Brewery Cottage History

Our time at The Brewers Cottage (formally called Brewery Cottage) will merely be a part of its journey through time. Our plan is to piece together the history of the cottage and that of its inhabitants, one of which (we are told) was fairly interesting !

As we begin our research we welcome any information anyone may have on the cottage and kindly invite you to contact us...

A visit to the Elgin Heritage Centre has provided us with a valuable insight into the original layout of the cottage which we now know was built sometime shortly after 1865.  

From the drawings its clear to see that the front of the cottage originally faced the opposite way towards what was the brewery. The bathroom and back door entrance having been added much later long with the two large windows which look out over the garden, the front door, and the dormer. The gap through to the bathroom would have been the original front door, and the stairs would have led from the lounge to two roof space bedrooms each with a fireplace. 

The first occupant of the cottage was the rather colourful character John Fraser, indeed it was for him in his capacity as distiller / brewer being the reason the cottage was built.

John Fraser was a well documented, and apparently extremely good illicit whiskey distiller whom had numerous brushes with the law, and indeed with Lord Tweedmouth. In a bid to have John conform his ways, and largely due to the fact that new enhanced laws meant it became illegal for a estate owner to harbour such activity on their land Lord Tweedmouth built the village of Tomich a brewery, and provided Brewery Cottage to house John Fraser in his capacity as brewer.

We are still unsure how long John remained in the cottage but we are lead to believe it wasn't for long, he had left by 1869, he either fled or was chased out by Lord Tweedmouth. The story tells he met a girl from Cannich and against her parents wishes (John had by then acquired something of a reputation for law breaking) they eloped under cover of darkness. 

John had been housed in the cottage along with his father and it is possible his father Donald remained in the cottage after John had left. Donald died in 1872. 

The brewery is listed as being disused for its original purpose by 1893 valuation roll for Tomich.

We are not to sure who followed John Fraser into the cottage but what is known is that the retired gamekeeper from Cougie Duncan Kennedy lived in the cottage until his death in May 1939. Duncan had come to Guisachan 85 years earlier with his father, his sister Dolly also lived at the cottage for a period.

The Brewers Cottage. Tomich, Near Cannich, Inverness-shire. IV4 7LY

STL Number HI-50494-F

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