Sunday 29 November 2015

(196) Hunter-Arundell of Barjarg Tower

The Hunter-Arundells descend from a cadet branch of the Hunters of Hunterston which acquired an estate at Abbotshill in the parish of Ayr in 1569. James Hunter, who succeeded to Abbotshill in 1617, had five sons, from the fourth of whom are descended the Hunters of Thurston House, Innerwick (East Lothian) [who will be the subject of a future post]. James Hunter was succeeded at Abbotshill by his third son, Adam Hunter, and then by the latter's son, James Hunter (1672-1739). This James also had five sons, of whom the three eldest died childless, and from the youngest of whom are descended the Hunter Blair baronets of Blairquhan. The fourth son, Andrew Hunter (1695-1770), Writer to the Signet, was the last of his line to live at Abbotshill, which was sold by his eldest son and heir, Rev. Andrew Hunter (1744-1809) in 1772.

The Rev. Andrew Hunter (1744-1809) was educated in Edinburgh and attended classes at the University there between 1758 and 1766, although he did not graduate. His studies were guided by Robert Walker, a noted evangelical, and after leaving the University he spent a year studying theology at Utrecht (Holland). On returning to Edinburgh he was licensed by the Edinburgh presbytery as a probationary minister, but he did not seek an appointment as a minister until after his father's death. While in Edinburgh he was active in the literary and scientific communities, and was a friend of James Boswell. In 1770 he became the minister at Dumfries, and shortly afterwards he sold the Abbotshill property and bought Barjarg Castle a few miles north of the town. Although he moved back to Edinburgh in 1779 to become minister of two of the town's most important churches and Professor of Divinity at the University, he retained Barjarg and worked hard at improving the estate over the next thirty years. In 1806-07, no doubt with an eye on retirement, he built a large new house onto the original tower at Barjarg, but he can barely have occupied this before he died in 1809.

He was succeeded by his elder son, William Francis Hunter (1785-1827), who was a lawyer and a member of the Faculty of Advocates at Edinburgh. In 1813 William married Jane St. Aubyn (1785-1830), who through her mother was heir to one of the junior branches of the Arundell family of Cornwall, the Arundells of Tolverne and Truthall. Although Jane's mother (confusingly, another Jane) outlived her daughter and died in 1831, it would appear that a substantial inheritance from the Arundells reached William and Jane about 1825, when they changed their name to Hunter-Arundell. William had antiquarian interests, and made collections for a history of Dumfriesshire, and this may provide a context for his further extending Barjarg Tower by building a new tower to mirror the ancient baronial one at the other end of the house.

Because William and Jane both died relatively young, their children were left as orphans and they seem in practice to have been looked after by their uncle, the Rev. John Hunter, who was minister at Swinton (Berwicks) at that time, although he moved to the Tron church in Edinburgh in 1832. The heir, Godolphin Arundell Hunter-Arundell (1816-47), came of age in 1837 and seems to have devoted himself to fencing and horse-racing, but he died at 31 and Barjarg passed to his younger brother, William Francis Hunter-Arundell (1820-89), who married but died without issue. Barjarg then passed to his widow for life and when she died in 1913 it came to his great-nephew, Herbert Francis William Wadd (1874-1956), who was required to take the name Hunter-Arundell as a condition of the inheritance. He immediately undertook a major remodelling and extension of Barjarg, which must have been planned before he succeded to the property as some of the early drawings are dated 1912.

Herbert Hunter-Arundell must have broken the entail on the estate because when he died in 1956 it passed not to either of his sons, but to his elder daughter, Margaret Jane (1910-98), the wife of Percy Wentworth Hope-Johnstone (1909-83). Hope-Johnstone twice petitioned the Crown to have the dormant earldom of Annandale & Hartfell revived in his favour, and although he failed in 1971 a second petition in 1982 was successful.  However, the decision of the House of Lords Committee of Privileges on the matter was not made until 1985, two years after his death, and so it was their son who came into the title as the 11th and present Earl. Coincidentally, 1985 was also the year in which Margaret Jane, the Dowager Countess of Annandale & Hartfell  (as she then became), sold Barjarg Tower while retaining the estate. In 2013 the house was said to be an hotel 'catering mainly for business executives'; I believe the much reduced estate is still in family ownership.

