I walked towards the hunting lodge with a sense of foreboding. Ahead of me, an impossible building crowned the horizon, its window eyes staring back at me through the autumnal fog.
A solitary figure appeared from nowhere and I followed him, seeking safety in numbers yet also doubting the trustworthiness of this wiry phantom. He led me to my intended destination – a Gothic secret cemetery. Ahead of me, almost completely shrouded by trees and sun-fog, I was able to glimpse the mound for the first time.
My guide disappeared, of course, and I was left alone in this pet cemetery. I was able to push through a curtain of greenery, and found the pathway leading to my earthen destination, which now stood in plain sight.
The Dog Barrow.
Enclosed by metal and stone, crowned by grass. This is where the Duke buried his hunting dogs. Muddy footprints on the side of the Barrow caused me to shiver – who had walked upon this mound?
It is said when the beasts went into the mound, the other dogs howled and the white cattle pawed the ground. Others say that when the Barrow was visited by a local veterinary surgeon, a ball of fire rose from the mound heating the faces of all who saw it.
The parterre gardens cannot disguise this place for what it is. It is impossible to completely hide the dark history of this places with pretty trees, ornate shrubs and immaculate lawns. This is no normal folly. Those hounds hunted and were hunted, hounded to death.
And lo – a black dog still walks these lawns and paths, hunting still those who come to enjoy the gardens and the hunting lodge. The existence of this place today depends on the pursuit of leisure and the forgetfulness of society. And yet when I last stepped into the hunting lodge itself, I felt sick because of the unnatural angles that the steps and floors are arranged. Some things cannot be hidden.
It must be acknowledged that the architect, the creator of this place for hunting dogs, the designer of this landscape, has done his work all too well. The draughtsman’s secrets are secure, occult principles embedded in the bricks and trees and grass and bones of the land.
Dog Barrow. Hidden in plain sight.
The Dog Barrow is a mound next to Chatelherault, near Glasgow, an ornate ‘hunting lodge’ cum folly that was designed by William Adam and built in the 1730s. As a child, on visits to the country park surrounding this fanciful building, I was told that the mysterious mound next to the stables and kennels was a barrow built over the Duke of Hamilton’s dead hunting dogs.