The History of Duntrune House and its Ghost
In the 17th century, Duntrune House was in the ownership of Walter Graham, great uncle of John Graham of Claverhouse, Viscount Dundee, commonly known as Bonnie Dundee. In 1823 the current house was built on the foundations of the original house by William Stirling Graham.
From 1826, Duntrune was the home of Miss Clementina Stirling Graham, Walter’s 3x great grand daughter. She was a gifted and most delightfully entertaining author of “Mystifications” and a perfect type of Scottish gentlewoman. In her youth by the exercise of her clever gifts of mimery and an elaborate “get up”, she delighted the select circles of Scottish society and succeeded in “mistifying” not only her immediate friends but also shrewd men such as Sir Walter Scott and Francis Lord Jeffrey.
“She was a later descendant of the same noble family which had the honour (or some may say the disgrace) of giving the terrible “Bloody Claverhouse” to the world.”
Clementina had the following interesting relics of Claverhouse at Duntrune;
- The marriage contract of Claverhouse
- His commission as Colonel of Horse
- His commission as Major General of all the Forces in Scotland
- His patent of nobility, numerous other documents
- The pistol taken from his belt at Killiecrankie , 17th July 1689
At Duntrune she studied too the habits of bees and made a translation (with notes of her own observations) of a French work entitled “The Bee Preserver”
The ghost of Duntrune
Duntrune has its ghost story too. A belief was common that, at midnight on the anniversary of the Battle of Killiecrankie, the ghost of Claverhouse appeared on the lawn of Duntrune, below the Auracaria tree. The following is the gist of a story told by one whose grandmother saw the vision:
Suddenly it seemed as though a cloud had fallen on everything, blotting out such flickering moonshine as had penetrated through the closely grown trees and evergreen shrubs and causing a gloom to fall on one’s spirits, and even on the hooting of the owls, which seemed to cower behind the branches in fear. I, alone, was a silent listener, when I was suddenly aroused by streams of wild, unearthly music. I listened, my hair stood on end, the cold sweat poured down my face and my heart seemed to refuse to beat from very terror. Again, the music pealed forth, wild and slow, then a pause. Again, it sounded forth in softer tones as if the unearthly musician had stopped to change to a sweeter lay and to take a fresh supply of energy. It was as if some threatened disaster was hanging over me. The next moment, there as I stood, strains of music fell on my ears and suddenly before me, under the huge tree on the lawn, there appeared for a brief moment the figure of a knight on horseback in shining armour and pale face, while in his hand shone a naked sword bedaubed with blood. Entranced and awe-struck I gazed at him and as I did so, a voice whispered in my ear in clear unmistakable tones…. “Claverhouse” Then the vision faded away as suddenly as it had come.
Taken from “The passing of Duntrune” by H. A. Forsyth FSA JP