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The manor of Lummesdene is first mentioned in a charter of 1098, when Edgar, King of Scots, son of St.Margaret and Malcolm III Canmore, refounded Coldingham Priory, endowing it with the villages of Coldingham, Lummesdene, Auldecambus, Renton and Swinewood in the County of Berwick.


The first recorded possessors of the lands, divided into Easter and Wester Lumsden, were Gillem and Cren de Lummisden who, between 1166 and 1182, attested a charter granted to the priory of Coldingham by Waldeve, Earl of Dunbar. Gilbert de Lumisden appears as witness to charters 1249-1262.

The name of the proven common ancestor of the Lumsdens comes into history through an event which occurred in 1286 and which led to the wars of Scottish Independence.


Even by this date surnames were not common in Scotland, but as became a common practice, this family adopted the name of their estate as a surname. From this descend all the variations of spelling now used.


Of course, not all those now bearing the surname are descended from this Berwickshire family and the Lumsden DNA project was set up to try to establish the present various lines.

Alexander III was killed by a fall from his horse, leaving as heiress his baby granddaughter Margaret, Maid of Norway who was betrothed to Prince Edward of England (later King Edward II). She died on the voyage to Scotland. The Scots Barons, unable to agree on the succession, asked Edward I, King of England to mediate and choose one of three claimants to the throne of Scotland.

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Arden - Lock Lomond Lumsden Clan----.jpg

Edward chose John Balliol to be his puppet King. When the Scottish nobles urged him into showing some independence his reign was ended and Edward invaded Scotland in 1292, subdued all opposition, removed the national archive, the Crown and the supposed Stone of Destiny to England.


The heads of noble landowning families were forced to sign an acknowledgement of Edward as their King. Adam de Lumisden of that Ilk did forced homage in 1296 and, as did his son Roger de Lummesdene, signed the Ragman Roll.

From this Adam, the first recognised chief of the Name and Arms of Lumsden, descended Gilbert who was granted the lands of Blanerne near Duns for his support of the Bruce family in the Wars of Independence (charter of 15 June 1329), adopting the Crest of a Erne, or White tailed eagle, preying on a salmon.

From Gilbert’s elder son, Gilbert, descend the families of Lumsden or Lumsdaine of Blanerne in Berwickshire and Airdrie, Innergellie, Rennyhill, Mountquhanie, Stravithie, and Lathallan in Fife. His younger son, Thomas, had a charter in 1353 of the lands of Drum and Conland in Fife and East and West Medlar (Cushnie) in Aberdeenshire. From him descend the Northern Lumsdens of Conland, Cushnie, Tillycairn, Clova and Auchindoir, Belhelvie, Pitcaple, Balmedie, Banchory and other estates and baronies in Aberdeenshire, Banffshire and Kincardineshire. There are living descendants of many of these families.

The Lumsdens have also given their name to the village of Lumsden in Aberdeenshire, and townships and villages in Canada, New Zealand and Jamaica. Apart from the New World and the old territories of the British Empire, Lumsdens are also found in South America and Sweden.


Contrary to what some publications on Clans and Septs state, the Lumsdens are independent with their own Chief and Tartan. The only Sept of Lumsden is that of Cushnie.


The present hereditary Chief of the Name and Arms of Lumsden is Gillem Lumsden of that Ilk and Blanerne.


Source: Archie Lumsden

lumsdaine, lumisden, lumsden

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The name Lumsden is of territorial origin, deriving from Lumsden, an old manor in the parish of Coldingham, Berwickshire. Brothers Gillem (William) and Cren de Lumsden were witnesses to a charter by Waldeve, Earl of Dunbar, to the Priory of Coldingham between 1166 and 1182. This is the earliest known recording of the surname Lumsden. However, the first mention of the lands of Lumsden comes from a charter from the end of the 11th century by King Edgar of Scotland in 1098. The first recorded owners of the land are Gillem and his brother Cren.



Many Scottish nobles and clan leaders were forced to pay homage to England’s Edward I by signing the Ragman Rolls in 1296. There are two Lumsdens (or Lummefdens as it was spelled) on this list: Adam de Lummefden and Rogier de Lummefden.


In 1329 Gillbert de Lumsden was given a charter by the Earl of Angus for the lands of Blanerne, after having married the heiress of Blanerne the previous year, in 1328.


By the mid 1300s branches of the Lumsden clan had charters and lands confirmed to them in a number of places up and down the east coast of Scotland, including Conlan in Fife, and Medlar and Cushnie in Aberdeenshire.


During the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648) members of Clan Lumsden fought for the Swedish King Gustavus Adolphus. Their unit was called “Lumsden’s Musketeers”.


