Thursday, 10 December 2015

The Colquhoun Baronets

THE COLQUHOUN BARONETS WERE THE GREATEST LANDOWNERS IN DUNBARTONSHIRE, WITH 67,041 ACRES

This is a Scottish family of great antiquity, which has enjoyed a Scottish baronetcy since 1625.
The earliest surname under which the family of COLQUHOUN can be traced is that of Kilpatrick. Sir John Colquhoun of Luss was a descendant of Umphredus de Kilpatrick.
That patent was resigned, however, in 1704, by Sir Humphrey Colquhoun, 5th Baronet, upon condition of its being renewed to his son-in-law, James Grant (1679-1747), who thereafter assumed the name of Colquhoun.

SIR JAMES COLQUHOUN (1714-86), the eighth successor to the patent of 1704, was created a baronet in 1786.

He wedded, in 1772, Mary, one of the co-heiresses of James Falconer, and granddaughter of Lord Falconer of Halkerton, by whom he had issue,

SIR JAMES COLQUHOUN (1741-1805), 2nd Baronet, of Luss, Dunbartonshire, who married, in 1802, Janet, daughter of Sir John Sinclair Bt, of Ulbster.

ROSSDHU HOUSE, near Luss, Dunbartonshire, was built in 1773 to replace a castle the Colquhouns had lived in since the 15th century.

In 1772, (Sir) James Colquhoun had begun to build the present house, which was originally what is now the central block, and completed it in the following year.

Later that year, the celebrated Dr. Johnson and Mr. Boswell were entertained at Rossdhu on their renowned tour of the Hebrides.

His son, Sir James, 2nd Baronet, was a friend and correspondent of Horace Walpole, to whom he gave a goat's horn snuff-mull, was a connoisseur and collector of paintings, landscapes in particular, engravings, ancient coins and rare old china.

The 3rd Baronet lived with discernment during the good taste of the Regency: He enlarged the house, adding two wings and the portico, using the stone from the old castle.

Sir James made the long south drive along the lochside, and built its two superb entrance lodges joined by a beautiful archway surmounted by the Colquhoun heraldic emblems, that form together an architectural gem on the side of the main road.

Draining the marshy "moss" that had guarded the landward side of the castle in the Middle Ages, but was no longer needed to protect the house, Sir James turned it into a deer park and enclosed the policies within a park wall.

Sir James, 4th Baronet and 28th Chief, tragically drowned in Loch Lomond in 1873. He was Lord Lieutenant of Dunbartonshire, as was was his son, Sir James, 5th Baronet, who was visited at Rossdhu by Queen Victoria in 1875.

The 5th Baronet's second wife inherited and sold many of Rossdhu's ancestral treasures when he died in 1907 and was succeeded by his cousin Sir Alan, 6th Baronet and 30th of Luss, KCB (1838-1910).

The Colquhouns signed a 100-year lease for the Estate -  to be made into a golf course -  to Tom Weiskopf's design, with Rossdhu serving as the Clubhouse.

Loch Lomond Golf Club opened in 1994, and has hosted the revived Scottish Open for a number of years.

The Colquhouns only moved a few hundred yards closer to Luss, to take up residence in the former Rossdhu dower house at Camstradden.

The Luss Estate today extends to some 45,000 acres.

First published in December, 2013.

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