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Hamilton Palace Mausoleum








Hamilton Palace Mausoleum
Hamilton Palace Mausoleum
Hamilton Palace Mausoleum
10th Duke's Sarcophagus
Empty crypt
Hamilton Palace Mausoleum is a remarkable Roman-style domed structure of panelled masonry. The mausoleum is one of Lanarkshire’s most iconic buildings and is seen by thousands of motorists every day travelling along the M74 motorway.

The building stands to an overall height of about 123 feet (37m) and occupies a site some 650 feet (200m) north of the former Hamilton Palace. The building was begun in 1842 by architect David Hamilton and was completed 5 years after the death of the 10th Duke by architects David Bryce and Alexander Richie in 1858. The Duke was interred in the mausoleum alongside many of his family.

Hamilton Mausoleum is now the solitary remaining testament to the colossal scale and grandeur of the buildings which once stood in the Hamilton Low Parks.

The coffins of Alexander, 10th Duke and his ancestors were later re-buried in Hamilton's Bent Cemetery due to the subsidence and flooding that affected the mausoleum.


The Duke was interred in an Egyptian sarcophagus of the Ptolemaic period, on a black marble slab in the main chapel, while 17 of his ancestors were interred in the crypt below. The coffins of the 10th Duke and his ancestors were later removed after subsidence and flooding from the River Clyde affected the mausoleum, and were re-buried in Hamilton's Bent Cemetery.


A monument in the cemetery records those interred; namely James, Lord Hamilton (d.1479); John, 1st Marquess of Hamilton (d.1604); James, the 1st Duke (1606-49), James, 4th Duke (1658 - 1712), James, 5th Duke (1703-43), James, 6th Duke (1724-58), James, 7th Duke (1755 - 1769), Douglas, 8th Duke (1756-99), Archibald, 9th Duke (1740 - 1819) and Alexander, 10th Duke (1767 - 1852), together with wives and other family members.

During the 1960s and 70s the structure was observed to be subsiding, and a 20 foot plumb-line hanging on the front of the mausoleum indicated a lean from true verticality. The monolithic, plinth-based construction prevented structural cracking however, and, after many anxious years, the building settled back to near vertical (180 degrees).

Inside the mausoleum are displayed the original bronze outer doors, featuring bas-relief work. The interior has the longest-lasting echo of any building in the world, a phenomenon dramatically demonstrated to visitors by slamming the entrance doors. Another curiosity of the interior architecture is the "Whispering Wa's" or walls. Two people can stand at either end of one of the curved interior walls, facing away from each other into the niche of the wall, and hold a whispered conversation. The remarkable acoustics of the walls project the sound to the listener at the other side.

In the 1970s, the glass oculus in the dome was replaced with a perspex version, which was moved into position by helicopter.


Impressive from the outside, but book one of the tours taken by knowledgeable museums staff and you can get to see the breathtaking interior of the Mausoleum which has the longest-lasting echo of any building in the world, a phenomenon which is dramatically demonstrated to visitors by slamming the entrance doors. The interior is also famous for its ornate decoration and eerie atmospheric crypt. Amongst one of the fascinating secrets of the mausoleum is the ‘whispering corner’.

The Mausoleum is an interesting and exciting historical attraction which makes for a great day out for all the family. A small charge of £2 per adult and £1 consession applies for a tour of the Mausoleum. Bookings are made via the nearby Low Parks Museum.





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Last modified: Monday, 25 March 2024