Dunans Castle

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Dunans Castle viewed from the road, the still residential Dunans House is visible on the left

Dunans Castle is a historic structure located in Glendaruel, on the Cowal peninsula, Argyll and Bute, Scotland. A property at Dounens was shown on maps in 1590; Dunans House was elaborated into its present mock castle form in 1864. Once part of a much larger estate the property presently includes 16 acres (65,000 m2) of ground and in 2001, was ruined by fire.[1][2][3]


This device, bearing the motto 'LECHADHU', represents the strong ties between the Fletcher Clan and the Stewarts of Appin.

For over two centuries Dunans was home to the Fletcher Clan who moved to the site between 1715 and 1745 carrying with them the door of their previous home at Achallader Castle (the door was used for the private chapel and was reported missing in 1999).[4] The original mansion-style house (to the left in the picture) was extended into its present dramatic Franco-baronial "castle" form by the architect Andrew Kerr with the additions consisting of four main apartments and 6 bedrooms. The building passed out of Fletcher hands in 1997 when the entire 3000 acre Dunans estate was sold off by Colonel Archibald Fletcher's heirs and subsequently split up.[5][6] Following a number of financial problems,[7][8] the Category B listed castle was gutted by fire on 14 January 2001 while being run as a hotel and the building was left as a ruin.[9] The fire began in the attic space of the castle section and destroyed three floors with only the pre Victorian west wing surviving undamaged.[2] The owner Ewa Lucas-Gardener had ignored fire safety experts warnings that the building's fireplaces were unsafe[10] and abandoned the building after the insurers refused to pay out.[11] Now under new ownership,[12][13] the site, including a Victorian path network, has undergone some restoration supported by the Dunans Charitable Trust.[14] The castle was reported to have three resident ghosts.[15]

Present day[edit]

Dunans Castle Limited, which runs the ScottishLaird.com website, published the Conservation Plan for Dunans in April 2014.[16] Written by conservation architect Robin Kent,[17] the book outlines the programme for the restoration of the castle and the bridge.

The regional blog ForArgyll.com is run from the site as is the Walking Theatre Company. The building remains in the at risk category of the buildings at risk register and is described as being in very poor condition.[18]

Bridge and mausoleum[edit]

Dunans Cottage

Leading to the castle is Dunans Bridge, an A-listed structure, designed by Thomas Telford in 1815 and constructed to commemorate the battle of Waterloo by John Fletcher.[19]

Once part of the Dunans estate, but still in the ownership of the Fletchers is the Fletcher of Dunans Mausoleum, a grade C listed structure located in the gardens of the neighbouring Stronardron house.

Further buildings once part of the estate but now privately owned include Dunans Lodge, the original gate house to the estate and Dunans Cottage, 2 workers cottages combined into one dwelling.

Scottish laird scheme[edit]

The current owners operate a scheme where individuals can be given or can purchase "Laird or Lady packages" that entitle them to "own" a square foot of land in the grounds of Dunans Castle in Scotland and use the decorative title "Laird" or "Lady Laird". Some of the packages include headed note paper and email addresses deeming them a laird or lady of Dunans. The scheme supports the ongoing project to restore the castle and maintain the grounds, and encourages those that buy these packages to visit Dunans, take the "Lairds' Tour" and holiday in the local environs. Though several websites, and internet vendors on websites like Ebay, sell these and other Scottish Lairdships along with small plots of land, the Court of the Lord Lyon considers these particular titles to be meaningless[20][21] because it is impossible to have numerous "Lairds" of a single Estate at the same time. Additionally the Scottish Land Register does not recognise individual ownerships of such small plots.[22][23][24][25]


Name(s) Ownership period Notes Sources
Archibald Fletcher, 9th Chief circa 1745-1763 Recorded as resident in 1745, though the date of arrival could be any time between 1715 and 1745 [26]
Angus Fletcher, 10th Chief 1763-1807 [26]
John Fletcher, 11th Chief 1807-1822 Commissioned the bridge from Thomas Telford [26]
Angus Fletcher, 12th Chief 1822-1875 Commissioned the gothic elaboration from Andrew Kerr [26]
Harriet Fletcher
Bernard James Cuddon-Fletcher
1875-1889 Cuddon took his wife's name, as did their children, keeping the estate in the Fletcher name [26][27]
Bernard James Cuddon-Fletcher 1889-1934 Cuddon-Fletcher kept the estate in his own right between his wife's death and his own demise [26][27]
Andrew William Fletcher
Ian Archibald Fletcher
1934 Shared between the previous owners 3rd and 4th sons [26][27]
Ian Archibald Fletcher 1934-1962 Bought out his brother after the estate was left to them both [26][27]
Colonel Archibald Ian Douglas "Archie" Fletcher 1962-1997 Upon his death his heirs sold the castle out of the Fletcher line [26][27]
Robert David Lucas-Gardiner
Ewa Jheresa Lucas-Gardiner
1998-2002 [28]
Charles Selwyn Dixon-Spain
Sadie Michaela Dixon-Spain
2002- Bought the ruin for £230,000 [29][30][31]



