The McCulloch family of Ardwall

There is a double line of daffodils along the old path from the beach to the cottage.  They were planted by Lady McCulloch in memory of her third son Andrew, who was killed off Sicily in 1944.  She and her two younger sons used to spend parts of the summer on the Island through the 1930s.

Lady McCulloch (on the right) is sitting on the grass in the cottage garden with a Murray family group in 1959.  As kids we always knew her as ‘the Old Lady’.

Lady McCulloch held ‘the keys to paradise’, in her own phrase, but she never had formal right of ownership.  The Island has been part of the Ardwall estate, owned by the McCulloch family (one of the many McCulloch branches in Galloway), since 1727.  Esmé Mackenzie (1881-1966) was a daughter of Colin Mackenzie of Portmore, near Peebles. 

Her husband Andrew Jameson McCulloch (1876-1960) was the eldest son and heir of Lady Ardwall (1851-1940), through whom the estate passed in the female line.  He trained in the law, but enlisted as a private in the City Imperial Volunteers in South Africa in 1900.  He had a distinguished military career, with active service in the South African war (1899-1902) and the First World War (1914-1918).  He was posted several times to India, both before and after the Great War, and rose to the rank of Major-General.

In 1932 Lady McCulloch had the cottage extended. A sitting room and bathroom were built largely from a stout stone dyke which had surrounded the cottage. The pony and trap which can just be discerned probably belonged to Fred Heron, the Gatehouse carter.

A view of the cottage from a different angle in 1945.  The escallonia hedge was planted in 1935.

Above is a partial record of Lady Ardwall’s mother’s generation of the McCullochs.  Below is a partial record of the generation that preceded it.  Both generations show a large number of births, high infant mortality and a geographical dispersal around the world of surviving males. This last feature was typical of the expansion of British mercantile interests and the growth of empire in the later part of the 18th century and the early part of the 19th.


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