|Holmhill Country House sits in its own grounds of about
7 acres, close to Thornhill and surrounded by Dumfries and Galloway
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.
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
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,
the chair she sat in;
Time, you thief, who love to get
your list, put that in!
Say I'm weary, say I'm sad,
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
In September 2010, Rosie and Stewart Lee bought
Holmhill from Buccleuch Estates.