Country Houses and Estates in the Kilmadock Area
When the clan system was (officially at least) outlawed after the 1745 rebellion, the land was taken from many of the traditional owners of Scotland who had supported the rebellion. It was handed out initially to nobles who had been supporters of the English side, but over the years, parts were sold off to wealthy business men. Many of these built huge mansions on the land to show off their status and to enable them to entertain lavishly.
There are several large estates in or near Kilmadock and a surprising number of large mansions, though a few have been demolished, often resulting from disastrous fires.
Argaty is a farm estate located just over a mile northeast of Doune. It was originally part of the ‘Doune’ estate, property of the Dukes of Albany. When the then Duke was executed for treason by King James I of Scotland in 1425, the Stewart lands, including Argaty, were forfeited to the Crown. Thereafter the lands of Argaty were granted to a John Sinclair, Esquire to the King’s Chamber and later via marriage came into the possession of the Home family.
Around 150 years later the property again passed by marriage to George Stewart (or Steuart) who was a descendant of a Duke of Albany and, thus the ownership of Argaty returned to the descendants of the same Stewarts who had forfeited it some three centuries earlier!
Argaty passed via down the Hume Steuarts, later Steuart Humes, until yet again via marriage in around 1788, the estate became owned by the Binning-Home family. In the late 1800’s the estate became known particularly for the breeding of shorthorn cattle.
In the 20th century the estate was owned by the Hendersons, passing via a daughter to the Bowser family. In 1982 ownership of Argaty House and the estate was separated.
Niall and Lynn Bowser now run the estate from Lerrocks Farm, which is host to central Scotland’s only red kite feeding station. Here visitors can come and watch the birds, recently reintroduced to their former natural habitat, through a program managed by the RSPB and Scottish Natural Heritage. In 2021, two adult beavers and three kits were released on the upper reaches of the Ardoch within the estate. These were rehomed from places where they were liable to be culled Although this is considered by some to be controversial, they are European beavers which would once have lived in many parts of Scotland.
The present Argaty House dates from the 19th century, with additions in the 1860’s and 1920’s, though parts of it are thought to date back to the 17th century. (Presumably it replaced earlier building(s), either on the same site or elsewhere on the estate.)
It was largely destroyed by fire in April 2011, with all the floors and roof now gone.
Thanks to Peter J Gordon of Holeousia.com for use of the photographs.