Possible rendition of 1399 home with olde tower
The pastoral estate of Dunlop is situated nearby today's village of Dunlop in the Cunningham district of Ayrshire, about 30 miles southwest of Glasgow, Scotland. After Scottish King Malcolm annexed the Kingdom of Strathclyde, he started the feudalization of the entire area.
His successor, King David, granted Cunninghame to a de Morville, who was appointed Hereditary Constable and built a castle at Kilmaurs. His vassal, Dom Godfrey De Ross, was then given the Fortress on Dunlop Hill. He called the site Boarland and also Overhill. There are no traces of the original castle on the Hill today, although the remains of a wide ditch can be seen on the southern face. The original castle on the Hill bore traces of the fortifications added by another De Ross who had sided with the Balliol faction against Bruce in the early 14th Century contest for the Scottish Crown. Subsequently, De Ross had to forfeit his lands. Those De Ross's were the last inhabitants on the Hill.
The hereditary Celtic Chief of Dunlop Hill, being appointed the Huntsman for the Norman De Ross, was given land (circa 1066) to build a large manor house on the banks of the Clerkland Burn. Dunlop House (the fourth in a series) now stands on this site. The main branch of the Dunlop Family resided at this Clerkland estate, called Hunthall.
Pont says, "Dunlop, one ancient stronghouse, fortified with a deep boat of water, and planted with goodly orchards. It is named Hunthall because, say they, the ancient bounds and grounds thereabout, and all Macharnoch Moore, as of olde, a mighty forest." The castle or stronghouse of Dunlop stood on the banks of a little rivulet called Clerkland burn, which divided the parish from Stewartstown. It is unknown at what time the original square tower was erected. One of the more modern additions bore the date 1599. The site is now occupied by the handsome modern mansion, built by the late Sir John Dunlop, Baronet, in 1835.
The Chief (Dunlop of Dunlop) had built his manor in 1066 on the banks of the Clerkland. With the departure of The de Ross's in the 14th Century, the Dunlops became the Family of most consequence in the area. This Manor was the first of four buildings built there as the House of the Family Dunlop. This estate was then owned and occupied by the family over 598 years. The second House was finished circa 1304, and the third started in 1599. The current Dunlop House was built in 1834.
The 1599 site was just next to the present building, but the stables and storehouse were built on the hill just across the Clerkland Burn. There are ruins still there in 2002. This view is from the hill ruins down towards the site of the 1599 and 1834 Houses.
Editor-When I recently acquired the book "Robert Burns and Mrs Dunlop, Volume One" by William Wallace, published by Dodd, Mead and Company , NY, 1898, I was reviewing the contents and was tremendously delighted to find a glossy page with a painting of Dunlop House as it was in the time of Frances Wallace, at the time that Robert Burns visited there! This is the third incarnation of the House, the one that bore the original 1599 inscription one sees above! Parts of the original two may be displayed also, since the 1599 addition was merely that. According to the author's preface, the information regarding Dunlop House came directly from Major Dalrymple Hay, who owned Dunlop House when this book was published in 1898. For your enjoyment, here it is: The description reads: "The old residence included a square tower of unknown antiquity (11th century). with additions built at various periods, one of the more modern portions bearing the date 1599. It was partially fortified in the spirit of ancient times, but was nevertheless possessed of great accommodation and contained several elegant apartments.
A sketch of it, made in 1830, by Mrs Dunlop's granddaughter, Frances Dunlop, afterwards the wife of Alexander E. Monteith, Esq., Sheriff of Fifeshire, has been preserved, and, by the courtesy of J.A. Gemmill, Esq., Ottowa, Canada, appears in this work. (Painting to the right). Dunlop House was pleasantly situated in the centre of gently undulating "policies", on the bank of the little rivulet called Clerkland Burn, a mile from the village of Dunlop, and about three miles from Stewarton, which was the post town in Mrs. Dunlop's days, and where Burns paid occasional visits to his unfortunate "Uncle Robert."- Mike Dunlap
The current main building was constructed between 1831 and 1834 to the designs of David Hamilton for Sir James Dunlop. The house was built in the Scottish-Jacobean style with very detailed gables, dormers, etc and boasts a very dramatic and asymmetrical front elevation, "laced with strapwork". This style was individualistic and makes the current Dunlop House truly unique in architecture. Dunlop House is an essay in the Jacobean manner and was one of its Hamilton's favorites. The design began as an addition to an older house, but eventually the latter was almost completely demolished. Dating from 1833-34, the house is set in the midst of attractive landscaped parkland.
