In the beginning
As a privately owned business, Buccleuch Property is part of one of Scotland’s longest- standing family dynasties which can trace its roots back to the 10th Century. We have been a significant landowner for many centuries, during which time the family has been custodian for over 1 million acres. Today, Buccleuch Property continues to be one of Europe’s largest private landlords with an unparalleled reputation for stewardship of property and strong relationships with all those who live, work and play on and in the land and buildings within our ownership.
It's all in the name
The name Buccleuch, the object of much misspelling and poor pronunciation, originates from the 10th century. Legend has it King Kenneth III was hunting in a deep ravine or ‘cleuch’ in the heart of the forest when a young buck became cornered and charged towards the unarmed King. A young man named John Scott seized the buck by the antlers and wrestled it to the ground, saving the King’s life. From that day, the Scott family were referred to as Buck Cleuch, the ‘buck from the ravine’, and were rewarded for their bravery.
Since the 15th Century, the Scotts of Buccleuch have played a leading part in the life and development of large parts of the South of Scotland.Their links to the commercial property market are traceable to the 5th Duke of Buccleuch who was responsible for the development and ownership of Granton Harbour (now part of Edinburgh’s Waterfront masterplan), as a means of exporting coal mined from the Buccleuch Estates.
One of the more colourful characters to emerge during the turbulent times of the 16th century was Walter Scott. Knighted by King James VI in 1590, he became known as the ‘Bold Buccleuch’ because of his dashing exploits in Border raids; in 1606 Walter was created 1st Lord Scott of Buccleuch and the Dukedom subsequently arose from the marriage of Walter’s great-granddaughter Anna to James, Duke of Monmouth in 1663. The Scotts were united with the Montagus of Boughton when Henry, 3rd Duke of Buccleuch married Elizabeth the Montagu heiress in 1767. In 1810 the death of William, 4th Duke of Queensberry, brought Drumlanrig and the Queensberry Estate into the family, thus establishing the family’s full surname: Montagu Douglas Scott.
‘FORWARD BRAVE HEART’
Sir James Douglas was a close companion of Robert the Bruce, King of Scots, and was present at his death in 1329. Sir James led the group of nobles carrying the dead King’s embalmed heart on a crusade to the Holy Land. He had only reached Moorish Granada where he died at the head of the Scottish contingent at the Battle of Teba; as he was about to die, Sir James threw Bruce’s heart forward into battle with the words “forward, brave heart, as ever thou were wont to do, and Douglas will follow thee or die”. To this day the motto of the Douglas family remains ‘forward’ and the winged heart can be seen throughout Drumlanrig Castle.
Up to the minute
Today, despite the different challenges facing the world, we operate in considerably
calmer times with the Buccleuch family headed by the 10th Duke of Buccleuch and 12th Duke of Queensberry, Richard Montagu Douglas Scott. Day to day the wider business is overseen by Executive Chairman, Benny Higgins and Deputy Chairman, Walter Scott, Earl of Dalkeith.