Eilean Aigas shown within Highland Scotland
|OS grid reference||NH467417|
|Gaelic name||Eilean Àigeis|
|Highest elevation||103 m|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Population||No estimate available|
Eilean Aigas (NH4641) (Scottish Gaelic: Eilean Àigeis, pronounced [elanˈaɡ̊ʲəʃ]) is an island in the River Beauly, Scotland, in Kiltarlity parish in traditional Inverness-shire, now Highland Region. It is most notable for the mansion on it at its north end, which was formerly owned by the Sobieski Stuarts and rented by author and Scottish nationalist Compton Mackenzie from Lord Fraser of Lovat. It is joined to the bank by a narrow white bridge.
The Eilean Aigas estate was owned by the Lovat Frasers until 1995, when it was bought by King Chong Chai, a Malaysian businessman, for around £600,000. Chai put the island up for sale in 2001, for an asking price of £3 million. It was purchased by Brendan Clouston, a Canadian businessman, who was formerly president of Tele-Communications Inc.. The house was built in 2006, it is a replica of a 19th-century hunting lodge. As of 2013, the estate was for sale, for offers over £15 million.
John Sobieski Stuart and Charles Edward Stuart were names used by John Carter Allen and Charles Manning Allen, two 19th century English brothers who are best known for their role in Scottish cultural history. The Sobieski Stuarts were frauds, who claimed to descendants of Charles Edward Stuart. As authors of a dubious book on Scottish tartans and clan dress, the Vestiarium Scoticum, they are the source of some current tartan traditions.
In the 1830s they moved to Eilean Aigas in to a hunting lodge granted them by the Earl of Lovat. Here they "held court" and surrounded themselves with royal paraphernalia: pennants, seals, even thrones. During their time here, they adopted the final version of their names, using the surname 'Stuart', and became practising Roman Catholics.
Much of the furniture in the house was designed by the Sobieski Stuarts.
Compton and Faith Mackenzie
The MacKenzies rented Eilean Aigas for £450 per annum from December 1930. As his wife Faith recalled:
- "On the north side rugged purple and grey cliffs flanked the narrow, turbulent river, small pine trees hung at all angles over the water from rock crevices. Walking against the stream up on the grassy path of the cliff, you suddenly went downhill and came upon the same river tranquil as a pool."
They had to keep the place heated for seven out of twelve months of the year and the ceiling of one of the rooms once collapsed on Compton while he was asleep. However, Faith also recollected that the garden was particularly beautiful:
- "Free for nearly three years from all restraint, climbing roses had scaled the heights... the ground was a carpet of tulips: Iris germanica in every possible variety... The acacias in the sunk garden, now big trees, filled the air with their scent... Dear God! This was a garden in a dream."
They left in May 1933, in violation of the lease. Compton MacKenzie was of Jacobite sympathies and, like the Sobieski Stuarts, a Roman Catholic convert.
- Placenames collected by Iain Mac an Tailleir
- Wilson, Rev. John The Gazetteer of Scotland (Edinburgh, 1882) Published by W. & A.K. Johnstone
- "Eilean Aigas brochure" (PDF).
- "Tycoon buys exclusive hotel Malaysian with homes in Highlands takes controlling interest in Inverlochy Castle". The Herald. 27 February 1997. Retrieved 31 March 2011.
- "Bargains for hunters". The Herald. 14 December 1994. Retrieved 31 March 2011.
- Ross, John (30 March 2011). "Millionaire in Beauly-Denny land wrangle". The Scotsman. Retrieved 31 March 2011.
- "Primelocation property listing".
- Linklater, Andro Compton Mackenzie: A Life The Hogarth Press (1992, London)
- Mackenzie, Lady Faith Compton More than I should, Collins (1940)