Rossie History

Rossie sits on gently rising ground above the plain of the River Eden southwards views towards the East Lomond and Falkland.

There is substantial evidence of prehistoric settlement on the site and remains of great antiquity have been discovered in the Rossie Bog including a fine pair of prehistoric red deer antlers now in the hall at Rossie (circa 7,000 B.C.) and pieces of ancient oak with over 200 annual growth rings believed to be 10,000 years old.

The name Rofsie derives from the gaelic word Ros meaning promontory – Rossie being at the head of Loch Rossie – until the 19th Century the largest body of freshwater in the historic Kingdom of Fife “abounding with Pykes and Perches”.

The “Disappearing Loch” is an interesting story of how, over the generations the Rossie Loch was drained to gain more pasture land. A manuscript Map by John Adair in 1684 shows the island in Rossie Loch and that from Herman Moll’s published Atlas in 1745 shows it somewhat reduced in size. The first known attempt to drain Rossie Loch was in 1635.  Again it was partially drained in 1669, 1711 and in the 1720’s and yet again in the 1740’s a process not successfully completed until the early part of the 19th Century by the Cheapes of Rossie and Johnstones of Lathrisk. This appears from a 1775 map by John Ainslie and that of Sharp, Greenwood and Fowler in 1828.

The history of Rossie House dates back many centuries, it has been an important site in central Fife since prehistoric times. It is first recorded during the reign of the Roman Emperor Flavian. Later during the reign of King David 1st (1083-1153) a residential building at Rossie appears in the written record. A hall was present at Rossie in 1488.

However, the first mention of a Manor House was in 1509 when King James IV feud Rossie to James Bonar in whose family it remained for over one hundred years before passing to Sir James Scott a gentleman of the Royal Bedchamber. One of the Estate’s woods contains a small ruined chapel, where after his death in 1634 Sir James was buried, followed later by his wife.

Mary Queen of Scots to whom the current owners are related, hunted wild boar on the land at Rossie during her frequent visits to nearby Falkland Palace.

In his 1710 History Sir Robert Sibbald referred to Rossie as “a well repaired house with all conveniences and well planted”. Fortunately an old estate map part of a plan for the ‘Design of the Estate’ still exists dated 8th June 1830, which shows the original estate and the intended design. The walled garden is shown as prominent and important within the layout, the Gardeners Cottage to the South and the Grieves Cottage to the North within its’ own courtyard are also readily identifiable.

The house as it stands today with its carved stone columns, polished oak paneling and light sunny interior spaces presents an 18th century façade with Georgian wing to the east and early Victorian conservatory to the west. It sits within an 18th century landscape of hedge-rowed fields and mixed native woodland and forms the core of Rossie Estate.

The walled garden, potting shed and glass houses are all listed:

  • Site Name:                                  Rossie House, Walled Garden
  • Classification Glasshouse(S):  Walled Garden
  • Alternative Name(s):                  Rossie House, Potting Shed; Rossie House, Glasshouses

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