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Visiting the Historic Monboddo House

The date stone on the Monboddo House has the very distinct signature of the arms of Douglas being impaled by the arms of Ervine, and has the initials of Elizabeth and Robert Ervine engraved upon it, with the date of 1635. They were the couple responsible for the reconstruction of the house during the seventeenth century. The house was constructed on the grounds of a previous structure. It became famous because of its last and well-known occupant, James Burnett. It is located in The Mearns, and is one of the popular attractions near Auchenblae.

The land upon which the mansion was built once covered an area that was approximately two hundred square kilometers. A tower house was constructed here by the Barclays during the thirteenth century. The property passed on to James Strachen, then the Irvine family and was finally inhabited by the Burnett of Leys. The Burnetts then made their own improvements in 1635 and 1867. In 1714, James Burnett, or Lord Monboddo, was born in the house.

Burnett went on to become a respected Scottish Judge, a deist, philosopher and scholar on evolution. He was seen as one of the pioneers of evolution. After Burnett’s death in 1799, the house was maintained due to the Burnetts ownership still being in place, but fell into disrepair during the 1960s.

A brochure of the house was released in 1987, stating that Monboddo Castle was completely restored, but still featured the original crow steps, gun loops, coat of arms and turrets. During the twentieth century more restoration work was done and it is now in immaculate condition.

Monboddo House consists of two storeys, with the hall being on the first floor, and features two garderobes. The old kitchen still exists as well as its fireplace arch. There is a basement and the exterior walls, containing the gun loops, are constructed from old red sandstone. Another significant area of the mansion is the front porch, as it was known by all that Lord Monboddo would have his morning baths on the porch. Even though the mansion no longer has the sprawling estate surrounding it, its restoration is immaculate and worth the visit, as it is a tribute to the history and architects of the time.


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