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Dudhope Castle





Dudhope CastleDudhope Castle, one of Dundee's oldest buildings, is set dramatically on an escarpment overlooking the city, beneath the Dundee Law. The castle was originally built in the late 13th century by the Scrymageour family, who were appointed Hereditary Constables of Dundee by William Wallace, with the original castle being a smaller tower house. This was replaced around 1460, and then further extended in 1580 to its current L-plan structure with additional circular "angle" towers, although these were demolished in the 18th century.


Dudhope was originally in the hands of the Scrymgeour family. The Scrymgeours were appointed Hereditary Constables of Dundee by William Wallace in 1298. The original castle was built in the late 13th century; it was replaced around 1460 and extended in 1580 to its current L-plan structure. In 1668 the Scrymgeours sold the castle to John Graham of Claverhouse “Bonnie Dundee”, the Jacobite leader who was killed at the Battle of Killiecrankie in 1689. During the 19th century the castle was used as a barracks but owned by the Earl of Home. The grounds became a public park while the castle is presently The University of Abertay’s Business School.

The castle was converted to be used as a woolen mill in 1792 but the scheme never really took off. In1795 the castle and park were leased to the Ordinance Office for 95 years. The castle was used as a barracks between 1796 and 1881 but in 1881 the stores moved to Perth and the Castle was abandoned. Town Council of Dundee took the decision to create a public recreation ground of the Park and obtained a sub-lease from the Ordnance Office in 1854 for 35 ½ years. The Earl of Home wanted to develop the grounds as terraced housing. This was prevented when Dudhope Park was acquired for the people by Dundee Town Council and opened as a public park in 1895.

Dudhope Castle was taken over by the Ministry of Works and later by the Corporation of Dundee, who had plans of demolishing the castle in 1958. Fortunately this did not happen and between 1985 and 1988 the castle was redeveloped and restored. The castle has since been used for various cultural and community purposes such as classes for teaching handicraft, the Hospital for Deaf and Dumb pupils, and the Officer's Quarters for a Technological Museum in connection with the Albert Institute. It now houses the Dundee Business School of the University of Abertay.

The Scrymgeours were originally a Fife family but by the late 13th century the family has been associated with Dundee. Alexander Scrymgeour, a supporter of William Wallace was captured and hung in Newcastle in 1306 by the English. His son Alexander then became the Hereditary Standard Bearer and fought bearing the Royal Standard at Bannockburn in 1314. The Scrymgeours, although located in and around Dundee, acquired the lands of Glassary in Argyll through marriage about 1370. In 1495 the family under the 7th Constable of Dundee, acquired the lands of Dudhope where they remained until 1668.

The Scrymgeours fought at Flodden in 1513 led by John Scrymgeour, uncle of the infant clan chief.

James Scrymgeour, son and heir of Sir James Scrymgeour Constable of Dundee, succeeded in 1504. He had a charter of the lands and barony of Dudhope on 2 March 1542. By his first wife, Mariot Stewart, he had two daughters so he was succeeded by the descendants of his kinsman John Scrymgeour of Glassary.

The lands and titles went to John Scrymgeour, son of Glassary above, in 1546. John died in 1562 and was succeeded by his eldest son John. This John received from Mary, Queen of Scots, income from the lands and barony of Dudhope, the lands of Castlehill, and of the office of Constable of Dundee. He died in 1568 and was succeeded by his elder son James.

As son and heir of John Scrymgeour, James had a crown charter on 30 June 1565 of the barony of Dudhope. Later, in 1587 Sir James Scrymgeour was granted a crown charter to the lands of Dundee and others. He was sent to Denmark to negotiate the marriage of King James VI and a Danish princess. On the death of Elizabeth of England he was one of the Scottish Commissioners sent to negotiate with the English regarding a political union. On his death in 1612 he was succeeded by his son John Scrymgeour.

John Scrymgeour entertained King James VI at Dudhope in 1617, and was granted a charter of the lands and barony of Dundee on 11 December that year. He refused to sign the Covenant in 1639. Later, King Charles I created him Viscount Dudhope and Baron Scrymgeour of Inverkeithing in November 1641. He died in 1643 and was succeeded by his eldest son James. During the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, James the 2nd Viscount Dudhope, sided with the Covenanters and fought the Royalist army at the Battle of Marston Moor in July 1644 where he was mortally wounded.

