Scotland business

Farmer buys former Barclay estate in Aberdeenshire

Ury House
Image caption Ury House was once a Scottish base for the Quaker movement

The former ancestral home of the man who gave Barclays Bank its name has been sold for £5m.

The 1,600-acre Ury Estate in Aberdeenshire was bought by its sitting agricultural tenant.

The property was once owned by the family of James Barclay, an 18th Century banker whose business laid the foundations of Barclays Bank.

Barclays brokered the purchase of the estate, which lies just north of Stonehaven.

The property, which includes a derelict mansion, was bought by farmer John Forbes from administrators, following the collapse of former owners FM Developments in 2009.

FM had initiated plans for a championship golf course designed by golfing giant Jack Nicklaus, as well as a hotel and 220 domestic houses on the estate, before entering administration.

Image caption John Forbes plans to focus in the short term on farming the estate's lands

But Mr Forbes, whose family had a stake in FM, said he would focus for the time being on cultivating the land for agricultural use.

Mr Forbes said: "I have known about the Ury Estate for as long as I can remember and have a great deal of respect for its history, and of course its connection with the Barclay family.

"In a few years' time, I will look to reinstate the Ury house to its former glory and - if the economic climate is supportive enough - invest in an exclusive commercial development on the land.

"But for now I am looking forward to maintaining a piece of Scotland's heritage."

The Ury mansion, which now lies in ruins, has had a colourful history.

The original property burnt down in 1645, before being completely rebuilt as Ury House in 1855 by architect John Baird.

Ury was acquired in 1648 by Colonel David Barclay, whose son Robert used the mansion as the North East Scotland headquarters of the Quakers.

In the 1730s, David's great-grandson James joined the banker Joseph Freame in his business in London, from which Barclays Bank traces its origins.

Barclays Bank said it had a keen interest in preserving its "historic kinship" with Scotland.

James Osborne, from Barclays, said: "Like my colleagues across the organisation, I am extremely proud of Barclays heritage in Scotland and wanted to see the former family home go to a deserving owner."

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