History of Pitcalzean House

Any information anyone may have to add to the history of Pitcalzean House, please contact us via the Contacts page. 

Pitcalzean House was built in 1794 by George Murray who also owned Geanies House, near Portmahomack. The Murray family owned the house and rented it to various families until 1900.

George John Romanes (Scientist) Ethel Mary Duncan 1900 - 1947 (the daughter of Andrew Duncan, Liverpool, a Merchant and Ship owner married George John Romanes in 1879. George died in 1894. (the Scientist, a dear friend of Charles Darwin). George and Ethel also owned Dunskaith House and this is where George set up a laboratory and his experimental research was noted by Charles Darwin, who then made contact with George, they conversed for eight years by letter while Darwin lived in London. The house was known as Westfield, it was re-named back to Pitcalzean House by Ethel Romanes who bought the house. 

Ethel bought Pitcalzean House in 1900 and died in 1927, Pitcalzean was inherited by her son Colonel Gerald Romanes who died in 1946, the house was then sold to Eric Linklater. 

George John Romanes' Grandparents, James Romanes married Margaret Carrick, they set up Romanes and Paterson in Edinburgh, now in Princes Street.    

Some recent contact with J David Pleins, Professor of Religious Studies, Santa Clara, California resulted in adding some history of the cemetary within Pitcalzean House grounds to John's published book: In Praise of Darwin, George Romanes and the Evolution of a Darwinian Believer.  

The house was then rented  to various large families, including the Brydon family, Trimmer family. (Dates being confirmed by Highland Archive Centre).

(William Brydon) - B 10.10.1811 - D 20.03.1873 was an assistant surgeon in the British East India Company Army during the First Anglo-Afghan War. He was born in London of Scottish descent. He studied medicine at the University College London and Edinbugh University.

The famous painting 'Remnants of an Army' by Elizabeth Butler portraying William Brydon arriving at the gates of Jalalabad as the only survivor of a 16,500 strong evacuation from Kabul in January 1842 A copy of the painting is placed in the 'Tate Gallery'.

We were very honoured to welcome William Brydon's Great Grand daughter, Colina, and the extended Brydon family for their Brydon reunion, they visited from all over the world and had a wonderful time especially re-searching even more family history.  

Pages from the book 'The Last Man' are available in Pitcalzean House. The Life and Times of Surgeon, Major William Brydon 

1947 - 1972 Eric Linklater (Author) Eric Robert Russell Linklater (8 March 1899 – 7 November 1974) was a Welsh-born Scottish writer of novels and short stories, military history, and travel books. As a writer, Linklater's career took off in 1929. Although his greatest success came in the early years of that career, he was to publish 23 novels, three volumes of stories, two books of verse, ten plays, three works of autobiography, and another 23 books of essays and histories. Some of the books are in the library at Pitcalzean House. 

1972 - 2002 Brown & Root Used as a coporate venue over the years. In 1974 the Queen and Prince Philip visited Brown & Root Highlands Fabricators, they visited Pitcalzean House, and had dinner in the Dining Room. I was in school during this visit but remember The Royal Car passing my parents house and the excitement we felt when waving to the Queen. (To this day I am still re-searching to see if I can piece together the menu), with no luck so far !  

2002 - Present - Holiday rental for large groups, small weddings and celebrations. 

We hold a file within the house which has more detailed information, which has been collected over the years. 


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Pitcalzean House. Location of large self-catering property

It's difficult to know where to start! We had our wedding at Pitcalzean and it was the most memorable & incredible place to have it....
Mary Fitzgerald, Edinburgh

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About Pitcalzean House

This large self-catering property is available for exclusive use. Pitcalzean House is a Georgian House with a distinguished past. It is one of the finest large properties available to rent on the NC500. This self-catering property in the Scottish Highlands is available and is perfect for large groups, family holidays or reunions. The property is available as a corporate meeting venue in the North of Scotland.  Pitcalzean House is a Georgian House available as a Wedding Venue.

You will get a personal co-ordinator to help with the catering, hold your own ceilidh and help reccomend local activities. Pitcalzean House is a large property  available for exclusive use which sleeps up to 38 in the house and cottage.

With its own party barn this property is ideal as an exclusive party venue.

Pitcalzean House, Pitcalnie, Near Tain, Ross-Shire, Scotland IV19 1QT

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