Meigle
Blairgowrie
Perthshire
Drumkilbo House
Tel : 44 (0)1828 640445
Fax : 44 (0)1828 640592
Thursday 2 October 2014
 
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A Brief History of Drumkilbo
Standing on a slight eminence - the Drum of Drumkilbo - Drumkilbo House is possessed of ancient origins. When it was first an inhabited dwelling is not known, though from the formation of the ground and from the type of building found in part of the foundations, it may well date from the time of Nechten, when Pictish courts were held in Midgill (Meigle), one of the oldest villages in Scotland.

Drumkilbo House

Robert the Bruce
The present house incorporates the remains of a fortified tower dating from the 13th century. Indeed, the first recorded owner of Drumkilbo was King Robert the Bruce, who gave it to Morice de Tiry in about 1300. The Tyrees were the first confirmed inhabitants of Drumkilbo. On an old tombstone in Kirkinch (Nevay) Churchyard. they are described as ' 'honest men and brave fellows '. The chief of the clan joined Robert the Bruce in the Wars of Independence.

Sir William Wallace
Scotland's national hero, William Wallace, would have known Drumkilbo well. Long before the events portrayed - not always with historical accuracy - in the film ' Braveheart ', a favourite story took place near Drumkilbo. In 1292, the young Wallace was completing his education in Dundee when he stabbed the son of the Constable of Dundee during and argument. Wallace fled into the countryside north of Dundee with English soldiers in pursuit. Coming to Longforgan, he sank down warily outside a little cottage. Mrs Smith, a good wife busy at her spinning-wheel, quickly invited him in and dressed him in her own overall that she had been wearing while spinning and set Wallace down to spin in her place. The English soldiers arrived and searched the cottage, but so disguised was Wallace, and so covered in fluff from the spinning, that they failed to recognise him and left to resume their search elsewhere.

Families Who Lived Here
The Tyrees lived at Drumkilbo for 300 years. Sir Thomas Tyree was fond of horse racing. His horse, Kildaro, won the first silver cup raced for at Perth on Palm Sunday 1631. King Charles 1 wrote to him asking for a ' loan ' of his grey gelding. This was probably the famous Kildaro, and one wonders whether the horse was ever returned to Drumkilbo.

Sir Thomas sold the estate to the Nairne family in 1650. They were descended from Michel de Narai, an Italian from Narni who came to Scotland as Italian ambassador during the reign of King Robert III.

Alexander Nairne enlarged the House in 1811, but his descendant, David Nairne, who died in 1854, was the last of the Nairnes of Drumkilbo. The property was sold to Lord Wharncliffe in about 1851.

In 1900, Drumkilbo was sold to Edward Cox of Cardean for his younger son, John Arthur Cox. The Cox family were the leading proprietors of the jute industry in Dundee. The property was then let for a time to Lord Glamis, the heir to the Earldom of Strathmore and Kinghorne, whose seat is nearby Glamis Castle.

Sir Robert Lorimer
In 1920, John Cox commissioned the leading Scottish architect of the day, Sir Robert Lorimer, to enlarge the House. This was done superbly, in a style that was in keeping with the original structure. During the alterations, some accounts with a Dundee draper were found dating from 1745, as well as an old sword, a claymore made at Solingnen.

Pictish Stone

Pictish Stones
The village museum houses one of the finest collections of Pictish stones in the country - some 3000-4000 years old. The Drumkilbo Stone was found in the Drumkilbo vault of the old Meigle Church and now forms part of the famous collection.

Meigle Village
Meigle has existed since before the birth of Christ at the convergence of Stone Age trading routes. The northernmost Roman military camp was established at Cardean. The first Kirk was built on the present site around 600AD.

Queen Guinevere
Vanora's mound in the Kirk-yard is believed to be the grave of Queen Guinevere. She was captured when Arthur, King of the Britons, was fighting the Picts.

Macbeth's Grave
According to legend, Macbeth made his last stand on the grounds of Belmont Castle in Meigle. Malcolm MacDuff put him to the sword.

Campbell Bannerman
Prime Minister Sir Henry Campbell Bannerman (1905) lived at Belmont Castle in Meigle and is buried in the Kirk-yard.

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