MHG20521 - Skye, Ord House


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Type and Period (1)

  • HOUSE (Undated)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

"Ord House, c.1750 One of the best-sited gentry houses in Skye, thought to have been built for Charles Macdonald, who was 'outed' after the '45. It stands gable end on to the prevailing winds... The bi-partite windows and porch (formerly iron-crested) were added about 1860. To the rear stood the former 'black kitchen' - 'the most picturesque apartment in the house walls and rafters were black with peat smoke' - which, after nightfall, often did duty as an 'ample ballroom'. In the old walled garden, the Ord Cabbage Tree, a doughty old palm, still thrives." (Miers 2008)

Charles MacEachainn MacDonald was the father of Dr Alexander MacEachainn, who became Tacksman of Ord in 1790. Originally a farmhouse and steading with several cottars and farm workers houses, it is thought to have been rebuilt in c. 1810, at the same time that the manse in Kilmore was built. Ord House is best known for its portrayal in Alexander Smith's book 'A Summer in Skye' (1865).

The house was the first house in Skye to have a fixed bath and cold running water. This bath was made of lead and continued in use until 1950. The garden is well known for its 'Ord Palm', a Cordyline Australis palm tree. The original seeds were sent to Ord in about 1863 by one of Charles MacDonald's tenants whom he had helped to emigrate to Australia. Ord House has been through many guises: a hotel, a holiday home, a B&B, and is currently (2011) a private dwelling.

Smith, Alexander 1885. A Summer in Skye, pp. 69-70, 93-8.
Country Life Magazine, Feb 5th, 1970.
Savills (1990) Ord Estate, Sleat, Isle of Skye: (sale particulars), Edinburgh
Miers, Mary 2008. Western Seaboard: An Illustrated Architectural Guide, pp.208, 213.
Eileen MacInnes 1986 family memoirs, held at Clan Donald Library, Museum of the Isles
'Ord Township', <1>

Sources/Archives (1)



Grid reference Centred NG 6175 1340 (17m by 23m) (Buffered by site type)
Map sheet NG61SW
Geographical Area SKYE AND LOCHALSH
Civil Parish SLEAT

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