I am the Château de Dunans.
Built in the heart of Glendaruel, in the Scottish Highlands a long time ago, I have seen many human lives pass by over the centuries.
This is my story.
Originally a simple mansion called Dunans House, my existence can be traced back to 1590, when I appear on maps of Dounens.
At the beginning of the 18th century, I was bought by the eldest son of the eighth chief of the Fletcher clan, Archibald, who settled within my walls and set about expanding my estate by buying the neighbouring land in the decades that followed.
Married to Ann in 1717, Archibald, ninth chief of Clan Fletcher, died in 1763 and left behind two sons, including Angus, born in 1719, who became the tenth chief of the clan.
Angus is remembered today as Angus the Great, “Aonghas Mor”, because of his large size and impressive physical power, but also and above all because of his great personality, the strength of his hospitality, the pride he brought to the name Fletcher.
Angus married Helene MacGregor in 1743, daughter of John Campbell, and together they gave birth to nine children, including John who, on the death of his father in 1807, became the owner of Dunans and the eleventh chief of Clan Fletcher. John Fletcher, also known as Ian Dubh Laidir, “Black John the Strong” commissioned the construction of my famous bridge in 1815 from Thomas Telford, in memory of the Battle of Waterloo.
One of his sons, Archibald, planted fir trees on both sides of the Bridge between 1848 and 1850, including the Douglas fir Stronardron, which is now one of the tallest trees in the United Kingdom.
Of John’s five children, Angus, born in 1805, became the twelfth and last chief of Clan Fletcher in 1822. From 1836 until his death in 1875, Angus played an important role in the affairs of Argyll County and continued to honour his family by entrusting my extension to architect Andrew Kerr in 1860. Four years later, the work was completed and I became Château Dunans, with Scottish baronial style architecture worthy of the fairy tales of your childhood.
The years pass, peaceful, and Angus dies, leaving me in the hands of his daughter Harriet, the only surviving heiress. Her husband, Bernard Jame Cuddon, took the name Fletcher so that the Dunans Estate would remain in the Fletcher family.
I continued to pass from generation to generation, until 1997 when I was sold by the heirs of Colonel Archibald Fletcher. After more than two centuries in my midst, the Fletcher family is leaving the Domaine de Dunans.
In a whirlwind, here I am transformed into a luxury hotel by my new owners, the Lucas Gardener. Weddings, conferences, fitness, I form the idyllic setting of many events. It is said that Madonna herself considered marrying Dunans.
Unfortunately, this new life quickly came to a tragic end: in 2001, a terrible fire ravaged my roof and a large part of my structure.
Devastated, I am abandoned.
Fortunately, Sadie and Charles took over in 2002. They buy me, set up the Dunans Charitable Trust, and undertake the daunting task of restoring me to my former glory.
I hope you will come to visit me, discover the wild and wonderful landscapes of the Highlands, admire the vestiges of my former glory, cool off in the shade of my hundred-year-old trees.
I look forward to meeting you!