CASTLE DOUGLAS Community
Council are hoping a new booklet providing information about an
historic town landmark can be published next summer.
The Kelton Mausoleum houses 24 members of the
Douglas family including the body of Sir William Douglas, the
founder of the town, who died nearly 200 years ago.
But local councillors believe a lot more can
be done to highlight what could prove to be a tourist
Town resident Leslie Scarborough has spent his
own time and money researching the Douglas family tree in order
to find the mausoleum’s owners.
But the pensioner has been unable to pin down
someone who will take responsibility for the building.
Until owners are found, no funding
applications can be made to agencies like Historic Scotland
which will assist continued maintenance and repairs.
Mr Scarborough recommended that Castle Douglas
Community Council should take ownership and set-up a ‘Friends of
the Mausoleum’ group in order to attract cash grants.
He also highlighted a lack of interest in the
site - and believes it could become the town’s greatest asset.
Current rules mean the Land Registry won’t
recognise the community council as owners for at least ten
The situation was discussed at a community
council meeting at the town hall last week.
And chair Fiona MacGregor reckons a step
forward would be letting people know exactly what the building
“I think we need a board with some information
up there so visitors and walkers are told what it is,” she said.
“I also think we could help by publishing a
leaflet or booklet and making it available at the local tourist
“We could have something like that ready by
Community Councillor Mary Lamont told the
meeting that Castle Douglas Rotary Club have indicated a
willingness to donate towards minor expenses.
“A lot of people enjoy walking around that
area,” she said. “But there needs to be more information about
the family published. There would be a lot of interest.
“At the moment the mausoleum can’t get funding
from anywhere because no-one owns it.”
Castle Douglas and Glenkens councillor Peter
Duncan reckons the information booklet would be a real step
He said: “These are all steps in the right
“And it appears that everybody wants to play
their part in preserving this building for the future.
“At some point we will have to sit down and
find a way of resolving the issue over ownership.
“A decade is a long time for ownership to be
awarded to an organisation.
“But we don’t want a situation where in ten
years we are saying ‘we wish we had done something ten years
Architect unknown. Built circa 1820 for
(brother of Sir William
Douglas of Gelston and Castle Douglas) by his son
Douglas of Orchardton. Trotter in his East Galloway Skethes
claims it to be the work of William Douglas of Orchardton
working in collaboration with William Hugh Williams a noteable
landscape artist of the time. More likely perhaps is that it is
the work of Dumfries architect, Walter Newall, as his sketch
books contain designs for mausolea in a similar style. Unique
Egypto-Doric style pyramidal mausoleum on raised stepped dais
with cubical burial vault below ground. Finely jointed cream
sandstone polished ashlar, crisp detailing. Ramped doorways to
each face, simply architraved with blocked supported by pair of
fluted Doric columns flanking ramped architraved doorpiece.
Above the door a coat of arms, presumably the Douglasses of
Castle Douglas. All doors ramped with studded panels.
Delicately carved triglyph and metope frieze, deeply overhanging
cornice with anthemion motifs to underside of angles. From this
cornice rises another deeply projecting cornice to give double
pagoda roofline, upper cornice with scalloped edge, square stone
finial to top. Burial vault reached by steep narrow straight
stair laid in naval style with steps alternatively square and
triangular. Marble plaques over tombs.
Coped pair of
ashlar gatepiers with elaborate and decorative early 19th
century cast-and wrought iron and railings.
cast-iron railings surround tomb.
Note: William Douglas of Orchardton, who was
an MP, was better known as William of Almorness. He travelled
around Europe with Hugh Williams.