Hospitalfield House

Located in Arbroath in E Angus, Hospitalfield House is regarded as one of the finest country houses in Scotland. Originally founded in the mid-13th Century as a leprosy and plague hospice run from Arbroath Abbey, it was remodelled and expanded in the mid-19th Century by Patrick Allan-Fraser (1813-90), who served as his own architect. The building draws on mediaeval domestic architecture, resulting in a curious, yet functional, arrangement of Scottish Gothic and with splendid interiors which are well-preserved. Like the nearby Mortuary Chapel, also designed by Allan-Fraser, Hospitalfield includes fine examples of stone carving. The building has been A-listed since 1971.

The house contains a remarkable art collection. The picture gallery displays works by Allan-Fraser himself and others he collected by artists such as David Octavius Hill (1802-70), Robert Scott Lauder (1803-69) and Sir William Fettes Douglas (1822-91). More modern work has also been added over the years.

Sir Walter Scott stayed at Hospitalfield in 1803 and again in 1809, using the old house as his model for 'Monksbarns' in 'The Antiquary', published in 1816.

A fernery was established here in 1872 by Allan-Fraser, comprising a grotto-like building intended to house a collection of New Zealand tree ferns he had been gifted. This fell into disrepair in the mid-20th century but was restored in 2021. At the same time the walled garden was re-established with planting scheme which reveals the unique horticultural history of Hospitalfield, which has been tended as a garden for over 800 years. This includes the medicinal planting of medieval monastic gardeners through to the Victorian approach to horticulture. These gardens are now open to visitors

The Patrick Allan-Fraser of Hospitalfield Trust was established in 1890 to manage the property.

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