Abertarff House is the oldest enduring house in Inverness, Scotland, with a rich and storied history that has seen its fair share of excitement and drama.
Erected in 1593, it has been an observant sentinel to a parade of historical events and figures, ranging from the march of Cromwell's army to the footsteps of Jacobite soldiers. The streets around it have resonated with the clamour of sheep and cheese riots. The walls have absorbed echoes from the Covenanting times and have stood resolute through the ravages of two world wars.
Legend has it that during the Jacobite Risings, Bonnie Prince Charlie spent a night at Abertarff House, though the authenticity of this story remains debated among historians.
Built initially as a grand townhouse for a prosperous family, Abertarff's fate turned towards the ordinary by the late 1800s. The Commercial Bank of Scotland acquired it, and its proud halls were subdivided into cramped housing units for up to six families. These occupants lived in confined spaces with minimal sanitation, a far cry from the house's earlier grandeur.
In the shadows of its grand past, stories of hauntings and ghostly apparitions began to surface. Some say that late at night, the cries of children who once resided there during its tenement days can still be heard.
By the early 1960s, the once-stately mansion had degraded into such disrepair that the town's leaders contemplated tearing it down. It was during this desperate time that the Inverness Field Club came to its rescue. They lobbied vigorously to preserve this historical gem, which was a close call. Their efforts were rewarded when Abertarff House was bestowed to the National Trust for Scotland in 1963. A meticulous restoration began shortly after, breathing new life into this venerable building.
Today, visitors can explore the fascinating history and mysteries of Abertarff House by visiting the site under the care of the National Trust. Whether they come for the historical significance or the allure of its legendary tales, Abertarff House remains an iconic piece of Inverness's cultural heritage, ever watchful of the city's ongoing narrative.