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Say ‘I do’ to historic Alford mansion

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Do you dream of becoming a Scottish laird and living in a grand historic home? Well Cheryl Livingstone has found the answer to your prayers


The guests thought they were at a party celebrating Lorna and Hamish’s joint 105th birthday – an idea that was inspired by Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, in which Bilbo and Frodo share a birthday party.

But it was revealed to the guests later that the couple were, in fact, celebrating their wedding instead. Surrounded by a close circle of family and friends, they made their vows in the drawing room. And later, after more friends had arrived for the “birthday celebrations”, they began to enjoy a ceilidh in a large marque on the lawn.

Hamish and Lorna McLean


“At some point, Hamish gave a speech and thanked everyone for coming. Then he said something like ‘My wife and I’ and everyone was just like ‘What?’,” said Lorna, smiling as she relived the precious memory.

“It was the look on all their faces; they were so surprised.”

The couple held their special day at Breda House, Hamish’s childhood home, which is located on Breda House Estate, near Alford, a property the McLeans have owned since the late 1800s.

For 13 years now, Hamish and Lorna have been working tirelessly to breathe new life back into the listed Scots Baronial mansion and transform it into a magical wedding and conference centre.

Their wedding was, as Hamish explained, something of a “dry run” to see if the house would be suitable to hold weddings at. And, as they found out, it was the perfect setting.


Now that dream will be passed on to someone else as Hamish and Lorna have decided to sell the house and other parts of the estate due to ill health. They explained that they had to concentrate on Hamish’s health and could not do that and carry on restoring the house.

“Whatever happens to the house, the drawing room will always be a special place for me”, added Lorna.

For the McLeans, they had their own vision, but, as Hamish said, someone else might have their own ideas for Breda House. But one thing that everyone can agree on is that the opportunities are endless.

“The only limitation is one’s imagination,” Hamish added.

And it’s true. Looking through all that is on offer at Breda, there really is so much you could do with it. Breda House Estate is being sold through Rettie and Co as a whole for offers over £4,725,000; it is also available in nine lots.


In recent years, Breda House has been the subject of extensive renovation and refurbishment works thanks to the hard work of Lorna and Hamish. Works have included the renewal of the majority of the roof structure, refurbishment of windows, extensive plasterwork and joinery, rewiring, installation of wireless technology system plus extensive stonework and general fabric repairs. Last year, there was also additional work carried out on the roof and planning consent was granted to instal a 200kw biomass heating system.

The house is certainly impressive, with many of its original features still retained and brought back into the centre stage by the McLeans. It incorporates many features redolent of the baronial style, including crowstep gables, a square tower, heraldic panels, nine stone motifs depicting thistles, roses, balls, fleurs-de-lys and shamrocks atop the stone dormers, and with the interior incorporating many notable period features characteristic of the Victorian era.

These include ornate cornices, handsome marble fireplaces, extensive timber panelling, ornate friezes, moulded ceiling plasterwork and mullioned windows including notable stained-glass windows within the staircase hall.


One of the more personal features is a heraldic panel of the Clan Maclean coat of arms which is situated over the front door bearing the date 1894 and the Clan Maclean motto “virtue mine honour”. There is also an inscribed marriage stone.

While a lot of work has been put into Breda House, there are still lots of opportunities for the new owners to put their own stamp on it. Kitchens and bathrooms have yet to be fitted out, leaving the choice to the new owner on what they will be.

To finance the remainder of the restoration, planning consent for eight house plots has been granted and this will be included in the sale. More details on this can be obtained from Rettie and Co.

It is a stunning home, inside and out, and it is fantastic to see it being given the chance to become a wonderful family home once again. But as Hamish and Lorna envisioned, it would also make someone a financially viable business.


Over the years, they have had their idea for Breda House supported by people from varying industries. Professional chefs, Lorna explained, had stayed at the house and agreed that it would work well for a wedding.

“They thought the house was amazing and said the layout of the house was absolutely perfect for a venue,” she added.

They have also had experts from the entertainment industry comment on how the place would be ideal to hold outdoor concerts. As Hamish said, the possibilities are endless and looking at the other lots up for sale, you could see how Breda could become a destination for a host of activities,
from weddings to fishing trips.

To find out all that is on offer, contact Rettie and Co on 0131 220 4160.

The lots

Lot 1: Breda House, gardens, policies and full planning permission for eight five-bedroom homes – about 57 acres: Offers over £3,190,000.

Lot 2: Breda East Lodge: Offers over £340,000.

Lot 3: Leochel Burn Farmlands – About 47.6 acres: offers over £200,000.

Lot 4: River Don Farmlands – about 81.5 acres: offers over £350,000.

Lot 5: Breda Salmon Fishings – Breda Lower Beat: Offers over £195,000.

Lot 6: Breda Home Farm Steading: offers over £300,000.

Lot 7: Breda New Woodlands – about 12.4 acres: offers over £35,000.

Lot 8: Breda Grazings – about 15.2 acres: offers over £65,000.

Lot 9: Breda Grazings – about 10.4 acres: offers over £50,000.