The Earls of Dunmore’s estate, better known as Dunmore Park, is located northwest of Airth, Scotland, on the southern bank of the River Forth. Dunmore Park House, formal gardens, a stable, and a pineapple-shaped folly known as the Dunmore Pineapple were all once part of the property.
Dunmore House was purchased by John Murray in 1754 for £16,000 after he was named Earl of Dunmore by the Parliament of Great Britain. For Charlotte’s birthday in 1761, the Dunmore Pineapple was constructed. An expansive view of the estate’s gardens could be seen from this summer house.
Elphinstone Castle (later known as Dunmore Tower), a 15th-century tower house, is most likely where the Dunmores lived. But there are no records to support this, so it’s just an educated guess at this point.
A stately home was built for the 5th Earl of Dunmore by architect William Wilkins in the 1820s. Construction of Dunmore Park House and an additional stable block were the result of this development. The village of Dunmore, which sits on the east bank of the river, grew as a result of the estate’s expansion. Those who worked on the estate would call this their home.
Elphinstone Castle’s expansions were demolished a short time later, leaving only the main tower standing. The Episcopal Church of St. Andrew, a small chapel located next to the tower, was built. As a mausoleum, the ground floor of the tower was used, and a parsonage was built to its east.
Dunmore Park was home to the Murray family until 1911. For three years following their departure in 1961, the estate was used as a girls’ school but remained private property. After that, it was shut down and abandoned.
The Dunmore estate was divided and sold in 1970. The walled gardens and the Dunmore Pineapple were purchased by the Countess of Perth. It was given to the National Trust for Scotland in 1974 by her mother. Records reveal that a farmer bought Dunmore Park House and the surrounding property, converting it to agricultural use.
For safety reasons, a portion of the main house had to be demolished in 1972. In 1987, a plan was approved to demolish the entire property, but it was never implemented.
For a project valued at £25 million, an application was made in 1991 for permission to build a residential complex that included a hotel and a golf course. It appeared that the hotel would open in 1994 after the application was approved by the end of the year.
As of 2006, the plans had changed, with the goal of converting the ruins into residential apartments and building an additional 45 houses on the site. Only groundwork has been done so far, but the plans are described as “live in perpetuity.” Nonetheless,
Visitors to Dunmore Park today can enjoy the Dunmore Pineapple and the walled gardens. The Dunmore Pineapple, which was successfully restored and renovated, is now available for rent through the Landmark Trust company.
A Gothic mansion’s ruins and its wine cellars can be explored by visitors to Dunmore Park. Nature is slowly but steadily reclaiming the land, and some trees have even sprouted inside the walls.
Dunmore Park House, despite its decrepit state, retains its elaborate carvings, mullioned windows, and armourial panels on the exterior. Visitors are able to imagine how beautiful this place was when it was owned and cared for thanks to these specifics.
It was demolished in the 1980s, but the parsonage remains a private residence that can be rented for weddings and other events. The Dunmore family’s remains have been relocated from Dunmore Tower to a more secure location, but the rest of the building has been demolished.
Barry Ferguson graciously gave us permission to use his beautiful images of the abandoned Dunmore Park House in our article. You can see his travels through his Flickr account, which is full of beautiful photos. To see more of his work, join him on social media.
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