Robert Louis Stevenson


One inhabitant of the house was Margaret Isabella Balfour Stevenson, mother of Robert Louis Stevenson (né Robert Lewis Balfour Stevenson) – one of Scotland’s most acclaimed authors.


Stevenson was very familiar with this house, which is directly referred to in his novel Catriona, and may also have been the inspiration for the 'House of Shaws' in Kidnapped. RLS, as a child, often visited and played in the gardens here, and he mentions Pilrig House in many of his other letters and other writings.

...and besides (Pilrig being in the country) I made bold to find the way to it myself, with the help of my two legs and a Scots tongue.

...I came in view of Pilrig, a pleasant gabled house set by the walkside among some brave young woods. The laird's horse was standing saddled at the door as I came up, but himself was in the study, where he received me in the midst of learned works and musical instruments, for he was not only a deep philosopher but much of a musician.

Robert Louis Stevenson, Catriona

But what of the garden where he played himself? — for that, too, was a scene of my education. Some part of me played there in the eighteenth century, and ran races under the green avenue at Pilrig.

Robert Louis Stevenson, Memories and Portraits, Chapter VII. The Manse