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Updated:  Friday 26 August 2005



Auquhorthies House

The lands of Aquhorthies were acquired by the Setons sometime  in the early 17th century, and the old house at Aquhorthies was acquired by John Seton, son of William of Mounie. 

William Seton was a noted as one of the most learned men of his time.  In his "History of Scottish Writers", Dempster refers to William Seton Regius Professor of Jurisprudence at Angiers, as one of the greatest lawyers of his age.  He was residing at Rome when Dempster wrote his History (c. 1627), and was the same "le docteur William Seton" mentioned by Francisque Michel (Les Ecassais en France, ii. 295) as one of the most learned men of his time - a distinguished "jurisconsulte," and, in the opinion of his contemporaries, "le flambeau de l'epoque".  It is of no surprise then, that his son John Seton of Aquhorthies became Chamberlain to the Earl of Dunfermline at Fyvie Castle.

John Seton of Aquhorthies was descended from William Seton, 5th of Meldrum, through the line of Lumphard, Broomhill and Mounie, and acquired the lands and farm of Aquhorthies through his father's assistance.  He built the house of Aquhorthies which was his private residence when he was not stationed at Fyvie Castle.  He married Helen Leith, daughter of John Leith 2nd of Harthill (d. 1625) and Helen Auchinleck, and had several children.  He is remembered in the family papers of the Skene's of Rubislaw: "Letter from John Seton to Laird of Tibertis (Tipperty) sending wood to aid cure for the gravel for his cousin John Skene's wife, dated at Auchquhorty, 17 June 1638".  From John Seton descend many of the Seaton's of Ulster, Ireland, and the Seeton's of Nova Scotia.

Later, Aquhorthies became associated with: Thomas Forbes, 1661 - 1673; William Fordyce, Baillie of Aberdeen; and Bishop Hay, RC. The bishop was buried on the Leslie estate of Fetternear, having died nearby at the Aquhorthies seminary (which replaced Scalan).  During his funeral procession, "his body was taken from Aquhorthies with the students ‘all dressed in mourning accompanied the hearse and made a very decent appearance.’ The House eventually became a Roman Catholic College. It is interesting to note that the three JK paintings of the region: of Scalan, Aquhorthies and Blairs, are all attributed to James Keenan 1844-1932. The ‘Scots Colleges in Catholic Europe’ exhibition [Edinburgh City Art Centre].

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The Seton's of Meldrum

Aquhorthies House

Aquhorthies Circle

Aquhorthies Circle Details

Aquhorthies Monstrance

Aquhorthies Chalice

Seeton's of Nova Scotia

Bishop George Hay


Aquhorthies Seminary   The Roman Catholic College