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History

Hidden at the End of a Secluded Glen

Although hidden at the end of a quiet and secluded glen, Dalmunzie has been witness to many events over thousands of years. Today's visitor can easily be unaware that Dalmunzie was once home to hundreds of people speaking a language that has only recently disappeared. The standing stone and burial cairn near the Glenshee parish church date from the Bronze Age when people were first settling the area, and the fermtoun of Cuthil (gaelic for clearing in the forest) is of ancient origin and indicates a time when the glen was still heavily wooded.

Legends and history abound in the area, including the death of Diarmid and his tomb, the Battle of the Caterans, tales of Cam Ruadh, the mighty MacCombie Mor and the finding of the Dalmunzie sword.

1510

1510 - First Written Record

First Written Record

Dalmunzie’s written history begins in 1510 when Sir William Scott is on record granting lands, including Dalmunzie, to John Fergusson of Dunfallandy. The first recorded laird was Robert MacRitchie who, along with his son Duncan, was declared a rebel in 1584 and 1589. They lived in the original Dalmunzie Castle, which stood near the 6th tee of the golf course.

Robert declared MacKintosh to be his native chief in 1595 and until 1647 the lairds were termed as MacKintosh, alias MacRitchie. Whether the family were related to the MacKintosh Clan or looking for protection is uncertain. A detailed account of the clan history notes “It is difficult to account for the granting of that band and the acknowledgement of MacKintosh as their ‘natyff cheiff’ unless there was belief they were bound by ties of birth and blood.”

1600's

1600's - Civil War

Civil War

Robert’s Great-Grandson Robert MacKintosh, 3rd of Dalmunzie, fought in the Civil War with James Graham Marquis of Montrose in 1645 and was instrumental in building Dalmunzie up to the estate it is today.

1700's

1700's - The Jacobites

The Jacobites

The men of Dalmunzie along with those of Glenshee were ardent Jacobites fighting at both Sheriffmuir in 1715 and the ill-fated Battle of Culloden in 1746. In those days, the glen must have been very different. Dalmunzie Castle stood on the other side of the burn above Dalmunzie fermtoun with 11 cottages, a mill and enclosures nearby. The glen between the hotel and the gatehouse was heavily populated with perhaps 150 people living in hamlets and farms on both sides of the present driveway.

Lenoch-more, Lenoch-beg & Balneton were on the south side of the burn. Sheneval, Wester Spittal, West, Mid & East Cuthell on the north side. All of their ruins can be found by walking the hill dykes on both sides of the glen, with a map and full details of the settlements available in the bedroom compendiums.

1782

1782 - Financial Difficulties

Financial Difficulties

During the period 1782 - 1813 the MacKintosh family lost Dalmunzie due to financial difficulties and it was during this time, in 1790, that the minister for Glenshee made the entry that 35 families were evicted from Dalmunzie. Like many other estates, Dalmunzie had been driven into the improvement era with sheep taking the place of tenants who had lived in the glen for centuries. Dalmunzie Castle itself had fallen into ruins and an L-shaped hunting lodge was built on the present site of the hotel in 1874 by Dr Charles Hills MacKintosh, 10th Laird of Dalmunzie.

1884

1884 - The Last MacKintosh

The last MacKintosh

A larger L-shaped lodge was built in 1884, a Victorian wing added in the 1890’s and the building and estate were leased for shooting parties. Hugh Richard Duncan Mackintosh, 11th Laird of Dalmunzie was the last MacKintosh, dying childless in London in 1916. It was over this period that the Gaelic language, which had been in use in Glenshee for thousands of years, finally disappeared.

1900's

1900's - Sir Archibald Birkmyre

Sir Archibald Birkmyre

Over three hundred and fifty years of ownership by the Macintoshes came to an end when Dalmunzie was purchased in 1920 by Sir Archibald Birkmyre, who had leased the property as a shooting retreat since 1907. Sir Archie, who had received a Baronetcy for service in WW1, immediately built a new driveway, Britain’s highest golf course, a spectacular 2.5 mile railway to Glenlochsie Lodge and extended the main house. This included the large Edwardian wing, the imposing oak tower and the conversion and expansion of the stables and staff cottages into the engine house fortrains. The house was a thriving home during the holidays, with many notable visitors making their way to Dalmunzie for parties and shooting expeditions.

1946

1946 - Country House Hotel

Country House Hotel

Dalmunzie was used as a base for a mountain artillery regiment during the Second World War. After the war the Birkmyre family sold the estate to Dennis Winton, a decorated WW2 fighter pilot. DW, as he was known, transformed Dalmunzie into a country house hotel. The hotel's reputation as a special retreat was built over the next 30 years with some families returning for many decades.

The novelist Alexandra Raife was a manager during the 1960’s, and many of her books reflect her experiences during those days. The railway was removed in the 1970’s and the hotel sold to the Campbell family in 1980. The hotel was purchased in 1987 & operated by Simon & Alex Winton until the decision was made to sell and concentrate their energies on Dalmunzie Estate in 2004.

2013

2013 - Dr. Aston

Dr. Aston

In August 2013 the hotel was bought by Dr. Roger Aston. He fell in love with Scotland, and it had been his ambition to own a hotel for many years. He has implemented an extensive refurbishment plan to bring Dalmunzie back to its former glory.