A house steeped in history and splendour




Duncan Dunbar, became, during his lifetime (1849-1891), the biggest private ship-owner in the world. He left his vast wealth to his sister, Phoebe, who with her husband Edward Dunbar-Dunbar, bought the Birchfield Estate in 1870. Birchfield House suffered a devastating fire in 1891 and the Dunbar-Dunbars rebuilt the house in 1893, renaming it Glen of Rothes. They only occupied it during the summer months for shooting and entertaining while spending the winter in Forres and Kinloss.

In 1892 the young architect the Dunbar-Dunbars chose to design their grand and imposing summer villa was Charles Chree Doig, the pioneer of the iconic Chinese-style pagoda-shaped Doig ventilator and moderniser of more than fifty-six of Scotland’s leading malt whisky distilleries.

Encouraged by the arrival of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert at Balmoral in Aberdeenshire in 1848, the country houses and castles of the Highlands of Scotland came into their own during the months of August and September. It was considered fashionable to escape from London, and so began the Scottish Season. Among those who took the sporting lease was H.H. Asquith, the statesman and, from 1908, the British Prime Minister.

During the second world war the house was requisitioned by the Army, and in 1948 the family decided to sell their home, asking for its name to be changed to Rothes Glen. It became a thriving hotel known throughout the Highlands until in 1998 it became a private home once again.