A 17th-century house in the Howe of the Mearns, SE Aberdeenshire, Monboddo House lies a mile to the southeast of Auchenblae in the parish of Fordoun. Extended in Scots Baronial style in the 1880s, the house was the home of the judge James Burnett, Lord Monboddo (1714-99), author of 'The Origin and Progress of Man and Language', a study of evolution that predated Darwinian theory. James Boswell, travelling with Dr Johnson in the 1770s described Monboddo as "a wretched place, wild and naked with a poor old house." Robert Burns, however, was much impressed by Lord Monboddo's daughter 'Fair Eliza' while staying there in 1786.

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