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Clan Dewar

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Clan Dewar are a Scottish chiefly family


The lands of Dewar, near Heriot in the south east of Edinburgh were possessions of this family but it is not known if they received their name from their lands or vice versa. As with many Scottish clans a legend exists to demonstrate physical prowess. <ref>George Way of Plean and Romilly Squire, Scottish Clan and Family Encyclopedia, 118</ref>. Another example is Bannerman. There is a tradition that a savage wolf was terrorising the district around Heriot and a reward was offered to the man who could kill it. The original Dewar is said to have achieved this and received lands in reward. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 118</ref>

The earliest record of an organised family by the name of Dewar is in the Ragman Rolls of 1296, where Thomas and Piers de Deware appear swearing fealty to Edward I of England. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 118</ref> Lord Borthwick granted a charter for the lands of Dewar to William Dewar in 1474. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 118</ref>This Dewar family were known as of that Ilk and rose to prominence, appearing in various charters in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 118</ref>William Dewar sold the lands of Dewar and moved to Carrington, which was nearby. From this William Dewar descend the chiefly line of Clan Dewar.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 118</ref>

Another derivation of the name comes from the Gaelic Deoradh meaning pilgrim. This was often a name given to someone who had custody of relics in medieval Scotland. Five Highland families had this name and the most prominent of these were the Dewar Coigerachs who were the custodians of the staff of St. Filian (d.777). <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 118</ref> This staff was with the Scots army at Bannockburn in 1314 and was later lost and rediscovered in the nineteenth century. It is now displayed in Edinburgh. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 118</ref>

Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries

A branch of the Clan Dewar, the Dewars of Cambuskenneth were established by at least the 17th century, although Dewars are recorded in nearby Stirling, which was a Royal Burgh, from as early as 1483. John Dewar, son of Patrick Dewar of Cambuskenneth was fined £50 in 1710 for causing blood and riot.

James Dewar of Dewar is thought to have been a mariner. The family became successful merchants and gained the barony of Vogie in 1719.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 118</ref> David Dewar of Vogie was Postmaster General of Leith and Edinburgh and his son matriculated arms in 1747. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 118</ref> Coal was discovered on the estate at the end of the eighteenth century and by 1842 the Vogie colliery was producing superior quality coal which was much sought after as well as Scotland's first gunpowder mill. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 118</ref> The fifth Laird of Vogrie lived in India where he was a High Court Judge.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 118</ref>

He died in 1869 and was succeeded by his brother, Alexander Dewar, sixth of Vogrie who served in the Bengal cavalry. The mansion house of Vogrie was built by Alexander, sixth Laird, although the estate has shrunk from 2,000 to around 250 acres (1.0 km2).<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 118</ref>

Nineteenth Century

The Dewar family whiskey business was transformed by John Dewar (b.1846) who was created Baron Forteviot in 1917. The family seat, Dupplin Castle was one of the grandest houses in Scotland but has since been demolished. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 119</ref> The family are still involved in the whiskey industry. Vice Admiral Kenneth Dewar was an aide to George V and was a critic of British naval strategy.


The present chief is Michael Kenneth O’Malley Dewar who succeeded his father, who had been recognised in 1990 by the Lord Lyon. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 119</ref>