Sir Walter Scott and his Abbotsford…

With the intention of educating from the very beginning, Steve Watts – Head of the Department of Culture – led a group of English students, in the direction of Sir Walter Scott. On a journey to the Borders their first stop was Dryburgh Abbey, with the intention of paying their respects at the writer’s resting place. Surrounded by architectural beauty, the students captured some of the Scottish history through a lens and Jade Diamond (English Studies MA) used her photography skills to artistically grasp the Gothic feel of the area.

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Laid in the company of his wife Charlotte, son Walter and his biographer and son-in-law John Gibson Lockheart, Scott was certainly entombed in picturesque tranquillity.
Venturing down the steps to the small chapel, the students and academics stood side by side as they smiled for photographer David Newton. In what can only be described as an educational treat, the Abbey proved influential for MA students in their forthcoming first semester.

On the next leg of the Scottish field trip, the group were taken back in time as they arrived at the grounds of Abbotsford!
It is easy to understand how the house was the source of Scott’s inspiration, as the breath-taking views and gardens became the same tool for the visiting students.

When entering the home of Sir Walter Scott, you are struck by the collection of artefacts that the writer was known to hoard. From the skull of King Robert the Bruce, to the number of gargoyles positioned to ward off evil spirits. However, when moving through the home to the library, a centre table with glass top encased objects that will fascinate anyone. A tumbler, said to be once owned by Napoleon and the cross held by Mary Queen of Scott’s during her execution. Obviously, we’ll never know for certain if this is actually the case, but to see the history stored within Abbotsford, we can only wonder.

To anyone with a love of literature, it would be hard to not fall in love with the beautiful library. Some books – over two hundred years old – capture the ambience of what Scott would have experienced on a day-to-day basis.

Definitely a man with an eye for delights, his heart may have been full of just as much love for when stepping over the threshold you are instantly welcomed into a warm atmosphere.

The home feels full of family love and memories and if you can’t imagine it, you are presented with it when viewing the portraits on the walls.

An amazing array of battle weapons are carefully placed for all to see and you can almost feel the wars they fought.

The dining room table sits perfectly intact and when standing at the far end of the room, the view which overlooks the River Tweed is a picture of beauty. It is no wonder Sir Walter Scott chose that area to take his final rest. According to the venues tour guide Malcolm Morrison; he was surrounded by visitors in his final days, each experiencing the tranquillity of the gardens as they shared in their memories.

The culmination of Scott’s creative contributions remain in Abbotsford, in his study and in his library. Although he left the literary world in the year 1832, Abbotsford House depicts a story only full of life!

You can find the full album of photographs here (x)

-Jade Diamond (English Studies MA) and Jenah Colledge (English Studies MA)

About spectralvisions

Spectral Visions is an annual Gothic conference hosted by the University of Sunderland. It explores the dark, the decadent and the terrifying aspects of Gothic literature and language. This blog is a student-run initiative, where Visionaries showcase their creative talents and learning in short stories, poems and essays on the Gothic. You can follow us on Twitter at @spectralvisi0ns or like us on Facebook at
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