Two hundred Years ago Sir Walter Scott was in the midst of creating his home Abbotsford near Roxburgh in the Scottish borders. Here, over the coming years, Scott created a magical home as the author’s expression of romanticism. It is here that Scott drew much of his inspiration to write both stories and poetry.
The house was started on the site of a farm in 1811 and initially he built a small villa. To this Scott made more additions often using items he had acquired form houses and castle from across Scotland. This gave Scott the chance to create a house of unique character with a patchwork of artefacts that, to Scott, embodied his romantic view of Scotland’s past. For some the house is a pastiche of Scottishness but this was Scott as an author reinterpreting Scotland in a better, more honorable form than it ever actually was.
Unsurprisingly for Scotland’s most celebrated author central to the house was Scott’s library. This is a tour de force in oak with remarkable paneling and ceiling to contain over 7000 books. Scott was helped by his huge popularity with authors of his day. Many sent him first editions of their work so here you might see a first edition of works by brothers Grimm or Byron.
Scott’s relationship with Byron was very good though they were literary rivals. They shared a publisher who introduced the literary heavy weight from the English nobility to Scotland’s own literary king. As tokens of their friendship Scott gave Byron a dagger and, rather outdoing his Scottish friend, Byron gave Scott an urn full of bones from Greece.
In 1826 Scott suffered a major financial reversal. Despite his books being remarkably successful all around the world the author’s publisher suffered as a result of the financial crash and was liable to massive sums. Scott took this debt on himself and set about writing two books a year to pay off the debt.
The house overlooks the river tweed and one can imagine the inspiration the gardens gave Scott when looking to keep up his remarkable literary output. Scott’s last descendant lived at the house in 2004 and, given that it was only forty years prior to this that the house first had electricity installed, the house has always remained true to Scott’s original vision.
Today Abbotsford house and garden are fine visitor attractions where one can immerse oneself in Scott’s romantic idea of Scotland. The house has undergone major repairs over recent years but still retains much of the original charm Scott imbued upon it two hundred years ago.
About the author: Melissa Turner is a 40 year old female from Edinburgh who is always out to explore something others have been known to fear – the world outside their own comfort zones. Her father, grand father and great grand father were all big travelers and as are her siblings. Travel is the best education. She has acquired an amazing amount of travel experience. She not only travels but also talks about it. She has been writing about Scotland holiday homes for long.