Remarkable Women Who Shaped Scotland's Heritage

08 March 2024
In tribute to International Women’s Day on 8 March, the National Trust for Scotland is celebrating the extraordinary women whose legacies have woven into the fabric of its rich history.

These women, associated with various historic properties across the country, have left an indelible mark in fields spanning art, conservation, estate management, forestry, horticulture, and interior design.

The stories of the women from different walks of life have been shared as part of International Women’s Day to celebrate their contributions to the social, economic, cultural, and political advancement of women. Some of them are remembered for their work in different fields from art, conservation and estate management, forestry, horticulture and interior design to name a few.

Their work has influenced and enhanced Scotland’s rich cultural heritage that the National Trust for Scotland works hard to care for, share and protect, now and for future generations to enjoy.

Claim a free ebook

Sign up to the free History Scotland newsletter for more history articles, updates and offers, and claim your FREE ebook: 'Dramatic Events in Scottish History'


Hannah Lorimer (1854 – 1947)

One such figure is Hannah Lorimer (1854 – 1947), whose creativity blossomed amidst the walls of Kellie Castle in Fife. There, she composed music and crafted paintings and sculptures, leaving behind a testament to her artistic prowess and enduring passion.

Christian Dalrymple (1765 – 1839)

Christian Dalrymple (1765 – 1839), heir to the Newhailes estate in East Lothian, devoted her life to enhancing its beauty and preserving its legacy. Despite societal constraints, her tireless efforts in estate management and conservation ensured the estate’s enduring charm for generations to come.

Content continues after advertisements

Mary Irvine (1721 – 1779)

Mary Irvine (1721 – 1779), a key figure in the history of Drum Castle in Aberdeenshire, played a pivotal role in forestry and estate management. Her establishment of the Royal Forest of Drum stands as a testament to her foresight and dedication to preserving Scotland’s natural landscapes.

Mairi Sawyer (1879 – 1953)

Mairi Sawyer (1879 – 1953) transformed the rugged landscape of the Scottish Highlands into a botanical wonderland at Inverewe Garden. Her vision and dedication turned barren wilderness into a lush oasis, captivating visitors from around the world.

Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh (1864 – 1933)

Alongside her husband Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh left an indelible mark on Scotland's architectural and design landscape. Her contributions to interior design are evident in the intricate details of Hill House in Helensburgh and the Mackintosh at the Willow tea rooms in Glasgow.

Agnes Toward (1886 – 1975)

Epitomizing the resilience of Glaswegian women, Toward carved her own path in a society dominated by traditional gender roles. Her determination to provide for her daughter and pursue a successful career challenges stereotypes and inspires future generations.

These women, each with their unique stories and contributions, have shaped Scotland's heritage in profound ways.

As we celebrate their achievements on International Women’s Day, their legacies serve as a reminder of the invaluable role women have played throughout history.

For more information on the National Trust for Scotland and the remarkable women associated with its properties, please visit

International Women's Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women's equality. IWD has occurred for well over a century, with the first IWD gathering in 1911 supported by over a million people. Today, IWD belongs to all groups collectively everywhere. IWD is not country, group or organisation specific.