The History of Marmalade

The zest for life at the heart of the Marmalade experience traces back to when the building was constructed in the early 1800s

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Travel back in time

In 1810, Lord MacDonald of Sleat built the original house for the treasurer of his estate. The treasurer, Dr Alexander ‘Ban’ MacLeod, was a relative of the MacDonald family and a vital representative of the MacDonald estate. It was MacLeod and his wife who first used the property to make the most of Skye’s rich, natural landscape. The house sits in a commanding position above the town of Portree and is the first building you see as you approach from the Skye bridge.

Alexander MacLeod was active in the local community and sought to improve the town. MacLeod was also responsible for the original Tower on the ‘Lump’ in Portree, which he’d intended to be a museum and pleasure garden. Pleasure gardens were the parks of the Georgian era and gave people a chance to experience nature within city centres. MacLeod recognised the health benefits of reconnecting with nature. His wife loved the idea of pleasure gardens so much that she wanted her own. So they began to plant a selection of conifers, ferns, and orange trees on the land surrounding the house.

It’s these orange trees that gave Marmalade its name.

MacLeod and his wife would spend time together tending to their garden and nurturing the oranges, and the Isle of Skye’s clean air and rich landscape resulted in the sweetest produce. MacLeod’s wife would pick the oranges and together they would enjoy the fruit, freshly squeezed juice, and, of course, homemade marmalade.

Rumour has it that it was the sweetest marmalade in the area and their neighbours believed it had healing properties.