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Abbotsford - Home of Sir Walter Scott

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Abbotsford House is situated 2 miles west of the Borders Town of Melrose, 38 miles southeast of Edinburgh.

Abbotsford is popular for tours of the House, Chapel, Gardens, large modern Cafe with great views over the House, and a modern Visitor Centre covering the life of Sir Walter Scott from birth till death.

The House and Gardens are open March - November with an entrance fee, 10.00 - 17.00 or 16.00, Visitor Centre and Cafe are open all year round. Postcode: TD6 9BQ.

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The Image top is of Abbotsford House from the Sunken Garden.

The second image is of the Entrance to Abbotsford House, where the Entrance Hall has a vast display of Armour, some of which has holes where the person wearing it met a gruesome end.

You can take a Guided Tour around the House, or wander round yourself. You are only allowed in the downstairs rooms.

Sir Walter Scott died in the Dining Room of Abbotsford on the 21st September 1832. He had returned from a trip to Italy earlier that year, before being diagnosed with Typhus. A bed was made up for him by the window in the Dining Room, from where he could admire the views till he died.

1811 - Scott bought the land of Abbotsford after his lease for a Mansion in the area ran out. He began by building a Cottage on the land.

1824 - the Abbotsford House seen today was completed. The building of the House led to Scott running up debt, with the debt not being paid off till after his death.

Sir Walter Scott History

1771 - Walter Scott was born, the ninth child to Walter Scott, a Solicitor, and Anne Rutherford, in a third floor flat in the Old Town of Edinburgh, on College Wynd, a dirty place with a lot of disease. Six of Walters brothers and sisters died in their first year.

1773 - Scott contracted Polio that left him lame. He was then often sent to live with his Grandparents in the Borders region of Scotland, at their Sandyknowe Farm, a much healthier place to grow up. The young Scott often played at Smailholm Tower next to the Farm, a building his Ancestors once lived in.

1783 - Scott began studying Classics at the University of Edinburgh, then later studied Law.

1792 - Scott began working as an Advocate in Edinburgh, at a time he was also writing Ballads and Poems.

1797 - Scott married his wife Jean Carpenter, with them having 5 children whilst living in Edinburgh.

1799 - Scott was appointed Sheriff-Depute of the County of Selkirk in the Borders, leading to him living between Edinburgh and in the Borders.

Scott worked as Sheriff at Selkirk Court from 1799 till his death in 1832, mainly dealing with petty crime such as theft and poaching. The Court is now a museum in the centre of Selkirk.

1800 - the first of Walter Scott's Ballads was published, the start of his road to fame.

Scott was interested in True Stories, often visiting historic places for inspiration, and liked to solve mysteries.

1804 - Scott leased the Mansion House of Ashestiel, 6 miles northwest of Selkirk, on the south bank of the River Tweed.

1809 - Scott visited the extremely scenic area of Loch Katrine in the Trossachs area of Scotland, where he produced his famous poem - The Lady of the Lake.

1811 - Scott bought Cartley Hole Farm, on the south bank of the River Tweed, 5 miles northeast of Selkirk, 2 miles west of Melrose.

1812 - Scott built a Cottage on the site, giving it the name, Abbotsford. The name is after a shallow river crossing, Ford, used by Abbots.

1815 - Scott traveled to Europe to visit the site of the Battle of Waterloo, where Napoleon of France was defeated for the final time. Scott wrote the Poem: The Field of Waterloo, during that trip.

1817 - Scott wrote the novel Rob Roy, about a true life Scottish Outlaw from the Loch Katrine area. His novels and poems about Scotland are said to have vastly increased tourism in Scotland.

1818 - Scott was one of a group that rediscovered the Scottish Crown Jewels, hidden at Edinburgh Castle since the Act of the Union in 1707.

Scott also had an interest in the Knights Templar, and visited Rosslyn Chapel, one of the places associated with the Knight Templar and the Holy Grail. There seems to be no documents from Scott, so far, on what he found about the Knights Templar in Scotland.

1824 - the Baronial style Mansion House of Abbotsford was completed for Scott on the site of his Cottage.

1825 - a banking crises led to the collapse of the printing business Scott had a partnership in, leading to vast debts.

1826 - Scott's wife Charlotte died. She was buried in the Scott family vault at Dryburgh Abbey by Melrose.

Scott continued to write as much as he could to try and pay off his debts, producing Novels, Short Stories and more. He managed to pay off about two thirds of his debt before his health began to deteriorate.

1831 - Scott took a tour of Europe and Italy. After his return from Europe, he was diagnosed with Typhus.

1823, 21st September - Scott died in the Dining Room of Abbotsford. He was buried next to his wife in Dryburgh Abbey a few days later.

1833 - Abbotsford House was opened to the public as a Museum. Ongoing sales of Scott's literature soon paid off all his remaining debts, and along with money from the Museum, gave his descendants a comfortable life.

1839 - a Statue of Sir Walter Scott was erected at Selkirk Market Square, in front of the Court he worked in for many years.

1844 - the vast Scott Monument was completed in Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh, with amazing views from the top, after climbing the many narrow stairs.

1847 - Scott's son Walter died, leading to Abbotsford passing to his granddaughter Charlotte. It was Charlotte that had the Hope Scott Wing and Chapel built onto the original House.

Charlotte and her family lived in the new building until 2004, so the main House could be kept open to the public.

2013 - Abbotsford was re-opened to the public by the Queen after a 2 year renovation project, that also saw the new Visitor Centre built.

Today, there are large numbers of visitors to Abbotsford from around the world, one of the top attractions in the Borders of Scotland.

Extended History at Wiki

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