Wednesday, 31 July 2013

(59) Aiken of Dalmoak

John Aiken (1801-75), a Glasgow wine and spirit merchant, purchased the Dalmoak estate in 1857 and nearby Succoth in 1860.  In 1866-69 he employed Alexander Watt to built a large castellated mansion with a tall tower and lavish interiors at Dalmoak.  The house passed to his son, James Aiken (1843-1928), a Glasgow lawyer, who died unmarried and without issue.  The house was inhabited briefly by one of his trustees, James Cyril Mawdesley Aiken but was sold c.1934 to a local farmer, Mr. Young.  After a long period of decline and decay the house was restored as a nursing home in 1990.

Dalmoak Castle, Renton, Dumbartonshire
Dalmoak Castle.  © Jeremy Watson

A largely symmetrical castellated mansion house with a tall tower, built by Alexander Watt in 1866-68 for John Aiken of Glasgow (1801-75), a wine and spirit merchant; the house was known locally as 'the Brandy castle' as a result.  The house has lavish interiors, including a central hall with an imperial stair, a drawing room with sumptuous ceiling plasterwork and scagliola columns, and a more restrained dining room.  The three round-arched stained glass windows on the staircase, by William & James Ker of Glasgow, depict mythological characters, including the Red Hand of Ulster, no doubt an allusion to John Aiken's Ulster origins.  The house was restored and converted into a nursing home by John Szwed, 1990.

Dalmoak Castle: the staircase. © Jeremy Watson

Descent: John Aiken (1801-75); to son, James Aiken (1843-1928); to Trustees, one of whom (James Cyril Mawdesley Aiken), lived in the house; sold c.1934 to Mr Young, farmer of Dalmoak Farm; used by RAF during War, then as flats for homeless families; then as cattle stalling until restored as nursing home by Castle Glen Care & Nursing Home.

The Aikens of Dalmoak Castle

Aiken, John (1801-75), of Dalmoak Castle.  Second son of James Aiken (1757-1820) and his wife Elizabeth, daughter of John Russell of Arns (Dumbartonshire); born at Wester Myvet, New Monkland, 29 January 1801.  Wine and spirit merchant at Glasgow.  He married, December 1841 at Barony, Glasgow, Janet (1820-69), younger daughter of John Belch of Drumoyne (Lanarks) and had issue: 
(1) James Aiken (1843-1928) (q.v.); 
(2) John Belch Aiken of Glasgow, writer to the signet, d.unm. 1904; 
(3) Jane Taylor Aiken (d. in infancy); 
(4) Jane Taylor Aiken, d. unmarried.
He purchased the Dalmoak estate, Renton (Dumbartonshire) in 1857 and nearby Succoth in 1860, and built Dalmoak House in 1866-69.
He died 24 November 1875, aged 74.  He was buried in the Aiken Mausoleum at the Glasgow Necropolis.

Aiken, James (1843-1928), of Dalmoak Castle.  Elder son of John Aiken (1801-75) and his wife Janet, dau of John Belch of Drumoyne (Lanarks); born 2 February 1843. Educated at Glasgow University (MA 1863); writer to the signet in the firm of Barton, Aiken & Co., Glasgow ; JP for Dumbartonshire.  Unmarried.
He inherited the Dalmoak House estate from his father in 1875 and added to it by the purchase of Whiteleys, West Mains of Cardross and Ardochbeg in 1888.  After his death the house is said to have been occupied by one of his trustees, James Cyril Mawdesley Aiken, until c.1934 when it was sold to a farmer, Mr. Young of Dalmoak Farm.
He died 24 September 1928, aged 85.

Burke's Landed Gentry, 1925, p.9; J. Gifford & F.A. Walker, The buildings of Scotland: Stirling and central Scotland, 2002, p. 355; notes on the house and Aiken family by Lairich Rig at; J. Watson, 'Dalmoak House'. Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland Magazine, no. 34, Autumn 2013.

Location of archives
No significant archive is known to survive.

Updated 28th September 2013.

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