Estate founded by glamorous duchess goes on market for £7.5 million

It was a country estate founded by a Duchess who recruited nearly 1,000 men to join what would become the historic Gordon Highland regiment in the 18th century.

The estate was established by the Duchess of Gordon.

Now, the Kinrara Estate on Speyside is set to become one of Scotland’s priciest properties as it goes on the market for £7.5 million.

The 9,309 acre estate, which boasts grouse moor, stalking, salmon and trout fishing as well as extensive living accommodation, was the home of the Duchess of Gordon in the late 1700s.

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A loyalist to the monarchy and said to be popular with King George III, when in 1793 the army was short of recruits, the Duchess is reputed to have had a bet with the Prince Regent that she could raise more men than he could.

She toured the villages of Scotland, organising dances and donned a military uniform complimented by a large black feathered hat. Those that danced joined the army and are said to have received the King’s shilling from between the Duchess’s lips. The Duchess is reputed to have recruited around 940 men and this is believed to have been the beginning of the famous Gordon Highland regiment.

John Bound, a partner with property firm Galbraith, which is marketing the estate, said: “Kinrara offers a rare opportunity to own and play a key role in the ongoing stewardship of this stunning landscape, including some of the UK’s most sensitive and important habitats.

“The estate offers very considerable afforestation potential, and lucrative carbon capture potential and a feature of the estate is the natural and ancient oak woodlands situated on the north side of the A9. The areas of peatland at Kinrara could also be a significant asset in the quickly developing carbon economy.

“It is a wonderful, mixed estate, underpinned by good housing, farming, significant forestry and sporting activities.”

As well as the main six bedroom house, there are seven further houses and cottages on the estate and a variety of outbuildings, including a shoot room and two boathouses on Loch Alvie.

The Duchess spent some of her time in London, where she was renowned for hosting parties - which she also did at her Highlands estate.

In Elizabeth Grant’s Memoirs of a Highland Lady, she states: “We were often at Kinrara, the Duchess having perpetual dances”.

The Duchess died in 1812 and she is buried in the grounds of Kinrara House, which remained in the family until 1928 when it was bought by renowned former showgirl and philanthropist, Lady Lucy Houston. Lady Houston, who is said to have inherited a fortune from her shipping magnate husband, is known as the saviour of the spitfire engine by giving much needed finance to the government for the project during the Second World War.

She died in 1935, and the estate was bought by a Glasgow businessman. The house and the estate were divided in 2005 when the estate was bought by the current owners. The other section is owned by Danish businessman Anders Holch Povlsen, who bought the property two years ago.

In the past, planning permission was granted, subject to a section 75 agreement, for the construction of a substantial new lodge on a site overlooking Loch Alvie.

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