Blairs Museum is housed in part of the former St Mary’s College, Blairs, founded in 1829 when a local landowner, John Menzies of Pitfodels (1756-1843), donated his mansion and estate of 1000 acres to the Catholic Church. The house became a seminary for Catholic boys who wished to become priests. Blairs was the last in a line of what had been a series of small, secret seminaries established after the Reformation, where young men were educated in out-of-the-way places in the Highlands and Islands. Boys began their education in Scotland, then would usually go to one of the Scots Colleges in Europe to further their studies. Those who trained completely in Scotland were known as ‘Heather Priests’.
In 1986 the College closed due to falling numbers and economic circumstances. It was subsequently bought a number of years later by Muir Group for development.