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Drumlanrig Castle

  • House & Family History: The name Drumlanrig comes from the house's setting: it sits on a low hill (drum) at the end of a long (lang) ridge (rig). In the late 17th century the cost of rebuilding and converting the ancient castle of Drumlanrig into the pink sandstone Renaissance style palace seen today almost put the 2nd Duke of Queensberry into bankruptcy (see "Images" section for photos of the 2nd Duke's tomb). The 2nd Duke was also the man behind the 1707 Treaty of Union, which united Scotland and England into the Kingdom of Great Britain, for which he received a pension of £3,000 per year from the government (approximately £6 million in 2020 values using the labour value commodity index). His eldest son, James Douglas, Earl of Drumlanrig, was violently insane; he achieved infamy when, as his father was signing the Act of Union, he escaped from his confinement in Queensberry House, the duke's Edinburgh townhouse, captured a kitchen boy and roasted him alive on a spit in the house's kitchens. He was captured just as he began to eat the kitchen boy. The Earl of Drumlanrig was 10 years old at the time. The oven that he used remains in the the basement of Queensberry House, today part of the Scottish Parliament complex. Drumlanrig Caslte has been a property of the dukes of Buccleuch since 1810. During World War II Drumlanrig was used as a girls' school.

    Collections: Drumlanrig contains an exceptional collection of art, including Rembrandt's "Old Woman Reading" and John Merton's 1957 portrait of the Countess of Dalkeith (later the 9th Duchess of Buccleuch), the only painting in the 20th century to receive an "A" award from the Royal Academy. The drawing room contains two French cabinets of outstanding merit, each believed to have been presented by King Louis XIV to King Charles II, who, in turn, gave them to his illegitimate son, the Duke of Monmouth. Both cabinets were made for Versailles circa 1675; the larger of the two has a virtually identical twin in the Getty Museum, Los Angeles, while the smaller has a companion in the Wallace Collection, London. The drawing room also contains portraits of Charles II and the Duke of Monmouth by Lely, as well as large portraits of James I and his queen, Anne of Denmark, attributed to Paul van Somer. The staircase gallery is populated with an abundance of portraits (all of those viewable at eye level are by Sir Godfrey Kneller). The silver chandelier of circa 1670 has 16 branches in the form of dolphins and mermaids; it was purchased by the 5th Duke of Buccleuch in 1835, weighs over 120 pounds, and was originally in Whitehall Palace, London. On the morning of August 27, 2003 four men raided Drumlanrig and stole "The Madonna of the Yarnwinder," the only oil painting by Leonardo da Vinci in private ownership (see "Images" section). The painting, which experts say was painted between 1500 and 1510, depicts the Madonna with the infant Jesus holding a cross-shaped yarnwinder, said to symbolize the crucifixion of Jesus. The painting was recovered at a lawyer's office in Glasgow in October 2007, after police officers raided a meeting of five people; the painting is now on loan to the Scottish National Gallery.

  • Garden & Outbuildings: Drumlanrig is today the center of a 120,000-acre estate.

  • Architect: Robert Mylne

    Date: 1679-89
    Designed: Rebuilt house
    (Attribution of this work is uncertain)
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    Architect: Charles Barry Sr.

    Date: 1840
    Designed: Italian Garden

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    Architect: James Smith

    Date: Circa 1680-90
    Designed: Rebuilt House for 1st Duke of Queensbury, possibly based on design of Robert Mylne.

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    Architect: James Smith

    Date: 1697-98
    Designed: Ogee-roofed Pavilions

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    Architect: William Elliot

    Date: 1813
    Designed: Restoration work for 4th Duke of Buccleuch

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    Architect: John Clerk

    Date: 1732
    Designed: Cascade for 2nd Duke of Buccleuch

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    Architect: William Burn

    Date: Circa 1830-34
    Designed: Alterations and repairs, including new Gardener's House and probably Forecourt wings, for 5th Duke of Buccleuch.

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  • Vitruvius Britannicus: C. I, pls. 37, 38, 1715. C. IVth. Pls. 45, 46, 1739.

    Country Life: XXXIII, 382 plan, 1913. CXXVIII, 378 plan, 434, 488, 1960.

  • Title: Drumlanrig Guidebook
    Author: NA
    Year Published: 1997
    Reference: pgs. 9, 16, 18
    Publisher: Scottish Borders: Buccleuch Recreational Enterprises, Ltd.
    ISBN: NA
    Book Type: Light Softback

    Title: Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600-1840, A - SOFTBACK
    Author: Colvin, Howard
    Year Published: 1995
    Reference: pgs. 187, 255, 341, 895
    Publisher: New Haven: Yale University Press
    ISBN: 0300072074
    Book Type: Softback

    Title: Movie Locations: A Guide to Britain & Ireland
    Author: Adams, Mark
    Year Published: 2000
    Reference: pg. 168
    Publisher: London: Boxtree
    ISBN: 0752271695
    Book Type: Softback

  • House Listed: Category A

    Park Listed: Listed as a Garden & Designed Landscape

  • "The Thirty-Nine [39] Steps" (1978). "Outlander" (2016 - TV series, where the Duke of Sandringham was beheaded in the dining room in the 11th episode of the second season).
  • Current Seat / Home of: Richard Walter John Montagu-Douglas-Scott, 10th Duke of Buccleuch and 12th Duke of Queensberry

    Past Seat / Home of: William Douglas, 1st Duke of Queensberry, until 1695; James Douglas, 2nd Duke of Queensberry and 1st Duke of Dover, 1695-1711; Charles Douglas, 3rd Duke of Queensberry and 2nd Duke of Dover, 1711-78; William Douglas, 4th Duke of Queensberry, 1778-1810. Henry Scott, 3rd Duke of Buccleuch and 5th Duke of Queensberry, 1810-12; Charles William Henry Montagu-Scott, 4th Duke of Buccleuch and 6th Duke of Queensberry, 1812-19; Walter Francis Montagu-Douglas-Scott, 5th Duke of Buccleuch and 7th Duke of Queensberry, 1819-84; William Henry Walter Montagu-Douglas-Scott, 6th Duke of Buccleuch and 8th Duke of Queensberry, 1884-1914; John Charles Montagu-Douglas-Scott, 7th Duke of Buccleuch and 9th Duke of Queensberry, 1914-35; Walter John Montagu-Douglas-Scott, 8th Duke of Buccleuch and 10th Duke of Queensberry, 1935-73; Walter Francis John Montagu-Douglas-Scott, 9th Duke of Buccleuch and 11th Duke of Queensberry, 1973-2007.

    Current Ownership Type: Individual / Family Trust

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Private Home

  • House Open to Public: Yes

    Phone: 01848-331-555

    Fax: 01848-331-682

    Email: [email protected]

    Website: https://www.drumlanrigcastle.co.uk/

    Historic Houses Member: Yes