The house that we now know as Flowerbank was only partially built when purchased by Mrs Elizabeth Galt in 1798 for £105 from a Captain William Maxwell of the First Regiment of Foot. She completed the construction of the house and gave it the name of Flowerbank before selling it for £999.15s 0d. in 1825.
During its life it has had a varied and fascinating history including being visited by a famous American author and poet, being turned into a school for young ladies, conversion to apartments during World War II by a local saw mill for its workers and, since the 1960's, Flowerbank has been run as a Guest House.
Elizabeth Galt was related to the Allan family from Irvine in Ayrshire. John Allan moved to Richmond, Virginia to carry out his business as a tobacco importer working for old William Galt. Whilst in America John and his wife Frances fostered the recently orphaned Edgar Poe, who grew up to become the famous author Edgar Allan Poe (pictured left).
During the summer of 1815 Edgar and his new family docked at Liverpool and made their way to Irvine on the west coast of Scotland to stay with John's sister Mary. During this time they all made, as one biographer noted, 'The best trip' of their time in the U.K. to the 'beautiful Galt estate on Cree water below Loch Doon'. In 'Israfel', the life & times of Edgar Allan Poe by Hervey Allen, it tells, in a letter from Mary Allan, of their visit to the Galts at the 'handsome estate called Flowerbanks that overlooked a charming prospect in the Cree valley' and Mary goes on to say 'I could be happy to live here forever'.
In the 1840's Flowerbank was used as a private boarding school for young ladies run by Miss Agnes & Miss Patricia Millan. The prospectus states "The course of study prepared the girls for the Local Examinations of Edinburgh University and of the Royal Academy of Music, London, in both of which pupils have been most successful. Preparation can also be had for the L.L.A. degree of St. Andrews of which Miss Patricia B. Millan holds the Certificate in Honours (first class) English and the Pass, also first class in Comparative Philology." The terms for board were £40 per session for young ladies under 12 - £45 for 12 and under 15 and £50 for above 15. Use of Pianoforte was 7s. 6d. per quarter. The Census of 1841 shows residing at Flowerbank at that time: The Millan sisters as Principal teachers, 1 teacher of dancing & painting and a mathematical mistress, 3 scholars, a cook (servant) and a house & table maid!! A copy of the prospectus was given to us by The Newton Stewart Museum which contains a wealth of historical treasures, and has exciting and interesting displays of the natural and social history of Galloway and well worth a visit!!
Sometime around the time of the Second World War Flowerbank was bought by a local sawmill who converted the house into apartments for its workers. The garden also was divided and we think it was at this time that Flowerbank lost a lot of its trees as its occupants 'Dug for Victory' and planted vegetables!! Flowerbank Guest House opened for trading in the 1960s, since which time it has undergone extensive renovation.
A big thanks to the previous owners (Geoff and Linda Inker) for compiling information on Flowerbank's history. We wish them every happiness in their retirement.