Fairyland

What follows is a story, a fairy story. But it is true, more-or-less.

In July 1993, two young doctors married:Both Peter and Sian had studied medicine with the University of Aberdeen and first met as junior doctors whilst working in the DOME [Department of Medicine for the Elderly], Woodend Hospital, Aberdeen. As newly-weds Peter and Sian began looking for their “forever” home [fairyland]. In November 1993, Midmar cottage came up for sale: a rural idyll in the grounds of Midmar castle:

Peter and Sian put in an offer of £90,000 but this offer was rejected in favour of a much higher bid.

Opposite the gateway to Midmar cottage stands:

The 1851 census reveals that it was occupied by a widow, Mrs Eliza Cruickshank, who was born on the island of St Helena:

The husband of Eliza was Dr John Cruickshank, he died in Banff in October 1815 and is buried in Urquhart old kirkyard:

Sadly, Mrs Cruickshank lost not just her husband, but also her only two children. Her first son died in infancy and her second son, John, died in a shooting accident in January 1834:

Mrs Cruickshank buried her son John in Midmar Churchyard and erected this table stone:

22 years later, in early December 1856, Mrs Cruickshank died and she was buried beside her son.

The informant of her death was her neighbour and her death certificate was completed by Dr John Hay. Neither neighbour nor doctor knew who Mrs Cruickshank’s parents were:


What then of Eliza Cruickshank’s backdrop? What was her story? Who were her parents? Why did she call her Midmar home ‘Greentree Lodge’?  Fairyland has its own losts.

The 1851 census states that she was born on the island of St Helena, where Napoleon Boneparte was exiled and died:

Mrs Greentree was the wife of Thomas Greentree:

Thomas Greentree was the father of Eliza of ‘Greentree Lodge’. Eliza grew up in Fairyland [the real one].


After Eliza died [December 1856] her Estate was resolved as per her last Will and Testament. She left her entire estate to Dr John Hay [the young doctor who was unable to confirm the names of Eliza’s parents]:At a young age, Dr John Hay had, out-of-the-blue [from Fairyland] become super-wealthy. Shortly thereafter he retired from Medicine and became a farmer and bred prize cattle. He died in September 1872 as a single man [but seems to have sired two illegitimate children to his housekeeper]. Dr Hay had not reached the age of 50:

Monyruy farmhouse, Longside:

After his death Dr John Hay’s estate was finally valued at:

Dr John Hay  was buried in Longside Churchyard. His tombstone states, most simply: “Farmer, sometime Surgeon”.

Dr Hay also bequested a bursary for Aberdeen Medical Students:


Sian,  as a medical student was awarded the Hutton Bursary. Peter did not sit for a Bursary. Peter’s bursary, he realised was in Fairyland:

Footnote: At the next opportunity I will visit Eliza’s grave, tend it, and leave some flowers from our garden.

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