Rufflets is not only recognised as one of the oldest established St Andrews hotels but one of the first country house hotels in Scotland.
Rufflets house was built in 1924 as a private home for Mrs Anne Brydon Gilroy, the widow of a prominent Dundee jute baron, and was designed by a well known Dundee architect, Donald Mills. Mrs Gilroy’s initials, ABG 1924, are engraved on the key-stone above the door leading to the formal south garden.
Until 1924 the ten acres of Rufflets grounds had been used as agricultural land. Local records going back as far as 1642 indicate that the land was owned by the Priory of St Andrews as part of the Priory Acres and it was known as the “Ruch (pronounced”ruff”) Flets”, which in the old Scots tongue, meant “rough, flat lands.” So, although Rufflets has only been a privately owned hotel for six decades, the name goes back for well over 350 years!”
The turreted mansion house has been privately owned and managed by three generations of the same family since 1952 when the seven bedroom house was bought by George and Margaret Cook and business partners, Anna and James Meldrum, who converted the house into an hotel. The two women were sisters and the men, lifelong friends. Both couples sold their respective businesses and homes to raise the capital for the purchase. The joint venture was seen as quite a risk, as in those days country house hotels were almost unheard of and Rufflets Hotel was regarded as somewhat unique, not just in Fife, but in the whole of Scotland. Fortunately, the risk paid off and the business grew and flourished – a tribute to the hard work and entrepreneurial spirit of the founders.
Today the hotel is owned by Mark and Christopher Forrester, grandsons of two of the original founders of Rufflets. Their mother, Ann Murray-Smith, who took over the management of the business from her parents in 1976, remains a Director and acts as an adviser to the business.
Please view the History of Rufflets video