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The Munros of Novar descend from John Munro, 1st of Milntown, who in turn was the second son of Hugh Munro, 9th Baron of Foulis (d.1425).

The lands of the Novar Estate were acquired in 1589 from Keith of Delny by Neil Munro of Swordale, whose brother Andrew Munro was the ancestor of the Novar branch of the Clan Munro. At the time the Novar lands covered one quarter of the lands known as Fyrish.

There is a datestone of 1634 built into the side of the original Novar House, which is now part of the west side of the inner courtyard. Robert Munro, 2nd of Novar was named as one of the early Scottish justices of the peace in 1634. The house was enlarged considerably in 1720 with a three storey building facing south under Hector Munro, 4th of Novar.

The current house and estate of Novar are largely the creation of Sir Hector Munro, 8th of Novar (1726–1805) who made his name and fortune as an officer in the British Army who fought in India. Early maps call it 'Tenuer' (Gaelic Tigh 'n fhuamhair, house of the giant).

The building was altered and rebuilt as a classical square by Sir Hector Munro on his return from India in 1765. (The Edinburgh Evening Courant of 22 June 1771 reported that a slave called Caesar, from the East Indies, had escaped from Novar.) Sir Hector Munro of Novar provided a ballroom with minstrels' gallery, and the main lines of the present mansion appear on estate plans of 1777 and 1778. Sir Hector Munro also carried out extensive agricultural improvements and afforestation, including the planting of approximately 778,000 firs and Scots pine during the period of 1788 through 1792. The woodlands were renewed on a regular system by successive owners. The eastern lands of Fyrish were added to the Novar estate when they were passed from the Munro of Culrain family to the Munro of Novar family during the 18th century, thus the Novar lands becoming even larger.

Unfortunately, Sir Hector Munro's sons were both killed in India, one by a tiger and one by a shark in the Bay of Bengal. Therefore, the estate passed to his daughter Jean Munro who married Ronald Ferguson of Raith.

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