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Updated 05/01/2020

 


Dumfries House
 

Dumfries House is a Palladian country house in Ayrshire, Scotland. Noted for being one of the few such houses with much of its original 18th-century furniture still present, including specially commissioned Thomas Chippendale pieces, the house and estate is now owned by The Prince's Foundation, a charity which maintains it as a visitor attraction and hospitality and wedding venue. Both the house and the gardens are listed as significant aspects of Scottish heritage.

The estate and an earlier house were originally called Lefnoreis or Lochnorris, owned by a branch of the Craufurds of Loudoun. The present house was built in the 1750s for William Dalrymple, 5th Earl of Dumfries, by John Adam and Robert Adam. Having been inherited by the 2nd Marquess of Bute in 1814, it remained in his family until 2007 when the 7th Marquess sold it to the nation for 45 million due to the cost of upkeep.

Due to its significance and the risk of the furniture collection being distributed and auctioned, after three years of uncertainty, in 2007 the estate and its entire contents was purchased for 45m for the country by a consortium headed by Charles, Prince of Wales, including a 20m loan from the Prince's charitable trust. The intention was to renovate the estate to become self-sufficient, both to preserve it and regenerate the local economy. As well as donors and sponsorship, funding was also intended to come from constructing the nearby housing development of Knockroon, a planned community along the lines of the Prince's similar venture, Poundbury in Dorset.

The house duly reopened in 2008, equipped for public tours. Since then various other parts of the estate have been reopened for various uses, to provide both education and employment, as well as funding the trust's running costs.