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Gelston Castle

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gelston   
A ruined Adam-style country house in Kirkcudbrightshire, Gelston Castle lies amongst woodland 2 miles (3 km) south of Castle Douglas. It takes the form of a toy fort and was constructed in red sandstone c.1805 for Sir William Douglas (1745-1809), founder of Castle Douglas. It's been abandoned since the fifties. The nearby stable block has been converted into housing. 

 

Ownership passed to his neice, Mathilda, daughter of James of Orchardton.  James Douglas of Orchardton had amassed an estate of 6444 acres in Galloway by the time of his death.  This was divided between his three daughters. It is said that this was so acrimonious that the sisters counted each individual tree to ensure that they got equal shares. There were additional lands in Gretna Green and in Wales, at Aberdare in Glamorgan.

 

Matilda died, aged 100, in 1887.  In 1871, she appears to be living with her widowed sister, Sarah Maxwell at Orchardton, which she had inherited. However, in the 1881 census, she is listed as being at Gelston with three of her granchildren, Carles, Eva and Gerald Kirwan.  There were also 6 servants.

 

The ancient owners of Gelston were probably monks of Iona.  King William, 'The Lion of Scotland', granted gelston to the monks of Holyrood, sometime between 1165 and 1214.

 

In the Ragman roll of 1296, John of Geneleston (John de Gevelston) was recorded as owner.  By 1472, Donald Maclellan of Gelston was owner.  A succession of owners followed, including the Maxwell family.  William Douglas acquired the lands in 1799.

 

 

Extending to some 4,500 acres, the estate has belonged since 1973 to the Scott family, the land being divided among family members: the Gelston end, comprising the Gelston Castle buildings and about a third of the total land area, is looked after by Alexander and Lucinda Scott.

Alexander & Lucinda Scott have been permanently resident at Gelston since 1989, following their return from the rather different environment of Tokyo. They jointly run Gelston Castle Holidays.

The Scotts live in Gelston House, formerly the head gardener's house, adjoining the Gelston Castle stable courtyard and walled garden complex. Here they have brought up their three children, Amy, Jemima and Theo, who are now more or less on the last lap of full-time education.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Last modified: Saturday, 18 March 2017