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The Lady of Lawers is said to haunt the village to this day. Source: Kim Traynor / CC BY-SA 4.0

For Sale: Abandoned Scottish Village “Haunted By A Seer”


The traditional loch-side home of a legendary Scottish prophet is up for sale in Scotland. While you can buy the Old Village of Lawers for around £125,000, you might have to deal with the Lady of Lawers’s restless spirit.

The Old Village of Lawers is a Scheduled Ancient Monument on the north shore of Loch Tay in Perthshire, Scotland. The abandoned ancient village has come onto the property market for offers over £100,000 and includes the House of Lawers – “the Laird's House” – in which the famous Lady of Lawers lived, who Scottish history cherishes for her prophecies.

The quintessential Scottish three-acre site boasts its own private beach frilled with a semi-ancient native woodland and trout fishing rights. Old Lawers Church was built in 1669, at which time a mill and a lime kiln serviced the House of Lawers, which is said to stand on an older property that was destroyed by the Marquis of Montrose in 1645. According to a report on STV News prospective buyers will also have to consider that the site is “haunted by a 17th century seer who predicted the invention of trains and steamships.”

Ruins of the church in Lawers (nz_willowherb / CC BY 2.0)

Ruins of the church in Lawers (nz_willowherb / CC BY 2.0)

This is not, perhaps, the best marketing tool, because to most people there is little difference between a “seer” and a “witch” when it comes to buying abandoned loch-side villages.

A Rare and Idyllic Piece of Scotland

In March 1996, Glasgow University Archaeology Department undertook the first season of the Ben Lawers Survey Programme on the North shore of Loch Tay, at which time a topographic survey and an archaeological assessment was conducted at this site. According to Canmore the site is described by archaeologists as “a deserted village represented by a series of well-preserved stone buildings of 17th century and later date, and likely to contain buried archaeology dating before 1473.”

The 1841 UK census lists “17 people living in the Old Village” and it was entirely abandoned early in the 20th century. Jon Lambert, a partner at property selling agents Goldcrest Land and Forestry Group, told STV News that not only is the location one of the most beautiful places in the country, but this is “an extremely rare opportunity to buy a part of Scotland s heritage.” Furthermore, the property salesman told STV News that the new owners of the Old Village of Lawers “can launch a boat on the loch and enjoy fishing, picnicking and camping. It is a very special site.”

Visions of the Future?

Perhaps more well known than the village itself is the House of Lawer’s last occupant - “The Lady of Lawers” - who made several prophecies which are recorded across many historical documents. As is often the case with mediums, some of these prophecies came true, and some folk say others are yet to unfold. This of course is another way of saying “she got it right some of the time” probably around 50 percent of the time, or “chance,” as all studies into such ideas have so far proven.

The ruined village lies on Loch Tay at the foot of Ben Lawers (Richard Webb / CC-BY-SA 2.0)

The ruined village lies on Loch Tay at the foot of Ben Lawers (Richard Webb / CC-BY-SA 2.0)

All that said, it would be a pretty dull article if I was to list all the predictions that the famous seer got wrong. On a local level, among the predictions she made about the future that did come to pass was her claim that “the ridging stones for the church would never be put in place.” Just as she said, these large stones were left on the shore until they washed away.

The Lady of Lawers also predicted that the local church would fall when “an ash tree planted near it reached the height of the spire.” According to both folklore and historical texts, when the tree reached the height of the church’s spire it was blasted in a thunderstorm “and it was never used again,” just as predicted by the Lady of Lawers.

More Than Just a Chancer

Skeptics would say perhaps the “so-called seer” heard a gardener telling her father that the roots of the churchyard tree would eventually topple the church, only lightning got there first. However, among the forecaster’s grander predictions there are some which still defy explanation, for example, her vision of “fire-coaches crossing the Drumochter Pass,” which is said to have been a prediction on the coming of the railway.

Another moment of transportation foresight led to the seer talking of a “ship driven by smoke.” This, according to believers in the powers of mediums, was an insight into the future invention of the steamship. Lastly, maybe her most famous prediction was her visualization of The Highland clearances, which ultimately brought about the destruction of her own village in the 17th century to make way for sheep.

Top image: The Lady of Lawers is said to haunt the village to this day. Source: Kim Traynor / CC BY-SA 4.0

By Ashley Cowie

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Ashley is a Scottish historian, author, and documentary filmmaker presenting original perspectives on historical problems in accessible and exciting ways.

He was raised in Wick, a small fishing village in the county of Caithness on the north east coast of... Read More

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