This page was last updated on 11 August 2021

Click here to 
Print this page

Biography finder





























Index of first names

Gelston Castle







A ruined Adam-style country house in Kirkcudbrightshire, Gelston Castle lies amongst woodland 2 miles (3 km) south of Castle Douglas. It takes the form of a toy fort and was constructed in red sandstone c.1805 for Sir William Douglas (1745-1809), founder of Castle Douglas. It's been abandoned since the fifties. The nearby stable block has been converted into housing. 


Ownership passed to his neice, Mathilda, daughter of James of Orchardton.  James Douglas of Orchardton had amassed an estate of 6444 acres in Galloway by the time of his death.  This was divided between his three daughters. It is said that this was so acrimonious that the sisters counted each individual tree to ensure that they got equal shares. There were additional lands in Gretna Green and in Wales, at Aberdare in Glamorgan.


Matilda died, aged 100, in 1887.  In 1871, she appears to be living with her widowed sister, Sarah Maxwell at Orchardton, which she had inherited. However, in the 1881 census, she is listed as being at Gelston with three of her granchildren, Carles, Eva and Gerald Kirwan.  There were also 6 servants.


The ancient owners of Gelston were probably monks of Iona.  King William, 'The Lion of Scotland', granted gelston to the monks of Holyrood, sometime between 1165 and 1214.


In the Ragman roll of 1296, John of Geneleston (John de Gevelston) was recorded as owner.  By 1472, Donald Maclellan of Gelston was owner.  A succession of owners followed, including the Maxwell family.  William Douglas acquired the lands in 1799.



Extending to some 4,500 acres, the estate has belonged since 1973 to the Scott family, the land being divided among family members: the Gelston end, comprising the Gelston Castle buildings and about a third of the total land area, is looked after by Alexander and Lucinda Scott.

Alexander & Lucinda Scott have been permanently resident at Gelston since 1989, following their return from the rather different environment of Tokyo. They jointly run Gelston Castle Holidays.

The Scotts live in Gelston House, formerly the head gardener's house, adjoining the Gelston Castle stable courtyard and walled garden complex. Here they have brought up their three children, Amy, Jemima and Theo, who are now more or less on the last lap of full-time education.













See also:




Any contributions will be gratefully accepted



Errors and Omissions

The Forum

What's new?

We are looking for your help to improve the accuracy of The Douglas Archives.

If you spot errors, or omissions, then please do let us know


Many articles are stubs which would benefit from re-writing. Can you help?


You are not authorized to add this page or any images from this page to (or its subsidiaries) or other fee-paying sites without our express permission and then, if given, only by including our copyright and a URL link to the web site.


If you have met a brick wall with your research, then posting a notice in the Douglas Archives Forum may be the answer. Or, it may help you find the answer!

You may also be able to help others answer their queries.

Visit the Douglas Archives Forum.


2 Minute Survey

To provide feedback on the website, please take a couple of minutes to complete our survey.


We try to keep everyone up to date with new entries, via our What's New section on the home page.

We also use the Community Network to keep researchers abreast of developments in the Douglas Archives.

Help with costs

Maintaining the three sections of the site has its costs.  Any contribution the defray them is very welcome



If you would like to receive a very occasional newsletter - Sign up!
Temporarily withdrawn.



Back to top


The content of this website is a collection of materials gathered from a variety of sources, some of it unedited.

The webmaster does not intend to claim authorship, but gives credit to the originators for their work.

As work progresses, some of the content may be re-written and presented in a unique format, to which we would then be able to claim ownership.

Discussion and contributions from those more knowledgeable is welcome.

Contact Us

Last modified: Friday, 17 May 2024