Benholm's Lodging

(Wallace Tower)

A remarkable small Z-plan tower-house, Benholm's Lodging overlooks the River Don from Tillydrone Road, next to the University of Aberdeen campus. The tower house is remarkable because it began its life on Netherkirkgate in New Aberdeen, 1½ miles (2.5 km) to the south southeast and was moved in 1964-65 to make way for redevelopment in the city centre. Its preservation was brought about through the generosity of Lord Marks, whose Marks & Spencer store was to occupy its site. A plaque now indicates the original location of the house in the city centre.

Benholm's Lodging comprises three storeys, with crow-stepped gables and round towers at opposing northeast and southwest corners. Built c.1610 for Sir Robert Keith of Benholm, a younger brother of George Keith, 5th Earl Marischal (c.1553 - 1623), who had founded Marischal College, the house is now B-listed. For much of its life it was known as the Wallace Tower because the image of a knight carved on the front of the house was taken by Aberdonians to be Sir William Wallace (1274 - 1305), although the name probably began as a corruption of 'well house'.

Amongst its many occupants was John Niven, a snuff and tobacco merchant who extended the front of the building and added a south wing in 1768. It was bought by a spirit dealer, James Pirie, in 1895, who opened the premises as the Wallace Tower Public House.

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