Originally Tomatin was known as Tom-Aiteann, meaning Hill of the Juniper in Gaelic. The earliest record of the house at Tomatin is 1639 when James, Earl of Moray granted a Charter to Bean MacBean.
There is no picture of the original Tomatin House, but it is believed to have been a modest, comfortable home with the first glimpse of it being a sketch by a governess of the MacBean family in the 1830s (as illustrated), shortly after the bow wing was added.
The house was sold to the great-grandmother of the present owners, Mrs Florence Bulloch, in 1928 who was so captivated by the property whilst on holiday that she purchased it from the MacBeans. Tragically, in 1955, a fire rampaged through the house causing significant damage, but luckily no one was hurt. Tomatin House, as seen today, was rebuilt in 1959 on the same foundations.
It has been the current owners' home since they were children and is still very much their family home.
The MacBean family lived at Tomatin House from the time it was built in 1639 until 1926, generation after generation. They farmed, planted woodlands and cared for their inheritance as they gradually added to the original modest sized laird's house - rather necessary, as there were certainly two MacBean families who had 13 children! The bow front was built in 1824.
The Clan MacBean is a sept (branch) of the Mackintosh Clan Chattan, but history does not relate if there were any skirmishes or upheavals involving the Tomatin MacBeans - there was no one of military age at the Battle of Culloden so their lands were not forfeit. Some of the family had business interests in Glasgow, the Far East and the West Indies, which brought income when other estates suffered lean times.
Travel in the Highlands in 1700s was mainly on horseback - with rivers to be forded and a wary lookout for those of malicious intent. After the debacle of the Battle of Culloden in 1746 the government built roads, both for military purposes and the safe passage of those wishing to go north from Perth to Inverness, to promote business and commerce in a formerly isolated part of Scotland.
General Wade's name is famous for his involvement in this tremendous undertaking, in difficult terrain, and there is part of one of his roads near Tomatin. It was unfortunately bisected when the new A9 dual carriageway was constructed, but is easily accessible.
One of his engineers, General Barrington, built a fine three-arch stone bridge over the River Findhorn at Raigbeg in 1763 but a great flood destroyed it in 1829. A replacement wooden bridge was constructed just downstream - at low water the old pairs of posts that supported it can still be seen. Later a more permanent bridge was built further up river and Wade's Road was partially re-aligned to accommodate the new route.
"A beautiful house with a lot of history in a amazing setting. Huge rooms full of light and perfect for a family gathering." - Kavitha