Composite courtyard-plan castle with square angle towers;
mid/later 16th and intermittent 17th century additions and
alterations culminating in 1679-89 re-modelling - probably to
design provided by Robert Mylne - forming Renaissance
mansion, with elaborately ornamented north show front and
regularised openings: James Smith superintending architect,
William Lukup, master of works. Angle towers 5 storeys,
recessed linking ranges 1 storey lower.
Courtyard and north elevations all pink ashlar with
pedimented openings; remainder rubble-built with ashlar
North elevation: stepped roofline; main entrance at head of
horseshoe stair (latter a replacement by Howitt, circa 1860)
in richly-carved projecting square bay (carving by Peter
Boyse and Cornelius Van Nevern) cupola over latter surmounted
by Ducal Coronet; arcaded, vaulted and balustraded terrace
(vaulted arcade possibly incorporating or re-using earlier
work) fronts ground floor under terrace running full width;
front hall (originally open loggia) glazed 1813 by William
Elliot; apices to pedimented windows touch cill or break into
band course above; giant Corinthian pilasters to inner bays.
3 remaining elevations comparatively plain with most windows
altered indicating some change in floor levels; some blocked
openings, including 2 gun ports (? in earliest existing
fabric) at east; corbelling and balustrades at wall heads,
uneven rope-moulding and irregularly placed spouts; angle
bartizone to towers with asymmetrically placed openings,
quatrefoils, or set in quatrefoil panels. Canted balcony to
south (? by Smith) and steps with fine wrought ironwork by
James Horn of Kirkcaldy (outer flights of steps possibly by
Howitt), sundial by Thomas Wynne of London, 1692. Courtyard
at principal floor level with stair turret in each angle
inscribed with variety of dates. Ornamented leadwork;
corniced stacks (some not original, some rebuilt).
Principal roofs shallow-pitched, turret roofs bell-cast - all
Interior: Alterations including circa 1930 renovation, eg in
original dining and drawing rooms and picture gallery, but
many 17th century features remain, including some panelling
(though mostly re-arranged); some wooden carvings possibly by
Grinling Gibbons; state bed chamber said to be unaltered,
with fine panelling and hanging tapestries; grand (timber)
stair (1696-7) with barley-sugar balusters; some ceilings by
William Burn. Ground floor vaulted;
Cellar in south east tower.
Walled court to north with square end pavilions (originally
bell-cast), balustrades and banded square piers; long
flanking blocks and 2 parallel coachhouse/stable ranges
extending to west mostly by William Burn and William
Garden terraces and ornamental urns; latter ornately carved,
white marble, with ashlar bases.
Statement of Special Interest
Courtyard-plan castle with skewed south range and n.w.
corner tower shown on plans dated 1608 and 1615 was largely
built for 7th Lord Drumlanrig (d.1578); 1618 scheme proposed
rebuilding south range and adding corner towers (executed
with some modifications): note on one plan suggests that Sir
William Bruce may have advised on design. Closely related to
Holyrood, particularly in treatment of main elevation.
Other architects associated with Drumlanrig include John
Erskine, Earl of Mar, Edward Blore, John Smallwood, Peregrine
Cust, Charles Barry and J Laird. Sir G G Sott built a chapel
within the courtyard - demolished circa 1930.
Besides the pavilion blocks to the north, there was formerly
a further 4 ogee-roofed pavilions (by Smith) placed around
the house (shown on David Lowe's plan, 1738-see SRO RHP
9459); also gatepiers to north with Douglas crest and iron
railings; lead statuary originally adorned north elevation.
Plan in VITRUVIUS BRITANNICUS shows quadrants linking
northern to southern towers and balustrades linking main
stair to flanking pavilions. Peter Rae. notes (circa 1740)
that the ground floor was vaulted for service use "excepting
that part of the front which is reserved for a chapel".
Burrel's tour (1758) (NLS MS2911 p.7b) notes of Drumlanrig
"... they have whitewashed 3 sides of it...". Owned since
1388 by the Douglas family and their representatives (now
Dukes of Buccleuch and Queensberry).
Historic Environment Scotland is responsible for the designation of buildings, monuments, gardens and designed landscapes and historic battlefields. We also advise Scottish Ministers on the designation of historic marine protected areas.
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