Moray Estates

Moray Estates

The Moray Estates have a long history.  Lord James Stuart (or Stewart), eldest natural son of James V of Scotland, was the half-brother of Mary Queen of Scots.  Despite his illegitimacy, he played an important role in Scottish history.  On Mary’s return from France as a widow, James was her principal advisor and confidante and he did his best to maintain stability in Scotland over a critical period of the religious Reformation.  As a result, he was made the first Earl of Moray by Mary in 1562 and granted many of the estates owned by the company today. The siblings’ relationship broke down after Mary’s marriage to Lord Darnley, which produced an infant son.   Darnley was a Catholic, while Scotland and England were now officially Protestant, in addition to which, Darley was not considered a suitable husband for many reasons.  After Mary’s defeat in battle against the Protestant Lords, she was deposed and James ruled Scotland for a period as Regent to the young heir.  This was the boy who would unite the thrones of England and Scotland as James the sixth of Scotland and first of England after the death of Queen Elizabeth the first in 1603.  [Note – This is a very much simplified account of a period of great change.]

Unusually, the Moray family have continued to own the estates since 1562, and added to them over the years, including Doune Castle in the late 1500’s.  The Estates are now a family business with the Earl of Moray and his family living on, and leading the management of, the Estates.  

Moray Estates, Doune is just a part of these lands, the major part being in the Moray Firth area.

Doune Lodge

Doune Lodge is just off the A84, to the north of Doune.  It was built c.1802 by Francis, Lord Doune later the 10th Earl of Moray, on the site of the old Cambuswallace House. It has become the local seat of the Earls of Moray, the castle having been uninhabited since the early 1700’s. Part of the earlier house was incorporated into the new house. The house was harled (a rough textured coating) in 1912 and painted white.

The surrounding park and its gardens cover some sixty acres, though the estate extends very much further.  It includes several farms which are let to tenants, mostly farming sheep and cattle, the Doune Ponds wetlands, retail and office units, the windfarm site etc.

Coach House

The magnificent old steading at the Home Farm, complete with clock tower, was built about 1812. It is thought that the architect was probably William Stirling of Dunblane. In the early years of the twentieth century it housed the famous Doune herd of Shorthorn cattle, which was sold in the early 1930s. During the Second World War, the stable block was occupied by troops and there were ammunition dumps in the park. At the end of the war, Polish troops were based here awaiting return to Poland. The building also marks the entrance to the Moray estate home farm, the Milton, Calziebohalzie, Severie and Waterside farms, the High Braes (Braes of Doune) and the High Wood.

Calziebohalzie farm is the site of various interesting archaeological sites, including cairns, an enclosure, mounds and huts – (see Canmore id 73531)

Nearby is the famous Doune Hill Climb.  No longer there, but much missed by enthusiasts, was the Doune Motor Museum. This was open for around thirty years and became a national landmark with its unique vintage collection and associated vintage shows, attracting thousands of visitors a year. These buildings now hold the Scottish Antiques & Arts Centre.

The lovely clock tower on the steading at the Home Farm has been repointed, the lead at the top of the tower replaced, the clock faces re-blackened and new gold leaf added for the numerals.  New wooden louvres and windows have also replaced those which had been suffering from both wet and dry rot.  A new weather vane has been installed to complete the renovation (2019).