|Boughton House. Image: Wikimedia Commons|
The Dukes of Buccluech have long been regarded as among the largest landowners in Scotland. The family estates extend to over 240,000 acres. Convert this into cash and Their Graces get a tidy 1 billion pounds as of this writing. But acres upon acres of land are not the only possessions they own. Aside from their pedigreed heritage (the First Duke of Buccleuch, the Duke of Monmouth, was the oldest illegitimate child of King Charles II), the Montagu-Douglas-Scotts also own some of the grandest houses in Great Britain: Bowhill House, Drumlanrig Castle, Boughton House, and Dalkeith House. The last is currently on lease to an American university.
Set amidst an 11,000-acre ground, Boughton House evokes an 18th century French chateau thanks to its imposing façade which earns it the moniker “The English Versailles”. The house contains a rich collection of furniture, tapestries, china, carpets and paintings. El Greco’s The Adoration of the Shepherds, Thomas Gainsborough’s portrait of Mary Montagu, grisailles and portraits by Van Dyck, and John Wootton’s Breaking Cover are found here.
Diarist Chips Channon was beholden by the house. After a brief stay here in 1945, he wrote: "It is a dream house with a strange, sleepy quality, but its richness, its beauty and possessions are stupefying. Everything belonged to Charles I, or Marie de Medici, or was given by Louis XIV to the Duke of Monmouth...There are 72 miles of drives in the park...The long view from the terrace here is like a Claude Lorrain...But it is the stillness, the curious quiet of Boughton that impresses the most."
Find out more about Boughton House here.
Bowhill was built in 1708 and was acquired by the Second Duke of Buccleuch in 1747. It boasts some of the family’s impressive private art collections. Visit the dining room and you find the works of Canaletto, Gainsborough, and Reynolds proudly hang on its walls.
Find out more about Bowhill House here.
The so-called “Pink Palace” houses part of the family’s prized art collection. Rembrandt’s An Old Woman Reading, and Leonardo da Vinci's Madonna of the Yarnwinder, as well as more painting, tapestries and objects of art are some of works of art displayed in the castle.
Find out more about Drumlanrig Castle here.
The palace was built in 1702 and has been the former seat of the Duke of Buccleuch. Some of the most prominent guests of the palace included Bonnie Prince Charlie, King George IV and Queen Victoria. The family, though, hasn't lived here since 1914. It has since then welcomed many tenants, like the University of Wisconsin, who used the palace for its study abroad program.
Image credits: Wikimedia Commons, Geograph, licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.