One of the finest houses in Strathmore.
Belmont Castle is a substantial 18th century mansion which was modernised in the late 19th century, and incorporates the remains of a tower house called ‘Kirkhill of Meigle’, which belonged at one time to the Bishops of Dunkeld.
It is the former home of Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, the British Statesman and Liberal Prime Minister of Britain between 1905 and 1908.
The estate’s woodlands offer pleasant walks and the magnificent beech in front of the castle, known as ‘Old Maggie’ is considered to be one of Scotland’s finest Heritage Trees.
The lands of the Bishops of Dunkeld were sold off during the Reformation and it is believed that the Fullerton family may have obtained Kirkhill at this time.
Certainly lands including Kirkhill of Meigle, formed part of Sir William Fullertons bequests at his death in 1618.
However, this may not be the full picture, as in 1664/65 there were several individuals including the Nairns of Dunsinane, the Smiths of Canmo and the Blairs of Balgillo and of Ardblair, all of whom held the “kirklands” of Kirkhill.
Which of these actually held the tower is not known. The Nairns seem most likely, as they sold their lands to Sir George Mackenzie of Rosehaugh, a particularly savage opponent of the Covenant as Lord Advocate of Charles II. Agnes, one of Mackenzie’s daughters, married James Stuart, later 1st earl of Bute.
In the mid 18th century, James Stuart-Mackenzie inherited the Rosehaugh estates, and embarked upon an ambitious building project at Kirkhill, erecting a “fine mansion” which he named Belmont Castle. In the process the old tower house was absorbed and probably part demolished.
In 1884 a fire occurred and a large part of the castle was destroyed. Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, the British Statesman and Liberal Prime Minister of Britain between 1905 and 1908 then purchased the estate and in 1885 had the castle reconstructed .
After the death of Sir Henry, the estate was bought by the Dundee Jute Baron Sir James Caird, whose family gifted it to Dundee Corporation in 1918.
Up until 2013 it was maintained as a care home for the elderly by the Church of Scotland.
Still in Dundee Council’s ownership, plans are being developed for the local community to purchase it.