Friday, November 6, 2015

By Deadline

For sale: a fixer upper where a plot to overthrow the crown was hatched.

THE RUINS of a centuries-old mansion where a bloody Scottish plot to overthrow the king was hatched has come on the market.

Grange House East Neuk, Fife, now stands as a secluded historic ruin – looking out across a local golf course and the Firth of Forth.

But 300 years ago the Jacobite rebellion of 1715 was planned by royal usurper James Malcolm within its walls.

Malcolm built the home in 1708 – and used it as the base for a bloody attempt to replace King George I of Britain with the exiled monarch James VIII and III.

The rebellion failed – and the house was burnt into ruins in the years since – but now any history buff with £150,000 to spare can buy the historic ruins to return them to their former glory.

The ruins of the house

The original plot of land which Grange House was built on has a history dating back to the 13th century.

From 1200 – 1500 nearby nuns grew vegetables and grain on the land to feed pilgrims travelling across the Firth of Forth from North Berwick towards St Andrews.

In 1708 James Malcolm – a fervent supporter of exiled Catholic King James VIII and III – bought the land, building a “classic Laird’s house” on the site.

Fortified with a large surrounding wall on a high vantage point – and with a hidden secret chamber – it is now widely accepted that the house was built as a military base for his cause.

And it was within the walls of the house that the Jacobite rebellion of 1715 was planned to seize Scotland back from George I.

The rebellion officially began in August of 1715 – when the banner of James was raised in Aberdeenshire.

By October the 20,000 Jacobites had taken all of Scotland north of the Firth of Forth – but after an indecisive and bloody battle at Sheriffmuir the rebellion lost its momentum and floundered.

After the rebellion many Jacobites were taken prisoner, tried for treason and sentenced to death, and Malcolm was forced to forfeit his possessions and his home to the crown.

1998 sketch showing what the house would have looked like in its 18th
Century heyday.
The house eventually became a family home to a farmer – but burnt down in 
1868 – leaving only the basic stone structure.

Now the property and lands are available for any history buff with a handyman attitude to restore it to its former glory.

Planning permission has been granted to return the bare bones of the ruins to a residential property – although any restorer will have to abide to a strict set of regulations.
They will have to use traditional materials, including lime harled walls, cast iron rainwater goods and timber window frames.
And any new stonework will have to match the existing stone and the roof will be built with natural slate – making the property a labour of love for anyone looking to take it on.

Sharon Zaremski of Strutt & Parker said: “The East Neuk, in particular Elie and Earlsferry, is an incredibly popular area for holiday homes.

“Grange House offers a great chance to build two new houses with incredible views across the golf course to the Firth of Forth.

“The historical aspect to this plot will only increase the interest.”

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