Scott descendants tell of Abbotsford pride

Aurea Williams eighty seven year old from near Toronto, Canada meet with the Queen in library
Aurea Williams eighty seven year old from near Toronto, Canada meet with the Queen in library

More than 50 descendants of Sir Walter Scott, many from Canada, Australia and New Zealand, were at Abbotsford to greet The Queen last week.

The monarch officially reopened the home of the novelist following its £12million restoration.

More than 500 guests mingled with VIPs, staff and the trustees who had overseen the five-year project, which included construction of a new visitor centre.

Present was a group from overseas and the UK, more than 50 of whom are descendants of Scott himself.

And they included Scott’s oldest living descendant – Aurea Williams from Toronto, who is the granddaughter of Mary Monica Maxwell Scott – Scott’s great-granddaughter.

Also present was her son, Mike, Sir Walter’s great-great-great-great grandson, who told The Southern the day had been a massively important one for the Maxwell Scott family.

“It is a big day as you can tell. There are 23 from Canada, 15 of whom are descendants,” he explained.

“Abbotsford and Sir Walter Scott have always been an important part of our heritage.

“My mother, uncles and grandparents – I remember them talking about it. And when I was 11, I remember visiting Aunt Jean and Aunt Patricia, so this place has been a big part of our lives all the way through.

“I think they’ve done a very nice job. It’s great because it could’ve gone in so many different directions after Jean and Patricia died.”

Also present were Simon and Moyna Maxwell Scott from Yorkshire – Mr Maxwell Scott is the novelist’s oldest living male descendant.

“It is a very big day for the family and it’s so wonderful that cousins who have never met each other, from Canada, Australia and elsewhere, have been able to meet here today,” said Mrs Maxwell Scott.

“We used to stay here with Jean and Patricia and have very happy memories of Abbotsford.”

Mr Maxwell Scott’s sister, Susan Maxwell Scott, from Kent, added: “When Jean and Patricia were alive there was always a lovely atmosphere here at Abbotsford – they were two exceptional, practical ladies.”

Abbotsford Trust chief executive Jason Dyer says it had been a priority to have the family involved in the reopening.

“The family are a living link to Sir Walter Scott. It was their cousins, Dame Jean and Mrs Patricia Maxwell Scott, to whom we owe a massive debt of gratitude for keeping the house in a condition for us to be able to save it. So I will always welcome the family back to Abbotsford.”