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Clan Durie

Clan Durie is a Scottish chiefly family with a traditional association with Fife.


The origin of the surname is uncertain but it is thought to derive from the French Du Roi. <ref>George Way of Plean and Rommily Squire, Scottish Clan and Family Encyclopedia, 126</ref>This indicates that the Duries probably came to Britain with the Normans. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 126</ref>

Another more plausible explanation is that 'Durie’ is a Gaelic place name which may indicate ‘black stream’, possibly a reference to the rich coal seams in Fife. <ref>http://www.duriefamily.co.uk/home/durie-family-history-resum%C3%A9</ref>

Some research suggests they arrived in Scotland in 1069 as part of the entourage of Queen Margaret (1045-1093) <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 126</ref> There are records of the Duries as setters in Fife from as early as 1119.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 126</ref> However it is considered that they rose to prominence during the reign of Alexander II. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 126</ref>

Middle Ages

Rossend Castle

The Duries were granted the estate of Craigluscar which is near Leven, Fife.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 126</ref>A house that was built here in 1520 has a stone bearing the initials of George Durie and his wife Margaret Bruce. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 126</ref> The family's prominence in Fife is found in charters throughout the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 126</ref>

In about 1258 Duncan de Dury was a witness for Malise, Earl of Strathern.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 126</ref> Others bearing the name who appear in documentary evidence include Francis de Douery (c.1250), Malisius de Douery (c.1350), Michael de Douery (c.1373), John de Douery (c.1406) and Richard de Douer (c.1405). It is from Richard de Douer that the main chiefly line is descended from. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 126</ref>

In 1382 Burntisland Castle (now known as Rossend Castle) was built and it includes a tablet over the entrance bearing the Durie arms and the date 1554.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 126</ref> Burntisland Castle was the most extensive of Durie properties and in 1563 it was occupied by Mary, Queen of Scots. However it was confiscated by the Crown during the Scottish Reformation. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 127</ref>


The lives of many members of the Durie family were disrupted by the Reformation. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 127</ref> George Durie reached high offices in church and state, becoming Commendator and the last Abbot of Dunfermline before the Reformation. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 127</ref>

He also appeared in Parliament between 1540 and 1554, was appointed an Extraordinary Lord in 1541, became Lord of the Articles, a member of the Governor's 'Secret Counsale' in 1543, a Lord of Council and Session and Keeper of the Privy Seal of Scotland.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 127</ref>

George Durie was a staunch supporter of Mary, Queen of Scots. As an opponent of the Reformation he brought his own cousin, John Durie, a monk, to trial for proclaiming the new teaching.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 127</ref> John Durie was however rescued by the Earl of Arran and later became a minister at St. Giles, Edinburgh. <ref>http://www.duriefamily.co.uk/home/durie-family-history-resum%C3%A9</ref>

The Queen and her mother, the Queen-Dowager wrote several letters to George Durie while in distress and sent him on diplomatic missions to the court of France.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 127</ref> Durie later fled there taking with him the relics of Queen Margaret, wife of Malcolm III for safe keeping.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 127</ref> It was last seen just before the French Revolution. <ref>http://www.duriefamily.co.uk/home/durie-family-history-resum%C3%A9</ref>

His brother was Andrew Durie who was Abbot of Melrose and Bishop of Galloway.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 127</ref>

Andrew Durie was despised by the religious reformer John Knox and was imprisoned in Edinburgh Castle in 1580.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 127</ref> Meanwhile Robert Durie, minister of Anstruther, was exiled for attending a proscribed General Assembly of the Church. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 127</ref>

George Durie's sons, John and George, were both educated at the Scots' Colleges in Paris.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 127</ref> There is little doubt that John was the Jesuit Durie who was implicated in a conspiracy to release Mary, Queen of Scots and depose Elizabeth I of England.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 127</ref>

Seventeenth Century

Another of George's sons was Henry Durie who held the lands of Craigluscar and from whom the main line of the family runs. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 127</ref> His wife, Margaret MacBeth, was renowned for her skill with herbs.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 127</ref>Margaret was attended royal births at Dunfermline Palace and was a favourite of Anne of Denmark.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 127</ref>

In the late 17th century another George Durie was a Captain in King Louis XIV of France's Scots Guards and also a provost of Dunfermline. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 127</ref> His descendent, Eliza Durie became the heiress on the death of her brother, and married Dr. Andrew Dewar. Their grandson, Lt. Raymond Varley Dewar Durie was recognised as chief in 1988 after a period when the family had been considered an armigerous clan.

His son, Andrew Maule Dewar Durie of Durie, is the current Chief. <ref>http://www.duriefamily.co.uk/home/durie-family-history-resum%C3%A9</ref>


There is an active Family Association: http://www.duriefamily.co.uk/

References <references/>