Contact Details

Shambellie House Trust, New Abbey, Dumfries. DG2 8HQ

01387 440082 |
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You Rang Sir?

The original service area of Shambellie House was located in the basement, and included rooms such as the laundry, the butlers’ pantry and wine cellar, amongst others.  The servants stayed in touch with the wishes of the household through a splendid set of sprung bells.  These bells would summon the servants to make up fires, fetch water, bring drinks to the family and guests on the floor above, and many other tasks. 

The bells worked by a complex system of wires, allowing for a member of the household to pull a lever upstairs which rang a bell in the service areas.  Each bell hangs from a coiled spring and at Shambellie none of the bells have room labels.  Of course, the labels indicating which room the person was ringing the bell from, could have disappeared over the years, but as the bells all had different tones, perhaps the servants were expected to distinguish one bell from another just by the sound! The bell handles used to summon the servants can still be seen in the main rooms. 

On Sunday 3 April we will be exploring the history of the house from when it was built in the mid 19th century as part of our first open day event.  We will also be delivering Victorian workshops to local schools, to help the children of New Abbey discover more about life above and below stairs.

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