Clan and Tartan

Tartan Tuesdays - Clan Dundas

Tartan Tuesdays - Clan Dundas
By Sophie

The tartan pictured is our Dundas Modern, 16oz, Pure New Wool tartan.

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Clan Dundas is the name given to one of Scotland's most historically important families. Once widely regarded as one of the most noble in the British Empire. The fortunes of the family are now almost lost, with its lands sold to the state, its castles reclaimed and its stately homes either bought by the state, or in the hands of private investors, as is the case with their former home in Edinburgh, which serves as the worldwide headquarters for The Royal Bank of Scotland. It was, and still is, a noted family tradition to name the first born son Robert, after Lord Robert Dundas VI, Earl of Dundas, advisor to the last king of Scotland before the Act of Union, King James IV. Lord Dundas is considered the most influential person in instrumenting the union, and as such, can be considered the key in creating the United Kingdom in its current form.


The Dundas Family has established its position as one of the most important in the history of Scotland, and to a lesser extent, in the history of the United Kingdom. Although no longer widely known, and with its fortunes severely reduced, the Dundas clan has been instrumental in some of the most important events in Scottish history. It was in the 18th century that the family was key in allowing the Act of Union with England to commence, thereby creating the United Kingdom in its current form (The Republic of Ireland excluded).

Origins of the Clan

The word 'Dun deas' in Gaelic means 'south fort'. The Dundas family occupied lands on the southern shores of the Firth of Forth. The family is believed to descend from 'Helias', son of 'Hutred' a younger son of Gospatrick, Prince of Northumberland. The Clan Dunbar and Clan Moncreiff also descend from the stock of Gospatrick.

Records from the reign of William the Lion mention Serle de Dundas, Serle and Robertus de Dundas who both signed King Edward I of England's Ragman Roll.

Wars of Scottish Independence

During the Wars of Scottish Independence the Clan Dundas fought alongside William Wallace against the English. Later they would also fight alongside King Robert I of Scotland against the English. However chief Sir George Dundas was killed at the Battle of Dupplin Moor in 1332. James Dundas built Dundas Castle in 1424.

Civil War

Chief George Dundas the eighteenth laird led the Clan Dundas during the civil war on the side of the Convenantors. George Dundas was also on the committee that tried James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose.

Jacobite Uprisings

William Dundas of Kincavel was imprisoned for his part in the 1715 Jacobite rebellion. Many of the Dundas estates were forfeited after the 1745-1746 Jacobite rebellion.

Clan Crest

Clan Motto

Essayez which means 'Try'.

Clan Castles

From the Twelfth Century onwards the Dundas Clan came to live and to acquire increasingly large tracts of land along the southern shores of the River Forth. By the Fifteenth Century the greater part of Linlithgowshire, now equivalent to West Lothian and the western part of Edinburgh was owned or controlled by Dundas of that Ilk.

Members of the Dundas family have been famous throughout Scottish history. Hugh Dundas served under William Wallace in the defence of his country. His son, George, fought alongside Robert the Bruce at the battle of Bannockburn but was slain at the subsequent battle of Dupplin.

In 1416 James Dundas obtained a licence to build a Keep from the Duke of Albany, who was then the effective ruler of Scotland.

Henry Dundas built the modern castle in 1818. It replaced an earlier Seventeenth Century building, which was pulled down. William Burn, one of Scotland's greatest architects, designed the magnificent house.

Clan Septs

The following surnames are historically related and may also wear these tartans:

Dass, Dundass