Saturday 6 September 2008

Lumsden of Cushnie passes on to the Land o' the Leal. RIP.

The news of the sad and sudden death of good friend David Lumsden of Cushnie, longtime Baron of Cushnie-Lumsden in the ancient Feudal Baronage of Scotland which pre-dates the later (and modern) form of peerage, sees the loss of one of the most loyal defenders of the Jacobite heritage and of Scottish Catholic tradition.

Fittingly the Laird of Cushnie died shortly after presiding over the annual meeting of the 1745 Association at Glenfinnan, where the Royal Standard of Prince Charles Edward was first raised in 1745.

The Sunday before he had attended Mass in the traditional Roman rite at St. Andrew’s Church, Ravelston in Edinburgh which had, in recent times, become one of his preferred places of worship.

David Gordon Allen d’Aldecamb Lumsden of Cushnie, sometime Baron of Cushnie-Lumsden, was born on 25 May in 1933 in Quetta, Baluchistan in, as he often put it, the "Empire of India". He was the son of Henry Gordon Strange Lumsden, a Major in the Royal Scots, of Nocton Hall, Lincolnshire and Sydney Mary, only child of Brigadier-General Charles Allen Elliot.

He was educated at Allhallows, Devon, Bedford School, and at Jesus College, Cambridge. He held a commission in the London Scottish TA before developing an executive career with British American Tobacco for 23 years from 1959, and was a member of Lloyd's from 1985 until his retirement in 2001. He worked in Africa, India and the Far East, as well as eastern Europe. Upon leaving BAT he moved into castle restoration.

He was a Knight of Honour and Devotion of the Sovereign Military and Hospitaller Order of St John of Jerusalem, Rhodes and Malta (the oldest military-religious order of the Roman Catholic Church), a Knight of Justice of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order (the other international Roman Catholic military order), a Knight of the Order of Saint Maurice and St Lazarus and Bailie of the Bailiwick of Scotland of the Order of St Lazarus, as well as being a Freeman of the City of London.

His motto, Dei Donum Sum Quod Sum (by the grace of God, I am what I am) reflected his strong Christian and Catholic commitment.

He was also a Patron of the Aboyne Highland Games.

The Laird of Cushnie (4th from the left) at the Aboyne Games

David was, moreover, a keen heraldist and served as Garioch Pursuivant-of-Arms to the Chief of the Name and Arms of Mar, Margaret Alison of Mar, 31st Countess of Mar and Lady Garioch (and Titular 11th Duchess of Mar in the Jacobite Peerage in which Peerage she is numbered as 32nd Countess of Mar, as the attainder of 1716-1824 is not recognised by Jacobites). The Earldom of Mar is the oldest peerage title in the United Kingdom. Garioch is one of the four surviving private officers of arms in Scotland recognised by the Court of the Lord Lyon King of Arms.

David co-founded the Castles of Scotland Preservation Trust and the Scottish Historic Organs Trust and was President of the Scottish Military History Society. In addition he was a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. He was on the council of the Admiral the Viscount Keppel Association and was one of the patrons of the Russian Summer Ball in London. He was Convenor of the Monarchist League of Scotland and was on the council of the Royal Stuart Society.

In the realm of sport, he was a keen shot, played polo in his youth and had rowed at Cambridge, in addition to his interest in sailing and riding.

Given his interests in heraldry, castle restoration, monarchy and Jacobitism, he might have preferred to live in the past, avoiding the present but he went about his business with a vigour that easily dispelled any notion of retirement despite his 75 years.

His tall, trim figure figure recalled an active life and youth and a clan chief once observed of him "David has a distinctive aquiline nose, and on the walls [of his house] were portraits of all his ancestors, mainly eminent soldiers dating back to the Napoleonic war. That nasal feature had endured for more than 150 years in the male line".

