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Case Studies > History, Heritage & Conservation

Riddell Estate, Lilliesleaf

Case Study History, Heritage & Conservation Riddell Estate, Lilliesleaf
Case Study History, Heritage & Conservation Riddell Estate was gifted to Walter de Ryedale, Sheriffe of Roxburgh, in 1116 by King David 1st of Scotland for Knightly Service. The Estate remained the property of the Riddell Family, direct descendants of Walter de Ryedale, well into the 19th Century. In 1823 Riddell Estate was purchased by the Sprot family from whom the current owners, Andrew and Virginia Grant are directly descended.

At the heart of the Estate stands Riddell Tower (the General’s Tower), a 30m high Victorian Folly which stands on the site of the original Norman Fort, which was a rarity in itself with two fosses and dykes when normally forts only had one. The Fort was sadly destroyed by the Earl of Hertford in 1545 when the Abbeys were sacked, probably as there was a Chapel of Rest for monks beside the Fort. The current Riddell Tower has been restored by the current owners and is beautiful with a spiral staircase to the top internally and a viewing platform at the very top.

Every year, people whose ancestors or family are connected to the Estate, visit Riddell to experience what it has to offer in terms of history, genealogy, heritage and natural beauty. Riddell is a diversified agricultural estate which extends to 1748 acres and produces high quality organic lamb, beef, forage, arable and forestry crops. Non-agricultural enterprises include residential and sporting lets. In recent years the Estate has built a strong reputation as a Sporting Estate with the Riddell Shoot and Clerklands Loch. On the Estate you can also find Bowismiln Cottage, a stonebuilt former shepherd’s cottage which has been modernised to create a delightful holiday home that offers comfortable accommodation in real tranquillity and seclusion.

Maintaining close ties with the community, Riddell hosts a range of community and charitable activities. The Estate provides a sports field for the village of Lilliesleaf in the most beautiful of settings down by the river, and Borders College has been given the use of a building on the Estate to use as a classroom. In addition, the Estate is home to many who work on the Estate as well as farm tenants.

Since 1948, a regular woodland planting policy has been adopted on the Estate and some 274 acres of conifers and 37 acres of broadleaves have been replaced. The woods generally run from East to West giving stock excellent shelter. Historically, oak from Riddell was used in the construction of Captain Scott’s Antarctic expedition ship “Discovery” (1900) and more recently for repairs to Nelson’s HMS Victory (1960).

With the River Ale running through the Estate, Riddell has developed as a species rich, biodiverse natural environment. The magnificent woodlands and forestry frame the diverse landscape which includes hills, valleys, river, lochs, wetlands, grasslands and panoramic views of the Border countryside spanning the Eildon Hills, Selkirkshire, Roxburghshire, Berwickshire, and south to the Cheviot Hills on the English Border.

Many original features of the original built and natural heritage have been preserved. At the same time however, the progressive methods adopted by the current landowner will ensure the Estate remains sustainable for future generations.
Scottish Land & Estates
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