The Blairs Museum

A museum located in the former Blairs College, which overlooks the River Dee from the south, 5 miles (8 km) southwest of Aberdeen. Opened in 1829, St Mary's College, Blairs, was Scotland's National Junior Seminary for Roman Catholic boys studying for the priesthood until it closed in 1986. Now run by the Blairs College Chapel Trust, the museum houses an internationally-important collection of Roman Catholic artefacts amassed by the College from around Scotland and beyond. Including paintings, church plate and embroidered vestments, the most famous items relate to the Stuart Dynasty of Scottish monarchs, such as a Memorial Portrait of Mary Queen of Scots (1542-87), painted after her execution and saved from the mob at the time of the French revolution, a fine portrait of the Old Pretender, James Francis Edward Stuart (1688 - 1766), and personal items belonging to his son Prince Charles Edward Stuart, better known as Bonnie Prince Charlie (1720-88). These include a ring containing a lock of his hair and an enamelled watch including a portrait of his daughter, Charlotte, Duchess of Albany (1753-89).

Tracing its history back to the 'secret seminary' at Scalan, which later moved to Aquhorthies, the College was founded on the estate of John Menzies of Pitfodels, who donated his mansion and 404 ha (1000 acres) of land to the Church. The fine granite buildings include a chapel, which remains in use as the local parish church.

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