Drumlanrig Castle was built between 1679 and 1691 by James Smith (c.1645 – 1731), the King’s Master Mason, and although it’s name implies a fortified building it is rather more a baroque country house. Local pink sandstone was used in the construction and the result is a grand example of Scottish architecture.
The house is built around a courtyard, with a circular tower in each corner. Internal wood panelling and carving are a magnificent feature and the rich oak staircase and balustrade represents one of the first of its kind in Scotland. Bonnie Prince Charlie visited while retreating north late in 1745, and his bedroom can still be seen today.
The Drumlanrig and the Queensberry title passed to the Dukes of Buccleuch in 1810 on the death of the 4th Duke of Queensberry. The Buccleuchs brought to the home a magnificent collection of furniture and art, with works by Holbein, Rembrandt and da Vinci.
Attractions at the castle include superb French furniture, 300 year old silver chandelier, cabinets made for Louis XIV’s Versailles, Meissen and Dresden porcelain, silver and tapestries. Extensive parkland containing children’s adventure woodland playground. Historical gardens now restored to original 18th century plans. Plant Centre and restored Victorian Greenhouse.
Set amidst the magnificently designed landscape of Nithsdale, The Queensberry Estate extends to around 120,000 acres of heather clad hills, farmland and woodlands. The Estate provides some of the finest sport, walking and other recreation to be found in Southern Scotland. Careful stewardship over the centuries by the Dukes of Buccleuch and Queensberry has ensured an ecological and aesthetically pleasing balance which makes the Queensberry Estate a very special place to visit.
Visitors are invited to join the regular guided tours which will be organised each day throughout the open season.
Opening Times for 2007
Gardens & Country Park
31st March – 30th September
Inclusive, Daily, 11.00 pm – 5.00 pm
Castle and Tearoom
4th May – 30th June
Daily 12.00 noon – 4.00 pm
1st July – 22nd August
Daily 11.00 am – 4.00 pm
Morton Castle enjoys one of the most breathtaking settings of any castle in Scotland. The most impressive element of Morton Castle today is its setting above the loch and the Lowther Hills behind. A wonderful place for a picnic or a quiet stroll. You can also fish for native brown trout on the loch.
Dunegal, Lord of Nithsdale, may have had a stronghold here in the 12th century on this remote promontory, overlooking a small loch. The estate then passed to the Adair’s and then to Thomas Randolph, King Robert the Bruce’s nephew and ally, early in the 14th century. However, as part of the Treaty of Berwick with England, a num ber of Scottish castles in South-West Scotland had to be destroyed – and Morton was one of them.
It was later rebuilt, and in 1396 passed to Sir James Douglas, the 1st Earl of Morton. The Castle was briefly owned by the Lords Maxwell in the 1580s. Later, it was acquired by the Dukes of Queensberry. Through inter-marriage it then passed to the Dukes of Buccleuch, whose seat of Drumlanrig Castle is two miles to the west of Morton.
The castle had walls 8/10 feet thick enclosing a two-storey hall, two circular towers and large gatehouse with heavy doors and a portcullis. This was an impressive structure, though only one side of it still survives. It was occupied until the early 18th century and is now looked after by Historic Scotland.
Closeburn Castle is a tower house, probably of the 14th century, but possibly older, and is one of the oldest continually inhabited houses in Scotland. The castle is 1km east of the village of Trigony, unfortunately it is not open to the public, and is now privately owned. Although there is a walk from the hotel that takes you past the castle.
The Castle was and is now owned by the Kirkpatrick family, who were granted the lands of Closeburn in 1232. The tower house of the Castle was probably built in the late 14th century, although some sources give a date as early as 1180. Sir Roger Kirkpatrick was with Robert the Bruce at Dumfries in 1306. The son of Sir Roger also of the same name, commanded a force which recaptured Caerlaverock castle from the English in 1355. He was then murdered by Sir James Lindsay at Caerlaverock in 1357!