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Holmhill Country House sits in its own grounds of about 7 acres, close to Thornhill and surrounded by Dumfries and Galloway countryside.

The main garden area is enclosed by a mature beech hedge. There are areas of lawn and trees where you can observe the local birdlife and red squirrels. There is also a large walled garden to stroll in. The flowers and plants give the garden a whole range of colours as the seasons unfold. We are also planning to grow more and more of our own fruit and vegetables as the years progress.

There are about 2 acres of mature woodland to explore. At the moment, this is space left entirely to nature and we would advise you put on ‘sensible’ footwear before venturing here, but eventually we intend to build walkways through these woods.

Two sides of the property are bordered by paddock where we currently keep two horses. For anyone looking for some early morning exercise, a couple of laps around the edge of the paddock will set you up nicely for a Holmhill breakfast.

Holmhill House dates from around 1760 when the first recorded occupant was Charles Douglas and his family. The house was ‘left to him in liferent’ by the Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry. Charles Douglas was Surveyor General of Salt Duties and Chamberlain to the Duke of Buccleuch. He was also the son of William Douglas of Fingland, the likely author of ‘Annie Laurie’.

Referring to Major Charles Douglas, who drowned on the Seahorse in January 1816, an entry in the Caledonian Mercury, Thursday February 15 1816 states he was the son of Captain William Douglas, late of the 11th Foot. However, Johnston's Heraldry of the Douglases has him as son William Douglas, Captain 103rd Regiment, who married Henrietta Nicholson, himself the son of Charles Douglas, who was the third son of William Douglas of Fingland.

Further references to the family:
  • The Scot Magazine, 1 December 1814. 21 At Holmhill, Thomas Whyte, Esq, Jun. of Newmaine, to Miss Emily, youngest daughter of the late William Douglas Esq, late captain in the 11th Regiment of Foot.
  • The Scot Magazine, 1 December 1820, 7 At Holmhill, Dumfries-shire, Adam Mosman, Esq. of Liverpool to Harriet, eldest daughter of the late Captain William Douglas, 11th Regiment of Foot.

  • The late Miss Clerk-Douglas of Holmhill used to say that her great-grandfather was the last inhabitant of Morton castle, with the exception of an old woman, a servant of the family, who had lived so long within its walls that, when the great-grandfather of Miss Douglas found it necessary to abandon the castle from its ruinous state, she refused to do so, and continued to find shelter there till her death. This would be toward the beginning of last century. From 1859, after the last of Douglas’s children died [aged 100], the house was occupied by Dr James Russell and his wife. They were great friends of Jane Welsh Carlyle, wife of the philosopher Thomas Carlyle, and well published letter writer in her own right. She was a frequent visitor to Holmhill describing it in one of her letters to her husband as the ‘most beautifullest house’. Reputedly, Thomas Carlyle himself had a favourite spot in the garden at Holmhill to which he would retire to smoke his long churchwarden pipe. Jane Carlyle was also known as "Jenny" and was the subject of this poem by James Leigh Hunt.

    Jenny kissed me when we met,
    Jumping from the chair she sat in;
    Time, you thief, who love to get
    Sweets into your list, put that in!
    Say I'm weary, say I'm sad,
    Say that health and wealth have missed me,
    Say I'm growing old, but add,
    Jenny kissed me

    In April 1912,  a Professor Robert Wallace was resident. From 1924 until 2010, the house had a number of tenants, many associated with Buccleuch Estates, the owners of the property.

    In September 2010, Rosie and Stewart Lee bought Holmhill from Buccleuch Estates. 

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    Last modified: Tuesday, 01 February 2022