Space for the whole family near Forres, Scotland

The family in this photograph seems to be enjoying ample privacy and personal space at their secluded cottage.  I searched online for pictures of old houses in the area around Forres, a town in northern Scotland, but didn’t see one that looked exactly like this one.  Maybe the house still stands, and maybe someone visiting this page will recognize it.  I hope so!

The cabinet card was made by photographer John Wood Henry (1861-1918).  Lettering at the bottom indicates that his studio was in “Forres, N.B.” (North Britain).

House in Forres, Scotland 2


Not having heard of Forres before, I was curious about the history of the town.  The name probably derives from the Gaelic “faisg air uisge” (“near water”).  The town’s Wikipedia page notes:

Shakespeare’s play Macbeth locates Duncan’s castle in Forres, and the Three Witches meet on a heath near the town in the third scene of the drama. Macbeth’s castle was located at Inverness.

Hmm, witches on the heath?  Suddenly, privacy and isolation don’t sound quite so appealing….

I hope this family stayed at their charming cottage and didn’t go roaming around the heath any more than necessary (for exercise).

House in Forres, Scotland 3

House in Forres, Scotland 4

House in Forres, Scotland 5
Tree trunks?  Very cool!

(To see a large scan of the house [3 mb] in a separate tab, click here.)

House in Forres, Scotland 6

House in Forres, Scotland 7


Enjoy your time at home, everyone!



41 thoughts on “Space for the whole family near Forres, Scotland

Add yours

  1. I’m positively charmed ✨. The house itself seems happy to me, as though it’s smiling for all the life that chooses to grace its halls and hearths…thank you Brad. Please be safe 😊🌷

    Liked by 2 people

  2. What a wonderful photograph! Such happy people and how unique that you really have to look closely to find everybody in the shrubs 🙂 Love the tree-trunks – kind of makes it a more humorous place, fitting with the charisma of the family. Thanks for putting it up!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. They look like a very interesting family…. I’m tempted to “invent” professions and hobbies and adventures for them. 😉 But the truth is, their lives were probably much more interesting than anything I could dream up. Thank you for your thoughtful comments!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I wonder how they related to one another, and whether they lived in the same house – multigenerational household. I feel harmony and serenity from the photo. A nostalgic charm. Please be safe, Brad.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I like to imagine that the photographer said something to make them all smile, just barely, as if at some inside joke, the boy a little slower on the uptake.
    I’m impressed with the casualness of the setting, how relaxed everyone appears, spaced out in the yard. Photos from that time period were usually serious, staged affairs, with people close together. Perhaps the photographer was a member of the family?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. J.W. Henry could very well have been a member of the family. I didn’t find any pictures of him or his family online. The page that I linked his name to lists two children: Isabella Rose and Charles George Henry. Maybe a descendant will find this post one day and let us know. That would be great!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Have you seen the tree trunk gravestones that were used by the Woodmen of the World? I’ve found them in widely scattered places in this country, but they’re most common in states like Arkansas, where lumbering was common and many people belonged to the fraternal organization. Here’s a tidbit from a piece I wrote about them that seems relevant:

    “The unusual grave markers these men share are known as treestones. In Douglas Keister’s Stories in Stone: A Field Guide to Cemetery Symbolism and Iconography, it’s noted that they first developed as a part of the Victorian rusticity movement, and remained popular with the general population from the 1880s to about 1905. For a time, treestones could be ordered directly from the Sears catalog.”

    I’d bet there’s a connection here to that ‘rusticity movement.’ I’ve got photos of some gravestones in my piece.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I didn’t know they were called treestones! I’ve never seen one in person, and I rarely see them in photos. “Rusticity movement” is also a new term for me, although I’ve seen plenty of Victorian garden furniture made out of logs and sticks! I look forward to reading your post about treestones. Thanks for sharing your insight, Linda!

      Liked by 2 people

  6. This is such an appealing photograph! I love how the people are spaced at various intervals in different postures behind whatever that grown-up vegetation is. As other readers have commented, I would love to know the entire back story.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. The first vibe I get is kind of creepy! But yes, those tree-trunk columns are interesting, as well as the door being the focus of the photography. The positioning of the inhabitants is also unusual. I wonder if this is a country cottage rather than a year-round home, since it looks so untended. Either that or they really valued their privacy, like they wouldn’t mind being quarantined. What a history for this area, and Macbeth? Hmmmmm

    Liked by 1 person

  8. What a compelling photograph. Like another commenter said, family members are arrayed to draw you into the picture.

    Also: I love the way the tree trunks are incorporated into the front of the house. This photo is a terrific find!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. A picture that speaks volumes!!! The family looks so happy being together; the name Forres rings a bell, though! The wilderness around the house brings in the birnam woods to my mind. Is there a bit of mystery surrounding the house?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. To me the house is rather mysterious because the trees and bushes seem to grow right next to it, with little space for gardening, playing, doing laundry, etc. That makes me think it was a holiday cottage rather than a year-round home. And those tree-trunk columns are very unusual. I still have never seen any like them anywhere else!

      I looked up Birnam Wood and found an interesting blog post titled Preserving Macbeth’s Birnam Wood. As of the end of 2017, only two trees remain, one of which is 500 years old, so it was alive in Shakespeare’s time. How cool is that?!

      Thank you for the great comments, Jyothy!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Thank you for sharing information about the Birnam woods. Really appreciate your interest in finding out more about the woods and sharing it here. 500 years old!! A tree which stood and read the pages of history..

    Liked by 1 person

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