Past & Present
The private bank which called in the Earl of Dunmore's debt was owned by Sir Edward Scott's family. He was the great-great-grandson of Sir Claude Scott, the 1st Baronet of Lytchett Minster, an honour created in 1821 by the newly crowned King George IV. Sir Claude had made his fortune as a grain merchant during the later 18th century. He established a private bank in his own name in 1824, which traded for 70 years before it was taken over and renamed.
Sir Edward Scott took over Fincastle and he and his heir, Sir Samuel Scott, used it during the summer and autumn, to entertain house guests. Amhuinnsuidhe is quite different to the Scott's mansion in Kent, which was designed for the family by the renowned architect John Nash in 1795.
Sir Edward Scott died in 1883 at the age of 41 but the Scott family continued their ownership of North Harris. In the early 1890s land was gifted for a new primary school in Tarbert: it is still called the Sir E Scott School.
Sir Samuel Scott came of age in 1894 and inherited what was left of the family's wealth. This included Sundridge Park in Kent, which was sold in the early 1900s in favour of a property in London, and the North Harris estate. For over 20 years Sir Samuel was the Member of Parliament for Marylebone West.
Sir Samuel maintained strong links with North Harris and Amhuinnsuidhe throughout his life. For a few years after the 1st World War the Scotts relinquished ownership to Lord Leverhulme, because they were worried about their financial position. It is clear that this was a difficult decision, made in the belief that the new proprietor would have the interests of the people at heart. But within 6 years Lord Leverhulme had died and Sir Samuel found that he was able to re-purchase most of the estate and continue to stay regularly at Amhuinnsuidhe.
On the hillside high above the castle is the family burial cairn that was built for his wife, who died in 1937. Sir Samuel Scott was interred there in 1943. North Harris and its castle were sold by the executors the following year. It has had half-a-dozen owners since then.
Today it is still in private hands and paying guests fish and shoot across the estate. However, the land is now owned by the community, through the North Harris Trust.
(Photo: Jill Harden)
By Jill Harden