Abbotsford is a treasure trove of historical artefacts, collected by one of Scotland’s finest writers.
Sir Walter Scott (1771 – 1832) published his first novel Waverley in 1814 to help get himself out of financial difficulties. Set in the 1740’s it is often described as the first historical novel. Being already an acclaimed poet, Scott published Waverley anonymously because he didn’t want to spoil his reputation.
The book and its sequels were a great success, prompting Scott to build a home that would reflect his new literary status. He had bought a farm in the Borders in 1811 and in 1822 he knocked down the old buildings. Spending lavishly, Scott created what is now the main block of Abbotsford, built to a design by William Atkinson. The 16th century fortified style reflects Scott’s own interest in his country’s past and ignited a passion for Scott’s – Baronial architecture in Scotland.
Scott’ s architectural extravagance at Abbotsford led to financial ruin. He only managed to keep the house from creditors by giving it to his son. His novels, including Rob Roy and Ivanhoe continued to sell well after his death, posthumously paying off his debts.
Today, visitors can marvel at Scott’s collection of historical artefacts from Waterloo relics to Rob Roy’s purse, sgian-dubh and long barrelled gun. The library and study contain around 9,000 volumes dating back to at least the 16th century.
Scotland TD6 9BQ
Open daily. Admission:-
Melrose Tourist Information Centre
Ph: 01896 822 555