For sale: Farmhouse linked to lost royal jewels

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The Independent Online

The East Mains of Barras farmhouse looks just like any other attractive property on the outskirts of the village of Stonehaven in Kincardineshire, north-east Scotland.

But the building, which has just been put on the market, stands next to the tower where George Ogilvy of Barras and his wife hid the Scottish crown jewels from Oliver Cromwell in 1651.

They had originally smuggled the treasure into nearby Dunnottar Castle, where Ogilvy was governor. But during Cromwell's siege of the castle the jewels - known as the Honours of Scotland, the crown, sceptre and sword of state - were sneaked out the back door to a safer, secret location - believed to have been under the floor of nearby Kinneff Church.

It was later recorded that two trunks had been buried in a garden on land by the farmhouse - but only one has ever been recovered.

The current owner, Elaine Stuart, has tried in vain to find the treasure using a metal detector, but believes it is buried somewhere deep in her garden of nearly two acres. She said yesterday: "There was all sorts of treasures buried here which were said to have been forgotten about. When farmers knocked down a wall they uncovered one trunk, and the jewels are now on display in Edinburgh Castle. But no one has ever found the other one.

"Knowing my luck, whoever buys the house will find the rest of the hidden treasure straight away. I'll be gutted if that happens."

The six-bedroom house with two added wings and an extension is on the market for £335,000.

It is surrounded by a huge garden filled with trees and shrubs next to the land where Cromwell's troops camped during his eight-month siege of Dunnottar Castle.

Mrs Stuart and her family, who have stayed there for 13 years, were the first private owners, and have found many pieces of ancient metals in the garden. However, the house has had to be put up for sale after her recent divorce.

The property has many original features but has been upgraded and renovated. It is set on quiet farmland with an extended view of the sea.

"It's a great place to live and is very peaceful," Mrs Stuart added. "It's just such a shame I have to leave."