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PICTURES: Former Perthshire home of JM Barrie on sale for £950k

A Victorian house in the heart of rural Perthshire, which was once home to Peter Pan author JM Barrie, has gone on the market with a price tag of just under £1 million.

The five-bedroom property at Strathtay, near Aberfeldy, was rented by the internationally renowned writer in the years leading up to the First World War.

Beechwood House, the former summer home of JM Barrie, in Strathtay, Perthshire.
Beechwood House.

But while estate agents are highlighting its period architectural features and its impressive views of the unspoilt Scottish countryside, it wasn’t the scenery that first drew JM Barrie to the area.

The paranormal probe that called Barrie to Strathtay

Fascinated by spiritualism, Barrie came to Strathtay to join close friend and Sherlock Holmes author Arthur Conan Doyle on a mission to investigate one of Scotland’s most haunted houses.

JM Barrie.

The paranormal goings-on at Ballechin House, just along the road from Beechwood, made a report in The Times in 1896.

It led the Society of Psychical Research (SPR) – of which Conan Doyle was a member –  to begin a long-term investigation, which was the first of its kind in the world.

Ballechin House was reportedly haunted by its former owner, the religious and eccentric Major Robert Steuart. He vowed that when he died he would return to the house in the body of his favourite black spaniel.

His nephew inherited the house and, as a precaution, shot all of the dogs to prevent his uncle coming back.

PICTURES: One of Scotland’s most haunted houses rebuilt in Perth

However, there were reputedly repeated ghostly noises, sinister voices and a sighting of a nun.

The house was last year recreated at Perth Museum and Art Gallery as part of a spectacular exhibition.

Beechwood itself was rented out by Kirriemuir-born Barrie a few years after the Ballechin investigation.

Scenic inspiration

It is understood he spent his summers working on his novels in the library, while seeking inspiration by peering out of the French doors on to the Highland Perthshire scenery.

JM Barrie was said to have been inspired by the views of Perthshire

The 3,767 sq ft property now has three reception rooms, a dining room, sitting room and a family-sized kitchen.

It has been put on the market by selling agents Galbraith for £950,000.

Spokesman Scott Holley said: “It’s a very wealthy and historic village, so a lot of the properties are from the Victorian era.

“It’s a very unspoilt village and Beechwood is very much in keeping with that architecture.”

Barrie is not the only author to draw inspiration from Highland Perthshire. Beatrix Potter was so impressed by the region that she penned Peter Rabbit in the neighbouring village of Dunkeld in 1893. Harry Potter writer JK Rowling also has property in the area.

Beatrix Potter fans can snap up real-life home of “Mr McGregor” in rural Perthshire

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