Saturday, 20 February 2016

Hirsel Estate, Coldstream, Scottish Borders

In 1611, the first Earl of Home contracted to buy the Hirsel Estate from Sir John Kerr – although it was not until 1621 that King James VI finally granted the lands of Hirsel to James, the 2nd Earl of Home. An amateur video is at the foot of this page.
Much of the early tree planting and the existence of the earliest part of Hirsel House appear to have been built by about 1620.

The Hirsel was also justifiably famous for its sport, particularly it’s salmon fishing on the river Tweed, where in 1743 the 8
th Earl of Home caught a 69lb salmon on a 22’ rod and a horse hair line.
By the mid 1700s the house and gardens had been significantly developed and the 9th Earl of Home embarked on a major programme of forestry and agricultural improvement.

In 1780 Lord Dunglass (his eldest son) died of wounds suffered at the Battle of Guildford in America (at the age of 24) in whose memory an obelisk was erected close to the Montagu drive.
During the 19th Century, after the amalgamation of the Estates, the 11th Earl of Home and his wife, Lady Lucy Elizabeth Montague Douglas, carried out further extensive improvements to the Estate buildings and the Hirsel policies.

The 11
th Earl of Home was a politician – he was Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Representative Peer, and Keeper of the Great Seal of Scotland.  He died in 1881.

A storm in the same year destroyed a significant area of woodland on the Estate and, under the auspices of the 12
th Earl of Home, Dundock Wood was planted up with Rhododendrons which has been cared for by subsequent generations of the Family, and enjoyed by the public, ever since.