James Lumsden and his men returned to Scotland from the war in Europe to fight on the side of the Covenanters in the Civil War, which was taking place all over the British Isles. They fought at the 1644 Battle of Marston Moor in Yorkshire under Alexander Leslie, Earl of Leven, which saw a heavy defeat for the Royalist army of Charles I. They also fought at the Battle of Dunbar in 1650, this time under David Leslie where Oliver Cromwell’s Parliamentarians defeated them.


Robert Lumsden, brother of James, helped to defend Dundee against General Monck, but he was killed on its surrender.  The Chief of Clan Lumsden was secretary to Bonnie Prince Charlie during the 1745 Jacobite Rebellion. After the Battle of Culloden in 1746 the chief fled to Rome. On his return to Scotland in 1773 the British government pardoned him for his role in the uprising. At Pitcaple Castle near Inverurie, the chief’s tartan waistcoat is preserved.


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A Lowland clan. The name comes from the manor of Lumsden near Coldingham on the coast of Berwickshire and is first mentioned in a charter in 1098 when Edgar, King of Scotland, son of Malcolm III of Scotland re-founded Coldingham Priory in the county of Berwick. The first people recorded as owning the lands were brothers Gillem and Cren de Lummisden, who sometime between 1166 and 1182 attested a charter by Waldeve, Earl of Dunbar to Coldingham Priory. In 1296, the names of Adam de Lumsden of that Ilk and his son, Roger de Lummesdene appear on the Ragman Rolls (with these spelling variations), as giving forced  homage to Edward I of England.

The first recognised chief of Clan Lumsden who descended from Adam was Gilbert de Lumsden - he married the heiress of Blanerne of that Ilk around 1328 and in June 1329 received a charter from the Earl of Angus for the Blanerne lands.

By the mid 14th century, the family had spread, with charters to Conlan in Fife and Medlar and Cushnie in Aberdeenshire. Blanerne Castle (also known as Lumsden Castle) in Duns was acquired in the 14th century. Cushnie in Alford, Pitcairlie Castle in Inverurie, and Tillycairn Castle in Cluny were all owned by the family.

In the mid 1600s three Lumsden brothers fought for the Swedish King, Gustavus Adolphus, with a unit in his service named Lumsden's Musketeers. One of the brothers, James Lumsden of Innergellie returned from this to support the Covenanters; he fought at Marston Moor in 1644, where Charles I was defeated and captured, and at the Battle of Dunbar in 1650, serving under David Leslie. His brother Robert of Mountquhanie defended Dundee against General Monck and was killed on its surrender.

In 1672 the senior line of Lumsden did not register their arms but the two cadet branches of Alexander Lumsden of Cushnie and Sir James Lumsden of Innergellie did register their arms. Today there are thirteen Lumsden families who bear arms, they are all descended from either Alexander or Sir James.

During the Jacobite rising of 1745, Andrew Lumsden, who was grandson of Bishop Andrew Lumsden, the primate of Scotland in the Episcopal Church, was secretary to Charles Edward Stuart. After the Battle of Culloden he was attained and fled to Rome where he became secretary and later Secretary of State to James Francis Edward Stuart (the Old Pretender). The Old Pretender died in 1766 and Lumsden rejoined Prince Charles until 1768. Returning to Scotland in 1773, he was fully pardoned in 1778 by the Hanoverian government. His tartan waistcoat has been preserved at Pitcaple Castle.


Lumsden Clan 8_edited.jpg
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'beware in tyme', 'the lumsdens of the north'
& 'The Arms of Lumsden'

As a Family spread all over the world, we are not technically a Clan but rather a Family, and we have been extremely fortunate in having Archie Lumsden, who, over the past four decades, has put together a most comprehensive Family Tree going back to the earliest Lumsdens some nine hundred plus years ago.

His magnum opus is in the form of two volumes dealing with the two main branches of the Family, namely


Covering the genealogical history of the senior branch of the Lumsdens. Includes the families of Lumsdaine and Blanerne in Berwickshire and the families of Airdie, Innergellie, Mountquhannie, Rennyhill, Stravithie and Lathallan in Fife. 219 pages of text and B/W photographs, Family trees from 1210 to 2006 and full index.


A genealogical history of the descendants of Thomas Lumsden of Conland and Medlar, and the cadet families of Cushnie, Clova, Pitcaple, Belhelvie, Buchromb, Balmedie and Sluie, and the Edinburgh Lumisdens. 291 pages of text, many black and white illustrations, fully indexed, with a full set of Family trees from 1210 to 2004.

Both publications are available in CD form and as a digital E-book with PDF download and provide the perfect platform from which to conduct research. They are priced at £10.00 each (plus £1.00 p+p within the UK for the CD's).  Please email Gillem on

'The Arms of Lumsden'

A Lumsden Armorial. Available as a digital E-book with PDF download. £10.00






'beware in tyme' &
'the lumsdens of the north'
& 'The Arms of Lumsden'

Compiled for the House of Lumsden Association

Archie Lumsden FRAeS
Lumsden Sennachie

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