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Vans are a Scottish lowland family or kin-group who do not have a chief and are therefore considered an armigerous clan. Another form of the name, particularly in North America, is Vance.<ref> (accessed 19th July 2014)</ref>

Arms of Vans of Barnbarroch as shown in Nisbett's System of Heraldry (1722

This is a Norman name derived from 'vaux' or 'vaus' -meaning valleys or dales.<ref>George Way of Plean and Romilly Squire, Scottish Clan and Family Encyclopedia, 467</ref> It is said that the family came to Scotland during the eleventh century as part of the entourage of Margaret, wife of Malcolm III.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 467</ref>

However, doubt has been expressed as to this link as no hard evidence has been found to support it.<ref> (accessed 19th July 2014)</ref>

They gained the barony of Dirleton in East Lothian and constructed a castle which is still extent.<ref></ref> The castle later passed into other hands and the family married an heiress from Barnbarroch in Wigtownshire.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 467</ref>

The family were styled 'of Barnbarroch' after this, as shown by Nisbett.

The most famous member of this family was Sir Patrick Vaus who was an adviser to James VI.<ref> (accessed 19th July 2014)</ref>

In 1747 John Vans of Barnbarroch married Margaret Agnew, another heiress and assumed the additional surname of Agnew.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 468</ref> Frank Vans Agnew served in the British military during the First World War.<ref> ?(accessed 19th July 2014)</ref>

The house at Barnbarroch was architecturally notable, being redesigned and extended during the nineteenth century by the architect and landscape gardener John Loudon.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 467</ref> In 1941 it was destroyed by fire in a traumatic episode during which occupiers were forced to jump from windows, seriously injuring themselves. In spite of attempts at rescue the wife of the owner, Mrs. Ada Vans Agnew, died in the blaze.<ref> (accessed 16th July 2014)</ref>

At the time of writing the house is on the buildings at risk register<ref> (accessed 17th July 2014)</ref> Plans for restoration and re-use have stalled. <ref> (accessed 17th July 2014)</ref>

The current baron of Barnbarroch is Jamie Edward Vans, a sculptor based in Gloucestershire. He is the 23rd Laird and his father was a cousin of John Vans Agnew, last inhabitant of Barnbarroch.<ref> (accessed 19th July 2014)</ref> His is also a genealogist and has built an online Vans family archive.<ref> (accessed 19th July 2014)</ref>

Jamie Vans has recently edited and published the memoirs of his relative Frank Vans Agnew MC, as Veteran Volunteer: Memoir of the Trenches, Tanks and Captivity 1914 - 1918.<ref> ?(accessed 19th July 2014)</ref>

Further Reading