House of Dun Gardens


IMG_3214After visiting the Montrose Air Station museum on the morning of May 15th,  we drove about 3 miles east to visit the Dun Estate, another National Trust property.

Lindsay had visited the gardens briefly once before and since I had never been there, he thought I might enjoy seeing the gardens while we ate our picnic lunch in the sunshine.

We drove up the drive, parked the car and entered the front arched entryway.


On the other side of the entryway, a very nice courtyard opened up before us complete with picnic tables! That was perfect!


IMG_3218We picked out a table and enjoyed our lunch and the views while we did so.

In the middle of the grassy area was an interesting little building raised up off the ground; it turned out to be the game larder.

Oh, and look! There are garden plants for sale! Lindsay and I have started a tradition of our own. Each time we visit a castle garden, we like to pick out a plant to take home as a souvenir to plant in his backyard. We’re getting quite the collection!

After lunch, we headed for the garden via the north side of the house, which evidently was the front of the house. Mighty grand place this was!


I walked up the front steps and peeked in the window of the front door.  We had decided not to tour the house for some reason. Guess we just wanted to be outside. After taking that huge 2-hour tour of the air station in the morning, we were just a bit “toured” out for the day, and yet I couldn’t quite resist a peek inside just the same, “maybe some other time if I like what I see.” I mused.

IMG_3226To the left of the house was a doorway in the wall leading to where I really wanted to go…

Oh my goodness! What a splendid view from the stairway on the east side of the house!


IMG_3231Back down the stairs, I spied another uncurtained window on the ground floor, so I peeked in there too!

We started walking around the garden’s perimeter in a clockwise direction, passing a beautiful tall pot that looked like a basket with a tree growing in it near the first corner and then began working our way down the northern perimeter wall.

Not very many plants were blooming yet; it was still early in the season, but the border beds were filled with lots of perennials and I’m sure will be quite spectacular by this time next month. In the center of the garden were circular rose beds with an arched centerpiece covered with what looked like ivy, but could possibly be some other flowering vine.

IMG_3234The view of the house with the outstretched garden in front of it from the east wall was quite striking. Imagine the four circles ablaze with roses basking in the sunshine; I bet it looks amazing.IMG_3236

In the southeast corner of the garden appeared a little nook on a garden that looked intriguing. It was enclosed by a metal framed trellis that climbing roses and other flowering vines will cover, offering the little nook privacy and a nice little intimate space to spend time in.

IMG_3240Along the south wall, another nice little spot appeared to sit and enjoy the garden from.IMG_3241


At the end of the wall, there was another gate, which we exited through to view the south side of the house. The other side of the walls were fruit trees espaliered its entire length on either side of the house.


Like the main entrance on the opposite side of the house, the south side also had a big staircase with a wrought iron railing that looks like it will hold pots of flowering plants for a beautiful display of color and greenery all around the grand curved staircase.

The view from the top of the stairs of the estate spread out before it was breathtaking;  impressive arched hedges!


(hmm, I wonder what Lindsay is looking at down there; think I’ll go see…)


Then I walked down the stairs and across the lower lawn to the fenceline in order to get a better view of the house from below… discovering an interesting sundial.



We headed back to the courtyard afterward to look at the plants and pick one out to take home to plant in Lindsay’s garden. We also visited the gift shop where you buy the admission tickets to tour the house. They had a framed hand-written family tree chart that I felt compelled to take a photograph of. They also had some nice gift items for sale which I bought for a couple of my family members at home before we headed back to the car to leave.

It wasn’t until I started editing my photos yesterday in preparation for writing this blog post that I looked closely at the family tree photograph I had taken. I was astonished! At the very top were two names from my own family tree that I recognized; Sir Robert Erskine and his wife Beatrix Lindsay!  I double checked my family tree for the names and the accompanying dates of their birth and/or deaths, and sure enough, I had discovered yet another ancestral home here at Dun!

IMG_3256 (1)

Robert Erskine (1310 – 1385)
19th great-grandfather
Thomas Erskine (1340 – 1405)
son of Robert Erskine
Robert Erskine (1368 – 1452)
son of Thomas Erskine
Thomas Erskine (1418 – 1493)
son of Robert Erskine
Alexander Erskine (1436 – 1508)
son of Thomas Erskine
John ERSKINE (1487 – 1555)
son of Robert Thomas Mar Thomas Erskine
Margaret Erskine (1513 – 1572)
daughter of John ERSKINE
Archibald “9th Earl of Argyll” Campbell (1629 – 1685)
son of Lord Archibald Campbell Marquis of Argyll Earl of Argyll
David Daniel Campbell (1675 – 1753)
son of Archibald “9th Earl of Argyll” Campbell
Charles Campbell (1699 – 1767)
son of David Daniel Campbell
William Campbell (1728 – 1803)
son of Charles Campbell
Jeanette Campbell (1770 – 1851)
daughter of William Campbell
John Holliday (1803 – 1872)
son of Jeanette Campbell
Nancy Anne Brundage (1867 – 1948)
daughter of Elizabeth “Lizzie” Holiday
William Rose Frew II (1885 – 1976)
son of Nancy Anne Brundage
William Kenneth Frew (1917 – 1997)
son of William Rose Frew II
Claudia Louise Frew
You are the daughter of William Kenneth Frew\
Before I go home in a couple of weeks, I am definitely going to come back and tour the house.
IMG_3214 (2)I also noticed on the signboard something else about this place I hadn’t noticed before until I started writing this post. I zoomed in on the picture of the signboard when we first entered and noticed something else.
Near the parking lot, there is a path that leads down to the ruinous remains of Dun Castle and the Family Mausoleum in the old churchyard! We definitely have to go back now that I know I have ancestral ties here.
 As we drove back down the lane to get on Hwy 935 back to Montrose, we noticed a couple of little plaques along the roadside, so I stopped to see what they were.  They also turned out be quite interesting about an even older history of this place!







Author: Claudia Frew

Adventuresome, independent, and fun-loving 68-year young American great-grandmother who loves to travel; often going solo!

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