Tour an Edinburgh cottage where Bonnie Prince Charlie stayed before battle

Cottage where Young Pretender stayed before battle victory is an interesting proposition, writes Kirsty McLuckie

When you live in a house with a history, you get used to attracting attention.

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But Alaster Rutherford and his wife Maggie have more than their fair share of people interested in their home.

No8 The Causeway, Duddingston Village, in Edinburgh, is, after all, the building where Prince Charles Edward Stuart famously stayed the night and held his council of war before his victorious Battle of Prestonpans in 1745.

Known as Bonnie Prince Charlie’s cottage, the house’s connection has led to the couple being involved in some interesting encounters in the decade they have owned it.

Picture: Knight Frank

Alaster says: “One day we opened the door to find a large group, from a re-enactment society in Ohio, on the doorstep.

"They were making their way on a pilgrimage from here to the Prestonpans battle site.

“Just last year, the chap who made the Jacobite Fiddle with wood from Prestonpans trees filmed in the cottage, fittingly playing The Skye Boat Song, before launching the instrument at the Museum of Scotland.”

Alaster says mostly people just want to peek inside the house after they have seen the plaque on the outside detailing its place in history.

“I think they are a little disappointed when they see that it is not all oak beams, peat fires and deer’s heads hanging on the walls though.”

Picture: Knight Frank

In fact, while the exterior of the house and its other half at No10 remain pretty unchanged from how they would have looked in the days of the Young Pretender, the inside is more contemporary.

The building stood derelict for the first half of the 20th century. Photographs on the website of the national record of the historic environment, Canmore, show its run-down state in black and white photos, with no glass in the windows.

Alaster says that the major refurbishment was carried out in the 1960s, in a project overseen by the University of Edinburgh architecture department.

“They left some quirks to give it character such as the curved walls in the vestibule, however.”

Picture: Knight Frank

One feature which must have dramatically increased the light into the house is the conservatory, which isglazed on two sides and has a partial glass roof.

It is used as a dining room and glass doors into the adjoining sitting room means that the whole of the back of the house is bright.

Picture: Knight Frank

Alaster says: “When you look at the house from the front, it looks like it might be quite gloomy inside, so people tend to be surprised.”

As well as the dining room and sitting room, there is a kitchen, again gaining its light from windows into the conservatory, while upstairs are two good-sized bedrooms and a bathroom.

Picture: Knight Frank

The Rutherfords replaced the kitchen and bathroom when they moved in but they were the only rooms that needed attention apart from decoration.

Outside at the back is a small space for sitting in the sun, with room for a table and chairs, but the lack of a larger garden isn’t really an issue.

Picture: Knight Frank

Alaster says: “The Duddingston Village Conservation Society has community land so we go and dig vegetables there on a Sunday morning.”

There is also the beautiful Dr Neil’s Garden next to the 12th-century Duddingston Kirk, and Holyrood Park itself.

The location, so close to the city centre, is another aspect that is highly prized by residents of Duddingston Village and the Rutherfords are no exception.

Picture: Knight Frank

They spend August going to events around Edinburgh Festival and Alaster says: “We walk there, and walk back at midnight through the park.”

The village community has been a big draw. “Everyone is so nice and friendly, with a lot of village activities going on.

“The Sheep Heid Inn is a great place to go – the Queen even popped in for a meal there last year.”

Her Majesty is not the only neighbour that the couple will miss when they leave, but ten grandchildren down south means that they are spending less time here and more in their home in Bristol.

Alaster says: “Because it is such a strong community feel in Duddingston, we feel that someone should live here who can be here all the time.”

Picture: Knight Frank

No8 The Causeway is on the market for offers over £400,000 with Knight Frank.