Barjarg Tower, Dumfriesshire
Barjarg Tower in c.2009. Image: Susan Stuart.

What is now a substantial and rambling house began as a small four-storey L-plan tower house built before 1595 for the Maxwells or the Griersons, to whom they gave the estate in about 1587. The strong tower (the part of the house nearest to the camera in the picture above) has original round towers corbelled out from three of the four angles, although they were heightened and given conical roofs in 1914, when the battlements were also added.  In the late 17th century a new stair tower was built on the south side of the tower; this too was given a conical roof in 1914. A datestone of 1680 now at the other end of the house, may have come from this tower. A plan of the house dated 1763 shows wings added to the north and south of the original tower, but these were removed in 1806-07, when the present main block was built onto the western end of the old tower to the designs of John Cook for the Rev. Andrew Hunter.

Barjarg Tower, showing the main block of 1806-07 and the mid 19th century west wing.

The new range has a plainly Classical north front of five bays with a taller projecting semi-octagon in the centre and sash windows. A little later in the early 19th century, the new north front was made roughly symmetrical by the construction of a second L-plan tower house, with a wing behind, on the other end. In 1811 Walter Newall (1780-1863) of Dumfries is recorded as undertaking repairs to the old tower house and he may have been responsible for the addition of a second tower, mirroring the ancient tower at the other end of the new range, since there is an estimate by him for a Gothic hall at Barjarg in his papers at Dumfries & Galloway Archives. The new tower was completed by 1828, when it is depicted in an engraving.

Barjarg Tower: this 1829 engraving shows the second tower at the right-hand end already in place.

The architect James Barbour is recorded as working here in 1864, but what he did is not clear. What is not in doubt is that in 1914, John McLintock Bowie from the same practice (by then James Barbour & Bowie) remodelled both tower houses, made large additions at the back, including a new south-east wing, and almost entirely changed the interior; the prominent bay window on the old tower is his work too.

The front door into the 1806-07 block opens at an intermediate level between the basement and the principal floor into a circular entrance hall with a simple Gothick plaster ceiling that belongs to the 1806 phase. From here a short flight of steps leads up to an inner hall on the piano nobile, which has a groin-vaulted plaster ceiling, again of 1806-07. Almost certainly the main stair of the 1806 house rose at the southern end of the inner hall, but it was removed in 1914, when a new, quietly Jacobean, oak stair was constructed in the new south-east tower and a panelled corridor was built along the back of the centre block. The staircase leads both up to the upper part of the tower and down to the basement, where Bowie created a two-storey oak panelled music room with a minstrel's gallery. The rooms either side of the inner hall in the 1806 range, the dining room and drawing room, were both altered by Bowie. The dining room has a compartmented plaster ceiling and oak panelling, and a wooden overmantel with the Hunter-Arundell arms. The drawing room has pilasters decorated with plaster swags and a more ornate ceiling, enriched with fruit and flowers. Upstairs, the bedrooms have early 20th century Arts & Crafts details, such as chimneypieces, and the main bedroom has an ensuite bathroom with a huge contemporary bath and shower, the latter equipped with sprays at the side as well as the top.

Barjarg Tower: entrance lodge and archway. Image: Colin Kinnear. Some rights reserved.

As part of the early 19th century works, a walled garden was constructed in the grounds, and a new approach drive was built. At the end of the drive is an archway with a contemporary Gothick lodge with crowstepped gables. The gates across the drive are simple iron yetts, said to have come from Dumfries prison when it was demolished in 1883. The drive is carried across a public road on a segmental-arched bridge, presumably also of the early 19th century.

