Tuesday, 20 November 2012

An Appreciation of Old Scottish Country Homes and Castles (Part Nine)

This is the ninth part of my gallery celebrating Scottish stately homes and castles. The images in this gallery were taken during the Edwardian period and are from my own family collection. I have attempted to provide a history of each home or castle however the fact that many such old homes are in ruinous, vacant or no longer exist is to be regretted. The loss of any historic building is indeed unfortunate so this gallery also serves as a celebration of this lost heritage and the various families over the centuries who built and owned these fascinating properties.

Drumlanrig Castle, pre 1905 

Drumlanrig Castle is an imposing late Stuart Baroque home near Thornhill in Dumfriesshire. The Barony of Drumlanrig was originally a property of the Earls of Mar whose heiress married the 1st Earl of Douglas. By the end of the 14th century the Douglas family had grown into a powerful Lowland dynasty with extensive landholdings. The present Drumlanrig Castle shows traces of an earlier Douglas family stronghold on the site dating from the 14th and 15th centuries. William Lukup, Master of Works at Drumlanrig, oversaw the rebuilding which took place between 1679 and 1689. The plans were most likely drawn up earlier in the 17th century by Robert Mylne, the King's Master Mason, and his son-in-law, James Smith, hence the slightly outdated style of architecture. The cladding is of local pink sandstone with lead roofing, and constructed round an open courtyard. Towers, Corinthian pilasters, a horseshoe staircase, and a Ducal coronet are among a few of the interesting architectural features. The interior contains some fine woodwork including by Grinling Gibbons. While some rebuilding and renovation has taken place many 17th century features remain. The magnificent Great Avenue leading up to the castle, provides a breath-taking view of the park like lands surrounding the castle.

The fabulous treasures contained within the castle were further enhanced with the transfer of many valuable objects from the other family seats of Dalkeith Palace near Edinburgh (which closed in 1914) and Montagu House in London (which closed in 1917). The castle happily remains in the ownership of the Dukes of Buccleugh and Queensberry, being direct descendants of the original Douglas family.  

For some up to date exterior photos of Drumlanrig Castle, including the Gardens and Scottish Cycle Museum, refer to BikELove-Scotland.

Gartincaber House, Kilmadock, pre 1905

Gartincaber House is a "B" grade listed building at Kilmadock in Stirling. It consists of a part 3-story 17th century building with curious sculptured and inscribed dormer windows bearing legends in relief, and includes 18th century alterations and additions. A large Gothic balconied window was added in 1820 with a further addition in 1843. The interior of the home is recorded as being "of interest". From the time it was built ownership had been in the Murdoch family. In 1799 William Murdoch built the nearby but now ruinous Gartincaber Tower as a "folly". John Burn-Murdoch succeeded to the estate in 1871, which comprised of 1540 acres in the shire valued at (c.1882-85) £1,791 per annum. Lord and Lady Murdoch were resident to at least 1960 but one record states that Gartincaber House has subsequently been sold (pre 2011).

Bibliography :

- Various Internet sources
- All images are from my own collection and may be freely copied provided a link is given back to this page.


  1. I thoroughly enjoyed the guided tour of Drumlanrig Castle when I was there in May, both the Castle and its interiors are stunning. The pieces of art on display are very impressive too. Feel free to borrow a more recent picture from the post if you want :)

  2. Thank you Gavin, I added a link on the post to your blog on Drumlanrig. I'll get there one day with my trusty back-pack but sadly not on bike. Keep up the good work. Donald


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