Dunninald has a history of at least a thousand years. The name is derived from the gaelic, dun a castle and ard, a high place. A second house was built about 1590, to replace the old tower. This was some four hundred yards inland and was at the foot of the present-day beech avenue, next to the walled garden.
By 1811 the second house was some 230 years old and the new owner, Peter Arkley, commissioned James Gillespie Graham to built a new house. This was designed by the architect James Gillespie Graham in the gothic revival style, building started in 1819 and the house was completed in 1824.
Guided tours of the castle explain the history of the house, the collections of furniture, paintings and displays of fine needlework photographs and memorabilia, examples of fine plasterwork and trompe l'oeil can also be seen. Tours take approximately 40 minutes and start on the hour and half hour.References:
The Château d'Olhain is probably the most famous castle of the Artois region. It is located in the middle of a lake which reflects its picturesque towers and curtain walls. It was also a major stronghold for the Artois in medieval times and testimony to the power of the Olhain family, first mentioned from the 12th century.
The existence of the castle was known early in the 13th century, but the present construction is largely the work of Jean de Nielles, who married Marie d’Olhain at the end of the 15th century.
The marriage of Alix Nielles to Jean de Berghes, Grand Veneur de France (master of hounds) to the King, meant the castle passed to this family, who kept it for more than 450 years. Once confiscated by Charles Quint, it suffered during the wars that ravaged the Artois. Besieged in 1641 by the French, it was partly demolished by the Spaniards in 1654, and finally blown-up and taken by the Dutch in 1710. Restored in 1830, it was abandoned after 1870, and sold by the last Prince of Berghes in 1900. There is also evidence that one of the castles occupants was related to Charles de Batz-Castelmore d'Artagnan, the person Alexandre Dumas based his Three Musketeers charictor d'Artagnan on.
During the World War I and World War II, the castle was requisitioned first by French troops, then Canadian and British soldiers. The current owner has restored the castle to its former glory.