Page last updated at 11:16 GMT, Friday, 9 May 2008 12:16 UK

Sir Walter Scott retreat for sale

Barony House
Barony House is on sale for offers over 1.5m

The Midlothian country retreat where Sir Walter Scott wrote his first poetry has been put up for sale for offers over 1.5m.

Barony House in Lasswade is where Scott wrote the opening stanza of The Lay of the Last Minstrel, his first poetic success.

While there, he also wrote the ballad, The Gray Brother, which celebrates the countryside in Lasswade.

Scott rented the thatched, six bedroom house for 30 a year from 1798 to 1804.

Then known as Lasswade Cottage he rented the house from its original owner, Sir John Clerk of Penicuik.

If we could move this house to what we want, with the land, we'd do it tomorrow
Stuart Robinson

He brought his wife Charlotte to the cottage after their honeymoon in 1798.

He also entertained a number of literary guests at Lasswade, including the writer James Hogg, "the Ettrick Shepherd" and, in 1803, William Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy.

One of the attractions for Scott was that many of his friends had country residences close by, including the novelist Henry MacKenzie, author of A Man of Feeling.

Scott, then a young advocate, was initiated into Freemasonry in Lodge St David's, No.36, which still meets in Edinburgh alongside MacKenzie in 1801.

Scott's old history teacher Alexander Fraser Tytler also lived close by, as did some of Scotland's most important political figures of the day.

The house was Scott's escape from the Edinburgh legal world and it was during his time there that he developed both as a scholar and a poet.

Millionaire entrepreneur

By 1804, when he last stayed there, he was already well on his way to becoming world famous.

The A-Listed house, which has had Edwardian and Victorian wings added since Scott's day, has now been put on the market by its current owner, millionaire entrepreneur Stuart Robinson, who bought it two years ago.

Mr Robinson is selling because he needs a house with 200-300 acres of land "to develop business interests". Barony House has less than three acres.

He said: "If we could move this house to what we want, with the land, we'd do it tomorrow."

A spokesman for selling agents, Savills, said: "This is a stunning property and we expect it to attract a lot of interest from people looking for a beautiful property, not just from fans of Sir Walter Scott, although they too are bound to be interested."

Built only in 1775, it was fairly basic at the time.

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