The imposing building, standing on the estate best-known for its lush gardens open to the public and its attractive seaside position, was begun in the early 1740s by John Baxter for Alexander Stewart, Lord Garlies, later the 6th Earl of Galloway but has been extended and revised by successive earls.
The garden is full of exotic plants and surrounded by a wall built by French prisoners at the time of the Napoleonic Wars.
Robert Burns, whom the 7th Earl of Galloway refused to receive at Galloway House, disliking his politics, satires him vigorously in ‘Epigrams against the Earl of Galloway’: “What dost thou in that mansion fair, Flit Galloway, and find, Some narrow dirty, dungeon cave, The picture of thy mind.”
However, the earl is described in an obituary: “Perhaps there never was a nobleman more deservedly and sincerely regretted by so many distinguished families and connections, and by so many poor people, long employed, and supported by him.”
Lavish spending on the house and estate depleted the Galloway family’s wealth and they were forced to sell in 1908. The next owner, Sir Malcolm McEacharn, further developed the garden with his son Neil, who went on to create the remarkable garden at Villa Taranto in Italy. The property was bought by Lady Forteviot of Dupplin in 1930 and, after she died in 1940, it served for a short time as a convalescent hospital for servicemen injured during World War II. Her step-grandson, Edward Strutt, added to the garden and created a trust to ensure its future.
The house was sold to Glasgow Corporation and, between 1947 and 1976 served as a residential school providing children with the chance of an education in the countryside.
Subsequently the house had a succession of overseas owners.
Details of the sale can be found at AB&A Matthews Soliciotors and Estate Agents, Newton Stewart.