Kelton House 8723

Dumfries, Scotland

Brief Description

Kelton House was formerly a landscaped estate now in fragmented private ownership of private gardens and farmland.

History

The estate was probably developed largely between 1867 and 1868. Kelton House was demolished in 1966.

Detailed Description

Originally a landscaped estate laid out 1867-68 but with the demolition of Kelton House in 1966 the estate is now in fragmented private ownership of private gardens and farmland.
Further details about Kelton House are available on the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historic Monuments of Scotland website:
http://canmore.rcahms.gov.uk/en/site/338467/details/kelton+house/
http://orapweb.rcahms.gov.uk/wp/00/WP002965.pdf
REFERENCES
1. MAPPED SOURCES
Unless otherwise stated all maps referenced are from the online National Library of Scotland Map Collection
http://maps.nls.uk
Circa 1583-96 Timothy Pont 35: Nithsdale, Part of Teviotdale
1644 Gordon, Robert Nithsdail descryved according to Mr. Timothe Pont
1654 Blaeu, Joan Nithia Vicecomitatus, The Shirifdome of Nidis-dail / auctore Timotheo Pont
Circa 1755 Roy Military Survey of Scotland (Lowlands)
Ordnance Survey First Edition Six inch to One mile Dumfries-shire Sheet LV Surveyed 1856 Published 1861
Ordnance Survey First Edition 25 inch to One mile Dumfries-shire Sheet LV.11 (Combined) Surveyed 1856 Published 1861
Ordnance Survey 25 inch to One mile Second and Later Editions. Kirkudbrightshire Sheet 030.14 Revised circa 1894 Published 1895
Ordnance Survey Six inch to One mile Second and Later Editions. Dumfries-shire Sheet LV.SE Revised 1899 Published 1900
Ordnance Survey Six inch to One mile Second and Later Editions. Dumfries-shire Sheet LV.SE. Revised 1947 Published 1951
2000 Kelton Historic Environment Map Dumfries & Galloway Council
2. PRIMARY & DOCUMENTARY SOURCES
There is considerable confusion in archive material between Kelton House (formerly called Kelton Mains) and another large house referred to simply as ‘Kelton’ or ‘Kelton Estate’ about 2 miles south (near Conheath House). There is also some confusion with the Kelton estate near Castle Douglas. For this reason we produced a table of ownership of Kelton House/Mains and estate, and the sources. Please see accompanying image for details.
Table of References: Owners & Tenants

Dates

Owner

Tenant

House Known As

Notes

Information From

Pre 1818

William Taylor (of Jamaica)

Kelton Mains

Not known if ever lived there

Sasines

1815-circa1827

William Walker

Kelton Mains

Had been in Jamaica but recorded as residing in Kelton Mains some of the time, later living at Crawfordtown.

Sasines

1827-1859

John Walker (wife Elizabeth Stott)

Kelton Mains

Lives in Kelton for only a short period, later living at Crawfordtown

Sasines

1841

John Walker

George Lennock 66 age years, daughter age 7 years

Kelton Mains, richest house in area

Captain in R N. farm and house servants, governess, gardener kept

1841 census returns, not mentioned in Sasines assume Walker owner

1851-1852

John Walker

David Whigham, CountyCollector & Writer to the Signet, from Sanquher

Kelton Mains

3 servants, 1852 went bankrupt

1851 census returns, not mentioned in Sasines assume Walker owner

1857-1860

Ivie Walker/Mackie possibly wife/sister/daughter

Not clear lived in house, selling land to Whitacker.

Sasines

1862-1867

John Whitacker/Whittacker

Kelton Mains, Manor house and grounds

Living in house

Valuation Rolls Sasines

1867-1875

Major Joseph Fletcher, Major in Cumberland Volunteers, made money in Parkside Mining Company, JP for Cumberland (1867 12/6 3c),

First to use term Kelton House, described in oblitary (Whitehaven News) as a beautiful mansion.

