The history of Dunglass is a tale of poets, a philosopher’s ancestors and a dash of dynamite . . .
The origins of the Estate can be traced back to the 14th century when a castle – the stronghold of the Earls of Home (ancestors of the famed philosopher David Hume) – stood here. It was destroyed in 1548, but was rebuilt, only to be lost to time (and maybe some marauding enemies).
In 1807, ownership of Dunglass passed into the Hall family and work began on a new Mansion House – designed by Richard Crichton – on the site where the Castle once stood. The Mansion House was completed in 1813 and its interiors were lavishly decorated in the Romantic style.
In 1919, Francis James Usher bought Dunglass from the Hall family. Sadly, by the 1940s, both time and the demands of the war effort had taken their toll on Dunglass and the historic house had fallen into disrepair. Faced with a house that could not be saved, the Ushers arranged for the Mansion to be demolished (according to family legend, rather a lot of dynamite was involved). The current Dunglass House was built on the site in the late 1950s and is now available as wedding party accommodation or as a holiday rental.
Many historic buildings remain on Dunglass Estate, most notably Dunglass Church, which dates back to the 1400s.
Today Dunglass is a thriving country estate, as well as a popular venue for idyllic weddings, providing many more families with the perfect backdrop to create some history of their own.
About Simon and Joyce Usher
Simon and Joyce Usher are the current owners of Dunglass and the fourth generation of the Usher family to care for the Estate. The Usher family name is synonymous with whisky and philanthropy – Simon’s ancestor, Andrew Usher, donated funds to build a new concert hall in Edinburgh in 1896 – and the family fortune has its roots in the whisky trade.
Andrew Usher began experimenting with the blending of whisky in the 1840s. His business, although successful, was comparatively small in scale, as whisky was largely unheard of outside Scotland and Ireland at that time. After his death, his sons, Andrew and John, took over the business, expanding it beyond the local market and helping raise the profile of “the water of life” around the world. John’s son, Francis, purchased Dunglass in 1919, and the Estate has been in the family ever since.