History of Chesters Country House & Estate - Scottish Borders, Scotland

Chesters, Scottish Borders

The history of an idyllic
country house & estate

Chesters Estate: East profile
Chesters House - East Profile

Chesters is a 1800 acre country estate nestled on the banks of the River Teviot in the Scottish Borders. It includes hill ground, arable land, ponds, streams, hidden glens, and secret corners, and is home to nearly 30 people. It also provides space for more than 1000 sheep, 100 cows, roe deer, pheasants, partridges, buzzards, rooks, salmon, trout, myriad rabbits and even the odd adder!

The estate was originally bought in 1787 by Thomas Elliott Ogilvie on his return from a career in the Indian civil service. He commissioned the current house from local Borders architect William Eliot and it was completed in 1790.

Chesters Estate from above
Chesters from above

Various generations of the Ogilvie family then lived in the house until 1932, when it was briefly rented out to John Kennedy, one of the owners of famous Edinburgh department store Jenners, and another family named Nichols Clements.

On his return from the Second World War, the heir to the estate, John Ogilvie, gradually started to take the place back in hand, and in 1956 he moved back into the main house. Over the next 30 years, he carefully developed the farming business to ensure that Chesters could be passed down to his grandson, John Henderson, the current owner.

John Henderson & Ellie Henderson
John & Ellie

John inherited the estate on his 30th birthday in 2003, marrying his wife Ellie in 2005. The two of them decided to combine their respective skills in advertising and acting to try to breath life back into the house and grounds - an ongoing process recently documented by the Channel 4 programme Country House Rescue.

John and Ellie both view their ownership of Chesters as an enormous privilege, and want to do all they can to make sure it not only remains viable but can also be shared with as many people as possible.

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