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History & Heritage

Kirroughtree House was originally the home of the Heron family whose ancestry can be traced back to a Norman adventurer called Fairuns, who came to Britain with William the Conqueror.

Around 1300 a Gerald Heron fought on the side of King Robert the Bruce, who, on victory, compelled Galloway to return to the Scottish Crown after years of English Rule. As a reward, Gerald Heron was granted the rich lands of Kirroughtree. Over the next 400 years the family prospered.

In 1719 Patrick Heron, a wealthy cattle trader, built Kirroughtree House as a country mansion and status symbol. The lineage continued until 1873, when the last heir sold Kirroughtree to a Major Armitage. The Major carried out a number of Victorian additions to the house, and used Kirroughtree as a sporting estate until it was sold by his family, and became a hotel in 1952.

The poet Robert Burns was a good friend of the Heron family and paid several visits to Kirroughtree. In 1795 Patrick Heron stood as Whig candidate for the Stewartry, and Burns wrote three Election Ballads in his support which played a part in his victory. His opponent was Gordon of Balmaghie, nephew of Murray of Broughton, Tory MP for Wigtownshire in the 1790's, and owner of the Cally Palace.

Robert Burns also wrote the song "Here is the Glen" to accompany a melody written by Lady Elizabeth Heron, and was known to sit at the staircase at Kirroughtree and recite his poems to the Heron family and their guests.