James MacMillan was born in Dunragit, Scotland in the year 1727. Dunragit is in the extreme southwest corner of Scotland in the part of the country called Galloway. Dunragit is a tiny hamlet, with just a few small houses scattered along the main highway, and a kennel, a garden tourist attraction and Dunragit House which are all set back in a woodland area, about one-half mile from the highway.
In 1992 the possible remains of an ancient structure were identified at Dunragit by aerial photography. From 1999 to 2002 there was then an archeological dig that uncovered evidence of structures dating back to the Neolithic Period. This was the time in which humans were emerging from the era of being primarily hunter gatherers to the era in which farming and animal domestication were introduced and permanent settlements were first established. Stone tools had become more sophisticated, but it was before the usage of metals became widespread. A detailed account of the dig and ongoing conclusions from the study can be seen at: http://orgs.man.ac.uk/research/dunragit/
The ruins of Glen Luce Abbey are about two miles away. The Abbey was built in the early Christian era in Scotland and was originally a very impressive structure. Dunragit was one of the estates originally owned by the Abbey. The Abbey fell into disuse and was largely destroyed at the time of the Reformation. Stones from the ruins were pilfered over time and used in the construction of other nearby structures. The lands owned by the Abbey fell into the hands of some nearby opportunistic gentry. Dunragit was given to the Bailie family as a reward for help in coercing the Abbott to turn over the property. William Bailie had been associated with the Abbey. Several generations later this family lost the property (probably unlawfully) to the family of the Viscount Stair in an affair in which they wrested control from a minor. This was the Dalrymple-Hay family, which then owned the property until the early 1900's and from which we are very likely descended.
Dunragit House is a short walk from the main highway along a narrow paved road. You walk within a few feet of the house, and then continue on to the only two businesses in the area, a kennel and Glenwhan Gardens, a beautifully planted and maintained garden for which one must pay an admission fee. The Gardens are quite large and really are a quite spectacular attraction.
Castle Kennedy and Lochinch Castle are about three miles west. Castle Kennedy is in ruins, but the relacement structure, Lochinch Castle is still well maintained and is currently occupied. It is approximately a half-mile walk between the two castles, and the grounds are all manicured beautifully the entire distance.
In 1919 the Dunragit estate came up for sale and was advertised in the London Times:
"From the London Times, December 6, 1919: By direction of the Trustees of the late J.C. Cunningham, Esq, of Craigend, the sporting, residential and agricultural estate of Dunragit, in the county of Wigtown, extending to an area of about 7438 acres, and including DUNRAGIT HOUSE and policies, Factor's house, estate cottages, 20 valuable farms, capital grouse, and salmon and sea trout fishing in the river Luce for a distance of 41 miles. DUNRAGIT HOUSE, situated in well timbered policies, over-drawing room, library, billiard room, 12 principal bed and dressing rooms, 11 servants bed rooms, four bath rooms, with attics and ample domestic offices. On the estate are [a] 9 hole golf course and the old castle of Park. The property adjoins the railway stations of DUNRAGIT and GLENLUCE.
The estate includes excellent dairy farms and village property, also a quantity of valuable timber."