DiCamillo Companion

Dalzell House

  • House & Family History: Dalzell is a house with a mid-15th century tower house at its core. In 1857 Captain Hamilton extensively expanded and remodeled the House; his architect was Robert William Billings, one most passionate exponents of picturesque architecture in the Baronial style. Billings lived and worked at Dalzell from 1857 until 1861 and executed much of the carving and plasterwork with his own hands. Robert Dalzell was raised to the peerage in 1628 as the 1st Lord Dalzell, serving on the King's Council in 1638; he was afterward elevated to the earldom of Carnwath. Later Dalzell passed to the Hamiltons of Orbiston (the current owners of the Estate), who can trace their ancestors back to the dukes of Hamilton and Abercorn. In 1886 John Glencairn Carter Hamilton was created 1st Baron Hamilton of Dalzell. It was during his time that Dalzell was the scene of many royal visits; five of Queen Victoria's children stayed at the House, preferring it to the much grander nearby Hamilton Palace. William Gladstone stayed at Dalzell in 1879; in the grounds there still stands a small round building known as Gladstone's Tearoom. Dalzell is noted for two ghosts: the Grey Lady, who walks the North Wing, and the Green Lady, who haunts the South Wing. The body of a young man was supposedly buried beneath one of the courtyards and the remains of a maidservant are rumored to have been built into a wall. The surviving interior wood carving at Dalzell is unparalleled in Scotland.

    Comments: The surviving interior wood carving at Dalzell is unparalleled in Scotland.

  • Garden & Outbuildings: The grounds contain the famous 800-year-old oak tree known as The Covenanters' Oak. Near the mausoleum (St. Patrick's Church) is the Well of St. Patrick, which was restored in 1733 and again in 1882. Surrounding the Well is the remains of the Japanese Garden, overlooked by a Gazebo.

    Chapel & Church: The ruins of St. Patrick's Church, today the mausoleum of the Hamilton family, is on the grounds.

  • Architect: Robert William Billings

    Date: 1857-61
    Designed: Rebuilt and enlarged House for Captain Hamilton in the Baronial style

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  • Country Life: IX, 176, 1901.

  • House Listed: Category A

    Park Listed: Designated Garden & Designed Landscape

  • Current Seat / Home of: Hamiltons of Orbiston

    Past Seat / Home of: Thomas de Dalzell, 13th century; Robert Dalzell, later 1st Lord Dalzell and 1st Earl of Carnwath, 17th century. Glencairn Carter Hamilton, later 1st Baron Hamilton of Dalzell, late 19th century.

    Current Ownership Type: Corporation

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Flats / Multi Family

    Ownership Details: Converted into 16 flats in the 1980s

  • House Open to Public: No

    Historic Houses Member: No