Sir Laurence Dundas
coat of ams
Coat of arms registered to Laurence Dundas. © Trustees of the British Museum
Son of: Thomas Dundas of Fingask
and: Bethia Baillie daughter of John Baillie, died 1732
born: 28/10/1712 in Edinburgh.  Educated at Edinburgh High School
died: 21/9/1781. Buried in the family mausoleum at Falkirk Old Parish Church
Occupation: Burgess of Edinburgh 1739, commissary for bread and forage in Scotland 1746-8, for stores and provisions in Flanders 1747-9, of stores in Scotland 1748-57, keeper of magazines of forage 1757-8, commissary of bread for foreign troops in Germany 1759, contractor for horses and wagons for the Hanoverians 1760-1
  Commissary General and contractor to the army 1748-1759
  M.P. Linlithgow, 1747-1748. Newcastle under Lyme, 1762-1768. Edinburgh, 1768-1780. Richmond, 1780-1781. Edinburgh 23/3-21/9/1781.
  Governor of the Royal Bank of Scotland
  Vice Admiral Shetland and Orkney
sir laurence dundas
A portrait of Sir Laurence Dundas by Sir Thomas Hudson.
Collection of the Marquess of Zetland, Aske, Richmond. By kind permission of the Marquess of Zetland
  9/4/1738 Margaret Bruce
  the following children were born of this union:
1. Thomas Dundas born 1741

Sir Laurence Dundas started aduthood as a merchant in Edinburgh with his brother Thomas Dundas of Fingask. He soon became a merchant contractor and during the "Forty Five", he managed to secure lucrative army contracts, which made him a man of some substance. In 1748, the Duke of Cumberland ordered Sir Laurence to attend in Flanders and appointed him Commissary General to the army under his command. However, Laurence's greatest opportunity came with the Seven Years War, when he managed to secure even greater contracts for the allied forces on the continent. Sir Laurence engaged in several large and extensive contracts with the Lords of His Majesty’s Treasury for the service of the army in Germany under the command of Prince Ferdinand, where he acted so prudently that he gained not only the regard and esteem of the army, but earned an immense fortune. After the war was concluded, his Majesty, in consideration of the many services that he had rendered for twenty years, conferred a baronetcy upon him in November 1762, with remainder to his brother, Thomas Dundas of Fingask.The attachment to the cause of the Stewarts had led to the loss of Fingask, and it would appear that the family now transferred their loyalty to the reigning family. In the service of the Duke of Cumberland, Laurence Dundas amassed a fortune, which ultimately raised this younger branch of the Fingask family to the peerage. Laurence Dundas' son, Thomas, was created Baron Dundas in 1794, and his son and successor, Laurence, was created Earl of Zetland in 1838 .
Laurence was created a Baronet in 1762

Laurence had made his home at Kerse in Stirlingshire, which he had bought by 1749. This was not however his only property. He also had purchased a residence in Berkeley Square, London and as his wealth grew, he made further large purchases in the property market. He purchased Marske, Upleatham and Redcar in 1762 and the Loftus estate in 1764 in East Cleveland. In the North Ridings, Yorkshire, Sir Laurence bought Aske and the accompanying Richmond estate, which has remained the family home to this date. Further properties were purchased, which included a house in Arlington Street, London and Moor Park in Hertfordshire. Sir Laurence also had a house built in Edinburgh, which is now the home of the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Besides the great landed estates which he purchased, Sir Laurence also had a controlling interest in the Forth and Clyde Navigation Company whose canal passed through his land.
He was a director of the Royal Bank of Scotland and steered the bank through the crisis that arose as a result of the failure of the Bank of Ayr. Sir Laurence also had a couple of slave estates in the West Indies.
Sir Laurence was a great patron of the arts and formed a magnificent collection of paintings and tapestries along with furniture by Chippendale.
Sir Laurence entered politics as M.P. for Linlithgow Burghs in 1747 and Orkney and Shetland in 1766. He received a Baronetcy in 1762.
On the death of Sir Laurence, his son, Thomas succeeded to the baronetcy and estates at the age of 41 years.

kerse house
Kerse House. Sir Laurence Dundas' home in Scotland. It was situated on the Kerse Estate in an area which is now known as Grangemouth. The building no longer exists .
This and many other photographs available at Falkirk Museums, Callendar House.
arlington street
19, Arlington Street, Sir Laurence Dundas' home in London
Portrait by Zoffany of Sir Laurence Dundas and his grandson who later became 1st Earl of Zetland.
Painted at Sir Laurence's London home in Arlington Street and now in the collection of the Marquess of Zetland, Aske, Richmond.