He was succeeded, as 3rd Viscount Dudhope, by his son John who also fought in the war. He commanded cavalry in the army which the Duke of Hamilton led into England in 1648 with the aim of rescuing Charles I, and probably fought at the Battle of Preston against Oliver Cromwell and the Parliamentary Army. In 1651 he was part of the Scots army that marched into England in support of the new king Charles II only to be defeated at the Battle of Worcester. He escaped from Worcester and took refuge in the Scottish Highlands later to be captured in 1654. At the Restoration in 1660 he was rewarded for his loyalty to the Crown by being created Earl of Dundee. On his death on 23 June 1668, having no children, his castles, lands, and offices reverted to the Crown who passed Dundee and Dudhope to the Duke of Lauderdale.

John Graham of Claverhouse was born in 1648. In 1672, after graduating from St Andrews, he began his military career initially as an officer of Sir William Lockhart’s Regiment in the service of Louis XIV of France. By 1674 he had transferred to the service of William of Orange and fought at the Battle of Senefie. In 1674 he returned to Scotland from Holland and became an officer in the service of King Charles II. In 1678 he was sent to south-west Scotland to suppress the Covenanters. His actions led to him being known to generations as “Bluidy Clavers”. The Covenanters defeated the Royalist forces at the Battle of Drumclog in 1659 but they were heavily defeated at the Battle of Bothwell Bridge a few weeks later. When the Duke of Lauderdale fell out of favour certain of his estates were transferred to Claverhouse. On 23 April 1684 Colonel John Graham was granted Dudhope. In 1686 he was promoted to the rank of Major-General and also became Provost of Dundee. In 1688 he was second in command of the Scots army ordered south to England to support the beleaguered King James VII. Around that point, on 12 November 1688, he was created Viscount Dundee.

When James VII fled to France in 1689 Claverhouse, now Viscount Dundee, alias ‘Bonnie Dundee’, remained loyal to the House of Stuart and raised the Royal Standard on Dundee Law in support of the Jacobite cause. He raised an army, largely in the Highlands, which defeated the government troops at the Battle of Killiecrankie in 1689, however he was killed there at his moment of glory. The Jacobites were unable to build on this victory as the Government army regrouped at Dunkeld and halted the advance of the Highlanders.

Bonnie Dundee had one child James Graham who was born and died in 1689, but was briefly the 2nd Viscount Dundee and Lord Graham of Claverhouse. The titles and lands then went to his uncle David Graham.

David Graham, 3rd Viscount Dundee, was educated at St Andrews, thereafter he was a soldier engaged with his brother in the Covenanter campaign. He fought as a Jacobite at Killiecrankie and was captured shortly thereafter. After a spell imprisoned in Edinburgh Castle he was released to go to fight in France. His titles and estates were forfeit in 1690.

On 29 March 1694 James Douglas, Marquess of Douglas and Earl of Angus, was granted Dudhope. James Douglas was born in 1646, son of the Earl of Angus and his first wife Lady Anna Stewart. In the 1690s King William granted him the forfeited estates of Graham of Claverhouse and the heritable office of Constable of Dundee. He died on 25 February 1700 at Douglas. He married (1) Barbara, daughter of the Earl of Mar, and (2) Mary, daughter of the Earl of Lothian. The Marquess was father of three sons and a daughter. James Douglas was succeeded by his third son Archibald. The eldest son James, Colonel of the Cameronian Regiment had been killed at the Battle of Steinkirk in 1692, while the second son had died in 1694.


Bishop Robert Douglas retired to Dundee at the Revolution, living at Dudhope Castle and providing assistance to the Episcopal clergy in the town. He died on September 22, 1716, in Dundee, at "the uncommon age of 92".

Archibald Douglas, Third Marquess of Douglas, and Earl of Angus, was born in 1694 and died in 1761. In 1707 he received a charter which erected the Douglas and Angus estates into a dukedom and a regality. In 1715 he gave his support to the Hanoverians and was present at the Battle of Sheriffmuir. He married Margaret Douglas in 1758 but the couple had no children. On his death the lands and titles went to his nephew Archibald James Edward Steuart.

Archibald James Edward Steuart, was born in 1769 the eldest son of Lady Jane Douglas and her husband Colonel Sir John Steuart of Grantully. Rival claimants to the lands and titles led to a major case, known as the Douglas Cause, before the Court of Session and the House of Lords, which was finally settled in 1779 recognizing Archibald as the true heir. He served as MP for Forfar and in 1790 he was created Lord Douglas of Douglas which enabled him to be in the House of Lords. He died on 26 December 1827. He married (1) Lucy, daughter of the Duke of Montrose, and (2) Frances, sister of the Duke of Buccleuch.


