Location and Setting
Drummond Castle is situated off the A822 some 5 km (3 miles) south of Crieff and 1.5 km north of Muthill. It lies on the eastern arm of the foothills of the Forest of Glenartney under the Hill of Torlum (394m, 1,291 feet) between the river valleys of the Earn and Machany Water. The site is bordered by woodland on three sides and the minor road which runs between Muthill and Ochtermuthill on the fourth. The soils are neutral and a good loam has been developed in the walled garden after years of cultivation. The cold springs reduce the growing season and the site is fairly exposed to the easterly winds blowing up the Firth of Tay but it is protected from the west by Torlum Hill. To the east the surrounding land is mainly in agricultural use and the occasional woodland shelters the fields. To the west the lower slopes of the hills are wooded and above the trees lie large expanses of open moorland. There are extensive views to the north, west, south to the southern Grampians and south-east to the Ochil Hills, especially Corb Law, (475m1,558 ft). Other long views eastward stretch over Strathearn and along the Firth of Tay. Panoramic views of the upland scenery of the southern Grampians are part of the experience of the designed landscape and are particularly significant from the park and the castle. The beech trees, which line the A822 road and the open parkland, bordered by woods, contribute to the surrounding scenery.
The castle lies on the western side of the policies at the end of a ridge which runs from the entrance gate up towards Torlum Hill. From the castle, the ground falls steeply on both sides, northwards to Bowat Burn and southwards to Drummond Burn. The designed landscape stretches from Muthill to Torlum along Balloch and Newbigging to Dargill and covers an area of some 1,327 ha (3,279 acres).
General Roy's plan dated c.1750, shows the extent of the formal landscape. The 1st edition OS plan, dated 1863-64, shows that by then the policies had been extended eastwards across the A822 road. There is an 1820 estate survey by Knox, which was not seen during the course of this survey.
The policies are almost rectangular in shape and are divided in half by the central ridge. Just below the highest point, the castle stands on a terrace cut out of rock. At the eastern end of the northern section there is a large waterbody called Loch Drummond. Drummond Wood covers the western side; it contains a selection of hardwoods and has been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest by the Nature Conservancy Council. It is managed under a Forestry Commission dedication scheme.
The designed landscape was first laid out in the early part of the 17th century and improved during the latter part of that century. The estate was looked after throughout the 18th century. In the early part of the 19th century the park was extended and the large walled garden laid out. The garden has been maintained without a break ever since.
In about 1490, the 1st Lord Drummond built a tower castle on land held by his family for more than a hundred years. Early in the 17th century, his descendant, James Drummond, was sent to Spain as Ambassador by James VI (I) and on his return was created the 1st Earl of Perth. He altered the castle. His son John, the 2nd Earl, was captured by Cromwell in 1646, five years after the army had besieged and sacked the castle. In about 1630, before he became entangled with the Civil War, John had laid out the terrace garden, similar to the ones being built at the same time at Culzean and Drumlanrig.
James, the 4th Earl and 1st (titular) Duke of Perth, was a close advisor to James II and became Lord High Chancellor of Scotland. In about 1689, he built the core of the present house which is separate from the castle at the eastern end of the courtyard. He was recognised by his contemporaries as a great 'improver'. After four years in prison, the Duke and his family followed James II to France where they stayed until the Duke's death in 1716. His eldest son, James, the 5th Earl, known as the Marquess of Drummond had returned to Scotland to look after the estate. During the 1745 uprising, James followed the Jacobite cause and was forced to flee to France where he died two years later. His wife returned to Drummond Castle where she managed the property for her son James, the 3rd Duke, until 1750, when all the Drummond estates were forfeited following the Duke's involvement with the 1745 disturbances. The estate was managed by Commissioners appointed by the Crown who carried out quite a number of improvements.
In 1784, the property was returned to a member of the family called Captain James Drummond, a descendant of the 3rd Duke's younger brother. He made considerable changes and on his death in 1800 the property was inherited by his daughter. She managed Drummond for the next 65 years and with the help of her husband, Lord Gwydyr, laid out the park and created the gardens on the terraces. These were soon recognised for their beauty and were visited by Queen Victoria and her family in 1842, only 10 years after they were laid out. Various alterations and improvements were made for the Queen's visit.
