Lord Tweedmouth: Breeder, Builder, and Green Thumb

We struggle to find one word to describe Dudley Coutts Marjoribanks, better known in dogdom as Lord Tweedmouth.

Tweedmouth will forever be known for having developed the beloved Golden Retriever in the mid-to-late 19th century, and in that regard, he was a breeder.

Tweedmouth was also a prodigious builder. His vast structure program included Guisachan House, his mansion and the ancestral home of the Golden Retriever. It was there that four bitch puppies were born from crossing “Nous” to “Belle” forming the foundation for the breed. The property included a farm steading, a dairy, kennels, stables, a laundry, brewery, meal mill, a school that doubled as a church, a meeting house, a hot house, and a deer rendering hut.  Tweedmouth also saw to it that an entire village was built at Tomich for the people living in cottages scattered across his estate. 

Lord Tweedmouth’s other great legacy is the superb forest of Douglas Fir around Plodda Falls (usually at the top of the list for the tallest tree in Britain), and several species of other exotic trees including giant Sequoias. Referring to the trees of Strath Glass, Lord Tweedmouth wrote: “‘The natural firs and birch extend for miles, say from immediately west of Guisachan to Ardnamulloch. – fourteen miles. The firs are much more numerous on the south side, and the birch on the north side of the strath, the former preferring shade and the latter sun, I suppose. Cougie Wood is at the head of that glen, with steep hills on either side, and there–Cougie Wood—the firs are as numerous on the south as on the north.”

When Guisachan House and the estate was put up for auction on July 24th, 1935, a summation of the particulars of the property wrote that the 7,242 acres consisted of approximately 143 acres of parkland, 358 acres of farm lands, grazing parks and a village, but the remainder was 4,200 acres of forest and moor lands.

Three of Lord Tweedmouth’s trees were cut to replace the masts on Sir Robert Scott’s ship, the RRS Discovery, the last traditional wooden three-masted ship to be built in the United Kingdom. 

Image of the remains of Guisachan House and the forests behind it.

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