David personally restored two family properties – Cushnie House (built in 1688 by Alexander Lumsden) and Tillycairn Castle (built in 1540 by Mathew Lumsden), thereafter restoring both Leithen Lodge at Innerleithen, an arts-and-crafts shooting lodge of 1887, and Liberton Tower, in Edinburgh.

He was a co-founder with Harry Borthwick (23rd Lord Borthwick), Nigel Tranter and Hugh Ross of the Castles of Scotland Preservation Trust.

His bete noire (or perhaps "bete blanche") was the hideous, modern penchant for wearing white socks with the kilt. "Any colour but white" was David's constant refrain and he would present offenders with a card bearing that same advice.

The Laird of Cushnie

A loyal and profound monarchist and Jacobite, David was a contributor to the The Muster Rolls of the 45 (listing all those who served with Prince Charles Edward during the '45 Jacobite campaign to restore the rightful Stuart dynasty to its lawful place upon the British throne), and served as a council member of the Royal Stuart Society.

In 2007, he played a prominent role in commemorating the bicentenary of the death of HRH Prince Henry Benedict Stuart, the Cardinal Duke of York, 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). He also participated in the Requiem arranged by the Sovereign Military Order of St John of Jerusalem, Rhodes and Malta at their Church of St John in the Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth in St John's Wood.

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

His ancestor, Robert Lumsden, 1st Laird of Cushnie, was granted a charter of the lands by King James IV in 1509. David was kinsman to Sir Winston Churchill who was himself descended from Robert of Cushnie.

David was an active member of the Convention of the Baronage of Scotland and represented the convention at two services in St Giles' Cathedral each year – St Andrews Day and the opening of the General Assembly of the Kirk. For these occasions the colourful scarlet robes of the Feudal baronage are worn by those, like David, entitled to wear them. He hosted Convention meetings at his home, Hamilton House near Prestonpans, scene of the battle in which the Bonnie Prince soundly defeated Hanoverian General Sir John Cope in 1745.

His younger brother, Kenneth, died earlier in the year and they are survived by their sister, Jean (Mrs de Laurier) and her two sons.

Robin Angus said of David that he “personified a world of precious things — things which are imperilled, but which never seemed imperilled when he was there. David no longer visibly with us is unimaginable... He was the soul of old Scotland".

David Gordon Allen d’Aldecamb
of Cushnie


Requiem aeternum dona eis Domine:
et lux perpetua luceat eis.
Requiescat in pace.

David at bi-centenary celebrations for HRH Henry Benedict Stuart, Cardinal Duke of York (left)
and as Garioch Pursuivant-of-Arms at the 27th Genealogical Congress (right)

His death puts us in mind of the loyal, Jacobite songs of Carolina Oliphant of Gask, Lady Nairne, such as Will Ye No Come Back Again, Wha'll Be King But Charlie and Charlie Is My Darlin'.

Perhaps, however, the poignant and beautiful words of her touching song The Land o' The Leal, in which a Jacobite husband comforts his grieving wife as he lies dying, are the most appropriate epitaph, reproduced below.

Land o' the Leal

I'm wearin' awa' Jean,
Like snaw-wreaths in thaw, Jean,
I'm wearin' awa'
To the land o' the leal.
There's nae sorrow there, Jean
There's neither cauld nor care, Jean,
The day's aye fair
In the land o' the leal.

To me ye hae been true Jean,
Your task's ended noo, Jean
For near kythes my view
O' the land o' the leal.
Our bonnie bairn's there, Jean,
She was baith gude and fair, Jean,
And, oh! we grud'd her sair
To the land o' the leal.

But dry that tearfu' ee, Jean,
Grieve na for her and me, Jean
Frae sin and sorrow free
I' the land o' the leal.
Now fare ye weel, may ain Jean!
This warld's cares are vain, Jean,
We'll meet and aye be fein
I' the land o' the leal.

land o' the leal = land of the loyal, i.e. heaven
cauld = cold
aye = ever
kythes = beholds
bairn = child
baith gude = both good
ee = eye
na = not
ain = own
fein = happy

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