Dunnichen House is a landscaped estate and private garden originally laid out in the late-18th century. A new house replaces the 18th-century mansion demolished in 1966.
Dunnichen House was built between 1700 and 1729 and was demolished in 1966 despite an outstanding request for a preservation order. A new house was built after the mansion was demolished and now sits in the original garden. The lodge and walled garden survive.
Further details about Dunnichen House are available on the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historic Monuments of Scotland website:
1. MAPPED SOURCES
Unless otherwise stated all maps referenced are from the online National Library of Scotland Map Collection
1583-96 Timothy Pont: Lower Angus and Perthshire East of the Tay shows Duniechin K
1745 Herman Moll: The Shire of Angus or Forfar
1747 Roy’s Military Survey shows Denichen Kirk but not the house
1750 James Dorret: A general map of Scotland shows Dunichen
1751 James Dorret: A correct map of Scotland shows Dunichen
1761 James Dorret: An accurate map of Scotland shows Dunichin
1773 Thomas Kitchin: A new and complete map of Scotland shows Dunichen
1789 John Ainslie: Scotland drawn from a series of angles and astronomical observations shows Dunnichen H
1790 Robert Campbell: A new and correct map of Scotland shows Dannichen
1794 Robert Campbell: A new and correct map of Scotland shows Dunichin
1801 John Cary: A new map of Scotland shows Dunnichan
1820 John Thomson’s Atlas of Scotland shows Dunnichan
1846 James Wyld: Scotland with its Islands shows Dunnichen
1850 James Knox: Map of the basin of the Tay
1859 Ordnance Survey 1st edition 6” to mile XXXIX surveyed 1859 published 1865
1859 Ordnance Survey 1st edition 25” to mile XXXIX.10 surveyed 1859 published 1865
1862 Black’s New Large Map of Scotland
1863 Edward Weller: Weekly Despatch Atlas
1873 Alexander Keith Johnston: Scotland
1875 John Arrowsmith: Scotland
1879 Alexander Keith Johnston: Library or Travelling Map of Scotland
1882 Edward Stanford: Stanford’s Map of Scotland
1892 John G Bartholomew: Tourist’s Map of Scotland
1893 John G Bartholomew: Naturalist’s Map of Scotland
1901 Ordnance Survey 2nd edition 6” to mile XXXIX.SW revised 1901 published 1903
1901 Ordnance Survey 2nd edition 25” to mile sheet 039.10 revised 1901 published 1902
1922 Ordnance Survey 3rd edition 6” to mile XXXIX.SW revised 1922 published 1927
1922 Ordnance Survey 3rd edition 25” to mile sheet 039.10 revised 1922 published 1923
2002 Ordnance Survey Explorer series No 389 at 2½ inches to 1 mile
2012 Bing maps shows house, lodge and walled garden
2. PRIMARY & DOCUMENTARY SOURCES
1919-1975 Extracts from Valuation Rolls for Dunnichen show that the house disappears after 1966.
Forfar Despatch 7 October 1920. Page 2 column 3. The old mansion house of Dunnichen and two of the farms on the estate have been sold by Col. Hall-Dempster.
1966 The Scotsman 19th January 1966 – advertisement for sale of Dunnichen House. This mentions Garden; Well laid out lawns; Policy grass parks; Wooded policies; Walled garden with glass house etc; Fully modernised lodge and service cottage. In 2012, the lodge is still in place at Ordnance Survey grid reference NO 508 488.
1966 Sales brochure for Dunnichen. Copy held by a member of Dunnichen Heritage Society.
2006 Angus Council Report 1192/06 – Dunnichen Pictish Stone
2011 Dunnichen Heritage Society web sites. Trees surveyed.
http://lethamangus.btck.co.uk/DunnichenHeritageSociety (Last viewed June 2012)
3. HISTORICAL ILLUSTRATIONS & PICTORIAL SOURCES
Photographs from Letham Feuars Archives held at Angus Archives:-
15A Retreat, Loch Fithie, designed by Rose Dempster 1791
H6 Dunnichen House
H8 Dunnichen House from drive
H14 George Dempster, sister & friends at Dunnichen
I1A Dunnichen House garden
I2A Dunnichen House greenhouses
I3A Pictish stone in garden of Dunnichen House
I6A Dunnichen House
I8A Dunnichen House
IOA Dunnichen House
J6 Dunnichen House greenhouses
J31 Gertrude & Friends at Dunnichen
Undated RCAHMS AND 13/1 P Copy of drawings showing plans
1925 RCAHMS D73284 Copy of historic photograph showing view from E.
1925 RCAHMS D73284 Copy of historic photograph showing view from E.
1965 RCAHMS 270C1-3 House at Castlehill. View from NW.
1965 RCAHMS 270C1-6 House at Castlehill. View from NW.
1965 RCAHMS 270C1-8 House at Castlehill. View from S.
1965 RCAHMS 270C2-9 House at Castlehill. View from SE.
1965 RCAHMS 270C2-10 House at Castlehill. View from N.
1965 RCAHMS 270C2-11 House at Castlehill. View from SE.
1965 RCAHMS 270C2-12 Kirkton Cottages. View from E.
1965 RCAHMS 270C2-14 Kirkton Cottages. View from S.
1965 RCAHMS 270C2-15 Kirkton Cottages. View from S.
1965 RCAHMS 270C3-13 Kirkton Cottages. View from E.
1965 RCAHMS 270C3-16 Kirkton Cottages. View from SW.
1965 RCAHMS 270C3-18 Kirkton Cottages. View from W.
1966 RCAHMS G 90999 NC collection date 19/1/1966. Newscutting from The Scotsman 19/1/1966. Refer B2 Primary & Documentary Sources.
