John Bullough, who was always known as Ian, was born in Accrington on the 13th February 1886. He was the son of John Bullough and his second wife Alexandra. Two years later, his father bought the island of Rum but was not to enjoy it for long as he died on the 25 February 1891 when Ian was just 5 years old. In the 1891 census taken in April 1891, Ian was staying on Rum with his mother Alex and Elizabeth and Francis Robertson. Sister Gladys, then aged 2, was in Oswaldtwistle with George Bullough and his cousins Tom and Will along with the Robertson's small son also 2 and appropriate staff.
On his father's death, Ian inherited a large sum of money and the Meggernie estate in Perthshire. On the 1st December 1892 Alex married Captain John Robert Beech and Ian gained a step father. Some of their time was spent at Meggernie but some also in Ireland where John Beech had property. Horses and dogs were both very important in Ian's life.
In 1907, Ian joined the Coldstream Guards but on his marriage to actress Maudi Darrell on the 25th March 1909 he had to leave the Guards as at that time Guards were not allowed to marry actresses. Maudi was ill throughout much of their short marriage and died on the 31 October 1910. She is buried at Innerwick in Glen Lyon and her gravestone reads 'Kindness in another's trouble, courage in her own'.
In June 1911 Ian was appointed a Captain in the Scottish Horse, and the following November, 1911 he married Lily Elsie (Elsie Cotton) another star of stage. In November 1912 he was appointed Master of the Muskerry Hounds. They lived in Redmarley d'Abitot, Gloucestershire where Ian followed his brother George to be Master of the Ledbury Hunt.