Abbotsford

Home of Sir Walter Scott

This was one of the more unusual homes that I have visited. And it’s history is a strange one. The house could almost be said to be as artificial a construction as one of Sir Walter Scott’s many novels. It is a fascinating glimpse into a writer’s life, however, and well worth a visit — despite the negative reviews on TripAdviser!

I have to confess to never having read a Sir Walter Scott novel despite having inherited most of them from my great-aunt and grandmother. They are really nice books but the pages are very, very thin and delicate ad the type very small so maybe I should invest in a more modern copy to actually read. I went to visit the house in November 2019 while on my writing retreat in Darnlee and it was an afternoon well spent. Even in November the gardens were still worth wandering round, the house itself is fascinating and the shop and tea-room rather nice. Parking was straightforward and there is also a new train station nearby.

Scott purchased a small piece of farmland in 1811 and over the next few years increased the amount of land that he owned. The original farmhouse was demolished and the current building developed over a number years until it became the Abbotsford still standing today. Scott’s descendants lived in it until 2004. It Scots Baronial in its concept but the impression it creates is of a unique building composed from the imagination.

I was fascinated by the collection of things visible at Abbotsford. It was full of random interesting objects and felt very much like the sort of place a writer dreams of creating to work in. Scott’s study was my ideal writing room complete with large desk, walls lined with books, a mezzanine and even a ‘secret’ passage! He was a successful writer, but also a prolific one and when faced with bankruptcy chose to increase the amount of writing he did enabling the debts to be paid off shortly after his death.

Writing Prompt

Perhaps rather than thinking about writing, it is worthwhile to take some time to think about your own writing space. Where do you like to write? Are you able to have your own dedicated space at home, or do you write in cafes or libraries, or do you have a writing shed in the garden or office space somewhere else?

Wherever you write, what do you have around you? Is everything you need to hand or do you often waste time looking or things? If so then take the time to rearrange your space or perhaps get a writing bag to take with you to wherever you go outside of the home to write. Don’t let anyone else ‘borrow’ anything if possible to ensure that you always have everything you need.

If it helps, why not make sure you have your writing goals visible from the place you write in so that you are clear about what you are aiming towards in your creative life.

4 thoughts on “Abbotsford

  1. Great ideas. I’m doing stuff in the absence of internet today, so perhaps it is time to fish out that pile of writing mags I can never find when I want them. So disappointed to miss that trip to Abbotsford

      1. As I recall I went to bed, ? With a migraine, although there was one night where my back kept me awake so I may just have been tired.

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