The Dun Estate was home to the Erskine (later Kennedy-Erskine) family from 1375 until 1980. John Erskine of Dun was a key figure in the Scottish Reformation. The current house was designed by William Adam and was finished in 1743. There is elaborate plaster-work by Joseph Enzer, principally and most elaborately in the saloon. The house replaced the original 14th century Tower House to the west when David Erskine, Lord Dun, the 13th Laird of Dun, an Edinburgh lawyer appointed Lord of Justiciary in 1710, wanted a more comfortable and prestigious home. He opposed the union.
It continued as the home to the Erskines for a further 250 years, undergoing some internal re-modeling when Lady Augusta Fitzclarence, natural daughter to William IV (previously the Duke of Clarence) and his long term mistress, Dora Jordan, married the Honourable John Kennedy Erskine, heir to the property through his mother Margaret Erskine of Dun. When they married they moved to the property and Augusta set about making several alterations, modernizing the property. The writer and poet Violet Jacob (1863 - 1946), author of 'Flemington' and 'Tales of Angus', was a member of the Kennedy-Erskine family and was born in the house. The last Laird of Dun was Mrs. Millicent Lovett. She moved out of the house to an estate house 'temporarily' in 1948, moving all the furnishings and artifacts up into the attic. The rest of the house was leased to a local farming family who ran it as a bed and breakfast establishment for many years.
Millicent never returned to the house and on her death in 1980 it was bequeathed by her to the National Trust for Scotland. The Trust discovered all the original furnishings in the attic and spent 9 years returning the house to the state it had been in at the time of Augusta. In 1989 the house opened to the public, the Queen Mother presiding to mark the tercentenary of William Adam's death.
The adjacent Montrose Basin nature reserve, part of the estuary of the South Esk, is also a National Trust for Scotland property.References:
The Abbey of Saint-Etienne, also known as Abbaye aux Hommes ('Men"s Abbey'), is a former monastery dedicated to Saint Stephen (Saint Étienne). It is considered, along with the neighbouring Abbaye aux Dames ('Ladies" Abbey'), to be one of the most notable Romanesque buildings in Normandy. Like all the major abbeys in Normandy, it was Benedictine.
Lanfranc, before being an Archbishop of Canterbury, was abbot of Saint-Etienne. Built in Caen stone during the 11th century, the two semi-completed churches stood for many decades in competition. An important feature added to both churches in about 1120 was the ribbed vault, used for the first time in France. The two abbey churches are considered forerunners of the Gothic architecture. The original Romanesque apse was replaced in 1166 by an early Gothic chevet, complete with rosette windows and flying buttresses. Nine towers and spires were added in the 13th century. The interior vaulting shows a similar progression, beginning with early sexpartite vaulting (using circular ribs) in the nave and progressing to quadipartite vaults (using pointed ribs) in the sanctuary.
The two monasteries were finally donated by William the Conqueror and his wife, Matilda of Flanders, as penalty for their marriage against the Pope"s ruling. William was buried here; Matilda was buried in the Abbaye aux Dames. Unfortunately William"s original tombstone of black marble, the same kind as Matilda"s in the Abbaye aux Dames, was destroyed by the Calvinist iconoclasts in the 16th century and his bones scattered.
As a consequence of the Wars of Religion, the high lantern tower in the middle of the church collapsed and was never rebuilt. The Benedictine abbey was suppressed during the French Revolution and the abbey church became a parish church. From 1804 to 1961, the abbey buildings accommodated a prestigious high school, the Lycée Malherbe. During the Normandy Landings in 1944, inhabitants of Caen found refuge in the church; on the rooftop there was a red cross, made with blood on a sheet, to show that it was a hospital (to avoid bombings).