BARNBOUGLE CASTLE is located in Dalmeny Park, along the West Lothian coast-line between Cramond and South Queensferry. It is a paradise for sea-birds, and the level coast is covered with woodlands, which come down almost to the water's edge. On the shore stands Barnbougle Castle, and with it are connected the stories of two families -- the Mowbrays and the Roseberys. For 300 years the estate has belonged to the Roseberys who now live at Dalmeny House, built by the fourth Earl in 1815. Barnbougle, the original house, is just a quarter of a mile away. It came into the family's possession in the 1660s when Sir Archibald Primrose bought it for his son who was created 1st Earl of Rosebery in 1703.
It seems to have been a bad buy, for the 12th century castle was cold, damp and draughty, which put rather a strain on the marital relationships in the 150 years the family occupied it. The 2nd Earl didn't help matters, preferring to squander his money on his profligate ways rather than on his castle home, which naturally deteriorated. His son spent all his married life incognito on the Continent, discovering only at his wife's death that there was good reason for her reluctance to return to Britain: she had married him bigamously! He didn't survive her very long, leaving his younger brother to succeed to the Earldom.
It was in this period too that the Countess of Rosebery's sister was lured away while she was visiting Barnbougle. Lord Lovat of Fraser determined to make her his second wife. She spurned his advances, only to fall victim to his hoax message purporting to come from her mother. She found herself in Lord Lovat's presence in what he said was 'a house of evil repute', and to save her reputation, she married him, but lived to regret it.
The third Earl was just as reluctant to spend money on his castle as was his father, and as he lived to be an octogenarian it was a very dilapidated inheritance he passed on to his son. The new Countess felt she had suffered the hardships and inconveniences of Barnbougle long enough, and a year later she ran off with another man. Within three years her ex-husband was bringing his new bride to his equally new and splendid home, which was named Dalmeny House.
His grandson who succeeded him became Prime Minister of the Liberal Government in 1894 when Gladstone resigned. By this time, Barnbougle was a dangerous ruin, but, instead of having it demolished, Lord Rosebery had it renovated and used it as a quiet retreat to study and prepare his speeches. Within Barnbougle’s restored walls he assembled one of the finest libraries in Scotland.
Before coming into the possession of the Roseberys, Barnbougle had been the ancient seat of the Mowbrays. The Barnbougle Mowbrays were deeply involved in the Crusades, serving as Knights Templar, and, when that Order degenerated, turned their energies to smuggling, with Barnbougle ideally situated for such a pursuit!
Hound Point, on which the castle stands, juts out as a headland into the Firth, and joins together the two coast lines of Fife and West Lothian. Hound Point takes its name from the legend of Sir Roger de Mowbray who went off to fight in the Crusades. As he was leaving, his faithful hound looked so mournful and wailed its sorrow so loudly that Sir Roger took it along. After sundry adventures the knight fell in battle. On the night he died, a hound was heard to bay all night long on the shore near Barnbougle. Since then, just before a Laird of Barnbougle dies, a hound appears on the shore and “a ghostly baying is heard,” according to a legend that is immortalized in an old ballad:
"And ever when Barnbougle's lords
Are parting this scene below
Come hound and ghost to this haunted coast
With death notes winding slow
THE LAST MOWBRAYS OF BARNBOUGLE
The following information comes directly from a descendant of Charlotte Finlay, who was the daughter of Lady Mary Mowbray Probert and John Finlay. Charlotte married George Garvie, June 1843 in Charleston, New Monkland, Lanarkshire Scotland. George and Charlotte emigrated to Australia in 1863 with 8 children, another 2 being born in Australia. The source is a GGGGrandaughter of Lady Mary Mowbray Probert, whose Great Grandmother always kept this information in her handbag, and referred to it as her “Pedigree.”
CHARLOTTE FINLAY was born 04 May 1824 in the Parish of Saint Cuthberts in Edinburgh, Midlothian. She was the daughter of John Finlay (an only son) of Edinburgh and Lady Mary Mowbray Probert (the names were actually registered as Mowbery and Proverb).
Lady Mary Mowbray Probert was christened on 05January 1802 at Cramond, Midlothian. She was the second daughter of Charles Probert and Lady Mary Mowbray. She married John Finlay of Edinburgh on 01 January 1822 in the Parish of Kirknewton and East Calder.
Lady Mary Mowbray was one of the last Mowbrays to grow up on the Barnbougle Estate. She was christened on 15 May 1774 at Inverkeithing, Fife, and was educated in France. Mary descended from the French aristocrat, Robert de Moubray, of the ancient barony of Moubray in Calvados, Normandy, France. The Moubrays were the first proprietors of Barnbougle Castle. The family originally came from Normandy with William the Conqueror, and is a branch of the noble house of Moubray, which includes the Dukes of Norfolk.
Robert’s son, Philip de Moubray, was Lord of Barnbougle, Dalmeny and Inverkeithing, in the reign of Alexander II and died in1211. From him descended Sir John Moubray, who having no male issue, made a settlement in 1511 of the lands of Cockairney, part of the Lordship of Inverkeithing, on his father‘s brother, William Moubray. The remainder of his property was bequeathed to his only daughter, who, by marrying Robert Barton of Over-Barton, transmitted it under the family name to their great-grandson, Sir Robert Moubray.
Sir Robert sold the baronies of Barnbougle and Dalmeny to Sir Thomas Hamilton in 1615. Barnbougle Castle, located seven miles from Edinburgh, stands in the spacious park of Dalmeny. The castle is on the coast and looks across to Cramond Island..
Lady Mary Mowbray married Charles Probert on 02 July 1796 at Cramond, Midlothian, Scotland. There were nine children, including twin daughters, from this union, all of whom were christened at Cramond.
Robert (christened September 11, 1797.)
Charlotte (christened June 20, 1799.)
Mary (christened January 5, 1802)
Janet and Isobel (christened May 27, 1804).
John Montgomery (christened September 9, 1807.)
Philip Cadell christened, (October 25,1810)
Charles Alexander christened (December 30, 1813)
Sophia McLellan christened (June 29, 1818.)