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Dumfries House, Cumnock, Ayrshire

Dumfries House is an extraordinary Palladian country house within an extensive estate. Of great significance is its original largely 18th century furniture that still remains there. The house and its estate was brought to the attention of a wider public when Prince Charles stepped in to save it and its contents.

The estate and an earlier house was originally called Lochnorris and owned by the Craufords of Loudoun. The house that stands here today was built in the 1750s for William Dalrymple, 5th Earl of Dumfries and was designed by John Adam and Robert Adam. The 2nd Marquess of Bute inherited it in 1814 and it remained in his family until 2007 when it was put up for sale. The 7th Marquess of Bute, finding upkeep to costly, sold it “to the nation” for £45 million. It is now owned by The Great Steward of Scotland's Dumfries House Trust. Prince Charles famously got involved in its salvation and much of what we see today is in great part thanks to him.

It is maintained not just as a historic spectacle, but as a popular visitor attraction and hospitality and wedding venue. Various buildings on the estate have been restored and adapted to various practical uses and so too have the gardens and grounds. But this is only the beginning. New buildings include an impressive array of educational facilities such as for traditional building craft skills, engineering and catering. I have chosen this small gazebo within the grounds to speak for the whole estate and the amazing house itself. It expresses innovation and design utilising reawakened traditional skills. We are so often disconcerted by alterations to historic premises, wishing to find either perfectly restored premises or “honest” remnants. Here we are finding something else. The premises and the grounds are entering a new phase in their history.

These new interventions are completely in keeping with the spirit of the place. They are part of the ongoing story.

Dumfries House website : https://dumfries-house.org.uk/about/history

The Prince of Wales website : https://www.princeofwales.gov.uk/the-prince-of-wales/the-princes-charities/dumfries-house

Canmore : https://canmore.org.uk/site/43609/dumfries-house

British Listed Buildings : https://www.britishlistedbuildings.co.uk/200347752-dumfries-house-old-cumnock

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