MHG7564 - Tarradale House - Muir of Ord


Tarradale House which was built in 1680.

Type and Period (1)

  • COUNTRY HOUSE (17th Century to 21st Century - 1601 AD to 2100 AD)

Protected Status

  • None recorded

Full Description

A modest mansion on the north bank of the River Beauly, as it widens into the Beauly Firth, Tarradale House lies 2 miles (3 km) southeast of Muir of Ord in Easter Ross. Built in the 1680s, it was subject to several extensions and numerous alterations in the succeeding centuries. Noted geologist Sir Roderick Impey Murchison was born here in 1792. His father, Dr Kenneth Murchison, had purchased the estate a few years earlier after returning from Calcutta where he was a physician in the service of the East India Company.

Into the 20th century Tarradale was the property of Miss Amy Yule, a relative of Murchison, who added the library tower and walled garden. After her death the house was run by the Murchison of Tarradale Trust, providing Highland scholars with a haven for rest and private study. Thereafter it became the property of the University of Aberdeen, who used it as a field centre and locus for reading groups, sharing the house with other Scottish universities.

The house once again became a private home in 2004, following extensive remodelling and renovation by Hurd Rolland architects of Inverness. <1>

Amy Yule was the only child of Sir Henry Yule and his wife Anna Maria White. Her ancestors were important figures in their day, including her grandfather, General Martin White, and great-grandfather, Dr Kenneth Murchison of Tarradale, whose son, Sir Roderick Murchison, the noted 19th century geologist, was Amy Yule’s great-uncle.

While her father was with the Bengal Engineers in India, Amy was educated by her mother and at Winnington Hall, a girls’ school supported by John Ruskin, the art historian and critic, who was to become a family friend and whose ideas of progressive education for ordinary people became a major influence on Amy.

Her mother’s ill-health brought them to Geneva and Tuscany and, finally, for 11 years to Sicily where her mother died in 1875.

Amy then commenced a literary career, living in Athens for some time while undertaking research into Greek history which led to two books, one on the Cretan insurrection and the other becoming the fifth edition of Murray’s handbook to Greece. This was the first and only time it was published in two volumes as Amy included much on medieval and Byzantine history that had been hitherto (and subsequently) ignored.

She inherited a considerable fortune when her father died at the end of 1889 and she used that for further foreign travel and to rent, and subsequently purchase, Tarradale House near Muir of Ord. Amy was greatly impressed by the life of her illustrious great-uncle, Sir Roderick Murchison, who died in 1871 with no direct heirs, and she felt that by purchasing Tarradale House, Sir Roderick’s birthplace, she was regaining an ancestral home.

Once established at Tarradale she enlarged the already substantial house by adding a library wing to accommodate her huge and growing collection of books and pictures, and undertook further building works by having a walled garden and attractive outbuildings constructed.

She was very much a pioneer working in a man’s world as she dealt directly with builders and contractors who often were not aware that they were corresponding with a woman as she always signed herself ‘A F Yule’.

Her library was remarkable for including books on science, geology, natural history and practical manuals for workmen, an unusual collection to be put together by a woman before World War 1. It was while at Tarradale she revised the third edition of her father’s great work on Marco Polo and she dedicated it to the memory of Sir Roderick Murchison,”from the old Murchison home”.

Once established at Tarradale, and with sufficient funds helped by a further inheritance, her charitable work expanded and she was a ready contributor to any appeal or fund-raising campaign, especially for the relief of survivors or families affected by wars. She gave money to local causes and founded the library of Dingwall Academy as well as giving books to other schools. Apparently a good shot, she presented the prize cup for shooting to Dingwall Academy. Miss Yule also commissioned and paid for a portrait of General Sir Hector Macdonald to be presented to Dingwall Town Council. <2>

NGR adjusted based on 2009 vertical aerial photographs. <3>

Sources/Archives (3)



Grid reference Centred NH 5526 4877 (48m by 40m) (2 map features)
Map sheet NH54NE
Geographical Area ROSS AND CROMARTY

Finds (0)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Investigations/Events (0)

External Links (3)

Comments and Feedback

Do you have any more information about this record? Please feel free to comment with information and photographs, or ask any questions, using the "Disqus" tool below. Comments are moderated, and we aim to respond/publish as soon as possible.