Situated 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. 

The new 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 avenue."

The exact 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.

"Rossdhu, the Home of the Chiefs of Clan Colquhoun" 
published by the Clan Colquhoun Society of the United Kingdom, 1998
(The photographs to illustrate this web page were taken by John Kilpatrick, in September, 2000)