Sunday, 19 January 2014


Post 2

                           Views of Loch Lomond taken from the southern end near Arden House.
                Arden House is located in West Dumbartonshire.
Photo (c) Copyright 2005 Neil McNee.

On our quest to find Timtyourie and the Dudgeons, Neil and I travelled to Scotland in 2005.  We were searching to find as much information as possible about Thomas Dudgeon's father, Andrew Dudgeon (1776?-1846),  my great-great-great grandfather, and about Thomas’s childhood. The trail led us to the Family History Section of the Dumbarton Library on Strathburn Place, in Dumbartonshire where we spoke with a very helpful Librarian, Mr. Graham Hopner. Being a Librarian myself, I always appreciate how generous Library staff are with their time, and Graham was no exception and certainly had a thorough knowledge of the local area.

The O.P.R.s (Old Parish Records) revealed that Thomas Dudgeon was born at Timtyourie in the Luss Parish on 6th January, 1805 and died on 14th October,1880. This was an exciting new piece of information for us and unavailable from any digital or Australian records at that time. Four younger siblings of Thomas are recorded as born at Bannachra, located on the Arden Estate, near Helensburgh. Luss village and parish is in West Dumbartonshire on the western side of beautiful Loch Lomond and 12 miles north of Dumbarton. Bannachra, also called Benuchara, is described in the Gazetteer as a hamlet near the southern border of Luss Parish in Dumbartonshire. (A vision of Britain through time, c2009). That is where our research came to a halt as we couldn’t identify the location of Timtyourie.

Beautiful views of Loch Lomond in the distance from Bannachra House.
Photo (c) Copyright 2005 Neil McNee.
"Proudly our pibroch has thrilled in Glen Fruin,
And Bannachar's groans to our slogan replied.
  ....Widow and Saxon Maid,
  Long shall lament our raid...
-Sir Walter Scott "the Lady of the Lake"

Graham suggested I contact Mr James Lumsden, well known Soottish lawyer and businessman.  His Grandfather, Sir James Robert Lumsden, a former Lord Provost of Glasgow, bought the Arden Estate which included Bannachra, in 1867. Sir James had acquired the house from  Herbert Buchanan. The Buchanan’s would have owned Arden  House and Bannachra when Andrew Dudgeon worked there as a gardener. It is worth noting that Andrew's brother, Thomas (1783-?), was also a gardener this being recorded on the Register of Burials  for his daughter Marion, on 3/10/1884. In the History of the Incorporation of Gardeners of Glasgow, 18th November 1626 to 1st September, 1903, Thomas Dudgeon is recorded  as being incorporated as a Gardener in 1808. However, is this Andrew's brother, Thomas and Thomas Dudgeon the artist's Uncle, or someone else?
1808     30 Aug.    Thomas Dudgeon, near-hand (son-in-law)

Sir James Lumsden rebuilt Arden House, the family home on Loch Lomondside in 1868. We hoped that Mr. Lumsden (grandson), might be able to help us locate Timtyourie.

Afternoon tea with the Lumsdens.
Painting on wall in background of Sir Hamish and Lady Lumsden next to Loch Lomond.
Photo (c) Copyright 2005 Neil McNee.
Mr. Lumsden invited Neil and I to his lovely home at Craigendoran, near Helensborough on the 15th July, 2005  for afternoon tea, which of course was very traditional, being home made scones with jam and cream prepared by the very gracious Mrs. Lumsden, formerly Sheila Cross from Kirkcudbrightshire. Such a dignified and generous man and obsequious yet humble about his family’s history.

According to Mr Lumsden, James has always been the first name of the firstborn male of the Lumsden family. Hamish is the Gaelic name and was used by his father. Although, our host was also often referred to as Hamish. He told us that Arden House was the main house on the Arden estate, and Bannachra the Dower House. Hence, Bannachra would be lived in by the wife of the former member of the family if he died first.
Sir Hamish (son of the Lord Provost) and Lady Lumsden, had been in residence at Arden House since their marriage in 1947, following the death of the Lord Provost a year earlier. Mr. James Lumsden, son of Sir Hamish, and our wonderful host, was consequently born and raised there. Following their wedding in 1948?, James and Sheila Lumsden moved to Bannachra and lived there happily for 54 years. James Lumsden then sold the house to the Marsh family in 2002.

