SLH Logo

History of Cromlix

There is little known about the Lords of Cromlix before the 15th century. Evidence of earlier population has been found including some stone cists (coffins) of which the last was in 1901 - 500 yards west of the 'Big House'.

THE NAME possibly derives from cram lech standing stone or, more likely, Crom Leac - The curve of sloping slab of a hillside. In 1593 Cromlixes is recorded and in 1750 Cromlec. In 1723 the castle of Cromlix was recorded as Cromligs. Unfortunately the castle no longer remains, but the site is just visible out with the Estate (now) at Cambushinnie.

THE 'FAMILY' In the early 15th century Edmund Chisholm acquired Cromlix. His son James became Bishop of Dunblane in 1487 and he was succeeded by William Chisholm (The "Robber Bishop"). The early Chisholms were senior figures in the Church to the Court of King James III, Mary Queen of Scots and so on. William II Chisholm was the last Roman Catholic Bishop of Dunblane.

The Drummond name arose by marriage in the late 16th century and became Hay Drummond in 1739. This continued until the marriage of Evelyn to Terence Eden (8th Lord Auckland) in the early part of last century and the Eden Family still own much of the Estate.

THE HOUSE The Estate had been in the family for 4 centuries before "Cromlix Cottage" was built. Partly because they also had another Estate, properties in the South, a house in Dunblane (which was part of the Estate) and Hill House at Cromlix which was sometimes used by Arthur Drummond.

Cromlix Staff
The Keepers and Estate Men assembled on the occasion of the visit of King Edward VII to Cromlix

Captain Arthur Drummond built "Cromlix Cottage" as the House was first known in 1874. From the Red Dining Room & Outer Hall east was two stories whilst the remainder was only ground floor. A turret and rustic open porch formed the main entrance on the site of the present vestibule. In 1878 the House was destroyed by fire.

Only the chapel, badly damaged, survived. In 1880 it was rebuilt to the same design - photographs show the Public Rooms to be much as they are today. The rustic style of the Red Dining Room, Library and lack of any grand staircase is in keeping with the 'Cottage' theme.

Colonel Arthur Hay Drummond (nephew of Cpt. A.D.) became the laird of Cromlix just before 1900. The Colonel completed the enlargement of the house as it now stands in 1903. The porch was a later addition. Colonel H.D. landscaped the gardens and grounds employing up to 12 permanent gardeners.

The house was converted from a private residence to a luxury country house hotel in 1981.

At the start of 2013, tennis legend Andy Murray purchased Cromlix, situated near his home town of Dunblane, in order to help attract new visitors to the area. After extensive refurbishment Cromlix opened on 1st April 2014.

Cromlix Chapel and Burial Ground


All the needlework in the Chapel, including the alter frontals and banners were made by Mary Hay Drummond, wife of Colonel Arthur Hay Drummond who owned the estate from 1901 until his death in 1953. The latter was responsible for the acquisition of the side drums one of which is Scots Guards and was given to him by a commanding officer of that regiment. The other six are from the Berkshire Regiment in which he served. He presented a set of drums to the regiment on condition that he should take them with him when he retired, when he gave them a new set. The silver mounted bagpipes, dressed in Drummond Tartan, were played regularly round the dinner table by the family piper until the Second World War. Of the family banners, two are Hay and two are Drummond; the Boar's head is the emblem of the Chisholm Family, and it was through the Chisholms that the estate came into ownership of the family in the 16th Century.

The communion plate is of some interest. The paten is modern, but of the two vessels used for Sacramental Wine the larger was not originally designed for that Sacrament. It is, in fact, a ciborium, the vessel used in the Roman Catholic Church for the Sacramental Bread; such vessels apparently came into general use early in the middle ages. The Cromlix one dates from around 1690 and was probably made in the Low Countries. The small chalice is German, made in Ulm, and dates from about 1650.

Stained Glass Window

Chapel Organ

The organ was made by John R Miller of Dundee and dates from the first decade of this century. Modern organ techniques criticise it for being so designed that it attempts to simulate an entire orchestra. To some other lovers of music therein lies its charm. The copper gilt ova plate enclosing a miniature of a female saint receiving a cross and martyrs crown from Christ and the Blessed Virgin is probably Spanish of the 19th Century.

Visitors will notice on the wall at the entrance to the Chapel, a tobacco pipe mounted together with emblems of a uniform. These belonged to a Russian Officer who, as he lay mortally wounded on the battlefield of the Crimea, was comforted by Robert Drummond, a member of the opposing army and then owner of Cromlix. The Russian entreated Robert to take his emblems as a measure of his gratitude; Robert himself was later wounded and died on board a hospital ship within sight of the English shore.

The Burial Ground which is a few hundred yards south-west of the house, below the garden square, was laid out by Captain Arthur Hay Drummond and consecrated on 9th September 1886 by Haldane Chinnery, Bishop of Argyll and the Isles. In 1892 the re-building of Dunblane Cathedral being finished, some of the stones from the ancient ruin were brought to Cromlix and put as a screen at the end of the Burial Ground by Arthur, who also placed the same stone cross to the memory of his brother Robert.