Tain Museum Image Library

Balnagown Castle
Tain Museum Image Library
Balnagown Castle

This photo shows Balnagown in a run-down state in the mid 1960s before it was bought by the current owner. The core of the castle is a tower house built for the Rosses in the 14th century and greatly altered and extended in subsequent centuries. The original Ross line died out in 1711 and the castle and estate passed to an unrelated Ross family. The last of this family, Sir Charles Ross, died in Florida in 1942. His widow and her second husband tried to run the heavily encumbered estate as a sporting venture, but this was not a great success and by the time of this photograph the estate had been broken up and most of it sold off.
Picture added on 29 January 2004
This picture is in the following groups
Sir Charles Ross
My grandparents often talked about "the hole in the wall" something I have often wondered about but never saw it...
Added by Harry O'Neill on 28 December 2004
Hallo !! My name is Christin Balnagown Ross Joelsen as you can see down under.I live in Oslo, Norway.It`s so funny for me and my family to see all this old pictures of the home of my old family.We really want to visit Scotland some day and hopefully to visit Balnagown Castle. If there is someone out there who could give me some information about my old family i will be very pleased.My father Gunnar Kristian Wilhelm Balnagown Ross past away this mars, and when we cleaned his house we found some old papers to master William Aleksander Ross. The paper is dated many many many years ago, so It
s hard to read the letter`.I was thinking about taking contact with the British Embassy in Oslo, and hopfully they can give me some help to translate it. If you know anything about my family please contact me on my E-mail or my Home adress as following: Christin Balnagown Ross Joelsen, Tangerudbakken 7A 0982 OSLO, NORWAY
Added by Christin Balnagown Ross Joelsen on 14 June 2005
Hallo Christin. The museum has a great deal of information about the Ross families. If you send whatever details you have about your family to the address on the contact page of the main website, or to our email address, we can see if we have anything relevant. If you would like to include a scan of the old papers you mention, we could also look at those to give you an idea of what they are about. Looking forward to hearing from you.
Added by Estelle Quick on 14 June 2005
Hello, thankyou for this very interesting site. Can I ask about Charles Ross widow. Did she marry Wesley de Molleyns? If this is right what happened to them? I understand they sold the castle to Mohammed "Al" Fayed.
Added by Jane Roberts on 02 June 2006
My gr-gr grandfather was Thomas Robertson who was a gamekeeper on Balnagown approximately 1855. He married a woman who was a "houseservant" on the estate.

Is it possible the estate kept records and may have any informaton on him?

I know it's a slim chance but thought I'd give it a try!

Thank you for any help anyone may have.

Added by Cheryl Slaugh on 12 June 2006
If you look in at the section on Clan Ross on this website, I think you will find the answers to your questions. If not contact us again on info@tainmuseum.org.uk.
Added by Margaret Urquhart, Tain & District Museum on 13 June 2006
My great grandmother Margaret was a domestic servant in Balnagown in the mid 1890s. Family legend has it that she was made pregnant by the master of the house, and that my grandfather, Donald Ross, who was born in the poorhouse at Tain in November 1898, was the result. Given the proximity of his divorce from his first wife, Florence, we have always wondered whether there is any evidence for this story. Can anyone help
Added by Dr Leslie Ross Gofton on 17 September 2006
Hello my name is Marilyn Glosson Birge, My grandmother was a ross by the name of Josephine flora ross whom was born in december 1897.I am trying to find her father and mother And as I was looking through ancestry .com I traced my grandmother back to approx.1913 as a passenger on the ship Lapland from Dover united Kingdom, What struck me as odd is that My grandmother was living with her Aunt on the 1920 census and her Aunt's name was Alice Beherns whom also took the ship over from dover . I was told a story about a poor woman getting pregnant by a wealthy man and that once it was found out the woman was sent to america to have the child to avoid a scandal. I am wondering if possibly Sir Charles and his first wife had chldren and if possibly my grnd mother could be that child?It may be far fetched but I am really wondering as there are so many places through out time where my grandmother Josephine's history seems to be entertwined with Sir Charles and his family . Any Help would be greatly appreciated Thank you Marilyn Glosson Birge
Added by Marilyn Glosson Birge on 28 May 2007
My Great-Great Grandfather James Allan was the Butler to Sir Charles Ross in the early 1900's, not sure for how long. Would anyone have information or know where I could get information about James Allan?

Added by Melinda Aston on 13 September 2007
Hello, I`m trying to find information regarding William Baillie C1690--1779.He was the factor of Balnagowen and had 12 sons and 2 daughters.He was married to Christine Sutherland and then Mary Mackay.There doesn`t appear to be a great deal of information out there.Thanks for any help.