First to use term Kelton House. Dies 1 August 1874 aged 55 years, buried in Whitehaven Cumberland (family home), (1874 5/8,5f) (1874 12/8,3d). Rented Conheath House before buying Kelton and Kelton presumed empty 1867-8 (one year). No payment first year, possibly because of- rebuilding? Moves from Conheath in 1868.

Valuation Rolls, Dumfries & Galloway Standard & Advertiser

1875/6- 1909

Trustees of Major John Fletcher

Mrs Marion Fletcher, widow & prorietrix, wife by 2nd marriage, sister of first wife

Children of first marriage living at home (1879 9/7,5f) (1880 20/10,5f) (1880 11/12,4g). Children of first marriage contest right of Marion Fletcher to live in House and will. (1887 25/5,6f) (1887 23/7,4d) (1888 21/3,6e) and again in (1897 30/10,4d).

Valuation Rolls, Dumfries & Galloway Standard & Advertiser

1908- 1909

Trustees of Major John Fletcher

1909 sales brochure refers to it as Kelton House

Empty. May 1909 house put up for sale (1909 12/5,5d)

Valuation Rolls, Dumfries & Galloway Standard & Advertiser

1911-1912

Trustees of Major John Fletcher

Lady Isabella Woodburn

Widow of Sir John Woodburn, Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal. Lady Woodburn died Jan 1912 (1912 20/1,5f)

Valuation Rolls, Dumfries & Galloway Standard & Advertiser

1912-1913

Trustees of Major John Fletcher

Lady Isabella Woodburn

Sub-let to Thomas Rigby, manager of peat works

Valuation Rolls

1913-1920

Trustees of Major John Fletcher

Empty. Auctioned November 1919 could not be sold as whole or in lots for £11,500 (1919 15/11,7c). Surveyed and valued 1919, needed considerable upgrading. January 1920 sold by treaty to James Dickie (1920 7/1,4e)

Valuation Rolls, Dumfries & Galloway Standard & Advertiser

1920-59

James Dickie

From Maxwelltown. Breeding champion horses Ayr (1925 8/8,7b). December 1920 buys adjoining farm of Troghoughton more than doubles size of estate.

Valuation Rolls, Dumfries & Galloway Standard & Advertiser, Sasines

1959-1965

Kenneth Dickie & wife Jessie

Son of above. Approximately 1962-1963 contents of house sold by auction

Valuation Rolls, oral evidence Mr Wolffe

1966

Kenneth Dickie

No Kelton Mains

House blown up

.Dumfries & Galloway Standard & Advertiser 23-02-66

1966-1973

Kenneth Dickie

Owning Kelton Lodge, but staying in Clarmont Hotel, Newall Terrace, Dumfries

Valuation Rolls

1973-1974

Kenneth Dickie

Kelton Lodge under reconstruction staying in Kelton Bank, another house that he owns.

Valuation Rolls

1974-1975

Kenneth Dickie

Kelton house declared residence, Kelton Lodge has vanished

Valuation Rolls

Table of References: Gardens & Policies

Date

Area

Topic

Notes

Reference

1909

House and estate put up for sale

Overview

Comprising Mansion house, extensive policies, lodge, office houses, gasworks, six cottage & several fields of very superior arable meadow & pasture land. The total 160 acres annual value £530 annual burdens £68.

D&GS (1909 12/5,5d)

1914

Report & Valuation

The Mansion house is finely situated, massive and attractive, apparently well situated. In fact a considerable overhaul is required to put the place in good tenantable order and in round figures might be put down at £380. If that were done an annual rent of £380 might be obtained.

Dumfries Archives GTGD57 26

1874

Obituary

House

A beautiful mansion

D&GS (1874 12/8,3d)

1909

house and estate put up for sale

The house overlooks the River Nith & commands superb views of Criffel and the Solway Firth, is most substantially built. It contains vestibule, outer and inner halls, six public rooms, 14 bedrooms, bathroom, kitchens, servants’ hall, service room, strong room, extensive laundry & cellarage, & the usual accommodation.