The Douglas family occupied Dudhope Castle until circa 1790 when they moved to Dudhope House. William Douglas of Brigton, obtained a lease and sub-let the castle to the "British Woollen Co" in 1792-3, although the plan for a woollen mill never came to fruition. In 1795 the park and the grounds were leased to the Board of Ordnance, who used Dudhope as a barracks for 95 years, from 1796 to 1879. Additional buildings were constructed, including a hospital, officers quarters, stables and guard-rooms. The castle building itself was used as accommodation for 400 soldiers. The Board of Ordnance finally abandoned the castle in 1881.


In 1854 the town council of Dundee acquired a sub-lease on the castle grounds, for use as recreational facilities. The lease ran for 35½ years for an annual rent of £25 until 1 November 1890. At this time the Earl of Home had intended to develop the grounds in to terraced housing.

Instead the council acquired the grounds for £31,700, raising £20,000 itself and the remaining being raised from generous citizens by Lord Provost Mathewson. The grounds were opened as a park on 28 September 1895 by Sir James Low.


Instead the council acquired the grounds for £31,700, raising £20,000 itself and the remaining being raised from generous citizens by Lord Provost Mathewson. The grounds were opened as a park on 28 September 1895 by Sir James Low.

Archibald had three sons, all of whom in turn became Lord Douglas. Archibald Douglas, second Lord Douglas, Baron Douglas of Douglas, died unmarried at Bothwell castle in 1844. His brother Charles Douglas then became third Lord Douglas, Baron Douglas of Douglas. He was a barrister and also an MP. He too died unmarried, when the lands and titles went to the remaining brother James. James Douglas, fourth Lord Douglas, Baron Douglas of Douglas, was an Anglican clergyman. He married Wilhelmina, daughter of General James Murray, but had no children. On his death the lands and titles went to his nearest kinsman Cospatrick. Cospatrick Alexander Home, Earl of Home, married Lucy Elizabeth, eldest daughter and co-heir of Henry James Scott-Montagu, second Baron Montagu of Boughton, by Jane Margaret, first daughter of Archibald Douglas, 1st Baron Douglas of Douglas and Lucy Graham. As a result of this alliance he inherited, on the death of the last Lord Douglas in 1857, the estates of the Douglas family. Consequently he assumed the name Douglas before that of Home. Cospatrick Alexander, 11th Earl of Home, had a political career. From 1828 to 1830 he was Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, a Representative Peer for Scotland from 1842 to 1874, Keeper of the Great Seal of Scotland, and a Lieutenant General of the Royal Company of Archers. In 1873 he was created a Peer of the United Kingdom under the title Baron Douglas of Douglas. He died in 1881. His wife was Lucy Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Lord Montagu. The couple had ten children of whom Charles Alexander Douglas succeeded to the titles and lands on the death of his father.

Sir Charles Alexander Douglas Home, 12th Earl of Home, was a Knight of the Thistle, Baron Home, and Baron Dunglas in the Peerage of Scotland, Baron Douglas of Douglas in the UK peerage, Lord Lieutenant of Lanarkshire, Deputy Lieutenant of Berwickshire and Glasgow. He married Maria, daughter of Captain Charles Grey, RN, and they had five children. The 12th Earl died at the Hirsel, his seat in Berwickshire, on 30 April 1918 aged 84.

His only son, Charles Cospatrick Archibald, then succeeded to the lands and titles. Charles, 13th Earl of Home, had been born in 1873 and educated at Eton and Oxford. He was a Brigadier of the Royal Company of Archers. He married Lilian, second daughter of the Hon. Frederick William Lambton.


The building was occupied by the Ministry of Works and later by the corporation of Dundee who made an attempt to demolish the castle in 1958. In the years 1985 to 1988 the castle was redeveloped and is now in use as offices, a conference centre as well as housing the University of Abertay Dundee's Dundee Business School.

Alexander Frederick Douglas Home, [1903-1995] became the 14th Earl of Home in 1951 on the death of his father. Lord Home was a politician who entered Parliament in 1931 and was Parliamentary Private Secretary to Nevill Chamberlain. By 1955 he was Commonwealth Secretary, then Leader of the House of Lords, Lord President of the Council, and Foreign Secretary. He renounced his peerage in order to be eligible to enter the House of Commons. As Sir Alec Douglas Home he became British Prime Minister from 1963 to 1964. In 1974 he retired from active political life but later as Baron Home of the Hirsel became a life peer and returned to the House of Lords. He died at The Hirsel, Berwickshire, in 1995 and was succeeded by his son David as 15th Earl of Home.




Dudhope Castle   Dudhope Castle



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