Built in the late 1600s by William Douglas, 1st Duke of Queensbury on the site of the former 14th & 15th century Douglas stronghold, Drumlanrig is home of the Duke of Buccleuch.
The present Drumlanrig Castle was created as a mansion in the 17th century, by which time defensive ramparts had given way to comfortable living and large, airy windows.
An earlier, more defensive castle had been built in the middle of the 14th century by the Douglases. Sir James Douglas (known also as "The Good" or "Black Douglas") was a right-hand man of Robert the Bruce. Indeed, he was entrusted with carrying Bruce's heart to the Holy Land but was killed in a battle with the Moors in Spain while on the way. To this day, the coat of arms contains a winged heart surmounted by Bruce's crown.
Drumlanrig is built of local pink sandstone on a hill (Drum) at the end of a long (lang) ridge (rig) overlooking the Nithsdale Hills and the valley of the river Nith. It was rebuilt with a central courtyard and was in a good enough state to receive King James VI on his visit to Scotland in 1617.
Between 1679 and 1691, William Douglas, the 3rd Earl of Queensberry (he became 1st Duke of Queensberry in 1684) built a new, large mansion, following the earlier courtyard layout. Despite almost bankrupting himself as a result of creating his new home, the Duke spent only one night in the building, decided he didn't like it - and returned to Sanquhar Castle! His son, however, moved in after inheriting the title and estates. Bonnie Prince Charlie spent a night there on his retreat from Derby.
After being allowed to become derelict in the 18th century, Drumlanrig passed to the Duke of Buccleuch, head of the Scott family, in 1810, following a merger of the Douglas and Scott dynasties. The castle was restored in 1827 and is still the Dumfriesshire home of the Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry (though his main residence is at Bowhill House in the Scottish Borders).
Today, Drumlanrig Castle is the majestic Dumfriesshire family home to the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch and Queensberry. It is also home to part of the internationally renowned Buccleuch Art Collection featuring such treasures as Rembrandt’s The Old Woman Reading as well as many other fine paintings, tapestries and objects d’art. Grand reception rooms, magnificent staircases and ornate period features sit happily beside cosy parlours and the Stableyard, now housing the Stableyard Studios and Stableyard Cafe.
Armorial carvings at Drumlanrig, photographed by Hamish Burgess at the Douglas Clan Gathering, July 2014
Click here for the Duke of Buccleuch's family tree
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Last modified: Saturday, 18 March 2017