Avoch and Killen History

Avoch and Killen Community Collage

Rosehaugh Estate

Since the 14th century there has been an estate just west of the village of Avoch. Formerly known as Pittanochtie, the estate was owned by Mackenzies but when James Douglas Fletcher bought it in 1864 it was known as Rosehaugh. He built a fabulous house there designed by William Flockhart but unfortunately it was demolished in 1959. Only some of the estate buildings are left such as the stables shown here which now acts as the estate office for the present owners Broadland Properties Ltd.

Dairy Cottage

This is one of the few remaining buildings on the Rosehaugh Estate of the grand buildings commissioned by James Douglas Fletcher. As its name implies it was the dairy to the 'big house'. Run independently of the Mains Farm, a pedigree herd of Jersey cows provided milk, butter and cheese to the house. During the war the dairy also supplied milk to the village.

Rosehaugh House

Avoch and Killen History - Rosehaugh House

James Douglas Fletcher.  Photo is courtesy of Lodge Rosehaugh, Avoch.

Although this mansion stood for only 60 years the estate had always provided employment for the village and the Fletchers in particular did much to improve conditions in Avoch. These pages give a glimpse of this magnificent house. For a much more comprehensive view see the book "Rosehaugh, A House Of Its Time" published by Avoch Heritage Association. 

In December 2016 a new edition of the book "Rosehaugh:  A House of its Time" was launched on the 20th anniversary of its first edition.  Co-written by Hilda Hesling, Magdalene Maclean, Kathleen Macleman and the late John Mills, the book contains new material and photographs and is available from Bassman Books. www.bassmanbooks.co.uk

Part of front of house.

No expense was spared on the house. It was designed by an eminent architect of the time, William Flockhart, who also worked on Kinfauns Castle in Perthshire.

Example of carving.

As can be seen in this example of carving, Flockhart paid enormous attention to detail.

Front entrance

These imposing steps to the front door are flanked by two huge bronze Burmese chindits. When the house contents were sold in 1954 they were bought on behalf of a New Orleans antiquarian for just £56!

Giant Buddha

Like the chindits at the front entrance, this giant Buddha together with a pair of huge bronze elephants was installed in 1902. The Buddha is now in the Royal Scottish Museum.

Dining room

The dimensions of the dining room were an impressive 34' x 17'. There was a white Italian marble fireplace, wooden panelling painted bottle green topped by green velvet hangings. There were two balconies but no access to them - save with a ladder!

Ceiling detail.

An example of the high standard of workmanship is seen in this example of a ceiling painting of an Italian type. As well as the rooms one would expect in any big house, Rosehaugh boasted a ballroom with sprung floor, a gymnasium and marble-lined swimming pool and Turkish baths.


The beautiful and extensive gardens needed a staff of 20 gardeners under the head gardener William Mortimer Moir. There were flower beds, lawns, a boating lake, extensive kitchen gardens, a fernery and huge hothouses. Exotic trees were imported and some can still be seen today.

One of the hothouses.

The hothouses were constructed by Mackenzie and Moncur who used them to illustrate their catalogue. In them were grown exotic blooms, grapes, melons and pineapples. Hot water and hot air were circulated around them.

Grave of James Douglas Fletcher.

When he died in 1927 James Fletcher's widow erected this burial place in the grounds of Rosehaugh although there is a family vault in Avoch Parish Churchyard. It was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens R.A, who also designed the Cenotaph in London and Liverpool's Roman Catholic Cathedral. Lilian was also buried here in 1953. Sadly the site is so badly overgrown now that it is very difficult to locate.

Burial site of James Douglas Fletcher

This is the overgrown site of a magnificent burial enclosure in the grounds of the Rosehaugh Estate. It was commissioned by the widow of J. D. Fletcher - a local benefactor - from the eminent Sir Edwin Lutyens (whose memorials include the Cenotaph in London). Photographs of the original splendour of the area may be found in "Rosehaugh, A House Of Its Time" published by The Avoch Heritage Association. 


After the death of Fletcher's widow in 1953 the new owner,s Eagle Star Insurance Company, tried to sell the house. There were rumours that the Queen Mother and Gordonstoun School expressed an interest and certainly Butlins considered it seriously but years of neglect had taken their toll and the expense of repairs was considerable. In 1959 demolition began.

Watching the demolition.

The house had been part of the life of Avoch for so many years that it was extremely sad to watch its demise.

The Rosehaugh House that many remember.

Taken from the south below the lake and terraces, this photograph gives a hint of past glories.

What remains of Rosehaugh House - October 2015.  [Photos RCHS]

To quote Shakespeare's Prospero:  The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces, the solemn temples ...... leave not a rack behind.

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