Lee Castle in the Valley of Clyde
With an intriguing history spanning close to seven centuries and located in the charming Valley of Clyde countryside, Lee Castle is listed as a building of regional importance (category B) on the Statutory List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. Also referred to simply as The Lee, the property on which this magnificent mansion stands was the seat of the Lockharts of Lee from 1297 until the year 1919, although the current structure is the result of renovations and additions carried out during the 19th century.
The Lockharts of Lee are a prominent family in Lanarkshire, Scotland, who can trace their ancestry to Sir Simon Locard (1300-1371), a Scottish knight who fought in the Wars of Scottish Independence, and is said to have traveled with Sir James Douglas in his unsuccessful attempt to carry the heart of Robert the Bruce to the Holy Land. During a battle against the Moors in Spain, Sir James Douglas was killed and Sir Simon Locard carried Robert the Bruce’s heart back to Scotland, where it is buried at Melrose Abbey, and for this deed he was granted the Lockhart arms and motto.
The Lockhart family continued to feature in Scottish history and politics through the years and Lee Castle remained in the family until 1948, when it was sold with the feudal barony of Lee being transferred to the new owner. After carrying out some restorations to the house it was sold in July 2004 to an unnamed American buyer, with the feudal barony of Lee title being passed on to the new owner as part of the deal, making him the 35th Baron of Lee by proclamation of the Court of the Lord Lyon.
Lee Castle stands on 261 acres of land, most of which is beautifully landscaped. The ancient oak in front of the house, called the Pease Tree, is believed to be the spot where Robert the Bruce once signed a charter with the English, and where Oliver Cromwell is later said to have dined. The castle’s vast collection of historic and antique furniture and heirlooms remain in the building, which boasts fourteen bedrooms, two lodge houses, a banqueting hall, enormous grand ballroom and a heated swimming pool.