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Embo House

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Embo House
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Location Information
Name Embo House
Owner private
NGR NH 80890 92242
Lon. & Lat. 57.9035844,-4.0120029
Council Highland
Parish Dornoch
Nearby Castles Proncy
Year built 1767
Overview map
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Embo House stood nearly half-way between Dornoch and the Little-Ferry, on the old line of road. It was the manor-house of a family of Gordons, scions of the Gordons, Earls of Sutherland; and they had held it since the days of Adam, Lord of Aboye, the husband of the Countess Elizabeth. The estate was then in the possession of a collateral branch of the family of Embo. Robert Hume Gordon, having some years before canvassed the county, with the view of being its representative, in opposition to the influence of the Duchess of Sutherland, built this splendid mansion for the purpose of entertaining the electors. Mr. Gordon lost his election, yet by a narrow majority. He was supported by the most respectable barons of the county. Dempster of Skibo, Gordon of Carrol, Gordon of Navidale, Captain Clunes of Cracaig, and Captain Baigrie of Midgarty; and most of those gentlemen, being tacksmen and wadsetters on the Sutherland estate, gave by their opposition to the candidate of the Sutherland family, almost unpardonable offence. Although Mr. Hume Gordon built the house at great expense, he never intended to reside permanently either in the mansion or in the county; and Embo House and property were now rented by Capt. Kenneth Mackay, who also farmed the place of Torboll from the, Sutherland family.

Embo House was constructed very much after the fashion of the houses of the new town of Edinburgh, begun on the north side of the Nor' Loch on 26th Oct., 1767; the front was of hewn ashlar, and consisted of three distinct houses, the largest and loftiest in the centre, joined to the other two by small narrow passages, each lighted by a window, and forming altogether a very imposing front. The centre house was four stories high-first, a ground or rather a sunk floor, then a first, second, and, lastly, an attic storey. The ground or sunken floor contained the kitchen and cellars, and in front of it was a wall surmounted by an iron railing, resembling exactly the fronts in Princes Street, Edinburgh. Outer stairs ascended to the principal entry door, and along the whole front of the building extended a pavement. The lesser houses, or wings, were each of them a storey less in height than the central building; and the attic stories were lighted from the front wall, instead of from the roof, by windows about precisely half the size of the rest, which greatly added to the effect and beauty of the whole. Behind were other two wings of the same height with those in front, extending at right angles from the principal buildings. The interior of the mansion corresponded with its external appearance. The principal rooms were lofty and elegant, ornamented with rich cornices, and each having two large windows.

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