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This name is derived from Old French via the Middle English "skrymsher" or "skirmisour" meaning a fencer. The family traces its lineage back to Aodh O'Neill, King of the North of Ireland in the 11th century. The first recording of the name in Scottish records occurs in 1293 when "Alexander called Schyrmeshur" was granted a track of lands. In 1298 two documents issued on behalf of the crown by Sir William Wallace, Guardian of the Kingdom, confirmed on the same Alexander Schyrmeschur the honourable, but highly dangerous, privilege of bearing the King's banner in war, along with the hereditary office of Constable of the Castle of Dundee, and certain lands in the Dundee area named Upper Dudhope. Sir Alexander Scrymseor bore the Royal Standard under Sir William Wallace at the Battle of Falkirk in 1298 when the Scots were defeated by the English armies of Edward I. He was also one of the first Scottish landowners to declare in favour of Robert the Bruce and carried the Royal Standard at Bannockburn in 1314 where the Scots were victorious. Sir Alexander's son, Sir Nicholas, was granted by Royal Charter, the office of hereditary Standard Bearer. In 1370 he married Agnes of Glassary, heiress to the Glassary lands, bringing the lands into Scrymgeour ownership. It is also through this marriage that the Scrymgeours can trace their ancestry back to the Irish Kings, through Agnes's ancestors Gillascop MacGilchrist of Glassary and the dynastic family of Cowall and Knapdale, descendants of Aodh O'Neill. After Bannockburn the Scrymgeours built Dudhope Castle as a replacement for Dundee Castle. John Scrymgeour, the 11th Constable of Dundee, was created Viscount Dudhope by James VI in 1641; his grandson, also John, received the title of Earl of Dundee in 1660. On his death without heirs in 1668 he was succeeded by his kinsman, John Scrymgeour of Kirkton, who was to be deprived of his lands and title by the 1st Duke of Lauderdale. In 1683 James Graham of Claverhouse acquired Dudhope Castle. However, in 1953 Henry, 11th Earl of Dundee established his claim to the reinstatement of the title before the House of Lords.



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