Originally a timber house built in Norway, this building was carefully dismantled there, shipped to Scotland, and reconstructed at the site near Craichlaw by the laird. John Logan Brown, a Whithorn joiner, won the contract in 1867 to carry out the project. He settled in Kirkcowan thereafter.
In early times an important barony in the parish of Kirkcowan, UrIe was forfeited with other lands by the Covenanter Laird McDowall of Freugh. In 1683 it was owned by the dreaded John Graham of Claverhouse. He also had title at that time to Carseriggan, Arial, and Killbochidale. By 1693 the land had reverted to McDowall of Freugh.
Always a considerable farm property, the land of the present Shennanton Estate was bought from Penninghame Estate in 1910 by Mr. and Mrs. William Loudon McNeill upon their return to Britain from Java.
The old farmhouse and cottages were cleared from the site, only the former keeper’s cottage (the present lodge) being retained.
Between 1910 and 1913, the magnificent Shennanton House, two laundry houses, garages and two further houses, the walled garden, the gardener’s house, Corrybracken (for the Estate Factor), and Mark of Shennanton were constructed. Some Glasgow workmen brought to Galloway to help with the building work married local women and settled in the area.
Shennanton House was occupied by 1914. After the war, and upon the death of the owner, Alexander McNeill moved to the house from Carseriggan. He was not there long and, upon his death, his son, Mr. Loudon McNeill, became the owner.
This castle originally belonged to a branch of the McDowall family. Mindork Fell is 306t high.
The site of the old residence is a hillock 230′ high. There is a spot, at the moss east of the dwelling, called “Clugstone’s grave. McKerlie , in “Lands and Their Owners, tells a tale of the last Laird of Mindork:
“There were until recently (distinctly so in 1830) remains of the Tower of Mindork to be seen. It was situated on the southwest Bide of the old Glenluce road from the Spittal of Bladenoch, on the farm of Lower Mindork.
From the side it appears to have been of no great dimensions. The form was square and contracted, and it was the tradition of the country, that two rows of outhouses formed the approach to the entrance. A solitary ash tree, formerly marked, and may still, the spot.
In 1830, the late Captain Robert M ‘Kerlie obtained an account of the last possessor of the tower, from Mr. James Hannah, the venerable tenant of the farm, then in his 80th year.
He stated that the last laird became indebted to the Crown in certain duties (more probably fines) which he was unable to pay. The Stewarts of Garlies, with or without authority, harassed him, with the ultimate view of obtaining the property. For safety, the laird went into hiding at the Spitall of Bladenoch, trusting to a friend, who, however, betrayed him.
The laird was seized, and barbarously used, even to having his beard set fire to, and entirely consumed.
He was then taken to Wigton, and locked up in the jail, where he died. The body, not being interred, was allowed to waste away, whereby a quantity of salt, placed in an adjoining apartment, was rendered useless.
Such was Mr. Hannah’s account of the fate of the last laird of Mindork Tower.”