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The Scottish Nation

DINGWALL, a surname derived from the town of Dingwall in Ross-shire. According to the old Statistical Account of Scotland, the name, formerly Dignaval or Digna vallis, took its origin from the richness of the soil of the lower grounds, which form a considerable part of the parish of Dingwall. Some writers with greater probability consider the name to be of Scandinavian origin, and refer it to a word expressive of its being the seat of justice.

      One of the original judges of the court of session, on the spiritual side, on its first institution, May 27, 1532, was Sir John Dingwall, provost of Trinity college, Edinburgh, whose residence, Dingwall castle stood on the ground now occupied by the buildings at the junction of Waterloo Place with Shakspere Square, Edinburgh. He had previously been rector of Strabrok and archdeacon of Caithness in 1524, in which year he obtained a charter under the great seal of the mansion, orchard, and garden of Wester Strabrok in Linlithgowshire. He died before the 9th July 1533. He is supposed to be the same “Sir John Dungwell”: whom John Knox accuses of having “according to the charitie of kirkmen,” entertained the wife, and wasted the substance of one Alexander Furrour, during his seven years’ confinement in the Tower of London. [Knox’s Hist. p. 15.] Some severe Latin verses on this judge by Buchanan, are quoted in Haig and Brunton’s Senators of the College of Justice.


      DINGWALL, Lord, a title in the peerage of Scotland, conferred by King James the Sixth on Andrew Keith, son of Robert Keith, abbot of the Cistertian monastery of Deer in Aberdeenshire, second son of William Lord Keith of the Marischal family [see MARISCHAL, earl]. Douglas says that this peerage was created 3d August 1587, but Moyes in his ‘Memoirs’ gives the date 15th March 1583-4, and he appears to be correct, as in the unprinted acts of parliament 1585, is one excepting the Lord Dingwall from the act made anent the revocation of the king’s property. [Douglas’ Peerage, Wood’s edit. vol. i. p. 413, note.] His lordship was one of the commissioners sent in 1589 to treat of the marriage between the king and Anne of Denmark. He died without issue, having previously resigned his estate and honours in favour of William Keith of Delney, who, thereupon, had a charter of the same, dated at Holyroodhouse, 22d January 1592-3. The title, however, was extinct before 1606, as it does not appear in the decreet of ranking of the peers that year, and Sir Richard Preston was created Lord Dingwall in 1607.

      This gentleman, first Lord Dingwall of the second creation, appears to have been a younger son of Preston of Whitehill, of the family of Preston of Preston and Craigmillar (see PRESTON, surname of). He was a great favourite of King James the Sixth, by whom he was knighted, and appointed one of the gentlemen of his bedchamber. On the accession of James to the English throne, he attended his majesty to London, and was made one of the knights of the Bath at his coronation, 25th July 1603. In 1607 he had the constabulary of Dingwall bestowed upon him, and was created a peer of Scotland by the title of Lord Dingwall, as already stated, and his peerage confirmed by charter of 8th June 1609, to him and his heirs whatsoever. He married (the match being brought about by the king) Lady Elizabeth Butler, only surviving child of Thomas tenth earl of Ormond and Ossory, widow of her cousin-german, Viscount Tulleophelim, and on the earl’s death in 1614, he took possession of his landed property, in prejudice of the rights of the heir male, Walter Butler, eleventh earl of Ormond, in whose favour a settlement had been made by the late earl. For not submitting to an adverse decision of the king declaring Lord Dingwall entitled to the estate, the earl was committed to the Fleet prison, where he was detained eight years, and only obtained his liberty on his majesty’s death. Lord Dingwall had one child, Elizabeth, whom the duke of Buckingham intended for the wife of his nephew, George Fielding, second son of William first earl of Denbigh, and with a view to their marriage, he was created Lord Fielding in the Irish peerage, and Lord Dingwall, Viscount Callan and earl of Desmond in the same peerage, with remainder to his intended son-in-law, George Lord Fielding, 20th November 1622. The match, however, was frustrated by the assassination of the duke of Buckingham and the death of Lord Dingwall (earl of Desmond), the latter being drowned on the on the passage betwixt Dublin and Holyhead, 28th October 1628. The barony of Dingwall devolved on his daughter, and the earldom of Desmond on Lord Fielding, in whose family it still remains.

      His daughter, Lady Elizabeth Preston, baroness of Dingwall, born 25th July 1615, married in 1629, when she was little more than fourteen years of age, James, Lord Thurles, (grandson and heir-apparent of Walter, earl of Ormond), afterwards the great duke of Ormond. His Grace died 21st July 1668, and was buried with his duchess (died 21st July 1684) in Westminster Abbey.

      Their grandson, James, second duke of Ormond, born 29th April 1665, was an eminent military commander, and commander-in-chief of all the British forces at home and abroad. He was also for several years lord-lieutenant of Ireland. Having preferred a claim to the title of Lord Dingwall in Scotland, the House of Lords, on 2d March 1711, ordered it to be referred to their committee for privileges. He voted as Lord Dingwall at two elections in 1713, though his title was not admitted by the House till 8th July 1714. His Grace was impeached for high treason 21st June 1715, and retiring 8th August into France, was forfeited, when the title of Baron Dingwall was attained. He died 16th November 1745, in the 71st year of his age, without surviving issue.

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