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Welcome to this part of the Dundas web pages, which is dedicated to the Zetland Dundas'.

Sir Laurence Dundas the son of Thomas Dundas of Fingask, was the founder of the Dundas family in Yorkshire and his son Thomas Dundas became 1st Baron Dundas in 1794.
Sir Thomas' s son, who was also named Laurence became 1st Earl of Zetland in 1838 and his grandson, another Laurence became the Ist Marquess of Zetland in 1892.
Sir Laurence Dundas started of in life 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. He was a brilliant entrepeneur in his own right and made large sums by his legitimate speculation in Government stock and in East India Company stock.  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.
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 bought a prime area of land in Edinburgh on which he built Dundas House, which is now the head office for the Royal Bank of Scotland.

moor park

Moor Park, Hertfordshire
dundas house
Dundas House, Edinburgh
upleatham hall
Upleatham Hall, painted by Lady Dundas in 1891
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.

aske hall aske
Aske Hall

The drawing room at Aske hall
By kind permission of the Marquess of Zetland

view of lake
View of the lake at Aske hall
Painting by the Rev. Mr Peters
By kind permission of the Marquess of Zetland
A photograph of a painting hanging at Aske Hall, Richmond in the collection of the Marquess of Zetland.
The portrait shows Sir Laurence Dundas and his wife Margaret Bruce, along with Sir Thomas Dundas, his wife Charlotte and several of their children. Unfortunately, a light reflection has been caught on camera which has resulted in a loss of quality.

Bulmer's History and Directory of North Yorkshire (1890)
ASKE is a township of 1,764 acres, containing 211 inhabitants, and valued for rateable purposes at £1,683. The surface is undulated, the soil fertile, and in high state of cultivation. It is written Asse in Domesday Book, and had, previous to Norman usurpation, belonged to Tor, a Saxon. Soon after the Conquest, the manor was granted to Whyomar, kinsman and sewer* to Alan, the first Earl of Richmond . Whyomar's descendants, under the name of Aske, flourished here for upwards of 500 years. The direct line, terminating in females, Elizabeth, one of the daughters and co-heiresses of Roger Aske, conveyed this estate in marriage, about 1530, to Richard Bowes, one of the Streatlam family, in the County of Durham . Their eldest son, Sir George Bowes, was heir male to the whole family of Bowes, and succeeded to Streatlam Castle and estate. During the Rebellion of the Northern Earls, in 1569, Sir George did good service to the Crown, and was appointed by Queen Elizabeth, Knight Marshal North of the Trent, "an office which gave him an opportunity of wreaking his vengeance on the enemies of the queen and himself, and which he is said to have exercised with great severity." The manor remained in this family until the time of Sir Talbot Bowes, who sold it to Philip, Lord Wharton. The lavish expenditure of the first Marquis of Wharton on elections, and the extravagant and thriftless habits of the second Marquis, so encumbered the estate that in 1727, a decree in Chancery vested it in trustees for the payment of his debts. Aske was sold by these trustees the same year to Sir Conyers D'Arcy. Sir Conyers died in 1758, leaving this estate to his nephew, the last Earl of Holderness, who sold it in 1760 to Lawrence Dundas, army contractor, who was created a baronet in 1762. Sir Thomas, the second baronet, was raised to the peerage as Baron Dundas, of Aske, and his son, Lawrence, second baron, was created Earl of Zetland in 1838. He died the following year, and was succeeded by his eldest son, Thomas, second earl, and Grand Master of the Freemasons of England . He married the youngest daughter of Sir Hedworth Williamson, Bart., but having no issue, he was succeeded at his death, in 1873, by his nephew, Lawrence, eldest son of the Hon. John Charles Dundas, by his wife, the daughter of James Talbot, Esq., of Mary Ville, Co. Wexford. The present earl was born in 1844, married Lady Lilian Selina Elizabeth Lumley, third daughter of the Earl of Scarborough , and has issue two sons and two daughters. His lordship is also Baron Dundas, of Aske, and a baronet, was lord in waiting to her majesty in 1880, M.P. for Richmond in 1872-3, and was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in 1889
Aske, the principal seat of his lordship, is a spacious and elegant stone mansion, the outcome of many additions to the castelette of the Askes and Bowes since it came into the possession of the present family, and the mansion is now one of the most stately of English halls. Many improvements have been effected by the present noble owner. Amongst these may be mentioned the pretty little private chapel and the hunting stables. The latter were completed in 1877, and will compare favourably in architectural design and internal comfort and convenience with any other in the country. There is accommodation for about 50 horses.
The hall is surrounded by an extensive and well wooded park containing a large artificial lake. On the 23rd of Jannary, 1889, Aske was honoured with the presence of royalty, in the persons of the Prince and Princess of Wales, who were the guests of the noble earl during their visit to Yorkshire, for the purpose of opening the new Municipal Buildings at Middlesbrough. Prince Albert Victor, their eldest son, was also a visitor here about two years ago.
On the Richmond and Gilling road is Aske school, erected by the Countess of Zetland in 1876, for the benefit of the children of the workpeople on the estate, to whom it is free, it is entirely supported by her ladyship.

coat of arms
Zetland coat of arms
Link to Sir Laurence Dundas, ancestor to the Earls of Zetland
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