A short history of Dollarbeg Castle
Records of Dollarbeg date back to the 13th Century, when King Alexander II granted the lands of Dollarbeg to the monks of Dunfermline Abbey in 1236; the monks retained possession of the lands until 1587 when the estate was annexed to the crown.
The Estate subsequently passed through many owners and records have been found from 1641 when Charles 1 life-rented it to Charles Seaton, Earl of Dunfirmline and shortly afterwards it was acquired by a family named Scotland. In 1649 the owner is shown as “John Scotland of Dollarbeg" and in 1662 a Thomas Scotland of Dollarbeg was fined £360 (equivalent to approx. £40,000 in todays money!) by "The Drunken Parliament" for espousing the covenanting cause.
In 1785, Dollarbeg became the property of the 4th Duke of Atholl.
There is a record in 1877 (from the annual register for Clackmannanshire) of Dollarbeg as a residence owned by Mr. & Mrs. Adam Murray, with Mr Murray being described as “a gentleman farmer”
At some point in the 1880’s the estate was acquired by William Henry Dobie, a Victorian railway tycoon who had made his money in Canada; it was he who commenced building the current house in 1887, with it being finished in 1889. The architect was Stirling based Ebenezer Simpson.
We are not sure when the Dobie family moved out, but in 1934 it was acquired by the Workers Travel Association (WTA) group of hotels and there are references in that same year to William Dobie, being “formerly of Dollarbeg”
By 1936 Dollarbeg was operating as a guest house as part of WTA and there is wonderful archive footage of a holiday in Dollarbeg from 1936 which can be viewed for free here: https://player.bfi.org.uk/search/free?q=dollarbeg
At this time the Great Hall was known
as “The Social Hall” (and didn't look very
glamorous!) and was used for dances - a
photograph of the Great Hall at this time
has survived and is now framed and hanging
in the Great Hall
- a photograph of the Great Hall at this time has survived and is now framed and hanging in the Great Hall
In 1939 When the Air Ministry started to create a network of radar stations immediately prior to the outbreak of World War 2, Scotland came under RAF 13 Group and No. 72 Wing RAF was formed in 1941 to control all radar stations from the Tees in Northern England to the Forth. It was based in Dollarbeg Castle, and later concentrated on controlling all radar stations in Scotland.
The picture below is not dated, but the
tall radio mast on the top of the Tower
would suggest it was taken shortly after the
end of WW2.
The picture below is not dated, but the tall radio mast on the top of the Tower would suggest it was taken shortly after the end of WW2.
The picture below was taken in 1953 and shows the fine conservatory was still in place at that time
Dollarbeg became a listed building, category C(S), in 1977. At the time of the listing it was described as “An ornate baronial style mansion, now a hotel. Stands in wooded policies with extensive detached stabling and offices”.
In 1980 Dollarbeg ceased operation as a hotel and was divided into separately owned sections, with the land sold separately. During the 1980s attempts were made to market some of the sections, but issues with the multiple ownership proved an impediment to any solution.
By the early 1990s it was reported to be dangerous in parts and unfit for human habitation.
In 1990 the listing on Dollarbeg was upgraded from C(S) to B, when it was described by the listing authority as ”A fine confection of baronial detailing, very much in survival mode by this late date”
It wasn’t until 1998 that the whole house was brought back under single ownership.
After a proposal by Applecross Properties and Miller homes for restoration funded by enabling development had fallen through, the house was sold to Manor Kingdom in 2003.
Following discussions between the new owners and the planners a development brief was produced. This led to a planning application in 2004 for conversion of the house into ten flats, with 30 houses to be built in the grounds. Local residents had expressed concern at earlier plans involving new build, but at a public meeting in Dollar they accepted that it was a necessary part of any plan to save the main building. The application was approved and work ran from 2005 to 2008
At time of the sale of the 10 new apartments in 2007, two were used as “show homes” – one was the Ballroom and the other was The Great Hall.
The current owners, Andrew & Karen Lewis bought The Great Hall in 2018 and have since prepared it for use as a holiday home, as well as using it themselves as they have family in the area. It is therefore new to the holiday rental market for 2019
The Dobie family
Mr & Mrs Dobie (ne. Wilson, and who was from Canada) were married in 1886
Grace Eva Dobie was born 5th march 1887 and died 18th sept 1888 – the Dobie’s later commissioned a memorial window inscribed to her in Dollar church
WH Dobie became a Justice of the Peace in 1893
In 1893 – one of their two surviving daughters was born at Dollarbeg
WH Dobie became a County Councillor for Kinross in 1895, a post he still held in 1903
Every year there was an annual supper and dance for the staff of Dollarbeg, with it being written up in the local newspaper, the Alloa Advertiser, in 1902 & 1903
1908 – Dollarbeg hosted the coming out party for elder miss Dobie
In 1911 W.H. Dobie was recorded as chair of the local masonic lodge
In May 1911 – Mr & Mrs Dobie celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary at Dollarbeg
In 1914 Miss Eleanor Welsh Dobie, younger daughter of William Henry Dobie, was married to Lieutentant Herbert Masterman Hughes, Royal Navy, in Dollar Parish Church
In 1918 Mary Louise, elder daughter of William Henry Dobie, was married