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Lumsden of Cushnie 2
David Lumsden of Cushnie ( 1933-2008 )

Photo credit: Heraldry Society of Scotland's, "Tak Tent" Newsletter No. 41 Oct. 2008, with permission of the Editor.

Caption: Cushnie relaxing at the Reception after the Opening Ceremony of the 27th Intl. Congress of Genealogical and Heraldic Sciences, St. Andrews, 2006.

The author of the obituary article, Gordon Casley, has kindly supplied us with the text which is actually longer that the version used in "Tak Tent" for which we thank him heartly ! It is to be noted as well that more photos of Cushnie are to be found in that issue of "Tak Tent", editor.


Born: 25 May, 1933, in Quetta, Baluchistan;
Died: 30 August, 2008, in Fort William, aged 75.

David Lumsden of Cushnie, an outstanding heraldist, castle restorer, businessman, monarchist and staunch Jacobite, could easily have lived a life born out of his time. Instead, he leapt into the 21st century with a youthfulness and vigour that belied his three-quarters-of-a-century.

Tall, with a lean athletic figure reflecting a youth spent passionately rowing or on the polo field, Lumsden of Cushnie wove his own thread in the tapestry of Scotland. Interested in castellated architecture from boyhood, he proved an expert on the L-plan and Z-plan towers and keeps that make up so much of Scotland’s domestic fortified architecture, and after 1970 personally restored two family properties – Cushnie House (built 1688 by Alexander Lumsden) and Tillycairn Castle (built 1540 by Mathew Lumsden). Their success was such that he went on to restore Leithen Lodge at Innerleithen, an Arts-And-Crafts shooting lodge of 1887, and Liberton Tower, in Edinburgh.

Unsurprisingly he was a co-founder with Harry Borthwick (23rd Lord Borthwick), Nigel Tranter and Hugh Ross of the Castles of Scotland Preservation Trust. In this, they were greatly aided by Jessie Pettigrew, whose pioneering work turned the A-listed but condemned Dalzell House in Motherwell from a ruin into attractive series of homes. The constant struggle to rescue outstanding castles caused Cushnie to opine that “Shortage of Government funding for historic building projects (in Scotland) is chronic when compared with other European countries”.
Given his upbringing and interests, Cushnie could have been excused for flaunting idiosyncrasies. He confined himself instead to listing his birthplace in Baluchistan as “in the Empire of India” – which it was when he was born – and campaigning against the wearing of white socks with the kilt.

“Any colour but white” he would opine, and carried a supply of printed cards bearing the message with him at all times to hand out to offenders. A patron of the Aboyne Gathering and faithful attender in his green Lumsden of Cushnie kilt for nearly half-a-century, his enthusiastic article in the Games programme last month (August 2008) on tartan and the kilt included a broadside on white hose.

Educated at Allhallows, Devon, Bedford School and Jesus College, Cambridge, Cushnie held a commission in the London Scottish TA before developing an executive career with British American Tobacco for 23 years from 1959 – 1982, and a member of Lloyd’s from 1985 until retirement in 2001. He worked in Africa, India and the Far East, as well as Eastern Europe in the heyday of the Iron Curtain. His first mission on leaving BAT was to move into castle restoration.

A profound monarchist and Jacobite, he served as convenor of the Monarchist League of Scotland, was president for the last 23 years of the 1745 Association, was a contributor to the publication The Muster Rolls of the 45 (listing all those who served with Prince Charles Edward), and served as a council member of the Royal Stuart Society. Last year, he played a prominent role in commemorating the bicentenary of the death of Prince Henry, Cardinal Stuart, last member of the Royal House of Stuart, at the Royal Hospital Chelsea along with Viscount Maitland (Hereditary Bearer of the National Flag of Scotland) and General Lord Walker (governor of the Royal Hospital).

Keenly interested in music, he was co-founder of the Scottish Historic Organs Trust in 1991.

He shared with Sir Winston Churchill a Cushnie lineage ran back to Robert Lumsden, granted a charter of Cushnie by king James IV in 1509. Robert of Cushnie was Churchill’s 11-greats-grandfather.

He sold the barony four years ago. David Gordon Allen d’Aldecamb Lumsden of Cushnie, SMOM, MA, FSA Scot.

He was the last of the family to hold the title of Baron of Cushnie Lumsden, Aberdeen having sold the barony in January 2004 to Alan Robertson just prior to the effects of the Abolition of Feudal Tenure (2000) Act which came into being in November of that year. He served with great joy and enthusiasm as Garioch Pursuivant since 1986 – one of only four private pursuivants in Scotland to the Chief of the Name and Arms of Mar – presently Margaret of Mar, 30th Countess of Mar.

As well as serving as Garioch Persuivant he was also a Knight of Malta; Knight of Justice Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St. George; Knight in the Order of SS Maurice and Lazarus; and Patron of the Aboyne Highland Games.

Knight of Malta Honour and Devotion, 1980; Knight of Justice Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St George, 1978; Knight Order of St. Maurice and St. Lazarus, 1999;

Hamilton House, West Loan, Prestonpans

David is also a herald – Garioch Pursuivant of Arms and sits on the convention of the Baronage of Scotland. His motto Dei Donum Sum Quod Sum (By the grace of God, I am what I am).

It is my sad duty to inform you the the Baillie of the Grand Bailiwick, Baron David Lumsden of Cushnie, GCLJ, died recently. I have been informed that his executors are trying to arrange for his funeral to be held in St Mary's Roman Catholic Cathedral, Edinburgh, sometime between 5th to 10th September.

As you know, David had quite a distinctive nose - we once went to his home for a Baronage Convention meeting. On the walls were all his ancestors, mainly eminent soldiers dating back to the Napoleonic war. That nasal feature had endured for over 150 years in the male line!

Apparently David was attending a meeting of the "1745 Association" of which he was President. It was in Fort William. He checked into his hotel the night before, said he was not feeling well, took himself off to bed and was found dead the following morning.

He was predeceased earlier this year by his younger brother Kenneth, and is survived by his sister Jean (Mrs de Laurier) and her sons, his nephews.


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