History of Boleskine House

The Boleskine estate has a long and colourful history. It began as a church parish around the 13th century, when the Church of Rome began expanding into the Scottish Highlands. The land was governed by a succession of Ministers well into the 17th century.

The first owner of Boleskine House was Archibald Campbell Fraser of Lovat (1736–1815). Archibald was the son of the better known Simon Fraser, 11th Lord Lovat (nicknamed “the fox”), who had led the Fraser clan during the Jacobite uprising in the Highlands, later captured, tried for treason and executed at the Tower of London. Archibald Fraser served as a British consul in Tripoli and Algiers, and would later have a seat in Parliament, acting as M.P. for Inverness-shire. Sometime in the 1760s, Archibald erected Boleskine House as a hunting lodge, and the estate remained in the ownership of the Fraser family until the end of the 19th century.

In 1899, British poet, mountaineer and spiritual thinker Aleister Crowley purchased Boleskine for £2,000—twice its market value of the day. Crowley would place a great deal of importance on the house, as it held what he considered to be the perfect conditions for a spiritual retreat, offering the quiet seclusion amongst the bucolic landscape of Loch Ness.

Aleister Crowley as the explorer in his early days of owning Boleskine House.

It was here that Crowley is known for conducting an extensive practice known as the “Abramelin work.” Contrary to popular opinion in the press, the intention of this practice is not to summon demons, but rather to make personal contact with one’s Holy Guardian Angel through a rigorous and austere set of measures including devotion and prayer.

Led Zeppelin guitarist, producer and collector of Crowley memorabilia Jimmy Page was a later owner of Boleskine House. The house was in a state of disrepair at the time of purchase, and Page sought to restore it to a condition he believed it would have been in Crowley’s lifetime. Despite this, Page spent little time at the house itself, instead asking trusted friends of his to occupy and watch over the house.

Page sold Boleskine to Ronald and Annette MacGillivray in 1992, who ran the estate as a hotel for some amount of years. Upon Ronald’s passing, Mrs. MacGillivray sold Boleskine in 2002 to a private owner. It was in 2015 that the house suffered a devastating fire, rendering it uninhabitable.

The above is but a short and incomplete timeline of Boleskine’s ownership. There are many tales and stories surrounding the estate, and this short history is far from complete.