Kinmount, Dumfriesshire

 

The Kinmount Estate enjoys a fascinating history, originating in a 12th-century charter granted to the Carlyles by William de Brus. Owned by the Douglas Family since 1733, it was during this tenure that the present Kinmount House was built in 1812 for John Douglas (the sixth Marquis) to replace the previous seat — destroyed by fire at the turn of the 18th century. John’s descendant, the eighth Marquis of Queensberry, is best remembered for inaugurating boxing’s ‘Queensberry Rules’, but was also famous for his connection with Oscar Wilde, who was a frequent visitor to Kinmount. Indeed, it was his association with the Marquis which led to Wilde’s ultimate imprisonment and humiliation. Kinmount House is a fine example of early 19th-century architecture, and its balustrading (added at the turn of the century) is a charming feature which softens its cubic simplicity.


Sale of Kinmount in 1999.

 The super-rich buyer of country mansions goes purely for the standard and setting of the property and if location is important to him, then it is often a case of the more secluded the better.

The five most expensive Scottish properties sold last year by Savills were all purchased by buyers who were based outside Scotland. One of these was Kinmount House, home of the athlete, Steve Ovett, which, after being on the market for a long period, suddenly sold towards the end of last year for considerably more than the upset price of 1.3m. Kinmount House is situated in Dumfries-shire, where more conventional country housing proving extremely difficult to shift. So the moral seems to be: if do you chose a house in slow-to-sell location then make sure it's a good one.”

 

Extracted from: Modern Athens! Displayed in a Series of Views By John Britton, Thomas Hosmer Shepherd

Kenmount possesses a remarkably romantic situation, on the summit of a woody eminence, a considerable rivulet winding at its base* and surrounded on every side by a landscape, resembling that introduced in the grand and striking productions of that excellent painter, Salvator Rosa. This beautiful spot is on what is termed the Scottish Border in that division of the county which, lying on the banks of the river Annan, is called Annandale, and stands on the right of the great road leading from Annan to Dumfries.


Kenmount was an ancient seat of the family of Douglas, of Kilhead; but since the accession to the Marquessate, it has been enlarged, and a superior style of elegance and accommodation imparted to the apartments: a degree of boldness and originality is also exhibited in the design of the exterior, executed under the direction of Robert Smirke, Esq., a gentleman whose talents have placed him in the foremost rank in his profession. The elevation is modern, entered by a portico of the Doric order 5 but when viewed in some points, it has the aspect and solidity of an ancient castle, towering above a most luxuriant wood of every different tint: it commands to the north a rich and open country, with a back-ground of lofty hills; on the south, the broad bosom of the Solway Frith stretches itself to the coast of Cumberland on the opposite shore, forming a grand termination to the beautiful and romantic scene.


From the almost continual warfare, which formerly subsisted between the two rival nations of North and South Britain, the borders of each were continually exposed to the incursions of the opposite foe; hence agriculture became neglected, as yielding too precarious a produce: flocks and herds then formed the chief source of their wealth, the means of their subsistence, and the chief object of their pursuit.


Different views are now enteitained by the wealthy proprietors of the estates in this part of the kingdom; and no spot has more benefited by the change of sentiment, than the stewarty of Annandale, which now displays a rich and fertile aspect.

No family in the united kingdom can boast a higher descent than that of the noble Marquess, the possessor of Kenmount. The Douglases have not only formed alliances with the first families of Europe, but matched no less than eleven times with the royal house of Scotland, and can count, not only Dukes of that kingdom, but of Turenne, Counts of Longueville, Marshals of France, &c. This noble house became conspicuous in Scotland about the year 770; and the progenitor, having obtained a great victory for his sovereign, was rewarded with the lands of Douglas, in the county of Lanark, whence originated the name. From the elder branch descended William de Douglas, created Lord de Douglas by Malcolm Canmore, in 1057; and from him sprung William Lord Douglas, who lost his life, A. D. 1415, at the battle of Agincourt: he was the ancestor of the Dukes of Queensberry, and of the present Marquess, who is lineally descended from Sir William Douglas,'of Kilhead, created a Baronet in 1668, the second son of William, first Earl of Queensberry? his Lordship was married, in 1803, to Lady Caroline, daughter of the Duke of Buccleuch.

His Lordship has lately been appointed Lord Lieutenant of the county of Dumfries.

Notable residents included

Lady Florence Dixie (1855-1905), travel writer, war correspondent, and feminist, a daughter of the 8th Marquess of Queensberry, was born and lived much of her later life on the Kinmount estate at Glenstewart House after her husband lost his family seat through gambling. She had married Sir Alexander Beaumont Churchill Dixie, 11th Baronet (1851-1924), known as "Sir A.B.C.D."

Lord Francis Douglas (1847 – 14 July 1865), a British mountaineer born in Cummertrees. After sharing in the first ascent of the Matterhorn, he died in a fall on the way down from the summit.

 

 

The memorials to members of the Douglas family of Kinmount and Marquesses of Queensberry, at Cummertrees Parish Church.

Kinmout Mausoleum

 

 

Any contributions will be gratefully accepted

 

This page was last updated on 17 June 2016

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