Abbotsford House

Country House (19th Century), Farmhouse, Pillory

Site Name Abbotsford House

Classification Country House (19th Century), Farmhouse, Pillory

Alternative Name(s) Cartleyhole, Abbotsford

Canmore ID 55750

Site Number NT53SW 41

NGR NT 50815 34266

Datum OSGB36 - NGR

Ordnance Survey licence number 100020548. All rights reserved.
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Administrative Areas

  • Council Scottish Borders, The
  • Parish Melrose
  • Former Region Borders
  • Former District Ettrick And Lauderdale
  • Former County Roxburghshire

Treasured Places - HLF funded

In 1811 Sir Walter Scott purchased the farm of Clarty Hole and renamed it Abbotsford. He extended the farmhouse in 1818, and in 1824 carried out further work that fully replaced the older structure. The author's celebrity led to Abbotsford becoming a visitor attraction, popularising the Scots Baronial style in which it was built. Architectural fragments from around Scotland were used to decorate the house, including salvaged items and casts from standing buildings.

Information from RCAHMS (SC) 9 August 2007

Baldwin, J R 1985

Cruft, K, Dunbar, J and Fawcett, R 2006

Strang, C A 1994

An image of this site has been nominated as one of Scotland's favourite archive images. For more information about the project visit

Archaeology Notes

NT53SW 41.00 50815 34266 Abbotsford House

NT53SW 41.01 50714 34083 West Lodge

NT53SW 41.02 50916 34285 Tearoom

NT53SW 41.03 5080 3425 Stables

NT53SW 41.04 50877 34310 Walled Garden

(NT 50815 34266) Abbotsford (NAT)

OS 6" map (1967)

A fine pair of jougs about 6 ins in diameter hang beside the entrance to the forecourt.

Information from OS Recorder (IF) 22 February 1979.

Architecture Notes

NT53SW 41.00 50815 34266 Abbotsford House

NT53SW 41.01 50714 34083 West Lodge

NT53SW 41.02 50916 34285 Tearoom

NT53SW 41.03 5080 3425 Stables

NT53SW 41.04 50877 34310 Walled Garden

NT53SW 41.05 50842 34276 Sundial

Home of author Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832).

Owner: Mrs P Maxwell-Scott.

Architect: Edward Blore begun 1816

William Atkinson 1822-1824 completion of Blore's house.

William Burn 1851-1854 additional wing.

The original farmhouse (called Cartleyhole) which stood on the site of the present Abbotsford was acquired by Sir Walter Scott in 1811. By 1818, he had added a block to the SW end of the farmhouse. In 1822, he demolished the farmhouse and replaced it with what is now the principal block of Abbotsford.

Considerable additions were made after 1853; these included a chapel, a kitchen, and domestic offices, which were attached to the SW side of Scott's building of 1818. The house is large and substantially built in what came to be called the Scottish Baronial Style. On most of the SE front, only two storeys appear, but on the river front, owing to a fall in the ground, there is a basement below the main floor.

RCAHMS 1956, visited 1933

1999/2000 Survey.

This A-listed site was recorded as part of the Listed Buildings Recording Programme (LBRP) for 1999-2000. The survey concentrated in providing comprehensive photographic coverage of the exterior and interior of this key 'Baronial' house, with particular emphasis on internal features and fittings. The work of the architects Edward Blore and William Atkinson, Abbotsford's architectural history has been widely published.

One discovery made during survey was the identification of a watercolour showing a three-bay two-storeyed house as the original house on the site of the present building. A copy of this image has been made for the NMRS. Details photographs were also made of the extensive amount of sculpture built into the main house and garden walls, and of freestanding pieces.


NMRS Photographic Survey of a collction of drawing for Abbotsford, including designs by John and thomas Smith 1821; sketch designs by Edward blore 1823; designs and working drawings by William Atkinson1818-1823; designs for heraldic shields; elevations of prinicpal rooms 1822; designs for furniture and carpets; sketches of interiors by M S Edmondes 1888; A bound volume of accounts including Sanderson and Paterson, builders 1816-1819; John and Thomas Smith 1920's; William Atkinson 1822; Edward Blore 1822; Nicholson and Hay 1824; William Trotter 1822; James Milne, Oil, Gas Apparatus 1823-1824; William Baird, plasterwork 1824; William Henry Brown, stained glass 1823 etc. A portfolio of designs for additions by William Burn 1853. Copied 1985.


National Library - Scott M.S. 3134 - 1 rough sketch before old house removed

Country Life Magazine, May 7th, 1943 - article and photographs.

Mitchell Library - Annan, Vol. 2, No 58 - 2 photographs


Scott of Gala

Bundle 433

Abbotsford. To Mr Craig, Galashiels.

Wishes some dark blue stones for front of his new buildings at Abbotsford and these

are found most satisfactory at Neidpath apposite to Yair: suggests taking them from

Quarry close by the high road. Feb. 1817. Letter Sir Walter Scott to John Scott of


Sir Walter Scott's Journal

May 5th 1831

'Mr Burn, the architect, came in struck by the appearance of my house from the

road. He approved of my architecture greatly. He tells me the eddifice

for Jeanie Deans id nigh finished and I must get the inscription ready. Burns

went on to Richardson's place of Kirklands, where he is to meet the proprietor

whom I would wish to see ... here is a world of arrangements.



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