Ashludie, a short story

Ashludie Mansion

The Grange, a name derived from`grangia` or a place where the tiend sheaves were deposited had long associations with Arbroath Abbey.

In 1321 King Robert, the Bruce, granted the lands of Grange to Sir William Durham, for faithful services as a knight.

The Charter written by Robert, King of Scots, granted and confirmed, William de Durham, the whole of our land called Grange of Monyfoth, along with the mill of the same, to be held by the same William and his heirs, in fee and heritage in all it`s boundaries and divisions, freely, quietly, fully and honourably, with serfs, serfs houses and serfs children and with other liberties, commodities, easements and just pertinents belonging to the said land.

Witnesses to the complete charter:

Bernard, Abbot of Aberbrothock, our Chancellor; Walter, our Steward of Scotland; James, Lord of Douglas; Gilbert de Hay, our Constable; and Robert de Keith, our Marshall;

Knights at Aberbrothock, the 10th Day of May, in the sixteenth year of our reign. A.D. 1321.

The first record of Asludie, an `off-shoot` of Grange, was in 1591 / 2, when it was gifted to William Durham, by his father William Durham, of Grange.

The Charter stated that” domincal lands of Grange together with it`s mill, and fishings were to go to his eldest son. The part of Grange called Asludi, for life rent use of his wife.

One hundred years later the property was still under the ownership of the Durham family.

However, a Charter of 1627, reference is made of the sasine of Ashludie to the wife of William Durham, of Grange, Margaret Erskine, daughter of John Erskine, of Dun. At this time mention is also made that “the estate has lately been occupied by George Anderson and John Kyd.”

The Durhams continued in their ownership until 1692, when the house caught fire. Kirk Session records reveal “ John Durham, whose house was burned in the nicht and he in it”.

Old maps show the site of this house to being the area of the present day Ashludie farm. Most probably near the current housing estate of Broomhill.

James Durham, who succeeded to the ownership of Ashludie, sold it in 1695 to Alexander Duncan, who was said to have been a field officer in the regiment of Earl of Panmure. The Earls of Panmure, had a residence at Ardestie for many years.

The Duncans were also the proprietors of the nearby estates of Ardownie and Baldovie and that part of the links of Grange lying to the east of Kirkton of Monifieth/

The year 1757 brought another change of ownership for the estate, when Alexander Duncan, a Dundee surgeon, sold the properties to Thomas Mylne, of Mylnefield.

1788 was the year when Sir George Ramsay, Bart.of Bamff (Perthshire) accepted ownership of Ashludie. This branch of the Ramsay family held Ashludie until 1864 , when it was bought by Alexander Gordon, a flax spinning manufacturer of Arbroath.

Alexander Gordon

Alexander Gordon

Ronald with parents

Ronald with parents

Gordon was responsible for the building of the magnificent Mansion house in 1866 ,and the laying out of the surrounding gardens. The particularly fine architecture displays many outstanding features, both on the outside and within the building. On the front of the main house, above the porch can be seen the date 1866, also monograms on either side of the front door. A.G. for Alexander Gordon and M.L. for his wife Margaret Lindsay. Just below the eaves of the three storey building can be seen the insignia of Freemasonry and Eastern Star. A crest of a superimposed stag`s head with an inscription Anino non Astutia, ( By soul not cunning)

Ashludie House

Ashludie House

The interior of the house is decorated with beautiful plaster worked ceilings, white marble fireplaces. Magnificent even in present day use, but when part of a family home surrounded with domestic furnishings, absolutely spectacular.

The gardens were upgraded to the same high standard as the house. It was said at one time a specimen of every tree natural to Britain could be found within the grounds, in the company of many imported species, such as Spanish chestnut, Walnut, Monkey puzzles etc.

Ashludie Head Gardener 1896

Ashludie Head Gardener 1896

It was credited as being one of the most compact and attractive estates in Scotland.

Mr Gordon took an active part in local affairs for over twenty five years.

On 26th June 1911, at his Ashludie home, Mr Gordon died aged 88 years.

Ashludie[1] IMAG0034[1]

Dundee Corporation on 3rd June 1913 acquired the Mansion house and 48 acres of land, for the sum of seven thousand , five hundred pounds. Accommodation to provide a sixty bed sanatorium was added at a further cost of eight thousand five hundred pounds.

The hospital was opened on the 9th February 1916, by Mrs William Don, of Ardrossan.

The Surgical Block was originally built in 1932 as a combined thoracic and orthopaedic unit for tuberculosis. Unfortunately the idea was not developed until 1947. In the early 1970`s general, neurosurgery and specialised orthodontic surgical procedures were carried out in Ashludie.

Ashludie Tommies

Ashludie Tommies

Emergency wards were built in 1940, by the military authorities, to accommodate air raid casualties and war wounded. Post war they were utilised for medical treatments of patients suffering from respiratory complaints. Medical staff at Ashludie were considered to be `leaders in the field for treating chest problems`. The open air regime being favoured where patients were nursed in open sided chalets, which were turned to follow the sun, or wards with French windows opened to the elements.

Ashludie Night Staff

Ashludie Night Staff


Ashludie Hospital from the air, 1960's

Ashludie Hospital from the air, 1960’s

The well laid out gardens and grounds were very much appreciated by both patients and staff.

The opening of Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, initiated the eventual change over to Rehabilitation and Care of Elderly patients.

Ashludie Prize Giving 1967

Ashludie Prize Giving 1967

Then and Now

Then and Now














We wish to acknowledge Paul Morgan for sending us the pictures of the Gordons, Then and now and the house with and without rainbow.

10 responses to “Ashludie, a short story

  1. I am regular reader, how are you everybody? This piece of writing posted at this web
    site is actually pleasant.

  2. Martin rennie

    Absolutely brilliant information about ashludie house. I’m currently working converting it in to flats and great to know the history of the building and to seek out the eastern star and freemasonry symbols. A great help,thank you

  3. My Great Grandmother and Husband worked in the gardens and lived there until 1911.

  4. My great great garandmother’s husband worked in the gardens here until 1911, William Falconer,

  5. My father and younger brother, were patients there, in the respiratory care wards, sometime between 1948 and 1955. I enjoyed reading this article.

  6. I worked at Ashludie Hospital as a student nurse in the early eighties. There were nurses quarters (room, shared facilities). Best of times.

  7. Thanks very interesting blog!

  8. I was a patient in Ashludie in 1947 for about a year – I was 3 years old. I first was in Kings Cross Hospital and was transferred to Ashludie and then returned to Kings Cross in 1948/49 when the NHS began. I have very vivid memories of being out in the gardens in the wooden huts – anyone else remember as far back as this?

  9. Rupert GORDON

    Found this fascinating. I am descended from John Gordon (Dundee jute and Flax) and CJ Gordon who inherited Windhouse, Mid Yell, Shetland (since sold) William J Gordon in 1923.

  10. william paul don

    william paul don my mother was treated here for TB
    my name is william don related to Mrs don who opened the sanatorium
    nice to know it has a new purpose nowadays

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