Moving to Scalan


From 1716, the Duke of Gordon would take on the mantle of main protector of the Scottish Catholic Church in the North, and it was to his estate in Upper Banffshire that the bishops decided to relocate the seminary. The site chosen, at the foot of the Tom (Hill) of Scalan, lay at the very southern edge of the Gordon lands, in the Catholic Braes of Glenlivet, close to the high hills that marked the border with Aberdeenshire.


There was a turf house available to them there, hard to reach even on foot and quite inaccessible to wheeled vehicles. Tucked in between the high land to the south and a treacherous moss to the north, it was hidden from prying eyes by the lie of the land yet easily warned of the approach of strangers. A burn ran beside its door, with a clear water spring close by. It was, in short, almost the perfect place for a clandestine college operating in defiance of the Law. It stood to the right of the tree in the photo above and you can just see the stream to the left of the little bridge. In the distance stands the house we can visit to day which was used from 1767-99

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