Keppoch House!

Lambs at Ardarndan Farm near Keppoch House.

Last year we spent much time trying to determine where the marriage between Georgiana Kennedy and John Molloy took place. It was a pivotal time in her life journey. Her diary indicates that she saw the proposal as an answer to her prayers because she did not wish to live with her own family and felt she may outstay her welcome with the Dunlop family. She did not underestimate the drastic step she was about to take and she changed her mind just days before the event. Mr. Dunlop counselled her to proceed. Georgians wrote…

“Heard from Captain Molloy which made me very miserable.”

“I wished to write and end all but Mr Dunlop would not let me.”

“Heard again and was quite distracted with fearful anticipations. I wrote to him & prayed my letter might arrive in time to prevent his coming truly wretched went to Bed after dinner. …

“Went to Church perhaps for the last time as Georgiana Kennedy. Oh that I had never got into such a perplexity.”

The marriage was conducted by Rev. Story (her friend Helen’s husband) and we assumed it would have been at his parish church of Rosneath, where Georgiana enjoyed visiting. The only certificate was one written by Rev. Story witnessing the marriage but it did not say the location. Our visit to the Cardross church (where the bans had been read), revealed no records.

Georgiana’s diary simply states that on that morning she…

“rose at ye past 7. Received many letters & presents. Closed my trunks. Went to gather my Bridal flowers & put them in their rooms. Fine.”

and then the next entry jumps to …

“I was no longer Georgiana Kennedy at two o’clock after the ceremony set off for Glasgow. We (crossed out) Very strange.
What a night a night this was !!!!!”

The last comment was under restriction in the archive until recently due to the personal nature of the entry but I think in this days and age we can be pragmatic and celebrate a good start to the marriage. This is the only occasion when she ever uses 5 exclamation marks!

Back to the wedding. How could we ever represent it if we did not know where it took place? While we were traipsing the Scottish countryside, Bernice’s husband Mike was putting his mind to the problem back in London. He searched the records and found that one of the Dunlop sister’s had been married at Keppoch House. It seems that this was a convention of the times. He confirmed that Keppoch House was a fairly new mansion and it was likely that rather that this would have been the venue. It started to make sense. It would have been much grander and certainly easier for the guests to attend. It also makes sense that the diary entry has no mention of travel to a church and as she was living there she simply puts the Bridal flowers in their rooms.

We had asked so many people as to who the owners of Keppoch were. One person told us that it had been made into flats! As we stood at the large gates and Bernice reminded me of the diary passage just prior to the wedding.

” On the lookout for Molloy & Doe. Maggie & I went to the xxxxxx & they came driving up. We walked about a nervous time. Very fine.”

Bernice could imagine Georgiana standing on the crest and looking down to see Molloy and Dalton approaching on this very road leading to the house. It would have been a very exceptional moment and the final reality of the threshold she was about to cross.

We posted some messages asking about Keppoch on a local Scottish history site and Marie was a gem to put us in contact with Lorretta the owner of Keppoch House. Loretta has invited Bernice to visit! Now that Bernice is back in London for a stint she is planning to go there soon and promises to take lots of pics for us.

In order to fill some of the gaps and gain more information about this period, it would be wonderful to discover if the Dunlop sisters have any diaries or letters in an archives in Scotland. They were very well educated and like Georgiana would have been prolific writers. So perhaps our Scottish friends might discover them?

Jennifer (Producer)

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