History of the House

 

A Dower House

 

On a Scottish, English or Welsh estate, a Dower House is usually a moderately large house available for use by the widow of the previous owner of the estate. The widow, often known as the "Dowager", usually moves into the Dower House from the larger family house on the death of her husband if the heir is married, and upon his marriage if he was single at his succession. The new heir occupies the now vacated principal house.

The Dower House might also be occupied by an elder son after his marriage.

Examples

 

​The British royal family maintains a Dower House in London as well as one in the country.

 

Well-known royal Dower houses in London have included:

 

Clarence House

Marlborough House

Buckingham Palace

(18th Century, then known as "Buckingham House.")

​Frogmore House

(has served as Windsor Castle's Dower House)

Byfleet Manor, in Surrey, served as the filming location of the Dower House

in the television series Downton Abbey.

Eliock Dower House.....

 

......as pictured above, was built in 1910. Since the 1930s it has been occupied by private individuals unrelated to those living at Eliock House.

 

Eliock House (the neighbouring mansion of the Dower House) is said to be the birthplace of James Crichton - commonly known as 'the Admirable Crichton', a polymath, highly skilled in languages, the arts, and sciences - who was murdered in 1582 at the age of 21 in Mantua, Lombardy, Italy.

While James was in the employ of the Duke of Mantua, Vincenzo Gonzaga (the Dukes son) became hugely jealous of him, probably from a combination of his father's strong regard for the young prodigy as well as James replacing Vincenzo as the lover of the prince's former mistress.

On the night of 3 July 1582, after leaving this lady's dwelling in Mantua, James was attacked in the street by a gang of masked ruffians. He bested all but one with his sword, until the last man removed his mask to reveal the group's ringleader, Vincenzo Gonzaga himself. Tradition holds that, on seeing Vincenzo, James instantly dropped to one knee and presented his sword, hilt first, to the prince, his master's son. Vincenzo took the blade and with it stabbed James cruelly through the heart, killing him instantly. James Crichton was then only in his twenty-second year.

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Eliock Dower House, Eliock, Sanquhar,

Dumfries & Galloway DG4 6LD

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