D&GS (1909 12/5,5d)

1914

Report & Valuation

Several rooms of fine dimensions and conveniently arranged. Unfortunately in several the rooms the plaster is badly cracked and the roof having been leaking in many places has caused a considerable amount of damage to the ceilings. Moreover dry rot exists in the woodwork of one of the passages and also in the lining of a kitchen cupboard and in the ceiling of the washhouse under the front entrance hall. The house requires papering and painting throughout and the external woodwork is also much in need of paint.

Dumfries Archives GTGD57 26

1850

Oral evidence Andy Nicholson

Garden

Garden parkland appears to be incorporating some of the enclosed field boundary trees. Roy map compared with later material.

1755 Roy Map

1907

Map

Green house visible and tool store in NW corner

1907 Ordnance Survey third edition 25inch map

1909

house and estate put up for sale

The garden (one acre) contains conservatory, vinery and fruit house.

D&GS (1909 12/5,5d)

1914

Report & Valuation

The greenhouse and vinery will require a very extensive repair and some of the woodwork of the fruit houses showing signs of decay.

Dumfries Archives GTGD57 26

1957

Air photograph RAF

Parkland now a big field, no trees or ordered planting. Walled garden some orchard, rest planted. Signs of earlier informal footpath across terrace nr house.

See air photograph provided

1909

house and estate put up for sale

Amenities

There is a stretch of good salmon fishing in the Nith and a variety of shooting can be had in the neighbourhood

D&GS (1909 12/5,5d)

1914

Report & Valuation

Salmon fishings rented to Robert Turner. Fishings yearly rent £ 15 12s 4d and taking into consideration the record of the fishings in the Rivers Nith and Annan in recent years, it is doubtful if much of an increase of rent will be obtained. Shootings - these are of no great account and valuation of 6d an acre would be quite ample.

Dumfries Archives GTGD57 26

1909

house and estate put up for sale

Offices

The Office houses are commodious and convenient, and comprise stabling (six stalls & three stalls) two loose boxes, double coach house and harness room, cowhouse five5 stalls), hay loft, granary, coachman’s house etc. The mansion house and stables are lit by gas manufactured on the estate and there is a gravitational supply of excellent water from the public main. There is a stretch of good salmon fishing in the Nith and a variety of shooting can be had in the neighbourhood

D&GS (1909 12/5,5d)

1914

Report & Valuation

The offices are very commodious but there is no proper garage accommodation which is really a necessity nowadays. The walls of the stable and co are somewhat decayed and the whole of the outside requires painting. The policies are well laid out and contain some fine timber, but unfortunately are not extensive compared with the size and style of the house. Some of the woodwork in the entrance is also decayed. Six houses one subdivided into two.

Dumfries Archives GTGD57 26

1909

house and estate put up for sale

Land

The agricultural lands and fishings are let in lease until 1911. Immediate entry can be had to the mansion house, policies and about 25 acres of land.

D&GS (1909 12/5,5d)

1914

Report & Valuation

There is no farm or steading and should the land be farmed entirely by itself, some rearrangement of the field would be necessary. At present rented to tenant James Hewat of High Kelton land being well farmed. Some repairs to dry stone dykes and fencing needed.