The following is from a current real estate brochure: "The present tall and stately building of free stone dates from 1834 and was designed by the Glasgow architect Hamilton. It is built on the site of a very much older structure however dating from 1599 - "an ancient stronghouse fortified by a deep moat". It was Sir John Dunlop who demolished this former structure and built the present imposing mansion employing Italian craftsmen to carry out the beautifully coffered ceiling in the drawing room. The stately property still retains many of the original cornice and ceiling details and incorporates a Jacobean tower. The interior of this fine property includes two halls, the lower or entrance hall and an upper hall with tall Corinthian pillars from which the principal rooms diverge. The centre of the house is lit from the room. Dunlop House was among the first Ayrshire houses offered to the Red Cross during the War, and latterly has been utilized as a 60 bed long-stay hospital.
Captain Sir John Wallace Dunlop, 22nd of that Ilk,1st Bt., son of James, 1832-1839 John served with the Grenadier Regiment of Foot Guards, under Wellington. He was later a member of Parliament (Ayr) in 1838. He was born on 10th April 1804 at Southwick, Kincardineshire, Scotland and died on 2nd April 1839 in Hastings, Kent, England. On 17th November 1829 in London he married Charlotte Constance Jackson, daughter of General Sir Richard Downs Jackson KCB (Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath). His second marriage was to Harriet Primrose in 1835, without issue. He was created a baronet. He built the present Dunlop House in 1834. One son, James, by first wife and a daughter , also named Constance. James Dunlop of Dunlop, the last direct descendant of his line, died in 1858. Since he was unmarried with no legal descendants, the title of "Dunlop of Dunlop", or "Dunlop of that Ilk" reverted to another line and the estate was sold to Thomas Dunlop Douglas, a descendant of the Gankirk branch and a wealthy Glasgow merchant.
At his death he left the house to his nephew, Thomas Dunlop Cunninghame Graham. This Thomas reseated the Kirk and started the beautification by installing stained glass windows. Upon his death Ellen Douglas Stewart (Mrs Dalrymple Hay) succeeded to the Dunlop Estates. She was descended from James (13th) Dunlop through his third son, John, founder of the Gankirk branch. Her daughter, Eleanor Louisa Dalrymple Hay (Mrs Houison Crauford) gave birth to, in 1906, the last Dunlop to be born in the House: Alexander James Houison-Crauford. The House was let to the Henderson's of Anchor Line of steamships and a few other tenants, before being sold in 1933 to the Ayrshire County Council, who converted it into a home for mentally challenged children. It was sold to RFI, inc in the 1990's.
The Interior had been changed to offices on the ground floor by the just previous owners, RFI, INC, but the first floor reception rooms still show the splendor of days past. Mike and Lynda Dunlap of Florida stayed at Dunlop House (first Dunlops to do so since the early 1900's) in April 2000 as guests of RFI, Inc. and as representatives of the Dunlop Family. This was due to the efforts of Joe Dunlap of Alabama during our investigation of possibly acquiring the property. A video of the interior and blueprints of the Manor were acquired for posterity. Unfortunately we had not the funds nor capability of acquiring the House.- Mike Dunlap
The House is now declared a Class A Historical Site through the efforts of Hugh Hamilton of Dunlop. That means the exterior will remain the same, but the interior can be renovated and updated. This was completed in 2016 as all five condominiums were constructed.
Dunlop House now lives into the 21rst Century!