Abbotsford past, present and future: the legacy left by Sir Walter Scott

THE hardy souls who braved the cold and sleet to attend the Archaeological Society’s December lecture on the 4th were rewarded with a most informative and entertaining presentation by Sandra McNeil on ‘Abbotsford, An Exciting Future’. 

Sandra firstly put Sir Walter Scott in the context of his time. He was born and raised in Edinburgh when the Scottish ‘Enlightenment’ was at its zenith, and she covered his background and family history, his start in Edinburgh, his time at Sandyknowe Farm in the Borders, due to his illness, and his return to Edinburgh for further education and work. Sir Walter’s positive experiences in the two places caused him to continue his involvement with both into his working life.

Sir Walter’s literary works were then noted and discussed. Abbotsford was then put into the context of Sir Walter’s life, from the initial purchase of Carteyhole Farm, the name change to Abbotsford, the development of a new house and estate, through to the glorious house that we see today. Sir Walter put his heart and soul into the house, working on his writing to the point of illness to develop it and also pay off debts from his failed publishing business.

Finally Sandra talked of the Abbotsford of today and the imaginative work that has been done so far, and will be done to the house and estate, to ensure that Abbotsford is going to have an exciting future.

A vote of thanks by Ian Scott brought a most enjoyable evening to a close.