stobhall header

There has been a house at Stobhall since Medieval times, but the present buildings date mostly from 1578 and later. They are grouped around a small court yard form an unusual and charming example of Scottish domestic architecture on an intimate scale.

What is so special about Stobhall is that there was little in the way of change or modernisation after the mid 17th century. What we see today is exactly as it was three hundred and fifty years ago without the Georgian or Victorian rebuilding that afflicted most Scottish castles.

stobhall header

Sitting on its rock, between a deep gorge and the River Tay, surrounded by ancient woods one is transported to another time, very Medieval in feel. The castle is also unusual being a group of buildings ranged around a courtyard rather than the more standard solid block built in Scotland in those times.

There has been a keep on the site since the 12th century under the Mountfichets. The lands of Stobhall and Cargill were granted on the marriage of Mary Mountfichet to Sir John Drummond in 1367. Stobhall became their seat until they moved to Drummond Castle by Crieff in 1491.  Thereafter the castle was used as a Dower-house and hunting lodge. The original keep dating from the 14th century is still in use.

stobhall header

Much of what we see today dates from 1578 when the great hall, now the chapel, was added and the original keep raised to include turrets and a further floor. The third smaller building we find today in the courtyard was at various times a brew house, a bakery, a laundry and today a kitchen probably was built at around this time.

The family reoccupied the castle in 1640 following Cromwell’s ransacking of Drummond Castle and John 2nd Earl of Perth built the Dowery House and formal topiary gardens on the east side of the courtyard as they stand today. It was at this time the great hall ceiling was painted with medallions portraying the kings of the world. This was said to be in case Charles I were to dine here on his visit to Scotland at that time, but it seems he did not. The Dowery House stairway ceiling richly decorated in plaster, possibly by itinerant Italian craftsmen.

stobhall header

Following the conversion of the 1st Duke of Perth to Roman Catholicism in 1685 the great hall was used as a chapel. Stobhall from then on became a counter reformation mission.  Catholic priests, trained at the Scots colleges of Rome and Salamanca, were in residence for over a hundred years. Later a monastery was established on the estate.

Stobhall was forfeited by the government following the Jacobite rebellion of 1745. When restored it passed through marriage to the Earl of Ancaster. In 1848 the chapel was refurbished with enlarged stain glass windows on the east and south sides.

The pre-Raphaelite painter JE Millais, who was a keen salmon fisherman, would rent the castle in the summers and the principal apartment in the castle is called the Millais Room. He may have used the chapel as a studio and a glimpse of the castle spiral stairway is evident in one of his paintings.

stobhall header
stobhall header

The castle passed back into Drummond hands in 1953 when it was made over to David, 17th Earl of Perth, who set about a full restoration of the buildings and gardens. Most of the buildings were by then derelict and the task was huge and executed to an exacting degree of excellence.

Lord Perth added the magnificent library on the site of some cottages to the west of the courtyard.  His grandson Viscount Strathallan, inherited the castle and estate in 2002 and began a second programme of restoration and modernisation.

Stobhall was sold to Paul and Roser Strachan in 2012 who continue the work of restoration, a labour of love befitting so enchanting a home.

Contact us
stobhall header style=

Artist: James Byatt

stobhall header

Trustees: Paul and Roser Strachan, Turcan Connell Solicitors.

Copyright © 2017