Scotts’ descendents set for Abbotsford pilgrimage

 

abbotsfordSome 50 descendents of Sir Walter Scott from around the globe will gather in the Scottish Borders next month (July 3) to celebrate the re-opening of his historic Abbotsford home near Melrose.

The gathering will celebrate to completion of a multi-million pound restoration.

Family members from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, England and Scotland will attend an official opening event, ahead of the attraction re-opening to the public the following day.

As well as a new Visitor Centre that opened last year, they will see the rejuvenated historic house, which has been carefully restored and conserved after almost two years of work.

They will also be able to view some of the fascinating collections that inspired Scott’s works – which include Ivanhoe, Rob Roy and Waverley – including Roy Roy’s broadsword, gun, dirk and purse, centuries-old arms and armoury, a pen and blotter once owned by Napoleon and containing a lock of his hair, as well as Scott’s library and study containing over 9,000 books.

The transformation of the property into a world-class visitor attraction is the result of over five years of work by The Abbotsford Trust – a charitable trust that took over the running of Abbotsford following the deaths of Mrs Patricia and Dame Jean Maxwell Scott, the last descendents of Sir Walter to live at the house.

Among those travelling to Abbotsford will be Mike Williams and his mother Aurea Williams who will journey over 3,000 miles from their home in Toronto to attend the event. Aurea, now aged 87, is believed to be the oldest living descendant of Sir Walter Scott and is the granddaughter of Mary Monica Maxwell Scott – Sir Walter’s great granddaughter, who showed a life-long devotion to Abbotsford and Sir Walter’s legacy.

Aurea has visited Abbotsford many times in the past, although not for over 20 years.  She said: “I enjoyed many wonderful visits here while Patricia and Jean were alive and loved exploring my ancestor’s former home.  Our whole family is delighted that The Abbotsford Trust has been working so hard to restore and preserve this very special place so that people from all over the world can come and see the house and collections that inspired so many wonderful stories.”

Jason Dyer, Chief Executive, The Abbotsford Trust added: “Sir Walter Scott built Abbotsford as a family home which could also house his growing collection of objects and books. He was devoted to his children, Sophia, Walter, Charles and Anne and his family was always uppermost in his thoughts.

“We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the descendents of Sir Walter Scott and I am thrilled that so many family members will be with us on this momentous day in the history of the house.  We very much value our continued relationship with the family, for whom Abbotsford will always be ‘home’ and they in turn act as passionate ambassadors for Abbotsford and for Sir Walter Scott around the world.”

The historic house at Abbotsford will re-open to the public on Thursday 4 July.  The gardens and a free-to-enter Visitor Centre containing an exhibition about Scott’s life, Ochiltree’s restaurant and a shop, are currently open seven days a week.

For more information about Abbotsford, visit www.scottsabbotsford.co.uk

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