  1. ^ "SCOTLAND | Police probe castle fire". BBC News. 2001-01-14. Retrieved 2011-12-23. 
  2. ^ a b Rebecca McQuillan (2001-01-15). "Highland hideaway destroyed by fire Forensic teams and firefighters search ruins for cause - Herald Scotland | Sport | SPL | Aberdeen". Herald Scotland. Retrieved 2011-12-23. 
  3. ^ From the archive (2001-01-15). "Lord and lady of manor hailed from Hull - Herald Scotland | Sport | SPL | Aberdeen". Herald Scotland. Retrieved 2011-12-23. 
  4. ^ Missing door is 700 years old.(News) - Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland) | HighBeam Research
  5. ^ Here's an estate suitable for anyone with high ambition; [pounds sterling]680,000 TREE AT MARKET'S TOP END. - Daily Mail (London) | HighBeam Research
  6. ^ From the archive (1999-09-09). "Slice of family history changes hands - Herald Scotland | Sport | SPL | Aberdeen". Herald Scotland. Retrieved 2011-12-23. 
  7. ^ Hughes, Lorna (2000-10-01). "FAKE LORD AND LADY OWE US ALL A PILE; Taxman and Customs chasing cash from couple in the castle. - Free Online Library". Thefreelibrary.com. Retrieved 2011-12-23. 
  8. ^ They bought titles and a castle but a mysterious fire has put paid to this aristocratic fantasy. - Daily Mail (London) | HighBeam Research
  9. ^ "In Depth | Photo Gallery | Your Pictures: 25 Oct-31 Oct". BBC News. 2003-10-31. Retrieved 2011-12-23. 
  10. ^ Why didn't blaze castle owners listen to advice?; [pound]1m fire came after experts condemned old chimneys. - The Mail on Sunday (London, England) | HighBeam Research
  11. ^ Gutted castle's future bleak as couple flee - The Scotsman | HighBeam Research
  12. ^ Sue Tranter (2002-05-11). "In a class of their own Home front Designs on a dream retreat? Here are four that were built as one-offs and guarantee exclusivity, says Sue Tranter - Herald Scotland | Sport". Herald Scotland. Retrieved 2011-12-23. 
  13. ^ Property Market (2002-05-25). "On the market: Lancashire, Somerset, Argyll". Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-01-12. 
  14. ^ "Dunans Heritage Project". Dunanscastle.org. 2011-04-26. Retrieved 2012-05-25. 
  15. ^ "Castle Weddings-Madonna, Skibo Castle". Lovetripper.com. Retrieved 2012-10-13. 
  16. ^ http://charlescharliecharles.com/2014/04/the-conservation-plan-for-dunans-lairds-and-ladies-edition-is-published/. Retrieved 2014-06-24.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  17. ^ http://www.robinkent.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-06-24.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  18. ^ "Dunans Castle, Glendaruel | Buildings at Risk Register for Scotland". Buildingsatrisk.org.uk. Retrieved 2012-10-13. 
  19. ^ "News Archive". Dunoon-observer.com. Retrieved 2012-01-10. 
  20. ^ "Scottish Highland Titles". Faketitles.com. 2004-12-11. Retrieved 2012-05-31. 
  21. ^ Cramb, Auslan (2004-12-11). "How to lord it over your friends for only £29.99". Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-05-31. 
  22. ^ "The Ludicrous "Scottish Laird" Scams | Fake Scots Titles". Scots-titles.com. Retrieved 2012-05-31. 
  23. ^ "Nessie's Loch Ness Times". Thefrasers.com. Retrieved 2012-05-31. 
  24. ^ by Registers of Scotland. "Caution the souvenir hunters". The Journal Online. Retrieved 2012-10-13. 
  25. ^ "Terms" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-10-13. 
  26. ^ a b c d e f g h i "The Fletchers of Dunans, The Fletcher of Glenorchy, An Ancient Scottish Clan". Spaceless.com. Retrieved 2012-10-13. 
  27. ^ a b c d e "Dunans: The Fletcher of Glenorchy - An Ancient Scottish Clan". Web.archive.org. 2004-10-21. Archived from the original on 2004-10-21. Retrieved 2012-10-13. 
  28. ^ The countess, her castle, and the fake Faberg eggs - The Scotsman | HighBeam Research
  29. ^ "Laird’s Blog". Laird of Dunans Castle. Retrieved 2012-10-13. 
  30. ^ Mill conversion would 'destroy' value of castle - The Scotsman | HighBeam Research
  31. ^ "Person Page 46844". Thepeerage.com. Retrieved 2012-10-13. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 56°4′21″N 5°8′58″W / 56.07250°N 5.14944°W / 56.07250; -5.14944