The Statistical Account of the year also revealed that “their language is among the best samples of English to be found in any Scottish village”, and “there is hardly any smuggling or poaching, and low and gross acts of immorality are seldom heard of in Moffat.”
It is to be hoped that such high standards are kept up today.
Beechwood House, which is set high on the edge of the Dumfries and Galloway town, has just come on to the market, and the property dates from its heyday – when Moffat was a spa destination attracting tourists from all over the world to take to its sulphurous waters.
The house was built in 1848 but, as the current owner, Angela Alexander Lloyd, testifies, it has undergone various uses over the years. She explains: “It was built as a family home, but by the 1870s it was ‘Miss Thompson’s Adventure School for Girls’.”
Adventure schools, or Dame Schools, were small, private establishments which sprung up to serve local communities throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. In addition, Beechwood has also been used as a convalescence home for recuperating patients and as a small boutique hotel.
Indeed, the property was operating as a hotel when Angela bought it in 2007, but she turned Beechwood back into a home for herself and her two sons, Cameron and Fraser, 11 and 12 at the time.
She says: “It was quite hotel-y and needed a refresh – it was painted throughout in one colour of yellow. With a background in interior design, I had a lot of fun redoing the decor.
“There have been new bathrooms put in and all the lighting was changed. But I was so interested in the original features that I wanted to work with what we had and highlight them. The boys’ rooms are more contemporary but in the main we have kept to traditional decor which is what the house dictated.”
With the boys at the local school just down the road, Angela admits: “It became something of a youth hostel, as it was always full of their friends. The house is big enough to fit them all in for birthday parties and themed nights. And when we sell they will insist on a grand finale party.”
In 2015 with both boys away at university, Angela decided to put Beechwood on Airbnb, and says: “I’ve never looked back, it has always been full and it is really popular with families to get together because it is so big and is perfect for entertaining.”
With each of the seven bedrooms having its own bathroom, potential buyers looking at Beechwood as a commercial concern should view it as a luxury retreat, and the drawing room, dining room and top-floor games room are perfect for large gatherings.
The ground-floor billiard room has a lovely open fire and its own wine cellar. It leads to a conservatory in a complementary Victorian style, so you can enjoy a glass of something all year round.
The reception rooms have superb floor-to-ceiling windows with uninterrupted views over Moffat to the surrounding countryside.
The house has a large garden of two acres, encompassing lawns, shrubs, terraces and a paddock. There is also a croquet lawn and the land borders woods, so it is private and sheltered.
The landscaping is mature. The rear courtyard is home to a Victorian herb garden, and some of the trees and shrubs are rare and date back a century or so. The dominant fir tree is reputed to have been grown from seeds brought back from the Far East by a local minister on a grand tour.
Of Beechwood House, Angela concludes: “Although it is big, it feels very homey and I can certainly say it is the happiest house I’ve ever lived in, with so many great memories.”
Beechwood House is priced at offers over £710,000. For more details, contact Galbraith on 07867 977 633.