Bunchrew House

Bunchrew House (from Bun Chraoibh, Gaelic for "foot of the tree") was the birthplace of Duncan Forbes, 5th Lord of Culloden (1685 - 1747) and Lord President of the Court of Sessions, the highest ranking member of the British Government in Scotland during the Jacobite Uprising in 1745. (See https://www.clan-forbes.org/duncan-forbes.)  

Simon Fraser, 6th Lord Lovat (c. 1572–1633) built a castle on this site in about 1615, complete with a moat and a drawbridge. He died here in 1633. John Forbes, 2nd Lord of Culloden (died 1688) purchased Bunchrew in about 1669 from a son of Lovat, Simon Fraser of Inverallochy. This area was formerly part of the famous Thanedom of Calder, or Cawdor, made famous by William Shakespeare in the play MacBeth.

 

While the earliest part of the house can still be seen today at the western end, the moat and a drawbridge are long gone. In the 19th century, extensive additions were added to the original building on its north and south sides.

Forbes traveled extensively brought back plants and trees from around Europe. The grounds still retain some of Scotland's most impressive Cedars. John’s son Duncan became the 3rd Lord of Culloden and he had two sons: “Bumper John” Forbes, 4th Lord of Culloden, (died 1734 without issue) and Duncan Forbes, 5th Lord of Culloden and later Lord President of the Court of Sessions. Not only was Bunchrew House the birth place of the Lord President Duncan Forbes, but it was his favorite residence for over 30 years, he wrote his letters and publications. (See Culloden Papers: Correspondence from the Year 1625 to 1748 of Duncan Forbes, Lord President of the Court of Sessions in the members only Clan Forbes Reference Library.)

 

Forbes planted the magnificent Cedar of Lebanon tree opposite the front entrance. This tree is known locally as the ‘Loving Tree’ and it is said to bring good luck if young couples plight their troth underneath the branches. There is also a holly tree at the far end of the top lawn, which is reputed to be one of the oldest, if not the oldest in Scotland.

Bunchrew House is now a 4-star hotel and includes the Cedar Tree Restaurant. The hotel is set in 20 acres of beautiful gardens and woodland right down on the shores of the Beauly Firth.

© 2020 Clan Forbes Society, Inc.

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