A CENTURIES-OLD castle immortalised by Robert Burns is on the market for less than £800,000.
The poet chased the famously beautiful youngest daughter of the owner of Monboddo Castle and, following her tragically early death, penned “Elegy on the Late Miss Burnett of Monboddo”.
Fans of the Scottish bard, with a spare £780,000, can now get their hands on the Monboddo Castle near Laurencekirk, Aberdeenshire.
As well as the connection to Burns, the castle was also visited by Dr Samuel Johnson, and counts among previous owners a man who anticipated Darwin’s theory of natural selection.
The 1635 turreted property boasts five bedrooms, two reception rooms, stone spiral staircase, three acres of land, and stables. As befits a castle, it also features “gun loops” and “shot holes”.
In 1714, Monboddo Castle near Laurencekirk, Kincardineshire was the birthplace of James Burnett – “Lord Monboddo” – who went on to become an eccentric celebrity judge and writer.
Burnett became a close friend of Robert Burns, who visited Monboddo Castle as much to meet the judge’s daughter Elizabeth.
Burns also mentioned Elizabeth in lines from his 1786 poem “Address to Edinburgh.”
When she tragically died of consumption, aged 24 in 1790, Burns penned his elegy to her in a state of grief.
He wrote: “Life ne’er exulted in so rich a prize, / As Burnet (corr), lovely from her native skies;
“Thy form and mind, sweet maid, can I forget? / In richest ore the brightest jewel set! / In thee, high Heaven above was truest shown.”
The property has been recently renovated – and now features a host of modern conveniences alongside its original features, which are steeped in history.
Quick-footed buyers may even be able to move in before January 25 and enjoy a Burns’ Night supper in the same room where Burns himself once ate.
After passing through the hands of many moneyed owners the castle was eventually owned by John Burnett – who inherited the castle from his father.
Burnett is most famous for anticipating Darwin’s theory of natural selection in his eccentric claims that humans were descended from monkeys – missing tails because they have been worn away from constant sitting.
He also moved in wide circles with the celebrities of the day – including the celebrated Dr Samuel Johnson, dubbed “arguably the most distinguished man of letters in English history.”
Johnson dined with Burnett at the castle in August 1773 when passing through the area on the way to the Western Isles in a trip that inspired his famous work “A Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland.”
Property agent Ruaraidh Ogilvie – who is managing the sale for Savills – said: “It’s a cracking little castle – it’s not large but it’s pretty spacious inside.
“Although imposing, it is charming and of manageable proportions.
“The original restoration, together with the more recent improvements and renovations, were carried out to an extremely high standard, retaining many of the original features including turrets, crow stepped gables, gun loops, shot holes and two date stones of 1635.”