Not a house that I’d particularly heard about before, but a friend suggested we go over for the Open Day tour to Hospitalfield House, Arbroath.
Before we went to the main house however, we stopped off at the Fraser family, later Allan-Fraser mausoleum (or mortuary chapel), which is in the Western Cemetery and not too far away. Let me tell you it is an astounding place! I’ve seen a few mausoleums, mostly in pictures – but never anything like this. Built in the neo-Gothic style it has a frankly strange mixture of architectural styles and looks large enough for the average family to live in. A must visit – especially on Doors Open Day, which is normally September time where you can actually go inside. Maybe I’ll do that next year.
Hospitalfield House itself, as the name suggests, was actually built originally as a hospice run by monks from Arbroath Abbey (which you can also visit the ruins of). In the Seventeenth century however, it was bought by the Fraser family and from then on until the late nineteenth century was used as a family home.
When viewing the house now, it retains much of its Victorian décor – which it owes to its’ final owners the Allan-Frasers, also its art collection. Patrick Allan, later adopting the name Allan-Fraser – having no children – Patrick and his wife Elizabeth Fraser decided that if Patrick outlived her, he would leave the house in a trust to provide young people with training in art.
This happened in 1890, and though much of the original estates have been swallowed up to continue the trust’s work – Hospitalfield continues with this work to this day.
You can study and attend events at Hospitalfield House, and do think about booking for the next Open Day.