By kind permission of the Marquess of Zetland

Sir Laurence Dundas died in 1781 and was buried in the Dundas mausoleum at Falkirk Old Parish Church. The Dundas mausoleum is attached to the east end of the church. However, prior to 1811, the building stood alone and it was only when the church was restored and extended, that the two buildings were joined. Items of particular note are the stone heads on the sides of the windows at the top of the mausoleum and the coat of arms above the oak door.

On the inside of the mausoleum, facing the door is a wall with several niches into which the coffins were slid, end on. The niche was then sealed and a memorial plaque put in place. Unfortunately, the burial records have not survived, but it is believed that there were about six burials in the mausoleum, two of them being Sir Laurence Dundas and his son, Thomas, 1st Baron Dundas. The memorial plaques are regrettably missing, having fallen into the hands of vandals over the years.

The Dundas mausoleum
mausoleum headmausoleum head
Stone heads on the side of the mausoleum
coat of arms
Dundas coat of arms on the outside of the mausoleum
The founding of Grangemouth and the part played by Sir Laurence Dundas.
In 1767, when a public company, the Forth and Clyde Navigation Company was formed to build a canal from the river Carron into the Forth, the company issued 15000 £100 shares. Sir Laurence Dundas put up an astonishing £10.000 of his family fortune into the venture. Although Sir Laurence had a great deal to gain from the building of the canal as it would join the river Carron on his land and he intended that a new port would be built to handle the trade that the canal would generate, (this would be considerable because the only way to move goods in large quantities in the 1700's, was by water), the town of Grangemouth and the canal would probably never had existed had it not been for the vision, the hard work, and of course the money of Sir Laurence Dundas.
Unfortunately, Sir Laurence did not live long enough to see the work completed, as he died in 1781 and the canal was not completed until 1796. Three years earlier, just as Sir Laurence had planned, work had begun on the new port and the village of Grange Burn Mouth. The new community was unofficially known as Sealock, but the name Grangemouth was chosen, and had a population of about 400. The rapid growth of Grangemouth caused the steady decline of the port of Bo'ness, which never recovered.
Sir Laurence's son, Thomas, was created Lord Dundas and in 1832, Thomas' son, who was also called Laurence, was created 1st Earl of Zetland, which led to that part of Grangemouth becoming known as the "Earl's Gates."
The village of Laurieston which is near to Grangemouth, came into being in 1765 when it was owned by Sir Laurence Dundas. The town takes its name from Sir Laurence.

Thomas Dundas
1st Baron Dundas
Son of: Sir Laurence Dundas
and: Margaret Bruce
born: 16/2/1741
   Educated at Eton and St. Andrews
died: Wednesday 14 June 1820 , at Aske Hall. Buried at the Dundas/Zetland Mausoleum at Old Falkirk Parish Church
  Tradition relates that the funeral of Lord Dundas attracted an immense concourse of mourners and spectators.
  • Member of Parliament;  Richmond , 1763-1768. 
  • Stirlingshire, 1768-1794 
  • Lord Lieutenant and Vice Admiral of Orkney and Shetland
  • Councillor of state to the Prince of Wales (later George IV)
  • President of the Society of Scottish Antiquaries.
  • Colonel North York Militia.
  Elevated to the peerage as Baron Dundas of Aske in August 1794
thomas as a young boy
Portrait of Thomas Dundas by Thomas Hudson.
Collection of the Marquess of Zetland, Aske Hall, Richmond . By kind permission of the Marquess of Zetland
Thomas Dundas. A painting by Pompo Batoni. This was commissioned on the return of Thomas from the Grand Tour in 1764
Thomas Dundas in later life
  x Thursday 24 May 1764 Lady Charlotte Fitzwilliam
  the following children were born of this union:
1. Laurence Dundas 1st Earl of Zetland
2. Anne Dundas
3. Thomas Laurence Dundas
4. William Laurence Dundas
5. Charles Laurence Dundas
6. Margaret Dundas
7. Charlotte Dundas
8. Thomas Laurence Dundas
9. Frances Laura Dundas
10. George Heneage Laurence Dundas
11. Robert Laurence Dundas
12. Dorothy Dundas
13. Mary Dundas
14. Isabella Dundas

The First Steamship; The Charlotte Dundas
Thomas Dundas maintained his father's interest in both Grangemouth and the Forth and Clyde Canal. In 1880, Thomas asked the engineer, William Symington, to design a steam engine suitable for a canal boat. Two such vessels were built, the second one in 1803, which was found to be capable of towing barges in excess of 130 tons. The steamship had been born! 
Unfortunately however, the Canal Company was concerned that the vessel might damage the canal banks and the experiment was abandoned. Sadly, the Charlotte Dundas made her way to Tophill near Rosebank for her final journey. She was not used again.
the charlotte dundas