Descent: John, Earl of Morton sold c.1587 to Thomas Greirson (d. 1628); to son, Thomas Greirson (d. 1646); sold to John Grierson (c.1583-1644); to son, Thomas Grierson (c.1605-87); to son, John Greirson (d. c.1706) of Nether Keir; to widow, Grizel Greirson (née Fitzpatrick) (d. 1712); to daughter, Grizel (d. by 1753), wife of Charles Erskine (d. 1763), Lord Tinwald; to son, James Erskine (c.1722-96), Lord Barjarg (later Lord Alva), who sold 1772 to Rev. Andrew Hunter (1744-1809); to son, William Francis Hunter (later Hunter-Arundell) (1785-1827); to son, Godolphin Arundell Hunter-Arundell (1816-47); to brother, William Francis Hunter-Arundell (1820-89); to widow, Mary Hunter-Arundell (née Dickson) (1829-1913) and then to his great-nephew, Herbert Francis William Wadd (later Hunter-Arundell) (1874-1956); to daughter, Margaret Jane (1910-98), wife of Percy Wadsworth Hope-Johnstone (1909-83), de jure 10th Earl of Annandale & Hartfell, who sold 1985.

Hunter-Arundell family of Barjarg

Hunter, Rev. Andrew (1744-1809). Elder son of Andrew Hunter (1695-1770) of Abbotshill and his wife Grace, daughter of Col. William Maxwell of Cardoness, born in 1744. Educated at Edinburgh University (DD, 1779) and Utrecht. He was licensed as a probationer of the Edinburgh Presbytery, 1767; Minister of Dumfries New Church, 1770-79, Greyfriars New Church, Edinburgh, 1779-85, Tron Church, Edinburgh, 1786-1809; Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, 1792; Professor of Divinity at Edinburgh University, 1779-1809; a founder Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 1783-1809. He married, 14 April 1779, the Hon. Marion (k/a Mainie) Schaw Napier (1756-1806), eldest daughter of William Napier, 7th Baron Napier of Merchistoun, and had issue:
(1) Andrew Hunter (b. & d. 1781), born 6 March 1781; died in infancy, 27 March 1781;
(2) Mary Anne Charlotte Hunter (1783-90), born 28 May 1783; died young, 21 February 1790;
(3) Grizel Hunter (1784-1864), born 15 June 1784; married, 27 June 1808, George Ross (1775-1861), advocate and commissary, of Edinburgh, fourth son of Adm. Sir John Lockhart Ross, bt., but had no issue; died 12 August 1864;
(4) William Francis Hunter (later Hunter-Arundell) (1785-1827) (q.v.);
(5) Rev. John Hunter (1788-1866), born 1 November 1788; educated at Edinburgh University (DD 1847); minister of Swinton (Berwicks), 1814-32 and of the Tron church, Edinburgh, 1832-66; married, 25 July 1817, Caroline Felicité (c.1795-1870), daughter of Archibald Hepburn Mitchelson of Middleton but had no issue; died 21 June 1866;
(6) Henrietta Hope Hunter (1793-1856), born 2 November 1793; died unmarried, 17 January 1856.
He inherited Abbotshill from his father but sold it and bought Barjarg from James Erskine in 1772. He greatly extended the house in 1806-07. He improved the estate through afforestation, bringing upland into cultivation, and lime quarrying, and the last proved highly profitable. He later made innovative use of machinery, some of which was salvaged for preservation in the late 20th century, including a water-wheel at the Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh.
He died in Edinburgh, 21/22 April 1809; his will was proved in the PCC, 21 August 1809. His wife died 9 October 1806.

