Return to main page
The Blairs Museum
Guided tours can be arranged within or outwith
opening hours and season by prior arrangement with

Please call for details of admission charges
(see phone no. below)
Groups welcome by prior arrangement

Fully wheelchair accessible
The Blairs Museum Trust
South Deeside Road
AB12 5YQ
Tel: 01224 863767
The house was converted into a school for Catholic
boys and a seminary for those who believed they had
a vocation to the priesthood.However this is really
the middle of the story. Blairs was the last in a line of
small 'secret seminaries' where young men had been
educated for the priesthood in out of the way places
in the Highlands and Islands. Boys began their
education in Scotland, then went on to one of the
Scots Colleges on the Continent to further their
studies. Those who were completely trained in
Scotland were affectionately known as 'Heather

These Colleges all had collections of fine and
example, during the French Revolution at the end of
the 18th century, the Scots College in Paris, like
other institutions associated with the Papacy, was
suppressed, and all its property, library and treasures
were threatened. Enterprising men managed to save
the bulk of the library and fine portraits and vestments
and ship them to Scotland, where they were hidden
until a safe place could be established for both them
and those training for the priesthood. Other items
were collected by the priests and bishops of the
former Roman Catholic schools at Scalan on the
braes of Glenlivet and Aquhorties, near Inverurie,
from 1714 onwards.

Come and find out about the part played by these
fine painting and objects in the history of the Catholic
Church in Scotland - its 'Survival and Revival'.

Did you know that the famous Memorial Portrait of
Mary Queen of Scots was rescued from a chimney?

What is a monstrance?

Who was Abbé Paul Macpherson, and why was a
priest acting as a secret government agent in 18th
century Europe?

Find out the answers to these questions and more at
The Blairs Museum, Scotland's Catholic Treasury.
Blairs, on the South Deeside Road, Aberdeenshire, is
well known to local people as a former school for
Roman Catholic boys. But did you know that from
the day it opened its doors to those first 20 boys in
1829, it has also been home to a collection of
important Catholic treasures?
After the closure of the school in 1986, the Blairs
Museum Trust was set up to preserve and exhibit this
collection, Scotland's best-kept secret.

Today you can uncover this secret at The Blairs
Museum, Scotland's Catholic Treasury. The Blairs
Museum holds an internationally renowned collection
of fine and decorative art, embroidered vestments and
church plate. Visitors can see objects and paintings
relating to the Stewarts and Mary, Queen of Scots.
Come and find out about the mysteries of the liturgy
examined and illustrated for the visitor through our
magnificent church gold and silver plate and
vestments, used past and present in Roman Catholic

The most famous items are those relating to the House
of Stewart. Because of the close links between the
Jacobites and Catholicism in Scotland, items
belonging to the Stewarts have been preserved at
Blairs. As well as a magnificent portrait of the Old
Pretender, James III, by the Italian artist Trevisani, we
have personalia relating to that most romantic of
rebels, Bonnie Prince Charlie - a ring with a lock of
his hair, a silver snuffbox presented to one of his
supporters, and a beautiful enamelled watch featuring
the portrait of his daughter, Charlotte, Duchess of
Albany. We are also the proud guardians of the
Memorial Portrait of Mary Queen of Scots, painted
after her execution and saved from the mob at the
French Revolution by being hidden up a chimney.

The Blairs Museum is housed in part of the complex
of granite buildings which made up St Mary's College,
Blairs. Blairs College was founded in 1829 when a
local Catholic laird, John Menzies of Pitfodels,
donated his mansion house and an estate of 1000
acres to the Church.
Top of page
Manager - Ian Forbes
For up to date information on opening times
etc, please visit the
museum website
Email the site