Added by Martin bentley on 20 April 2008
I dont know much of the Ross history but I have been in the castle many times as a teenager and although maybe a bit run down it was a fabulous place steeped in so much history. Thankyou for contacting me with the photographs. I will add them to my album.
Added by Heather Urquhart on 21 April 2008
Sounds as though there are a few of us trying to locate information on ancestors with a connection to the castle. I am still trying to find a way to see if there might be records on workers on the estate around 1855. Haven't found a place to contact yet.
Added by Cheryl Slaugh on 22 April 2008
I'm wondering if any connection to the Ross' of Balnagown. I have traced my ancestry back to Capt Wm Ross, who was born in Cork, Ireland in 1783 and married to a Mary Williams in Cork in 1805. If you have any information that showed some went to Ireland, I would appreciate it. Thank you, Karen Huestis
Added by Karen Huestis on 23 April 2008
Martin, I will be intouch shortly. Cheryl and Karen - we need more information before we could possibly help. If you care to Email us at info@tainmuseum.org.uk with any extra information you have, we may be able to help.
Added by Margaret Urquhart, Tain & District Museum on 24 April 2008
Hello, My name is Annette, I am a descendant to the Ross family that owned the Castle a long time ago.
Sir/Lord Farquhar Ross is my 25th great grandfather.
And is there any pictures of my Ancestors.
This web site is great, thank you for sharing it.
Added by Annette Wilkinson on 07 September 2008
A word or two about the cattle in the foreground. My father, Edward Laing, was the cattleman in charge of the estate's pedigree Oykel Aberdeen Angus herd at that time. The animals shown was the show team which won the Aberdeen Angus championship at the Black Isle show that year 1961, the herd also won in 1960 and 1962. The Oykel herd had numerous show sucesses, the most notable was the female championship at the Perth October sales in 1961 with Oykel Evening Star. When the herd was dispersed in 1964 following the death of Francis Ross DeMolyns, Evening Star was purchased by HRH Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother as a foundation cow for her new Castle of Mey herd. Decendants of Evening Star can be found in the herd to this day
Added by Gregor Laing on 04 October 2009
I'm about to marry a Ross & we know he is closely connected with the castle. We're trying to find more on it, it's area, the people who worked there & who owned it, etc...any help? Sites maybe?
We're also looking for FREE ancestry sites or anyone else we can contact who has a list of the generations... I know it's almost impossible but we'd like to try to get whatever we can! :)
Added by Summer on 07 January 2010
I am a Ross also, plan to visit Scotland this summer, 2012 in part to search more about my scottish ancestry.Is Balnagown castle open to the public for tours? Would love to hear more from Rosses also searching.Barbara Ross
Added by Barbara Ross on 25 March 2012
Did anyone find out about the 'hole in the wall'. My grandfather toured their in 1939 and commented on the story but couldn't find it. I retraced his steps last year but still can't find out any more information. Anyone know what this referred to?
Added by Brian on 02 April 2014
Greetings, My family has traced it's roots back to Balnagown. My girlfriend and I have flights from USA to UK in September 2015. We plan to visit the Castle, and hope to make contact with other Rosses. Any information to help me achieve this visit/meeting would be greatly appreciated. I certainly have high hopes and plans for this visit. Thank you!
Added by Donald W. Ross on 23 July 2015
This is all very interesting. My grandfather's grandfather Donald Ross (1821-1904) lived and worked on the Lubcroy land for over 40 years as a gameskeeper. I believe it was for Sir Charles Ross 8th.
Added by Donna Lynn Ross on 11 May 2017
In 1871 census info) my G x 3 grandfather
Joseph Campbell (aged 39) husband of Isabella (Ross), was working as a Shepherd at 52 Knockgarty A farmhouse and steading slated & in good condition. Property of Sir Charles Ross, Balnagown
with some of their 6 children ranging in age from 14 to 2 years old: John Campbell, George Arthur Campbell, Betsy Campbell, Isabella Campbell, Joseph Campbell, Andrew Campbell.
Anonymous comment added on 02 September 2017
Two comments refer to the Hole in the Wall. This may refer to two small wooden doors in walls round the boundary of the castle grounds. They led into footpaths to the castle, one to the front of the castle and one to the side. We called the one near us the green gate. Both have long since been bricked up.
Added by Catherine Williams on 17 May 2019
My mother Anna Munro MacKenzie of Grantfield Tain wrote an anecdote in the front of a book I bought her entitled Balnagown ancestral home of the clan Ross from a book store in Tain in 1998 which reads as follows: When the late Sir Charles Ross died in Florida his ashes were brought back to Scotland and my father and his head gamekeeper and gillie had to take them up to a high hill called Benmore which is in Sutherlandshire and scattered them on the face of the hill. Mom
My name is Joanne and I was wondering if you have any information regarding my great grandmother. I was told she was a housekeeper for the Ross family. I was also told that my great grandfather worked for them . I think it was to do with the manufacturing of the gun. His name was Edward Lawton and he married my great grandmother. I don't know what her maiden name was.
It would have been probably after the 1st world war. If your able to find any information out that would be great. I know my great grandfather came from Russia during the Russian Revolution and I was told he worked for zar Nicholas as a mathematician and he changed his name to Lawton . I don't know whether that was when he arrived in Canada. He also came to Canada with his mother. If there's any photographs etc that as survived or information as to what jobs in detail they both did it would be greatly appreciated
Many thanks
Added by Joanne Lawton on 30 March 2020
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Sir Charles Ross

Sir Charles Ross at EtonDorothy Mercado (Lady Ross)Patricia Ellison (Lady Ross)Lady Ross of BalnagownHarvesting on Balnagown estateWorkshop of Sir Charles RossBalnagown Castle