Gartmore House was originally built by the Graham family on land acquired from the first Earl of Stirling in 1644, although the exact date of the first house is uncertain. Records show there was a house there in the 15th century. The present house, originally U-plan in design, is early 18th century in origin and a fine example of the work of William Adam.
In 1900 Sir Charles Cayzer bought Gartmore House for £130,000 from
Robert Bontine Cunninghame Graham. Sir Charles commissioned David
Barclay, a pupil of Charles Rennie Mackintosh, to re-design the
building. Barclay designed the west front, added the tower and altered
the roofs. The moondial, which was a feature of the forecourt of
Gartmore house, has been removed to the Cayzer family burial ground
behind Gartmore Parish Church.
During the Second World War the estate was commandeered by the army and
Gartmore House became a barracks until 1950 when the Archdiocese of
Glasgow bought the house to establish St. Ninians, a List D School.
This school was run by the De La Salle Brothers, a Roman Catholic
religious order. At this time outbuildings were added to the original
house to provide classroom accommodation. By 1982 the school was closed
and the house was empty for the next three years until its purchase by
The Way College of Biblical Research.
In 1981, the National Trust for Scotland transferred the Cunninghame
Graham Memorial to Gartmore from its original site near the Graham
family home at Ardoch, near Dumbarton. Robert Bontine Cunninghame
Graham succeeded to the Gartmore estate in 1883 and was the last member
of the Graham family to be laird of Gartmore. Don Roberto, as he was
affectionte1y known, was an author, traveller and horseman who spent a
number of years in South America. He was also a member of parliament
from 1886 to 1892 and was President of the National Party of Scotland
in the late 1920's.