Drummond Castle was inherited by Lady Gwydyr's eldest daughter, Clementina, who in 1870, became Barones Willoughby de Eresby in her own right following the death of her brother. She married Sir Gilbert Heathcote and, in 1878, they renovated the house to designs by G.T. Ewing. Ten years later, their son inherited the property and was created Earl of Ancaster in 1892. The 2nd Earl of Ancaster succeeded his father in 1910 and on his death in 1951 his son, the 3rd Earl, inherited. In 1933, the 3rd Earl married the Hon Nancy Astor and in about 1956, they replanned and replanted the garden. The gardens and part of the policies are now managed by a charitable trust company.
Drummond Castle Keep, listed category B, is a large four-storey tower first built in about 1490. The wing was added in 1630 and from 1636 John Mylne III was the master- mason on this building. Following the siege of the Cromwellian Army in 1641, it became dilapidated but was repaired in 1715. It was partially destroyed in 1745, rebuilt again in 1822 and made habitable for Queen Victoria's visit in 1842. Drummond Castle Mansion, listed category B, was built in 1689 and extended in the 18th century. It was altered in the early 19th century and again in 1842 for the Royal visit. Finally the house was remodelled in 1878 by G.T. Ewing, an architect from Crieff. It is a two and three storey L-shaped building forming two sides of an enclosed square courtyard and standing at the eastern end of the top terrace.
East Lodge and Gates are listed category B. The early 19th century lodge was built in the Italianate style associated with J.C. Loudon. On either side of the entrance are two gate columns mounted with urns; the gates are made of fine 18th century wrought-iron. West Lodge, listed category B, is a single storey gothic fantasy built in about 1835. Thornhill, listed category C(S), is a low building forming one side of an enclosed farmyard and was probably built in the early 18th century.
The Formal Garden Walls, listed category A, were built before 1689. The garden was recreated by Lewis Kennedy in 1832. The terraces linked by a grand staircase, contain some 50 different pieces of Sculpture of the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. Within the garden there are several other artefacts, listed category A for the group; they include the Sundial, dated 1630 and carved by John Mylne III; the Grimsthorpe Façade or gazebo, originally built in the 18th century and moved to Drummond in 1932; the Pavilions probably built in 1832; and the four-arched Bridge with battlements on the parapets probably designed in about 1832 and certainly before 1842. The late 18th or early 19th century Statue of Jupiter, listed category B, is in the same A grouping as the Garden Walls.
In the 19th century, Drummond Park was noted for its "venerable trees" especially the enormous oaks and beeches. It is probable that these trees were planted by John, the 2nd Earl, when he constructed the first terraces around 1630. General Roy's plan, of 1750, shows a large formal landscape around the castle which could have been laid out by the 4th Earl. On this plan the long avenue ran eastwards to the road and continued across it. The park was only on the north side of the drive. After the family returned in the late 18th century, the park was extended and improved and by 1800 the Pond was made, and Torlum Wood and the magnificent beech avenue were planted. John C. Loudon claims that he was consulted on tree pruning before 1804 and the design of the Loch Drummond has been attributed to him. Improvements also took place in the park when Lewis Kennedy laid out the garden and in 1824 Loudon wrote: "the grounds extended and highly improved by the present owner, assisted by his ingenious steward, Lewis Kennedy". A more 'picturesque' drive was made for Queen Victoria's visit in 1842. All these changes can be seen in the 1st edition OS plan, dated 1863. It shows the layout of the park, the long avenue along the drive and the wide ride running across the centre of the formal garden and up the hill to Arnmore Wood. The plantation of Wellingtonias bordering the new drive in the South Park can be clearly seen on the map.
The parks have now been divided into fields: those adjacent to the entrance drive are still mainly grazed, all the others grow crops. Most of the individual trees in these fields have gone but some specimen trees still stand in the northern section between the drive and the Loch. These are mainly hardwoods and include some very fine beech, oak, lime and sycamore. There has been little planting to replace trees which have been lost.