Hunter (later Hunter-Arundell), William Francis (1785-1827). Second but older surviving son of Rev. Andrew Hunter (1744-1809) of Barjarg and his wife, the Hon. Mainie Schaw Napier, eldest daughter of William Napier, 7th Baron Napier of Merchistoun, born 30 July 1785. Educated at Edinburgh University (admitted 1804). Advocate; also an antiquarian who made collections for a history of Dumfriesshire. He and his family took the additional name of Arundell in 1825. He married, 13 November 1813, Jane (1785-1830), daughter and eventually heiress of Francis St. Aubyn (d. 1810) of Stoke Damerel (Devon) and his wife Jane Arundell (c.1753-1831), co-heiress of the Arundells of Tolverne and Truthall in Cornwall and after her husband's death senior partner in a Cornish bank, and had issue:
(1) Frances St. Aubyn Hunter-Arundell (1814-86), baptised 29 October 1814; married, 4 December 1835 at South Leith, Edinburgh, Rev. William Murray of Salcombe (Devon) and had issue two daughters; died in Devon, Oct-Dec 1886;
(2) Marianne Schaw Napier Hunter-Arundell (1815-87) (q.v.);
(3) Godolphin Arundell Hunter-Arundell (1816-47), born 9 August and baptised 14 September 1816; educated at Edinburgh Academy and Edinburgh University; inherited the Barjarg estate from his father in 1827 but died unmarried at Torquay (Devon), 4 July 1847;
(4) Jane Arundell Hunter (b. & d. 1817), baptised 5 October 1817 but died in infancy, 31 October 1817;
(5) Jane Arundell Hunter-Arundell (1819-30), born 19 March and baptised 28 April 1819; buried at Swinton (Berwicks), 20 April 1830;
(6) William Francis Hunter-Arundell (1820-89) (q.v.);
(7) An unnamed daughter, born and died, 27 August 1822.
He inherited the Barjarg estate from his father in 1809, and must have been responsible for extending the house further by the addition of the second tower.
He died 22 April 1827; his will was registered in the PCC, 9 August 1828 and in Scotland, 13 July 1829. His widow died 21 January 1830; her will was proved in Scotland, 10 August 1830 (effects £1,791).

Hunter-Arundell, William Francis (1820-89). Second son of William Francis Hunter (later Hunter-Arundell) (1785-1827) and his wife Jane, daughter and eventual heiress of Francis St. Aubyn of Stoke Damerel (Devon), born 16 June and baptised 8 July 1820. Educated at Edinburgh Academy and Edinburgh University. JP and DL for Dumfriesshire. He married, 20 September 1849 at Hartree House (Peebles), Mary (1829-1913), eldest surviving daughter of David Dickson of Kilbucho and Hartree, but had no issue.
He inherited the Barjarg estate from his elder brother in 1847. At his death the estate passed to his widow for life and then to his great-nephew, Herbert Francis William Wadd on condition that he adopted the name and arms of Hunter-Arundell.
He died in London, 27 April 1889; his will was proved 29 August 1889 (effects £11,308). His widow died 4 July 1913; her will was proved 30 April 1914 (effects £1,978).

Hunter-Arundell, Marianne Schaw Napier (1815-87). Eldest daughter of William Francis Hunter (later Hunter-Arundell) (1785-1827) and his wife Jane, daughter and eventual heiress of Francis St. Aubyn of Stoke Damerel (Devon), born 8 August and baptised at Dumfries, 13 September 1815. She married, 18 November 1835 at the Tron church, Edinburgh, William Arthur Woodcock (d. by 1858), wine merchant, of Edinburgh (who was sequestrated* in 1839), and had issue:
(1) Jane Arundell Woodcock (1836-97), born 4 September and baptised 24 November 1836; married, 17 June 1858 at St John's chapel, Edinburgh, George Culley CB (1834-93) of Fowberry Tower (Northbld) and had issue one daughter; died 3 August 1897; will proved 9 September 1897 (effects £5,716);
(2) Alexander Francis Woodcock (b. 1838), born at South Leith (Midlothian), 5 March 1838; died before 1887 (some Internet sources say he died in 1870 but I have been unable to confirm this);
(3) Amy Woodcock (b. 1839), born 28 September and baptised 28 October 1839; died young before 1887;
(4) Mary Frances Elizabeth Woodcock (1846-88) (q.v.);
(5) Arthur Godolphin Woodcock (b. 1848), born near Newton Abbot (Devon), Jan-Mar 1848; died before 1887 (some Internet sources say he died in 1871 but I have been unable to confirm this).
She lived in Edinburgh in the 1830s; seems to have moved to Torquay after her husband's bankruptcy; after his death she lived with her uncle in Edinburgh and later with her daughter in St. Leonards (Sussex).
She died 9 June 1887. Her husband died before 1858.
* The Scottish term for bankruptcy.

