Weddings, polo ponies, conservation and renewable energy are all in a day’s work for the man who runs this Perthshire estate
Friendship means everything. The people you surround yourself with can make you feel better when you’re low, help you out when you need an extra pair of hands and celebrate with you when times are good. They can be brutally honest when you don’t really want to hear the truth and can take you by surprise when you least expect it. Friendship has many guises, and it is largely what Errol Park, in rural Perthshire, is built upon. We’re not talking bricks and mortar, land and outbuildings, flowers and trees; it’s the people, the team, the family who run this place that have come to represent the very essence of this country estate.
While Jamie Heriot Maitland is the managing director of Errol Park, he sees his role as custodian rather than the lord of the manor. It was his great-grandfather, Hamish, who acquired Errol Park. He was ‘great mates’, explains Jamie, with his third cousin, William Ogilvy, who built the place in 1875. “Hamish was in the army in Portsmouth. He had no money and no assets, but when he heard that his cousin and friend had died, he took the steam train up to Scotland to attend the funeral.
“Before he set off, his wife had said to him, ‘If you are offered anything, try to get that picture of the three dogs above the piano – I’ve always loved that painting.’ Instead, what William had left him was the entire estate.”
Hamish and his family moved up from Portsmouth shortly afterwards and since the 1920s his descendants have been living and working at Errol Park. The ‘big hoose’, as it is affectionately known, is in remarkably good condition. The property was rebuilt by Dundee architect Alexander Johnston in 1875 after it had been destroyed by fire, so the structure, compared to many other Scottish stately homes, is relatively young. Jamie’s grandparents and then his parents worked hard to maintain the place, conscious of the importance of the land and the connection the estate had (and still has) with the surrounding area. “My grandmother was responsible for furnishing the house,” he says. “She was American and English, and spent a long time working on the interior design. She chose most of the fabrics and furniture that you see here today.”
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Photography Neale Smith
Art Direction Gillian Welsh
Words Catherine Coyle