Dunglass: Snapshots in Time – a talk by Dr Pat Simpson

The November 2023 talk was given by DDHS member Dr Pat Simpson and entitled Dunglass: Snapshots in Time. Pat has kindly sent 3 slides form her talk with accompanying annotation. There was a big turnout for this very interesting talk and Pat’s research was greatly appreciated by the audience. Additional links and text [thus] by Jim Herring.

Imagine that you are a time traveller and you can visit Dunglass Estate at different times during the estate’s history.  What might you see?

The year is 1450.  Nicola Pepdie has married Thomas Home, a direct ancestor of former Prime Minster, Sir Alec Douglas-Home, who held, amongst other titles, the title Lord Dunglass.  Their son, Alexander, is responsible for the building of Dunglass Collegiate Church, [More photos here] so that Catholic priests can pray for the souls of the family.  The Home family is living in a castle [history] nearby. The photo below shows the church.

Dunglass Collegiate Chapel (Click on all photos to enlarge – recommended)

The year is 1810. The estate has changed hands and is now owned by the Hall family.  The religious climate has changed.  The damage we see to the church is because it has been used to stable horses, rather than for praying.  Lady Helen Hall [Book by Sally Wilson] wife of the 4th Baronet, Sir James Hall [geologist and physicist] has embarked on a programme of building improvements.  The East and West Gate Lodges, and a new stable block have been built.  As the castle was in a pretty bad way, Lady Helen persuaded her husband to build a mansion house, instead of carrying out repairs. As you wander around in 1810 you will be able to see a 17th century sundial [photo] and a gazebo dating back to 1712. The photo below the East Gate Lodge today.

East Gate Lodge at Dunglass

The year is 1966.  The estate has changed hands again and is now owned by the Usher family [Scroll down to Dunglass – photo of previous house].  The stables are now being used to garage cars. The mansion house has been demolished and replaced with a  modern house.  As you wander round in 1966 you can see other buildings that have been built since our last visit, such as the gardener’s house, the factor’s house and the dairy. The photo below shows part of the house built by the Ushers.

Stable block used to garage cars in the 1960s.