Let’s return to Andrew Dudgeon. Did we find Timtyourie, yes we did, thanks to Mr. Lumsden. Timtyourie, possibly a Gaelic or Viking name, no-one is really sure,  is a field on Bannachra Estate and located adjacent to the more well known Moses Wood, named after Moses Macgregor. The naming of Moses Wood may well be as a result of the occupation of the castle by the Macgregors following the well documented tragic events at the castle in 1592. Thomas Dudgeon was born in 1805 in the cottage on this field known as Timtyourie, the location of the Dudgeon family home at that time. The cottage no longer exists. Mr. Lumsden said it was a Scottish tradition for individual fields on Estates to be named.   This cottage unfortunately no longer is standthis cottageTTThe O.P.R. Birth Records for Thomas list Andrew working as a gardener at Bannachra in 1805, so we can probably presume he was working there prior to that date.

Neil and I drove to Bannachra and walked with Mr. Lumsden, towards Moses Wood to the lush field still called Timtyourie, where Andrew Dudgeon and his wife, formerly Janet Adams raised a family of five children before relocating to Glasgow in 1810-11.
                           Mr. James Lumsden and Pauline McNee viewing the former location
of the Dudgeon cottage on Timtourie field circa. 1805.
Photo (c) Copyright Neil McNee.
The hills behind Bannachra are now covered in plantation timbers, however in the 1800s, the terrain was rugged and inaccessible. Illegal distillation of whiskey was known to be widespread from Loch Lomond to the Lockside areas which included the Arden Estate and Bannachra.

Athough this area was peaceful by the end of the 18th century, it was by no means law-abiding. Illegal distilling of whiskey was widespread both on the islands of the Loch and on the Lochside. In 1816, it was believed that stills on the islands were producing 100 gallons a day for Glasgow alone.”
(The Vale of Leven, Balloch, p.2).

As late as the 1820’s, illegal stills were recorded as operating on Cameron Muir and the Balloch Estate. Few offenders were arrested, however the passing of an Act of Parliament in 1823, allowed legal distilling in small stills on payment of a modest license fee. Mr. Lumsden agreed that illegal distillation was rampant in the area during the early 1800’s and suggested that it wasn’t inconceivable that the gardeners on the estate were involved in the distilling business due to their access to garden produce, potatoes, fruit and  in general ingredients required for the distillery.  I wonder about that. 

Where did Andrew and Janet become married and how might they have met? Mr. Lumsden recalled, “It was the tradition on the estates that the daughters of the people in the cottages went into the big houses as domestic staff. They were generally married on the estate. The idea of a travelling minister performing all of these weddings is very feasible.” “Bannachra was a Gretna Green”. The Helensburgh Advertiser in its article on the Bannachra gardens substantiated that it became a “Gretna Green” where a retired Church Minister performed marriages. (Helensburgh Advertiser, 24th April, 1992, p. 25). Bannachra House is only 1  mile from the Arden House, a separate house with its own magnificent gardens, and was where Andrew worked.
Bannachra House. Photo (c) Copyright 2005 Neil McNee.
It is most unlikely that gardeners at Bannachra would have anything to do with the Arden House staff or gardens.  Although they were only one mile apart, staff attached to a household such as Bannachra House, would not have had the opportunity to travel or socialise other than with those on Bannachra. "Until the late 19th century, there were only three official holidays in Scotland, the Annual Balloch Horse Fair held on the 15th September, New Year’s Day, and the Bonhill Sacramental Fast Day." (The Vale of Leven, Balloch, p.2). Whilst unconfirmed from available records, Janet may have been working in the big Bannachra house when she and Andrew met.

Let’s move back to Bannachra House.  It is situated on the hillside above the B381 road from Loch Lomond to Helensburgh. It is in the midst of “Take the High Road” country looking toward Ben Lomond, with panamoric views of nearby Loch Lomond , its islands, and the hills beyond. What a wonderful environment for Andrew to work in and for Thomas as a very young child to be exposed to, perhaps fostering a love of landscape whilst very young and impressionable. It is well worth contemplating if Thomas’s love of landscapes and gardens as revealed by his paintings was fostered in these beautiful surroundings.  Indeed, the views of Loch Lomond have been recreated many times by landscape artists.

Beautiful views of Loch Lomond from Bannachra House. Photo (c) Copyright 2005 Neil McNee.
Remnants of the original garden design at Bannachra where Andrew worked are still perceivable with a little imagination. The tradition of beautiful gardens at Bannachra House has continued, and in April, 1992 was still referred to by Scotland’s Garden Scheme as containing a large area of daffodils (Bannachra House Garden, Sunday, 12th April, 1992).  

