12. Dower House

Dower House200This house was built in 1887 for the dowager Mrs Macpherson of Balavil, widow of the local landowner. Lydia Julia Brewster Macpherson was the wife of the grandson of James "Ossian" Macpherson.

Most of the rooms in the house have a window facing east so that she could look towards her former home at Balavil.

The house was designed in the Scots baronial style by the Edinburgh architects Wardrop & Anderson and built by local contractors. The house was named Balvadan after a ruined crofter's house on the site called Tigh Bhadain, Gaelic for "house of the clumps of trees". However because of its original red harling it became known as the Red House:
The house is an unusual and interesting object in the landscape in consequence of the colour. The stonework has been harled in a bright red, which gives it a warm and comfortable aspect, and contrasts strongly with the surrounding green.

Mrs Brewster Macpherson was a generous benefactor to Newtonmore and was described as "more useful to the country than all the landlords put together." She took a particular interest in the education of the youth of the village and had a large room in the house fitted out as a classroom where sewing and cookery were taught.

The house was bought around 1902 by Alexander Beveridge, a solicitor in Kirkcaldy. His daughter Millicent, an artist, met DH Lawrence in Sicily in 1921 and painted his portrait. In August 1926 he stayed at Balvadan for a week. Lawrence remarked that although Newtonmore suited his health, he would not wish to spend a winter here. During his short stay in Newtonmore, Lawrence worked on Lady Chatterley's Lover. When he sent a copy of the controversial book to his hostess at Balvadan, it was ripped up and burned on the drawing room fire.

The house was owned by the Beveridge family until 1956. After it was painted white it became known as the White House and by 1987 was known as the Dower House. The houses in St. Columba Road were built in the former grounds of the Dower House.

Sources:

Local residents
Dundee Advertiser
Elgin Courant
Glasgow Herald
Ordnance Survey name books

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