Novelist, poet, playwright, antiquarian, historian, designer, lawyer, Sheriff, storyteller - Sir Walter Scott was an extraordinary man. We believe the 250th anniversary of his birth in 2021 deserves a very special celebration.
Starting in 2021, Abbotsford's two-year 250th anniversary celebrations include exciting events of all kinds that are guaranteed to fire everyone’s imagination. Further afield, the Abbotsford Trust is also working with a partnership of organisations who are making their own plans to mark the anniversary in different ways right across Scotland and beyond. We believe the 250th anniversary of Scott's birth is the ideal moment to meet the man behind the monument and we would love you to join the celebrations – all welcome! Find out more here.
The Abbotsford Trust 250th Anniversary Appeal
We urgently need your support to continue the restoration and exploration of Scott’s beloved Abbotsford. With your help, we can…
- Restore the Pavilion
- Replant Sir Walter Scott’s walled gardens
- Reveal the treasure trove of secrets in the unexplored Scott family collections
- Enable more people of all ages and abilities to experience the magic of Abbotsford
The Pavilion at Abbotsford was built - probably by John Smith of Darnick in 1819- as part of Abbotsford’s kitchen/fruit garden. It is a category A listed building of national interest and one of the very few remaining examples of this style to remain. The Pavilion is sadly in very poor condition. Some original features have been lost and there is little information about its original construction, past use, or the plants that were once housed in it. Archaeological investigation and specialist advice are needed to help our understanding of its historical development and to guide the restoration. With your support, we can restore the Pavilion and save it for the nation
Sir Walter Scott’s walled gardens
Abbotsford is among the most significant designed landscapes in Scotland. Created by Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832), Abbotsford is of outstanding national significance and is renowned internationally as the prototype of Scots Baronial architecture. Abbotsford’s walled gardens are integral to the composition. A considerable amount of work has already been undertaken to improve the gardens and estate for the enjoyment of visitors. However, Scott’s gardens have suffered from generations of neglect and some important architectural features have decayed, or were removed by his descendants, to reduce maintenance costs. Planting schemes have likewise been grassed over and lost, and some built features left in a state of advanced deterioration.
With your support, we can begin the careful restoration and re-planting of Scott’s gardens. We also want to ensure that all work undertaken is as ecologically-friendly as it can be so it will contribute towards the longer term sustainability of the estate We believe that the careful restoration and re-planting of Sir Walter Scott’s gardens will re-establish the direct historical relationship between the house and the enclosed ornamental and kitchen gardens - presenting them as Scott intended for the first time in generations
The unexplored archives
Abbotsford’s upper floor and attics house a huge unexplored collection of items belonging to generations of the Scott family. Correspondence, visitor books, photographs, cine film, parchment, vellum, wax seals, maps, plans, manuscripts, audio recordings, sketches - early exploration shows this eclectic collection include items from as early as 1566 through to Dame Jean Maxwell-Scott’s death in 2004.
With your support, we can reveal the treasure-trove of secrets in the unexplored archives and make sure that these unique items are carefully conserved. Once this collection is accessible it will be of world-wide importance.
Enable more people of all ages and abilities to experience the magic of Abbotsford
A big part of our mission is to inspire the widest possible audience about the life and legacy of Sir Walter Scott and to enable others to enjoy, learn and benefit from all that we care for. We particularly want to enable people to find inspiration, solace and pleasure through Abbotsford’s wonderful outdoor environment of gardens and woodlands.
The link between spending time in the outdoors and the enjoyment of better mental and physical health and well-being is well-established. Sir Walter Scott was well aware of the connection between improved mental health and the outdoor world. On dealing with his own depression, Sir Walter Scott reflected in his Journal: “Fighting with this fiend is not always the best way to conquer him – I have always found exercise and the open air better than reasoning.”
Over the last couple of years we have been developing ways of providing outdoor learning - through gardening and other activities - to a range of people from the local community. In particular, we aim to work with:
- Children, young people and adults who have complex needs and disabilities
- Young people aged 18-24 who are long-term unemployed
- Older people
- People who are returning to work after, or who are recovering from, mental or physical illness
We have exciting plans to develop and expand our community learning and engagement work so that more local people in need are able to benefit from all that Abbotsford’s wonderful outdoor environment can offer. With your support, we can enable more people of all ages and abilities to experience the magic of Abbotsford.
Since 2007, The Abbotsford Trust has cared for the house, chapel, gardens, estate and collections created by Sir Walter Scott and his descendants (the last of whom, Dame Jean Maxwell-Scott, lived here until her death in 2004). We are an independent charity led by a group of voluntary Trustees, have a small staff team and are supported in every aspect of our work by a dedicated group of more than 150 volunteers.
Through our award-winning volunteer programme and our work with local schools and communities, our mission is to bring the legacy of Scott to people of all ages. As an independent registered charity, The Abbotsford Trust relies on your generous support to help safeguard Abbotsford and Sir Walter Scott’s legacy for future generations.
As an independent charity, we would very much appreciate your support in these difficult days. If you are able to consider it, you can make a donation online by clicking on the DONATE button at the top of this page. All help is gratefully received. Thank you.