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20/08/13 15:29

Culture Secretary visits Abbotsford

Abbotsford House

Fiona Hyslop delivers Scott’s letter

A copy of a letter written by Sir Walter Scott to the Marquess of Lothian was today presented to staff at Abbotsford, Scott’s Borders home.

The original document – penned at Abbotsford in January 1826 – is now held in the National Records of Scotland and was presented by Fiona Hyslop while she visited Abbotsford today following its £11.4 million transformation which included a £2.95 million contribution from the Scottish Government.

The letter concerns the publication of ‘The Historie and Life of King James the Sext’ by the Bannatyne Club, a prestigious historical publishing club of which Scott was president until his death. The publication was mainly based on a manuscript ‘History of James Sext’ which belonged to Lord Lothian.

Culture Secretary at Abbotsford House

Ms Hyslop was given a tour of the refurbished building before presenting the letter to Jason Dyer, Chief Executive of The Abbotsford Trust.

Mr Dyer said:

"The Scottish Government has been very supportive of the work we have been doing to transform Abbotsford into a world-class visitor attraction and we’re delighted that Ms Hyslop has taken the time to visit and see the results for herself. We’re also very grateful for the gift she presented to the Trust today which is a fascinating addition to our collections.”

Fiona Hyslop said:

“Abbotsford is a historic and culturally significant building and after an extensive restoration project it has been transformed into a world-class visitor attraction, and safeguarded for the nation and for visitors from around the world to enjoy.

“Sir Walter Scott left a rich and important legacy and Abbotsford and its contents are a vital part of that. I am delighted to present the staff and trustees of the Abbotsford Trust with a copy of one of Sir Walter Scott’s letters, to be displayed in the property.”

Notes to editors

Abbotsford was officially re-opened by Her Majesty The Queen on 3 July 2013, 22 months after it closed to the public and 180 years after it first opened to visitors five months after Scott’s death. The reopening followed a five-year campaign to save the historic property and its contents. For further information on visiting Abbotsford House go to

original letter to the Marquess of Lothian and the original manuscript of ‘History of James Sext’ are part of the papers of the Lothian family in the National Records of Scotland. The collection was purchased for the nation in 1991 with the support of the National Heritage Memorial Fund. To find out more about the National Archives of Scotland go to