Section of Bannachra Gardens taken during our visit to Scotland.
Photo (c) Copyright 2005 Neil McNee.
“On Sunday 19th April, 1992, Sir Hamish and Lady Lumsden opened the gates to their home to take part in Scotland’s Gardens Scheme and helped raise 870 pounds for Crossroads, Luss Church, Queen’s Nursing Institute and the National Trust for Scotland’s Gardens Fund. (Helensburgh Advertiser, 24th April,1992, p. 25). 400 garden lovers attended the event. My Mum, Hope Davison nee DeLandelles nee Thompson, was an avid gardener, as am I, and I wonder if the gardening gene has been passed down from Andrew.

 The ruins of historic Bannachra Castle  still stand proudly in the grounds today, in the middle of the gardens, and are now considered an ancient monument. A previous castle existed on the site. (Helensburgh Advertiser, 24th April, 1992, p.25).  The estate belonged to the Galbraith family until 1523, and then passed through a number of owners until 1867 when the Lumsdens purchased from the Buchanans the Arden estate which included Bannachra. The present castle was built soon thereafter. Whilst the following story is known ubiquitously, any mention of the castle must include it.

The ruins of historic Bannachra Castle.
Photo (c) Copyright 2005 Neil McNee.

“In 1592 it was the scene of a tragic event when the clan chief, Sir Humphrey Colquhoun was betrayed to the Macgregors and Macfarlanes by a servant who held a torch so that Sir Humphrey could be seen as he climbed the stair at night and he was shot from outside by a poisoned arrow. The castle then fell into the hands of the Macgregors and Macfarlanes and was destroyed.” (Bannachra House Garden, Sunday, 12th April, 1992).

Hugo B. Millar from Stirlingshire, following a visit to the gardens and castle with a group of  students studying the University “Castles” summer course writes to James A. Lumsden Esq., at Bannachra, “I was greatly impressed with the way you had laid the ruins out as a rock garden, which set the building off very well indeed.” (Millar, H. B., 20th June, 1971.) From the letter, it is apparent that the garden design is respected as a model for other Restoration Projects in Scotland and often visited for ideas. The original three storey castle was assessed by Mr. Millar during his visit, as a Hall-house, late in period, placing it in the second half of the 16th century, probably around 1575.  It was therefore a comparatively new building when the Sir Humphrey episode took place.
The ruins of historic Bannachra Castle.
Photo (c) Copyright 2005 Neil McNee.

Photo (c) Copyright 2005 Neil McNee.

This is not the original entrance to the estate as it had to be moved to make way for a new road. I leave Bannachra after our first visit with a sense of satisfaction and a need to know more about what it was like to live in Scotland in the early 19th century.

I would like to dedicate this post to Mr. James Lumsden who passed away March 31st, 2013, aged 98. Because of his generous nature and wealth of knowledge, he inspired us to continue researching.

Thanks for reading.


1.       Castle Cary, by Bonnybridge, Stirlingshire, 20th June, 1971. Millar, Hugo B. [Letter to] James A. Lumsden Esq., Bannachra, Helensborough.
2.       Helensburgh Advertiser, Friday, 24th April, 1992.
3.       Scotland’s Garden Scheme. Bannachra House Garden, Sunday, 12th April, 1992.
4.       The Vale of Leven: a historical information and reference website for the towns and villages of the Vale of Leven in West Dunbartonshire, Scotland. 
5.  A vision of Britain through time: a vision of Britain between 1801 and 2001. University of Portsmouth2009.;jsessionid=451FBD148FD6DF372D3BF497DFC4ADA0?text_id=81280 
6.   The History of the Incorporation of Gardeners of Glasgow, from 18th November 1626 to 1st September 1903. Glasgow,  John Smith and Son.

This article is Copyright (c) 2014 by Hope Pauline McNee, All rights Reserved.


  1. Hello, I just wanted to thank you for writing this post! It brought tears to my eyes, as I just recently purchased a painting of your great great grandfathers. The painting is of Loch Lomond and Ben Lomond painted in 1878 right in this area where you said he grew up. It even has those beautiful purple flowers in it that you show in your top photo. Goes to show that the area hasn’t changed much. Your Great Great grandfather was very talented. If you’d like a copy of the painting then please let me know and I’d be more than happy to email you the image.
    With warm regards, Mary

    1. Hello Mary, It's so nice to hear from you and that you found my story about my great great grandfather. We tried to view some of his original work many years ago at the Glasgow gallery but were unable to as they were moving. I also hope that one day I will be able to afford to buy one of his paintings. I am so happy that his work continues to be appreciated. I would love a copy of the painting
      if you would like to email it to me. Please email it to:
      By the way,what country do you live in Mary? I am in Australia. I hope to be able to add more to Thomas's story in the near future as we have lots of information. We haven't been able to this past year.

      Many thanks again

      Pauline McNee