Scott’s entrance repaired and preserved for future

Pictured with the refurbished gate are, from left, Abbotsford chief executive Giles Ingram, renovator Charles Taylor, gardens heritage development manager Pippa Coles and Keith Smith.
Pictured with the refurbished gate are, from left, Abbotsford chief executive Giles Ingram, renovator Charles Taylor, gardens heritage development manager Pippa Coles and Keith Smith.

The entrance gate at Abbotsford, near Tweedbank, has been reinstated after a year-long conservation project.

The portcullis gate had secured the home of Selkirk’s “Shirra” Walter Scott, since around 1824, but its oak and wrought iron structure, designed by Scott himself, had suffered many years of continuing deterioration.

However, it was removed, dried out and had damaged wood replaced by splicing in good wood from the old frame by Dalkeith specialist Charles Taylor Woodwork.

And helping to officially welcome the gate back into place was Keith Smith, of Darnick, whose ancestors Thomas and John Smith originally installed the gate on the same date 193 years ago.

Keith said: “Abbotsford is a joy. My family and others from Darnick are proud to have played a part in its construction.”

“The gates are a tribute to local craftsmen – ancient and modern.”

Pippa Coles, Abbotsford’s gardens heritage development manager, said: “We are thrilled to see the gate back in position and looking as Scott intended. Earlier this year, I read in John Smith’s diary that the gate had originally arrived on December 13, 1824, so I felt it was a fitting date for their return, and it was extra special that Keith, John’s descendant, could join us.

“We are very grateful to our funders and donors who made this important conservation project possible.”