Woodcock, Mary Frances Elizabeth (1846-88). Youngest daughter of William Arthur Woodcock and his wife Marianne Schaw Napier, eldest daughter of William Francis Hunter (later Hunter-Arundell) of Barjarg, born at Marychurch (Devon), Apr-Jun 1846. She married, Jan-Mar 1873 at Hastings (Sussex), Thomas Herbert Wadd MRCSE (1838-1918), surgeon, son of Thomas Milner Wadd of London, surgeon, and had issue:
(1) Herbert Francis William Wadd (later Hunter-Arundell) (1874-1956) (q.v.);
(2) Arthur St. Aubyn Wadd (1878-1960), born 27 October 1878; undertook an architectural pupillage in Oxford, c.1901 but seems never to have qualified as an architect; he later worked as a market gardener at Haywards Heath (Sussex); died 18 December 1960; will proved 11 April 1961 (estate £3,506).
She lived in St. Leonards (Sussex).
She died in Oct-Dec 1888. Her husband died 23 March 1918; his will was proved 7 June 1918 (estate £541).

Wadd (later Hunter-Arundell), Herbert Francis William (1874-1956). Son of Thomas Herbert Wadd of Barjarg and his wife Mary Frances Elizabeth, daughter of William A. Woodcock of Barjarg, born 1874. Captain in Kings Own Scottish Borderers from 1915; JP for Dumfriesshire. He changed his name to Hunter-Arundell in 1913 as directed in the will of his great-uncle, after succeeding to Barjarg. He married, 9 August 1906 at Lockerbie (Dumfries), Elizabeth Agnes (1881-1952), daughter of James Jardine Paterson of Balgray (Dumfries) and had issue:
(1) William Francis Wadd (later Hunter-Arundell) (1907-83), born 4 May 1907; a keen and low-handicap golfer in the 1930s; died 1983;
(2) Elizabeth Mary Wadd (later Hunter-Arundell) (1909-87), born 7 November 1909; Dumfriesshire County Secretary of Women's Royal Voluntary Service; MBE 1951; died unmarried, 1987;
(3) Margaret Jane Wadd (later Hunter-Arundell) (1910-98), de jure Countess of Annandale & Hartfell (q.v.);
(4) James Jardine Wadd (later Hunter-Arundell then Hunter-Paterson) (1911-76) of Spreakfield, Frensham (Surrey), born 27 November 1911; educated at Cheltenham College; an officer in King's Own Scottish Borderers (2nd Lt., 1935; Capt by 1941); married 1st, 9 May 1941 (div. 1949), Frances Cordelia (k/a Nancy), younger daughter of Maj. Sir Harmood Harmood-Banner, 2nd bt., of Boughrood Castle (Radnors) and 2nd, 10 June 1949, Penelope Ann (1921-99), daughter of Capt. P.G.A. Harvey of London; died 30 April 1976; will proved 8 December 1976 (estate £91,133).
He inherited Barjarg on the death of his great-aunt in 1913 and remodelled the house in 1913-14.
He died 28 July 1956; his will was proved in Scotland and sealed in London, 10 December 1956. His wife died 21 February 1952; her will was proved in Scotland and sealed in London, 10 May 1952.

Hunter-Arundell, Margaret Jane (1910-98), de jure Countess of Annandale & Hartfell. Younger daughter of Herbert Francis William Wadd (later Hunter-Arundell) and his wife Elizabeth Agnes Paterson, born 18 November 1910. Educated at St. Monica's School, Surrey. A keen amateur tennis player (as Peggy Hunter-Arundell), who in 1934 beat the reigning Scottish champion. Served in WW2 as an ATS ambulance driver, and after the war worked for the Women's Royal Voluntary Service and was a Girl Guides Commissioner; Chairman of Dumfriesshire Conservative & Unionist Association for three years. She married, 26 July 1940, as his second wife, Percy Wentworth Hope-Johnstone (1909-83), de jure 10th Earl of Annandale and Hartfell, and had issue:
(1) Patrick Andrew Wentworth Hope-Johnstone, 11th Earl of Annandale & Hartfell (b. 1941), born 19 April 1941; successfully claimed the dormant earldom of Annandale and Hartfell*, 1985; married, 23 August 1969, Susan Josephine, only daughter of Col. Walter John Macdonald Ross of Castle Douglas (Dumfriess) and had issue one son and one daughter;
(2) Lady Eileen Elizabeth Hope-Johnstone (b. 1948), born 3 October 1948; married, 1969, Andrew Walter Bryce Duncan, son of Sir Arthur Bryce Duncan and had issue three sons.
She inherited Barjarg from her father but sold it in 1985.
She died 5 May 1998. Her husband died 5 April 1983.
* The claim was lodged by his father in 1982 but not determined until after his father's death. A previous claim to the same titles on different grounds in 1971 was unsuccessful.

