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(And other properties)
Home of Bell Murray Afghan Hounds
Author - Steve Tillotson, May 2011
Updated 2013, 2015 Lyall Payne and Steve Tillotson

Letter dated 1921 re Major Bell Murray renting Chipperkyle in Dalbeattie

Above is a scan of a three page letter from Dorothy Lea to her cousin - the Hon Patrick Emilius John Greville-Nugent (High Sheriff of Westmeath of Clonwyn Castle, County Meath, Ireland). He owned Cove House and he died in 1925. When he died he owned Cove in partnership with his wife Emma Ermingarde Ogilvy, she died in 1949. In the letter above, Dorothy Lea confirms she is willing to rent her property (Chipperkyle in Dalbeattie. Dumfriesshire), to Major Bell Murray for six months.

Preious breed writers have mentioned that the Bell Murray Afghan hounds were established at Cove House. Research by Lyall Payne and Steve Tillotson has revealed that prior to settling at Cove house the Bell Murrays actually lived in two other properties in the Dumfries area, and we detail these below. We should remember of course that upon their return to Scotland the Bell Murrays brought back a dozen or so hounds with them, and these hounds lived and were bred at the two smaller properties mentioned in this article. So, technically, the kennel was established at one of these smaller properties, before moving to Cove for several years, which were perhaps the most productive years for the kennel. The other discovery we made is that the Bell Murrays later (1928) moved to Wales for the final years of the kennels activities.

On 26 Sep 1920 Mrs Bell Murray and children and Miss Jean Manson arrived in Liverpool (England) aboard the 'SS Castalia' from India and gave their address as Westvale, Moffat, (Dumfrieshire, Scotland) . Moffatt was the home of the Bell Murrays and the Major's father lived there. After a short period living at Moffatt, the BM group moved to Chipperkyle, Dalbeattie for another short period before finally settling at Cove House Kirkpatrick-Fleming where they remained for several years

Bell Murray home #1 - Westvale, Moffat, Dumfries
Sep 1920 - Early 1921? Bell Murray home #1 -  Westvale, Moffat, (Dumfries

We are currently researching Moffatt and hope
to provide a description of the property shortly

Bell Murray home #2 - Chipperkyle, Dalbeattie, Dumfries
Early 1921? - Late 1921/Early 1922? Bell Murray home#2 Chipperkyle, Dalbeattie, Dumfries

Brief description (dated 1928) of the Dalbeattie property - " The small residential estate of Chipperkyle is situated within 4 miles of Castle-Douglas and 13 of Dumfries. The estate extends to 175 acres of good arable land. There is no farm house and the ample steading situated near the Mansion is reserved from the let of the farm. The Mansion House which was built about 1800 and is in first-class order, with central heating and an up to date drainage system, contains 4 public rooms, 5 principal bedrooms, 4 servants rooms, 2 bathrooms and ample kitchen accomodation. The grounds are well laid out, and there is an attractive old world garden. There is also a good tennis court. There is ample garage and stable accomodation and a lodge at the entrance gate. The lands afford the usual low ground shooting"

Bell Murray home #3 - Cove House Kirkpatrick Fleming, Dumfries
Early 1922? - 1928
Cove House - Bell Murray Afghan Hounds

Cove House was built on the former site of Dunskellie Castle. Cove House was owned by Emerngarda Ogilvy Grenville Nugent who inherited the house from her father Augustus George Ogilvy, he was her grandfather who died 29th December 1869. Augustus George Ogilvy died 19th July 1871 passeing the house onto Ermingarda. The house then went into the creditors and was rented out to Major Bell Murray and then was bought by the current family who have owned the property since 1928. The original castle that was here was owned by the Irvings in the 12 century and then by Sir James Johnstone of Dunskellie. The property fell into dis-repair and the roof collapsed in the 1970's. The current owners rebuilt and restored Cove House. Click here for an additional article and a larger photo of Cove House. (Ed Note December 2011 - our thanks to Lindsey Mccourt for providing additional and correct information on the family history/ownership of Cove House)

Bell Murray Afghan Hounds (Photo taken on the Cove estate)
http://www.afghanhoundtimes.comBell Murray Afghan Hounds at Cove house

Robert The Bruce's Cave at Cove
Robert The Bruce Cave - Cove, Bell Murray Afghan Hounds

"King Robert The Bruce's Cave" is situated in the historic grounds of Cove Manor House (formerly Dunskellie Castle) which Major Bell Murray rented in 1921 upon his return to the UK from Afghanistan and where Ms Jean Manson established her "Cove" Afghan Hound Kennels.

Robert The Bruce , born at Lochmaben Castle in 1274, was Knight and Overlord of Annandale and was crowned King of Scotland in 1306..

In the winter of 1313 after suffering defeat, King Robert went into hiding in the cave. While evading capture by Edward Longshanks the first of England - he spent three months living a solitary existence at a time when The Wars of Independence were at their bleakest for the Scots. Robert the Bruces cave is accessible by a platform from the river path.

Whilst in the cave and at the depths of despair, King Robert happened to watch a spider attempting to build a web - the spider would spin then fall, get up and spin again and again relentlessly until it eventually made the web..

This gave Robert heart and is reputed to be the birth of the saying - "If at first you don't succeed try, try and try again ..

King Robert then went forth from the cave on Cove estate, raised an army and won the Historic Battle of Bannockburn in 1314 - even though he was outnumbered ten to one. He established his claim to the throne and thus the beginning of freedom for Scotland..

King Robert the Bruce's Cave and Cove House is situated in the Scottish village of Kirkpatrick Fleming - 14 miles north of Carlisle and 3 miles north of Gretna Green.

Related Content
Bell Murray moved to Wales 1928
Jean Manson and her Cove Afghan hounds
Major Graham Bell Murray 1881-1955 by Lyall Payne, 2014
"Mysterious Bell-Murray/Cove photo" Steve Tillotson December 2011
The Dog Of The Mystic East, by Jean Manson, 1929
"The Afghan Hound Is An Ancient Breed"
Author - Evelyn Denyer, Published in "The Dog Fancier" 1925

Early Afghan Hounds Page

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