1966 RCAHMS AN 357 View from SE.
1966 RCAHMS AN 358 East elevation
1966 RCAHMS AN 359 East elevation, front entrance.
1966 RCAHMS AN 360 View from NE.
1966 RCAHMS AN 361 View from SW.
1966 RCAHMS AN 363 Interior. View of door from vestibule to hall.
1966 RCAHMS AN 364 Interior. View of hall.
1966 RCAHMS AN 365 Interior. View of hall.
1966 RCAHMS AN 366 Interior. View of hall.
1966 RCAHMS AN 367 Interior. View of drawing room.
1966 RCAHMS AN 368 Interior. View of drawing room.
1966 RCAHMS AN 369 Interior. View of library.
1966 RCAHMS AN 370 Interior. View of library.
1966 RCAHMS AN 371 Interior. Detail of drawing room ceiling.
1966 RCAHMS AN 372 Detail of pictish standing stone in walled garden.
1966 RCAHMS AN 373 Detail of pictish standing stone in walled garden
1966 RCAHMS AN 374 Detail of pictish standing stone in walled garden.
1966 RCAHMS AN 375 Detail of pictish standing stone in walled garden.
1966 RCAHMS AN 376 Detail of pictish standing stone in walled garden.
1966 RCAHMS AN 377 Detail of pictish standing stone in walled garden.
1966 RCAHMS AN 378 Detail of incised standing stone.
1966 RCAHMS AN 379 Detail of incised standing stone.
1975 RCAHMS Dunnichen House – W gate & Lodge
2008 RCAHMS DP045034-DP045053 Dunnichen Church. http://canmore.rcahms.gov.uk/en/site/193882/digital_images/dunnichen+church/ (Last viewed June 2012).
2011 Dunnichen Pictish stone – a copy now sits outside Dunnichen church
4. BIBLIOGRAPHY OF PUBLISHED SOURCES
Angus Council, Report No 1192/06. History of Pictish Stone previously held in the walled garden at Dunnichen.
Dempster, G.? The Old Statistical Account of Scotland, Dunnichen, On-line edition, Vol 1, 434. (There is no author shown against this report; it is considered likely that it was written by the owner, George Dempster).
Evans, J. 2005 The Gentleman Usher: the Life and Times of George Dempster (1732-1818), Member of Parliament and Laird of Dunnichen and Skibo
Fergusson, James 1934 Letters of George Dempster to Sir Adam Fergusson 1756-1813
Forfar & District Historical Society 1969 Account of the Shire of Forfar circa 1682 by John Ochterlony of the Guynd, Oliver McPherson Ltd, P 13
Groome, F.H. 1896 Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland, On-line edition edited by Mike Spathaky, 440
Headrick, the Rev. J 1834-1845 The New Statistical Account of Scotland, Dunnichen, On-line edition, Vol. 11, 142
Lang, A.M. 1998 A Life of George Dempster, Scottish m.p. of Dunnichen (1732-1818)
RCAHMS August 2001 Canmore ID 193884 (S.A.G)
Warden, A.J. 1884 Angus or Forfarshire the Land and People Vol I, Charles Alexander & Co, 21,25,148
Warden, A.J. 1884 Angus or Forfarshire the Land and People Vol III, Charles Alexander & Co, 201
Warden, A.J. 1884 Angus or Forfarshire the Land and People Vol V, Charles Alexander & Co, 242
- Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts
Dunnichen lies approximately 1.5 miles west of Letham on an unnumbered road off the B9128
- around 1682 There is no house on the estate which is owned by Southesk (Ochterlony)
- around 1700 The estate bought by Webster, a merchant in Dundee (Groome's)
- By 1729 Webster (elder), built a house (Lang: A Life of George Dempster)
- 1754-1818 George Dempster (b.1735), M.P. for Dundee improves the estate
- George Dempster inherited the estate in 1754 and began improvements in 1761, he retired in 1790 when he did most of the improvements. (Lang: A Life of George Dempster)
- 1859-1901 Second walled garden built in this period
- In 1859 - a walled garden is shown north-east of the house. A second walled garden is not shown in the 1st edition Ordnance Survey map at 25" to mile but is shown in the 2nd edition. The road had been removed so that the walled garden was near to the house on the west with no intervening public route. This shows glasshouses within the garden and a slip garden outside on the south-west. In 1922, the slip garden is no longer shown.
- 1920 House sold
- By 1938 house sold
- 1966 House sold
- 1966-67 House demolished and land developed
- 2011 Trees surveyed by Dunnichen Heritage Society
- Late 18th Century
- 18th Century
- Key Information
Late 18th Century
Part: standing remains
Letham and Friockheim
Alice Bremner, Angus Landscape Survey Group under the auspices of the Garden History Society in Scotland