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Gordon Crest on Kenmure Castle
Gordon Crest on Kenmure Castle

Lochinvar Hotel

Main Street, St. John's Town of Dalry,
Nr. Castle Douglas DG7 3UP Scotland.
Telephone/FAX : 01644-430210.
Proprietors : Lester and Iva Pennington.

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[The Story of Young Lochinvar]

The Gordons of Kenmure & Kenmure Castle

William de Gordon of Kenmure ...

The real 'Young Lochinvar' was said to be the Laird of Lochinvar, William de Gordon of Kenmure. A descendant, Robert Gordon of Muirfad, was buried in Glenluce Abbey after his death on 26th April 1548; the illegible gravestone is wrongly attributed to a Robert Gordon of Lochinvar.

The Gordons of Kenmure were a cadet branch of the family, possibly descended from the 14th century Sir Adam Gordon, becoming the most powerful family in the GlenKens (Valley of Loch Ken and the River Dee). William de Gordon would not have been a man without power or wealth. The name of his wife is not known, but his children included one daughter, Margaret, so it is just possible that she was named after her mother.

A Harsh Reality ...

Had he eloped with the mythical Ellen Graeme of Netherby Hall, William Gordon would have been regarded by the people on the Netherby side of the Esk as a Scots reiver. This was important, because the Kings of Scotland and England discouraged cross-border marriages as fraternising between their potential armies. One unhappy couple (not William and Ellen) were actually hanged in Haltwhistle marketplace in Northumberland, handed back by the Scottish Warden of the Middle Marches to his English counterpart; the worst part is that the unhappy bride had produced a baby. The bride's English father had denounced the couple, possibly as much to save his own neck, as to avenge himself for a flouting of his parental authority. It is worth remembering that the Scots grandfather of the baby had been prepared to recognise the match, so one can only hope that the babe survived.

Kenmure Castle ...

The seat of the Laird (Baron, later Viscount) of Lochinvar was at Kenmure Castle near New Galloway, the site being occupied from late in the 11th Century until 1900. Sadly, the lairdship was declared dormant in 1847, the McEwan family then owning the estate. The contents of Kenmure Castle were sold on the American market, in 1900. The Castle was later de-roofed to avoid paying 'roof tax'. The Ewart Library in Katherine Street, Dumfries, holds some documents as the only other local evidence of the vanished Gordons of Lochinvar. The documents span the period from 1507 to 1858, - sadly, long after the period of William Gordon.

The ruins of Kenmure Castle (at UK National Grid Reference NS 635765, O.S. Map 77, 1:50,000) stand amongst trees on a wooded hillock about a mile south of New Galloway, a bare 5 miles from the Lochinvar Hotel. The position would have been naturally suitable for a motte-and-bailey fortress of the mid 1000s, later offering good foundations and a commanding position for several rebuildings in stone. There is more information on the Castle in the ''Young Lochinvar'' website maintained by Dalbeattie Internet.


The Gordon Crest on Kenmure Castle ...

There are two examples of the Gordon of Lochinvar coat of arms. The one above the main (stairway) door is as illustrated. A savage or demi-savage was the Lochinvar supporter to the basic coat of arms of Gordon, which consisted of three boar's heads. Above the shield was a Viscountal coronet, with above that a baronial helmet, signifying the lairdship. The scrollwork original had the family motto of 'Dread God', which means not so much holding God in fear but in awe.

The second coat of arms is much smaller, being nothing more than the plain Gordon arms inside a cross shaped lunette in the lintel to the other (and possibly later) door to the castle in the South Wing.


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Added to Dalbeattie Domain Server on 3rd July 2000.
last updated 3rd July 2000.

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