Model of the Charlotte Dundas on display at Aske Hall. By kind permission of the Marquess of Zetland

early plan of the charlotte dundas

Early plan of the Charlotte Dundas

Caledonian Mercury,, 3/9/1801 - SCARCITY IN ZETLAND. Lord DUNDAS, with that humanity and benevolence which distinguishes his character, on hearing of the distress the people of that country were lately threatened with, immediately ordered a cargo of bear meal to be sent by a cutter from Orkney to Zetland and which we are happy to hear, will be sufficient to relieve them, till their own harvest and potatoes are got in. This Nobleman's generosity and benevolence towards the people in Orkney too, in point of liberality and extent; has not, it is believed been equalled. The quantity of grain payable to his Lordship in these islands is from 6 to7000 bolls and all this, or at least such parts of it as the vassals and tenants delivered in kind, he agreed to give to the indigent and industrious poor of the country; part to the former gratis, and the remainder to the latter at 20 per cent below the market price.

Rev. Thomas Laurence Dundas
Son of: Thomas Dundas
and: Charlotte Fitzwilliam
born: Thursday 12 October 1775
died: Friday 17 March 1848
Occupation: Vicar of Harpole, Northants
  x Sunday 28 July 1816 Mary Jane Bosanquet
  the following children were born of this union: 
1. Thomas James Dundas
2. Robert Bruce Dundas
3. Charlotte Mary Dundas
4. Louisa Dundas
5. Margaret Bruce Dundas
6. Anne Dundas

Thomas Laurence Dundas

Son of: Thomas Dundas
and: Charlotte Fitzwilliam
born: Tuesday 13 December 1768
died: 1769. Buried at Upleatham. Yorkshire

William LaurenceDundas
Son of: Thomas Dundas
and: Charlotte Fitzwilliam
born: Friday 18 May 1770
died: 1796 in St. Domingo, West Indies
Occupation: Lieutenant Colonel of the 82nd Regiment
william laurence
A portrait by Raeburn, of Lieutenant Colonel Dundas. Collection of the Marquess of Zetland, Aske, Richmond.
By kind permission of the Marquess of Zetland.

Hon. Charles Laurence Dundas
Son of: Thomas Dundas
and: Charlotte Fitzwilliam
born: Thursday 18 July 1771. Educated Harrow and Trinity College, Cambridge
died: Thursday 25 January 1810
Occupation: Captain Cleveland Volunteers. M.P. Malton  1798-1805, Richmond 1806-10
  x Thursday 16 February 1797 Lady Caroline Beauclerk
    the following children were born of this union:
1. Frederick Dundas
2. Caroline Margaret Dundas
3. Catherine Elizabeth Dundas
4. Charlotte Amelia Dundas
5. Ann Dundas died August 1805, buried at Upleatham, Yorkshire.

George Heneage Laurence Dundas
Son of: Thomas Dundas
and: Charlotte Fitzwilliam
born: Tuesday 8 September 1778
died: Tuesday 7 October 1834. Buried at Marske, Cleveland
Occupation:  Rear Admiral Royal Navy. Lord of the Admiralty. M.P. Richmond 1802, 1806 and 1812, Orkney and Shetland 1818-20 and 1826-30
george heneage
George Heneage Laurence Dundas. Collection of the Marquess of Zetland, Aske, Richmond.
By kind permission of the Marquess of Zetland.

In February 1800 George Heneage Dundas was aboard HMS Queen Charlotte which was the flagship of Lord Keith . Dundas was junior to Cochrane. Upon Cochrane's promotion to Commander of the Speedy, George Heneage Dundas moved up to 5th Lieutenant of the Queen Charlotte. A month later, the Queen Charlotte was accidentally destroyed by fire. Dundas distinguished himself during this disaster, earning a mention in the Naval Chronicle:

"Mr. John Braid, Carpenter of the Queen Charlotte, reports, that about twenty minutes after six o'clock in the morning, as he was dressing himself, he heard throughout the Ship a general cry of "Fire" - On which he immediately run up the fore ladder to get upon deck, and found the whole half deck, the front bulk-head of the Admiral's cabin, the main-mast's coat, and boat's covering on the booms, all in flames; which from every report and probability, he apprehends was occasioned by some hay, which was lying under the half deck, having been set on fire by a match in a tub, which was usually kept there for signal guns. - The main sail at this time was set, and almost entirely caught fire; the people not being able to come to the clue garnets on account of the flames.
He immediately went to the forecastle, and found Lieutenant Dundas and the Boatswain encouraging the people to get water to extinguish the fire. He applied to Mr. Dundas, seeing no other Officer in the fore-part of the Ship (and being unable to see any on the quarter deck, from the flames and smoke between them) to give him assistance to drown the lower decks, and secure the hatches, to prevent the fire falling down. Lieutenant Dundas accordingly went down himself, with as many people as he could prevail upon
to follow him; and the lower deck ports were opened, the scuppers plugged, the main and fore hatches secured, the cocks turned, and water drawn in at the ports, and the pumps kept going by the people who came down, as long as they could stand at them.
He thinks that by these exertions the lower deck was kept free from fire, and the two magazines preserved for a long time from danger; nor did Lieutenant Dundas, or he, quit this station, but remained there with all
the people who could be prevailed upon to stay, till several of the middle-deck guns came through that deck.
About nine o'clock, Lieutenant Dundas and he, finding it impossible to remain any longer below, went out at the foremost lower-deck port, and got upon the forecastle; on which he apprehends there were then about one hundred and fifty of the people drawing water, and throwing it as far aft as possible upon the fire."

The Queen Charlotte eventually blew up with the loss of more than 600 people, including the Captain and her first Lieutenant. Dundas survived, and was promoted to Commander the following December .

In July 1801, Admiral Linois's squadron sailed into Algeciras, with the recently captured Cochrane aboard as prisoner. Commander Dundas of the Calpe immediately sailed from Gibraltar to warn Admiral Saumarez off Cadiz. Rear-Admiral Sir James Saumarez reported as follows;
"The Hon. Captain Dundas, of his Majesty's polacre the Calpe, made his vessel as useful as possible, and kept up a spirited fire on one of the enemy's batteries." Dundas also sent one his sloop's boats in the unsuccessful attempt to rescue the grounded Hannibal. The little Calpe participated in the chase
of the French-Spanish squadron several days later and assisted in the capture of the French St. Antoine.
"My thanks are also due to Captain Holles, of the Thames, and to the Hon. Captain Dundas, of the Calpe, whose assistance was particularly useful to Captain Keats in securing the enemy's ship..."
News of this battle reached the Admiralty at just about the same time as Cochrane's report, delayed by Manley Dixon at Port Mahon, of the capture of the El Gamo by the Speedy. Both Dundas and Cochrane were promoted to Post Captain in August, 1801.

Hon. Robert Laurence Dundas

Son of: Thomas Dundas
and: Charlotte Fitzwilliam
born: Thursday 27 July 1780. Educated Harrow.
died: Saturday 23 November 1844. Buried at Marske.
Occupation: Lieutenant General. K.C.B.  M.P. Malton 1807-12, East Retford 1826-27, Richmond 1828-34 and 1839-41
robert laurence dundas

Glasgow Herald, 2/12/1844 - Lieut.-Gen. The Hon. Sir R. L. Dundas, K.C.B. The death of Lieutenant-General Sir Robert Laurence Dundas took place on Saturday afternoon, the 23rd instant at Loftus. near Gisborough, Yorkshire. This gallant officer's services extended over a period of 47 years, and by his death the Colonelcy of the .59th Regiment, which he has held since the 15th June, 1840, has become vacant. Sir Robert Dundas entered the army on the Ist of December, 1797, as, as a second lieutenant, served as an engineer officer in North Holland, at the actions of the 27th of Aug, 10th and 19th of September, and 2d and 16th October, 17O9. He became lieutenant on the 23rd May, 1800 and in the subsequent year he served in the Egyptian campaign, and was present in the action of the 21st of March. On the 6th August, 1802, he was made a captain, and obtained his majority on the l4th of July, 1804. In the year ensuing he served in the north of Germany with the Royal Staff Corps. At the beginning of 1807 he was ordered to the Peninsula, where, from that time, with the Royal Staff Corps he was present and shared in the glories of Talavera, Busaco, Fuentes d'Onor, Salamanca, Vittoria, the Pyrenees, the Nivelle, the Nive and Toulouse. Sir Robert attained the rank of lieutenant-colonel on the I1th April, 181l, full colonel on the 19th July, 1821, major-general 22d July, 1833, and lieutenant-general 23rd November, 1841, the last brevet in honour of the birth of the Prince of Wales. For his distinguished services he received a cross and three clasps and was made a Knight Commander of the Bath. The deceased was brother to the late and uncle to the present Lord of Zetland.

Thomas James Dundas
Son of: Thomas Laurence Dundas
and: Mary Jane Bosanquet
born: November 1818
died: Friday 28 December 1838 . Buried Sandpits cemetery, Gibraltar
Occupation: Ensign 48th regiment