The straight entrance drive runs for about one and a half miles and is bordered by closely spaced beech and, at the western end, a few limes. This avenue suffered badly in a ferocious gale in 1893 when many of the trees, particularly the limes, blew down. A photograph, published in Country Life in 1902, shows the replacement trees planted in the avenue. Today this feature still creates a remarkable effect. Recently there has been some replanting of the beech but the new trees are growing up mis-shapen.
Drummond was well wooded on Roy's plan of 1750 but, by the end of the 18th century, it appears to have lost many of its trees. From the 1790s onwards the present woodlands were planted and there are plantations which date from about 1790, 1810, 1850, 1880, 1920, and 1950. Drummond Wood contains a magnificent stand of beech and oak planted in about 1900. The woodlands around the outer areas of the policies and on Torlum Hill have almost all been replanted with conifers and are managed as commercial forests.
The house and castle stand on the top terrace of three, about 12m above the lowest terrace containing the garden. From the castle, a pair of stone steps lead down to the second terrace. This is narrow, only about 3m wide, and runs along parallel to the whole length of the top terrace. The high retaining wall is held up by massive buttresses, similar in style to those at Balcaskie designed by Sir William Bruce. Exotic climbers are trained up the wall and an herbaceous border runs beside the gravel path. At the west end the narrow terrace opens out onto a wider lawn. Statues are placed at intervals around this grass lawn. The grand staircase, leading from the second terrace to the third, lies on the central axis from the castle to the Statue of Jupiter. On each side of the staircase the ground is banked at the same angle. Heathers, dwarf conifers and other ground covering shrubs are grown in a formal pattern along its slopes. At either end of the bank and lining up with the curtain wall of the castle and house are thick yew hedges separating the bank from the rest of the garden. The gardens, including the kitchen garden and a small shrubbery, extend to over 8 ha (20 acres).
In 1842, shortly after they had been made, the gardens were recognised as being "far famed ". The terraces were probably constructed in the late 17th century and these gardens were planted around 1832 by Lewis Kennedy. Before he came to Drummond to run the estate, Kennedy had run the Vineyard Nursery, which was known for its exotic plants. He engaged his son George, an architect, to help him. The garden is said to be based on the St Andrew's Cross. The rectangular shape is enclosed by walls and hedges and paths form the pattern of the Cross. On the centre point stands the sundial designed by John Mylne III c.1630. A large circular flower bed filled with colourful plants breaks the pattern of the Cross. To the eye the ground appears flat but there is a considerable slope running from the north-east corner diagonally across to the south-east side, and on the surface it undulates and dips towards the centre. Throughout the garden there are topiary yews and hollies in various stages of growth. Some are enormous and have outgrown their original shape, others have been recently planted and are the appropriate scale and size.
Throughout the 19th century this garden was renowned and many articles appeared in gardening magazines describing the planting and illustrating the design. From these, it is possible to see, that although the shape of the beds have remained the same, the plant material has changed and continues to change. In about 1956, the gardens were replanted and the bedding out colour schemes change regularly. At the height of the summer when viewed from the castle, the colours and display of plants are magnificent. On the eastern side, the four- arched bridge carries the new drive, built reputedly for Queen Victoria's visit in 1842. It raises the drive so that it can slope gently up to the second terrace where the Queen was to alight and obtain the remarkable view of the garden.
Below the garden and still sloping south toward Drummond Burn lies the kitchen garden. Once it ran the entire length of the garden but recently it has been reduced in size. The glasshouses are still in use. Fruit and vegetables are supplied to the house. Plants for the garden are also grown here. A small area has recently been planted up with conifers for sale as Christmas Trees. Two triangular shrubberies were planted to frame the ride to the Statue of Jupiter. Today most of the plants are overgrown and overshadowed by tall conifers such as Chamaecyparis lawsoniana. In the garden and, especially at the eastern end, various ornamental trees have been planted.