Category A
est. 1817-1824

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post TD6 9BQ
2m from Melrose
18on A6081


opening times
house and grounds
gardens only
tours available


Listed Building Report
Abbotsford Site


Abbotsford House

Weird factoid: The house was only connected to the electrial mains in 1962, although one of the things on dislay is a Victorian "Thunderbox" toilet, so they had plumbing a bit before that.


Inside, the house (despite being empty of its antiques on our visit) is stunning. The entrance hall is floored in black-and-white marble, with oak-panelled walls. There is a large collection of armor, weaspons, and other artefacts in a small museum-hall in the house -- things include Rob Roy's purse (sporran), a lock of Bonnie Prince Charlie's hair, weapons from Africa and Asia, and a truly odd collection of taxidermied animal heads.

photo (1878) of Scott's study

Sir Walter Scott's office -- where he wrote at a small wooden desk -- was left as-is on the writer's death. A small oratory was attached (a little windowed room off of his study, with a carved bust. The attached library has almost ten thousand books (all preserved behind grills and lock and key, of course). The carved ceiling of the library is lovely, and reminds me of the golden teak ceiling at Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland -- just a wee bit smaller.

Only a few rooms are open to the public - the study, library, drawing room, entrance hall, and armories. The Dining room is normally open, too, but htat is where they stuffed all the other furniture, so we didn't have a chance to look at things. No photos inside were allowed becaue of the movie set. Hmph-- they are apparently allowed otherwise..

The Entrance hall is a very masculine room -- oak panelling from Dunfermline church, and varioud pieces of military paraphernalia, but that's nothing compared to the 'armory', which is decorated with weapons from all ove rthe world, arrayed on racks and in decorative patterns on the walls. Mark was fascinated, especially by some of the older rifles and swords. I ilke the ceilings and orignal chandelirs, so I guess we're even.


Scott not only built the house, but he planned and planted the various gardens around the house. The house lies on the banks of the River Tweed, and it is a very pictureque setting -- the walled garden and huge number of trees only adds to the placid, pastoral airof the place. It's a charming house, despite the size and grandeur of it.

The garden and grounds wre planted from scratch between 1811 and 1825. Scott was an avid gardener, and he may have actually planted many of the garden beds here himself.

the kneeling status of Morris in the walled garden He has no fingers

The walled garden was just starting to sprout when we came through -- mostly bare ground with some tiny green shoots and a couple of massive rhubarb plants (I think).. By mid-summer, it would have been gorgeous and full of flowers, herbs, and veggies. The kitchen garden is on a steep slope, but it leads down to the "Morris Garden", whcih is a green lawn with fountain and the odd kneeling statue of Morris (a character from Rob Roy).

I was mostly enamored of the carefully pruned shrubberies in the courtyard (despite their being covered by fake snow)..


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