Gardie House Bressay Scotland

Gardie House is an 18th-century estate house on Bressay in Shetland, Scotland. Located opposite Lerwick, across the Bressay Sound, Gardie is described by Historic Scotland as an "example of the smaller Scottish country house, unique in Shetland."[1]

The house is protected as a category A listed building,[2] and the grounds are included in the Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes in Scotland, the national listing of significant gardens.[1]


The Henderson family owned Gardie from the 17th century,[3] and in 1724 Magnus Henderson (died 1753) had the present house built. The builder was a mason from Aberdeen named Forbes.[4] The double-pile plan of Gardie was relatively novel in the early 18th century. The symmetrical arrangement of walled gardens leading down to a harbour was laid out at the same time.[4] The drawing room contains fine wooden panelling, installed around 1750.[2]

The house passed out of the Henderson family in 1799, and was inherited by Elizabeth Nicolson and her husband Thomas Mouat of Garth, the builder of Belmont House on Unst. Their nephew, William Mouat, added the porch and constructed the steading and Gothic cottage in the grounds. Sir Walter Scott dined at Gardie House during his 1814 visit to Shetland. In 1905 the house was altered, and remains privately owned. In 2001, the owner was John Hamilton Scott, Lord Lieutenant of Shetland.[5]


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A fine A-listed mansion located just to the north of the Bressay ferry terminal at Maryfield (Shetland), Gardie House looks out onto Bressay Sound opposite Lerwick. It was built in 1724 for Magnus Henderson of Gardie, who built the house on the proceeds of his fish export business to serve as an appropriate home for the Laird of the Bressay Estate. It comprises a two-storey seven-bay harled block with droved sandstone dressings and details, which was raised c.1905 with the insertion of a pedimented attic-storey in the centre of the west front. This was the work of local architect John M. Aitken (1850 - 1923). The eastern side is plain, with an irregular collection of windows. There are long wings to the north and south. Inside there are many period details, including a drawing room with timber panelling of c.1750. There is a formal walled garden in front of the house which runs down to the seashore. The steading is B-listed.

Sir Walter Scott dined at Gardie House during his 1814 visit to Shetland and English poet Sir John Betjeman also visited. Until recently it was the home of Sir John Scott (b.1936), Lord Lieutenant of Shetland, who undertook a significant restoration, and is now occupied by his son, the politician Tavish Scott (b.1966).

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