decedents until 2004. Abbotsford House is open to the public. The estate boasts a café, luxury accommodations in the Abbotsford Hope Scott Wing of the castle, formal gardens, and a visitor center with a gift shop.