Burke's Landed Gentry, 1898, i, pp. 32-33; J. Gifford, The buildings of Scotland: Dumfries and Galloway, 1996, pp. 120-22; A.M.T. Maxwell-Irving, The border towers of Scotland 2: their evolution and architecture, 2015, pp. 144-45; ODNB entry on Rev. Prof. Andrew Hunter.

Location of archives
Hunter and Hunter-Arundell family of Barjarg Tower: deeds and estate papers, 1410-19th cent. [National Records of Scotland, GD78, GD298]; deeds, estate and family papers, 1585-20th cent. [Private collection: enquiries to National Register of Archives for Scotland]
Hunter-Arundell, William Francis (1785-1827): collections for a history of Dumfriesshire [Dumfries & Galloway Archives, EGD/28]

Coat of arms
Hunter of Barjarg: Vert three collars or, on a chief indented argent as many hunting horns of the first, garnished and stringed gules, within a bordure argent, charged with four roses or, barbed vert.
Hunter-Arundell of Barjarg: Quarterly, 1st and 4th, sable, six swallows argent, a crescent for difference; 2nd and 3rd, vert, three collars or on a chief indented argent three hunting horns of the first stringed and tipped gules, a bordure argent, charged with four roses gules, barbed vert.

Can you help?
Here are a few notes about information and images which would help to improve the account above. If you can help with any of these or with other additions or corrections, please use the contact form in the sidebar to get in touch.

  • Can anyone confirm whether the Barjarg estate (as opposed to the house) still belongs to the family, or say any more about the current use of the house, which for an hotel seems to be curiously invisible online?
  • Are you able to supply images of portraits or photographs of any of the owners of Barjarg named in the genealogy above?
  • A considerable number of the basic genealogical details (births/baptisms; deaths/burials) for this family have not been traced in the records, although in some cases they are given in normally reliable secondary sources. If you can supply any of the missing information, please get in touch.

Revision and acknowledgements
This post was first published 29th November 2015.


  1. Sir,
    With regard to the more recent use/ ownership of Barjarg:

    'Scotland' (1991, Bantam Travel Books) has the following listing- 'Barjarg Tower Hotel, Auldgirth, Dumfries and Galloway DG2 OTN; tel. (0848) 31545. The only word for this country-house hotel is "magnificent." Ensconced on a hilltop and surrounded by 40 acres of woodland and lawn in Nithsdale...'

    In 'White Settlers: The Impact of Rural Repopulation in Scotland' (2013), the following is stated: 'Barjarg Tower, the Barjarg estate's 'big house', is now a hotel, catering mainly for business executives. The landowner lives a few hundred yards away in a place called Newhall. where he farms. The Barjarg estate itself now comprises just two tenant farms, 'Netherkeir' (dairy cattle and sheep) and 'Glenlough' (hill cattle and sheep).'

    1. Thank you. The second reference I had seen, but not the first. I wonder if the hotel is still functioning?

    2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Very interesting, I currently researching Barjang Tower in order to create a plan showing the various extensions/demolitions over the years. I'm interested to hear of the plan of the house dated 1763. I don't suppose you can recall which archive this plan is in?

    1. Sorry - it is not something I have seen personally. I found it referred to in one of the accounts of the house which I read, but I have not been able to locate this reference again. I would suggest you contact the National Register of Archives for Scotland and see if they can help you identify it.


Please leave a comment if you have any additional information or corrections to offer, or if you are able to help with additional images of the people or buildings in this post.