History of the House


Ben Lomond

Ben Lomond

Gartmore House has played a significant part in Scottish History. Since it was built in 1793, this atmospheric house has witnessed the formation of the Labour Party, and Scottish National party. Robert Burns has written and entertained in the lounge and Charles Rennie Mackintosh student David Barclay redesigned the building. Here is a synopsis of the house’s history:


Castle ruins at Gartmore House

Castle ruins on the estate

Present house built by William Adam. House owned by Graham family and latterly by R. B. Cunninghame Graham: author traveller and horseman who spent a number of years in South America. A member of parliament from 1886 to 1892 and president of the National Party of Scotland in the late 1920’s. The house was then sold to pay death duties.


House bought by Sir Charles Cayzer. Architect David Barclay (pupil of Charles Rennie Mackintosh) re-designed the west front, added the tower and altered the roofs. The moondial was removed in the 1950’s to the Cayzer family burial ground behind Gartmore parish church. The Cayzer family motto above the door means “Cautiously but Fearlessly”.


Army commandeered the estate and Gartmore House became a barracks until 1950. Privates were on the ground floor, officers on the first floor and they dined in the mews courtyard. After the war, the Cayzer family didn’t take it back.


Developers sold off parts of the estate.


The Archdiocese of Glasgow bought the house to establish St Ninian’s, a list D school run by the De La Salle brothers, a Roman Catholic religious order. The outbuildings were added to provide classrooms.


Developers sold off the houses.


Gartmore House lay dormant


The Way in Great Britain bought the house for their European base.


Once again, Gartmore House lay empty


Cloverley Hall bought the house with Peter and Anne Sunderland and it became a Conference and Activity centre.


Cloverley Hall was bought out and Gartmore House ran as a charitable trust with a Board of Directors, namely George Russell (formerly of Scotland the Brand), Peter Taylor, (hotelier) and Peter & Anne Sunderland.


Sadly, Chairman of the board, George Russell passed away in September 2004. Peter Kimber (formerly chief executive Scottish Curriculum Authority and Scripture Union, England and Wales) and Rev Mike Parker (director of the Evangelical Alliance, Scotland) were invited onto the board.


Gartmore House is now growing as a conference centre and destination for activity holidays.The activity centre has been refurbished to provide high standard, wheelchair access, dormitory accommodation for our schools and youth groups. The house has changed its oil fired heating system to Biomass heating.


Continual investment has allowed us to refurbish the Mews windows, the Sports Hall floor has now been re-laid and the lighting is due to be upgraded to energy efficient LEDs. Maintenance are currently setting up camp in the newly designated facilities centre. Main House windows also due to be upgraded in phases during the year.