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History of Meldrum

Original Owner:
Philip de Fendarg – Born 1225 in Buchan, Scotland and Died 1282 in Kildrummy, Scotland

Additional Owners:
Alexander Meldrum – Born 1380 in Aberdeenshire, Scotland and Died 1451 in Scotland
William Meldrum, 2nd of Fyvie- Born 1451 
William Seton of Meldrum, 5th of Meldrum- Born 1475 Scotland Died 1571
Alexander Seton de Gordon, 1st of Huntly- 1410 in Huntly, Scotland and Died 1470 in Huntly, Scotland
Grizell Stewart- Born 1560 in Contract, Scotland and Died 1615
John Urquhart of Craigston- Born 1547 in Craigfintray, Scotland and Died 1631 in Craigfintray, Scotland
Patrick Urquhard of Meldrum- Born 1611 in Meldrum, Scotland and Died 1660 in Aberdeenshire, Scotland
Beauchamp Colclough Urquhart, 9th of Meldrum- Born 1860 in Oldmeldrum, Scotland and Died 1898 in Atbara, Sudan
Isabella Annie Urquhart- Born 1864
Garden Beauchamp Duff- Born 1879 and Died 1952

The Story of Meldrum House

Meall Druim, a Gaelic term for ‘the ridge on the hill’, is certainly an appropriate name for Meldrum House, which was built in the 13th century on a rocky outcrop in Oldmeldrum, Aberdeenshire. Today, this impressive listed country house estate has been reinvented as an exemplary hotel and golf course that encourages its guests to soak up its history and embrace the beauty of rural Scotland. 

With a family name dating back to the 13th century, the Meldrum history is a rich saga of renowned landowners and powerful figures who, over the generations, owned many estates across the northeast of Scotland. It is believed that Sir Philip de Fendarg, the son of Philip de Phendarg, was the first person to have carried the title of Meldrum, after the Barony of Meldrum was granted to his father in 1236. 

Over the next couple of centuries, the family grew in power and influence; however, the ownership of Meldrum House changed in the 15th century when Elizabeth Meldrum married Sir William Seton, granting the Seton family ownership of the estate. 

This grand estate remained in the Seton family for a further seven generations, and it is thought that the demise of the lineage of the Setons of Meldrum was the result of a long-standing feud between the family and the Kings of Barra, supposedly fueled by the allegation that James King of Barra slaughtered Elizabeth Seton’s father, Alexander fiar of Meldrum. By 1635, the Seton male lineage also came to a natural end as the inheritor of the estate, Elizabeth Seton, married into the Urquhart family, under whose name the estate remained until 1898. During the Urquhart tenure, the house underwent its most significant extension, with the addition of two wings and a large joining wall to create a symmetrical, Jacobean-style courtyard mansion complete with a grand Portico entrance and turreted pavilions.

In the mid-20th century, Robin Duff inherited the house, representing the last of the direct line of descendants representing these four great families. After returning from his position as Personal Assistant to the Maharaja of Bundi, Duff played an instrumental role in rejuvenating this historical estate into a fully functioning guest house. Having lovingly built on these foundations, Meldrum House Country Hotel and Golf Course is now an award-winning hotel that offers its guests a selection of uniquely appointed rooms and the chance to experience a stunning corner of rural Aberdeenshire from the comfort of a stunning 240-acre estate. 

And if any guests are particularly interested in the previous inhabitants of the house, they should keep a careful eye out for the White Lady, who is said to have been roaming the estate since the morning of Christmas Day in 1617, when she was abducted from the house in the dead of night…