Tarradale Hotel

Hugh Duncan Baillie was the second son of Evan Baillie of Dochfour, a merchant in Bristol. Hugh had a career in the British Army , rising to the rank of Colonel. His father retired to live at Dochfour in 1812 and in 1818 he bought the estate of Tarradale which he left to Colonel Hugh Bailie on his death in 1835. The Colonel was later to purchase the Redcastle Estate from the Trustees of Sir William Fettes in 1838. As an aside, Colonel Baillie was awarded £60,000 in compensation for freed slaves on 17 estates in the Caribbean where he either owned or had an interest in, around 1835.
It is not known exactly when there was a building on the site of the present day Tarradale Hotel, but the area around today’s Hotel, Orchard and the older school buildings in the square was known as Carnclarser (in those days Gaelic was not commonly written the way we recognise today, and this name would have been spelled by an educated English speaker). Named in recognition of a Cairn that was built to remember the tragic death of an innocent harper that had witnessed a robbery from the Laird s of Tarradale. (See ‘The Harper’s Cairn. What we do know from old maps is that there was a building on the site in 1788, although there is nothing to indicate whether it was an Inn at that time.

Tarradale Hotel circa 1910


Possibly from around 1910                            Attribution: not recorded or unknown

A newspaper advert, offering a five year lease of the Inn in 1846, does suggest that the Inn of Carnclarser was well known, intimating that it had been around for some time. There were 39 acres of Grass land and a five acre croft and wasteland around the Inn at this point. Another newspaper advert in 1848, for a lost dog suggests the tenant was a William Forsyth. The lease was re advertised in 1850 and 1851, describing the well-known Inn as 2one of the best situations in the North.”

In 1851, a dinner of over 50 guests, was held at the Inn, to welcome James Fraser of Dornoch as its new tenant. The Inn was described as having been “newly fitted up in a most comfortable and elegant style, so that the traveller who rests there will not regret doing so.” The arrival of the railway in 1862, saw the Inn being extended due to the increase in traffic.

James and Mary had seven children and on both the 1861 and 1871 census records, they had workers from the inland revenue, customs & excise, boarding with them as guests. In 1861, they had four general servants, reducing to 2 general servants and 1 post boy on the 1871 census. During the latter half of 1870, there was an advert in the papers, requesting a Mason, carpenter, Plumber, Slater, Plaster, Glazier and Bell Hanger apply to the Inn in preparation for a New Inn at Tarradale. I have not been able to confirm whether this work was carried out or completed, but I do believe this could be the referring to the building we all know today.

James died in 1872 and Mary continued to live and work at the Inn with her children. Her eldest son, Hugh was a coach owner in 1881 and by 1891 was recorded as being the postmaster which would have tied in nicely to his being a coach owner ten years previously.  Alexander and John became Clerks, Hector went in the military, Donald became a joiner/carpenter and James became a plumber. Of the two daughters, Christina married and moved away, whilst Mary remained at home with her mother until, at least 1901. The 1901 census has Mary and her daughter Mary, living at a property named Carn a Chlarsair, on what we know today as the  Black Isle Road, and again in 1911, Mary and her sons Donald and James were at the same property. Donald, by this point was recorded as a farmer. 

By 1901, the Inn had was now in the possession of Donald MacLeod and his sister, they both originated from Perthshire. He is listed as owning the Hotel, Stables, Bank Office and Land, with Mary Fraser owning the property of Carnachlasair and land. The remainder of the area, originally owned by Colonel Baillie, was now a School master’s house, School and Donald Cameron’s drapers shop. Another property, ‘Caber Feidh’ was now owned by a Mrs Isabella Mackenzie.
Donald died in 1906, leaving his sister Mary to run the hotel until the 1921 census, when she married George Ross Anderson at Inverness. On the 1921 census, George is the Hotel manager and Mary the Hotel owner.
Between 1920 and 1925, there was also a pharmacy working from one of the hotel outbuildings. L. Hutcheson in 1920 and Peter Fraser in 1925.

The hotel was also up for sale in 1920 with a description of the property as being a popular establishment for tourists and motorists, being midway between Inverness and Fortrose. The accommodation consisted of a coffee room, drawing room, smoking room, billiard room , 12 bedrooms, hot and cold water and petrol gas lighting throughout. Adjoining the hotel was a large fruit and vegetable garden and three or four acres of arable land and rough pasture.

The Hotel was briefly owned by a Lachlan Norman Lascelles Davidson who in 1924 was recorded as the licensee for the Lewis Hotel in Stornoway and the Tarradale Hotel. Lachlan was the son of William Norman Lascelles Davidson, a British soldier and an early pioneer of modern cinematography. Lachlan modernised the hotel during his tenure and when it came up for sale it was described as:

GROUND FLOOR – Lounge, Coffee room and Dining room, Smokeroom, Parlour, Kitchen, Storeroom and Boot room. Public Bar with separate entrance.

FIRST FLOOR – Large Bedroom with Bathroom and WC: 5 bedrooms, Bathroom, Lavatory and WC

SECOND FLOOR – 4 bedrooms, 2 attics, Lavatory and WC

The whole hotel has recently been modernised and decorated, has central heating and electric light, is fully licensed and has held a licence for 100 years and is am A.A. Hotel.

In addition to the above, the outside offices comprise: Stable, Garage for 5 to 6 cars, chauffeur’s room, electric plant store, granary, washhouse, coal cellar and store. There is also a large poultry house and caged run and also 6 acres arable land and grazing.

Tarradale hotel circa 1920

Attribution: not recorded or unknown

The property, at this point, was sold to George S. Minto but kept the ownership of the confectioners building and factory. He died in 1941 when he was recorded as a wine a spirits merchant in Edinburgh and is buried in the ground of Urray Parish Church.
The Minto family left the area in 1938, when the moved to Leith. The couple were presented with cocktail cabinet and the children received a trinket set and picnic set from many well-wishers in the village. The new landlord was Murdoch MacLean who had for many years been the licensee at the Crown Hotel in Wishaw. Shortly after moving to Muir of Ord, his wife was severely injured in a car accident on the Inverness -Perth road and subsequently died from her injuries at a Nursing Home in Pitlochry. Murdo later remarried in 1943 and was still living at the Hotel in 1948 when his second wife died.

Tarradale Hotel circa 1940

Attribution: not recorded or unknown

Tarradale Hotel 2020

Attribution: not recorded or unknown

Page created on 26 June 2024

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