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The discovery of Roman coins and pottery in the C19th indicated that the site of Edenshead was once a Roman marching camp. Indeed the location was once reputed to be the site of the battle of Mons Graupius where a Roman legion decimated the Caledonian Tribes. Certainly local lore talks of that part of the river Eden running red with blood for three days (only trout now!). Contemporary historians however, now believe that this battle was fought nearer to Aberdeen.

In 1240 Countess Marjorie, daughter of King William the Lion, granted the lands, of which Edenshead is a part, to the Balmerino Abbey. At Gateside the monks built a chapel, and hospice at the holy well of Sancta Maria. The present house was used as their grange and the garden the source of their vegetables, honey and wax. The bee boles still exist in the ancient walls of the garden and are well documented (there remains a wild colony in the existing skeps which should only be approached with caution). The path that leads from the house through Chapel Den still has, to this day, a dreamy atmosphere. In addition, the well of Sancta Maria remains beside the stone bridge leading to the old town, at the boundary of our land.

In less than a century, the grange was converted into the fortified manor house known as the “Fortalice of Pitlochie.” The Manor and lands were principally held in the C15th and C16th by the Murray’s of Balvaird Castle (who were to become the Murray’s of Scone Palace). Rumour has it that during this period the family thought it wise to co-join the castle with the Manor by means of a secret, underground tunnel. This reputedly started in the south-east corner of the main house. In the C16th the Manor house was often visited by the Stewart Kings and Mary, Queen of Scots during frequent hunting parties from Falkland Palace. Village rumour paints a more provocative picture of the house being little more than a Royal Brothel for King James VI.

In the C17th the estate was bought as a wedding present by John Scott of Scotstarvit for his son George. It was at this time that the house took on much of its present appearance. The only remnants of the perimeter walls of the fort are shadows on the lawns under which the foundations remain and the doo’cot. You are welcome to inspect this fascinating monument, however be aware that descendants of the original inhabitants remain and substantial quantities of fertilizer abound. Sadly George Scott, Laird of Pitlochie, and his wife Margaret Rigg (their co-joined crests are set above the front door), were firm Presbyteranians who suffered much for their religion. In 1685 they set sail for America. They died on board and only their daughter Eupham survived to establish an American branch of the family. There remains a monument to George Scott in New Virginia in recognition of his journey, which involved 200 fellow protestant slaves, who he emancipated. On his departure from Scotland, George sold Pitlochie to his half brother Walter who, because of the scandal, renamed the house Edenshead.

Since that time Edenshead has been owned by various noted dignitaries such as Robert Philip, the educational benefactor, James Bruce WS, Gilmour Leburn MP and Under Secretary of State for Scotland. Peter May the famous cricketer practiced on the lawn whilst visiting his sister Barbara Leburn.



 
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