History of Castlewigg

The lands of Wigg were owned by Candida Casa or White House (later became Whithorn) which was the first church in Scotland, established by St. Ninian, thought to have been in the fourth or fifth century.


In the 16th century, after the reformation, the lands of Wigg were sold to Patrick Vans of Barnbarroch, they then passed to his son John, and were sold again to Archibald Stewart of Tonderghie in 1584. Archibald Stewart built a Tower or Castle of Wigg in the late 16th century, and a heraldic stone panel above the original castle doorway is dated 1593, and bears the initials of A.S. (Archibald Stewart) and H.M.K. (his wife Helen McKerlie).


The lands became known as Castlewigg around 1600. In 1641 Patrick Agnew of Barmeil bought the lands. His daughter and heir married William Agnew of Lochnaw, and their son William Agnew succeeded in 1695. During this time the Estate was one of the principle residences of the parish, with 12 farms on the estate. From 1722 the gardens were planted with trees, and became the best example of 18th century plantation in the region, with beech, oak, ash and fir trees. The grandnephew of William Agnew, Hugh Hathorn was next succeeding to Castlewigg. So the families of Stewart, Agnew and Hathorn were interwoven by marriage.


The original Castle of Wigg was incorporated into a larger manor house, Castlewigg House, during the last quarter of the 18th century, by Hugh Hathorn’s son, Captain John Hathorn. He married Catherine Maxwell of Monreith Estate, but they had no children, so the estate passed to his sister Anne, who married Henry Fletcher-Campbell. Their son John succeeded to Castlewigg, and changed his name to John Hathorn. He was succeeded by his son John in 1888.

Castlewigg Cottage (now known as Castlewigg Lodge) was built as Dower House to Castlewigg House, around 1840, and must have been built by John Hathorn for his then widowed mother, Anne.

The Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert Eustace Maxwell, 7th Baronet of Monreith (1845-1937) lived here in Castlewigg Lodge after he was married at the age of 21 in 1869. His wife was Mary Fletcher -Campbell of Boquhan in Stirlingshire; the Castlewigg Estate belonged to her brother John. They had two children, Ann Christian Maxwell (5 September 1871 – 5 April 1937), wife of Sir John Stirling-Maxwell, 10th Baronet, and Lt. Col. Aymer Edward Maxwell, (26 October 1877 – he died from wounds in World War I, 9 October 1914). Aymer Maxwell married Lady Mary Percy, daughter of Henry Percy, 7th Duke of Northumberland and they had one daughter and three sons, one of which was the naturalist and author, Gavin Maxwell.

Sir Herbert Eustace Maxwell was a novelist, essayist, horticulturalist and Conservative politician who was elected Member of Parliament for Wigtownshire in the 1880 general election and held the seat until 1906. He was Lord Lieutenant of Wigtown from 1903 to 1935. When he inherited the Monrieth Estate after his father Sir William Maxwell died in 1877, he moved back to his family home, Monreith House, where he had lived from the age of seven.


This memorial to his Grandson, the author of Ring of Bright Water, Gavin Maxwell can be seen overlooking St Medan’s Bay near Monreith.

In 1905 Castlewigg House and estate were offered for sale; within the ‘Particulars’ is listed Castlewigg Cottage:

‘The dower house, known as Castlewigg Cottage, is situated at the Whithorn Entrance to the policies, and stands within its own grounds, with garden attached. It contains Dining Room, Drawing Room, Hall, Business Room, six bedrooms, Kitchen, Scullery, Servant’s Hall, Servants’ Bedrooms, Butler’s Pantry, Lamp Room, two W.C.’s, Wine Cellars, etc. Adjoining are two Coach Houses, two Loose Boxes, newly erected, Four-stalled Stable, Harness Room and other offices, and two Coachman’s Rooms. The Water supply is good, and the sanitary Arrangements in order. The Cottage Policies extend to about 2 ½ acres, and include the Gardens and a small field.’

The estate was split up, and Major John Pender bought part of the estate of Castlewigg in 1922 including Castlewigg House, and he owned it when it was destroyed by fire in 1933.


He and his family lived at The Grapes Hotel in Whithorn after the fire. A neighbouring farmer Mr James McGeoch bought the farmland in 1948, and built the 'new' Castlewigg Farmhouse in 1953.

Around 1949 a licence to sell alcohol at Castlewigg Cottage was granted and it became an hotel known as Castlewigg Farm Hotel, with a small herd of cows, pigs and hens. It was bought by ex pats Mr and Mrs N Robertson on their return from India.

In 1952 Mr and Mrs Cowie family bought the hotel, and offered ‘Farm Holidays’ for English holiday makers during July and August. A pony ride on their son Ian's pony was one of the attractions.

Mr Cowie grew produce for the hotel in the garden (the walled garden wall can still be seen, though sadly not the garden) the hens produced enough eggs for surplus to be sold to the local egg grading station, and excess milk was sold to the creamery.

The Cowie’s son Ian had a dairy herd here from 1959 with 8 cows, producing up to 30 gallons of milk per day. Castlewigg Farm Hotel was at that time used for wedding parties and other functions; apparently weddings would often end in a fight! The bar was also open at weekends for local farmers. I am grateful to Ian Cowie for providing me with so much detail about this period in the history of our home, and sharing these beautiful photographs from this period. He told me that his parents sold the property in 1960, and I believe this was to Mr and Mrs RH Heslop, whose son Phil has also kindly provided me with some insight into the history of both Castlewigg Lodge and Castlewigg House.


We found this leaflet dating from the time Mr and Mrs Heslop owned the property, behind the bar shortly after moving in. A double room with breakfast was 55 shillings, about £2.50!

The bar and cellar extension were built during the 1960’s and the large guest dining/lounge was to accommodate annual staff functions from the local agricultural merchants at Baldoon. I gather some of the land and outbuildings were sold off at this time; it seems likely that the caravan park was created soon after (in the walled garden.)


I believe RA Shedden Brown was the next owner, but then there is a gap in my knowledge until around 2004 when John and Julie Senior bought the property. They changed the use of the building back to residential, and were probably responsible for changing the name to Castlewigg Lodge (as the adjoining property was bought by their niece, and became Castlewigg Cottage, next door) they offered Bed and Breakfast accommodation here. My husband Bob and I bought Castlewigg Lodge from them in January 2014.


We have started to renovate parts of the house and found this Bell Crank for summoning the servants, under the floorboards in Primrose double room.

We also found a livery button which would have been from the uniform of a servant, under the floorboards at the front door. We were able to identify the button was made by G Boggett of St Martins Lane, London, between 1824-1835. The initials on the front look like RA or KA, would have been the initials of the household the servant worked for, so we are thinking this could have been Agnew?