near Luss, on Loch Lomond, the story of Rossdhu reaches far back through
the centuries to the family of Maldouen first of Luss. He was granted
the barony of Luss by Alwyn, Earl of Lennox in a charter dated 1150 AD.
The name Rossdhu is derived from the word Ross which signifies
a point or promontory which projects out into the Loch, and dhu
which means black. So we have "Black Promontory."
The date the castle was erected is not certain, but in a charter
dated the 2nd of February, 1457, there is no mention of the tower house
or fortalice, but Fraser asserts that the castle long pre-dates the charter.
The charter granted by King James II to Sir John Colquhoun, Chamberlain
of Scotland, erected the lands of Luss and others into the barony of Luss.
Later charters of 1541 and 1602, however, made special mention of the tower,
castle, and fortalice of Rossdhu. the castle is stated to be the
main dwelling place of the united barony.
It is known
that Mary Queen of Scots visited Rossdhu on two occasions. In the
next century, Sir John Colquhoun married Lillias Graham, the sister of
James Graham, who would later become the celebrated Marquis of Montrose.
James Graham was about 16 years of age at the time of the marriage, and
came to Rossdhu several times to visit his sister.
What is now Rossdhu are the remains of the old fortalice, and a newer
Georgian mansion that has subsequently been subject to additions.
There is also the recently re-roofed Chapel of St. Mary, where the chiefs
of Colquhoun are buried.
house was constructed in the 16th century and Sir James Colquhoun and the
Lady Helen Sutherland, his wife, moved into it in 1773. The house
was constructed in brick in the square Georgian shape quite close to the
old castle. The house was a two story building with six windows on
the front which faces east. There were additions made to the house in the
early 19th century. A pedimented portico was added, which was supported
by two giant Tuscan columns. Also wings were added by Sir James Colquhoun
27th of Luss, about the same time.
In a guide to Lomond published in Glasgow in 1799, Rossdhu is described
as "the mansion house of Sir John Colquhoun of Luss. This is an
elegant modern built villa, seated upon a beautiful promontory that stretches
a considerable way into the lake, and is joined ot the land by a small
isthmus. The domain in which are some excellent oaks, though small,
has a very beautiful aspect from the road. The traveler will find
the road here very romantic, the trees on each side forming a beautiful
date of the building of the Chapel is not known, but has been suggested
by some as 12th century. The chapel is situated a few yards north
of the old fortalice of Rossdhu. I was probably used as a place of
worship by the Barons of Luss for themselves and their dependents who lived
at and around Rossdhu.
The chapel was in a state of ruin for many years. Sir William
Fraser in 1869 remarked "The walls are in good condition but the roof
has long since disappeared. Below the stone floor of the chapel is
the burying place of the family of Colquhoun of Luss. The inscriptions
on the coffins are the only monumental records of the persons interred
in the chapel."
Since the property fell under care of the Loch Lomond Golf Club,
the chapel has undergone some preservation work, and the building has been
roofed in slates. The memorials have been cleaned so it is possible
to read some of the stones.