IT is believed to have inspired the name of the Canadian city of Calgary after a Mountie was hosted as a guest almost 150 years ago.
Now Calgary Castle on the isle of Mull has been put up for sale for offers over £695,000.
The detached house, which earned the nickname of “castle” due to its gothic windows and angled turrets, is credited with its moniker being copied in the western Canadian city after Colonel James MacLeod of the Canadian North West Mounted Police stayed at the house in 1876.
After staying at the castle – and apocryphally falling for the daughter of the house - Colonel MacLeod, who had emigrated to Canada with his family from Scotland thirty years earlier, returned home and changed the name of Fort Brisebois in Alberta to Fort Calgary. The then tiny outpost grew into the city of Calgary, which in Gaelic is called ‘Cala Ghearraidh’ and translates to ‘beach of the meadow’.
It is also understood that the castle, which boasts author John Buchan among its notable guests, was later owned by Major Philip Profumo – the brother of John Profumo, centre of the 1963 sex and espionage scandal that rocked the British establishment. The Profumo affair, which saw cabinet minister John Profumo embroiled in a brief relationship with Christine Keeler, a 19-year-old would-be model, resulted in the resignation of Profumo and soon afterwards, then end of Harold Macmillan’s time as Prime Minister.
The eight-bedroom castle, which additionally offers a self-contained two-bedroom apartment, boasts views over Calgary Bay and across to Coll and Tiree and lies 12 miles from Tobermory.
Built in the 1700s, it was extended in the early 1800’s by Alan MacAskill, a successful merchant navy captain and also includes decorative plasterwork added during Profumo’s tenure and a dumb waiter from the dining room to the former staff quarters on the lower ground floor.
The 27.9 acre grounds are a haven for wildlife – golden eagles have been spotted on the lawn – and Mull itself offers abundant opportunities to see golden eagles, sea eagles, basking sharks, minke whales and dolphins.
Malcolm Leslie, head of residential agency for Strutt & Parker in Scotland, said: “Calgary Castle is a wonderful, secluded property, steeped in history. It would make an idyllic home and while it offers the romanticism of island life, its proximity to Tobermory makes it a practical option too.”
It is believed that the property will require extensive renovations by the new owner.
Denis Broad, chairman of the Mull Museum in Tobermory, said: “Calgary in Canada was certainly named after Calgary on Mull. James MacLeod was connected in some way to the Mackenzie family from Calgary and I believe he stayed at the house. It is well known on the island, it lies behind Calgary itself, behind the beach.”
He added: “We don’t really have any specific connections with Canada these days.”
Calgary in Canada, which lies about 50 miles east of the Canadian mountain range the Rockies, is Canada’s third largest city, with a population of 1.3 million people. It is also said to have the highest number of millionaires per capita of any major city in Canada. The indigenous peoples of Southern Alberta referred to the Calgary area as “elbow”, in reference to the sharp bend made by the Bow River and the Elbow River.