Dumfries Archives GTGD57 26

3. HISTORICAL ILLUSTRATIONS & PICTORIAL SOURCES

Particulars and Plan of the Estate of Kelton house in the Parish and County of Dumfries, for sale by Public Roup within the Station Hotel, Dumfries on Wed 26th May 1909 at 3pm. (hereafter referred to as 1909 auction brochure). The brochure includes some contemporary photos.
Aerial photographs taken in 1946, 1968 and 1997
Article and photo of house being demolished in Dumfries and Galloway Standard, Feb 23 1966
Criffell near Dumfries by Dorothie “Dickie” Hewlett 1918-2011 (View from the parkland of Kelton)
4. BIBLIOGRAPHY OF PUBLISHED SOURCES
Particulars and Plan of the Estate of Kelton house in the Parish and County of Dumfries, for sale by Public Roup within the Station Hotel, Dumfries on Wed 26th May 1909.
Article and photo in Dumfries and Galloway Standard, Feb 23 1966
Features
  • Glasshouse
  • Description: A fine restored Victorian glasshouse, with evidence of original heating pipes and probably the system for opening the windows, all now carefully maintained. The original raised bed with heating pipes in the soil below remain and also the supports for shelving. The Glasshouse built on south-east facing brick wall to maximise heat retaining potential. There is a natural water supply within the glasshouse. The size of the glasshouse has been reduced as part of it was a ruin, but original layout is obvious.
Access & Directions

Directions

Kelton is situated on the B725 approximately 5 kilometres south of Dumfries.
History

Detailed History

The earliest date of any house at Kelton House/Mains is unclear, the ‘Kelton' depicted on Timothy Pont's map of Nithsdale, surveyed and compiled in the late-16th century, and later maps by Gordon and Blaeu probably referring to Kelton or Kelton Estate some two miles further south.

On William Roy's Military Survey of around 1755 an enclosure pattern of fields is clearly shown between Kelton and Netherwood to the north, but with no major building at Kelton Mains/House. The broad framework of the enclosure pattern appears to have survived to the present day.

The first record of Kelton Mains is in the Sasines of the early-19th century with ownership of the estate passing from William Taylor to William Walker. The estate appears to have remained in the ownership of the Walker family until 1860. In the earlier part of the century the family is also recorded as living at Crawfordtown and by the time of the 1841 and 1851 censuses Kelton Mains has been let to a series of tenants. At this time the property was referred to as ‘the richest house in the area' and the tenants included a Royal Naval Captain and a lawyer. The First Edition Ordnance Survey of 1856 records a principal house, Kelton Mains, with lodge, walled garden, parkland and associated planting, all fairly typical of a modest country gentleman's seat.

In the Sasines of 1857-1860, John Whitacker is recorded as acquiring land at Kelton Mains from Ivie Walker/Mackie but by 1862, Kelton Mains, Manor House and grounds have passed into the ownership of Major Joseph Fletcher of Whitehaven, Cumberland who moved from Conheath which he had previously rented. Major Fletcher changed the name to Kelton House, owning the property until his death in 1874 when Kelton was described as ‘a beautiful mansion'. Following his death, Kelton House remained in the hands of Major Fletcher's trustees until 1920.

The house was first occupied by his widow, and tenanted until 1913, after which it lay empty until 1919. An attempt was made to sell the house in 1909 comprising Mansion House, extensive policies, lodge, office houses, gasworks, six cottages and several fields of very superior arable meadow and pasture land. The auction brochure states that 123 out of 160 acres of the estate were rented for farming. The grounds of the house appear to have been designed for leisure pursuits such as shooting and fishing, and also tennis, croquet and bowling.

Ornamental gardens appear to have been a less important feature. With the exception of some modification in the walled garden area, the landscape recorded on the second and subsequent editions of the Ordnance Survey show very little change over this period, although the property was described as needing considerable upgrading at the time of its valuation in 1919.

From 1920 to 1975 the estate was owned by the Dickie family, who in 1920 also bought the adjacent Troghougton Farm, more than doubling the size of the estate. An aerial photograph dated 1957 records a simplified landscape, with the parkland a large field containing no trees or ordered planting. Between 1962 and 63 the contents of the house were sold off by auction and Kelton House demolished in 1966. In 1974 a new Kelton House was constructed adjacent to the site of the old one.

Today the former lodge survives as a private dwelling, Kelton Shaw, and further dwellings have been constructed in the walled garden (Kelton Gardens) and the former wooded field. The balance of the land is farmland.