Thomas Dick Lauder

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Sir Thomas Dick Lauder of Fountainhall, 7th Baronet, FRSE FSA(Scot) (13 August 1784 – 29 May 1848) was a Scottish author. He served as Secretary to the Board of Manufactures (1839–), on the Herring Fisheries Board, at the Royal Institution for the Encouragement of the Fine Arts,[2] and as Deputy Lieutenant of both counties of Moray and Haddington.

He was the only son of Sir Andrew Dick-Lauder, 6th Baronet, whom he succeeded in 1820.

Early life

Born in Edinburgh, Midlothian but baptised 8 days later at Pencaitland, East Lothian, in early life he entered the army – 79th (The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders) Regiment of Foot, and although possessing Fountainhall (near Pencaitland), he afterwards took up his residence at his wife's home, 'Relugas' in Morayshire, where he remained till 1832 (selling it in 1836), when he removed to the Grange House,[3] in the Grange, Edinburgh until his death. On 8 February 1808 he married, on the banks of the Findhorn at Edinkillie, Morayshire, Charles Anne (1785–1864), the only child and heiress of George Cumin of Relugas. By her he had two sons and eight daughters.

In 1839 Sir Thomas was appointed Secretary to the Board of Manufactures and Fisheries in Scotland,[4] and also, immediately afterwards, Secretary to the Board of British White Herring Fishery.The duties of these Secretaryships he continued sedulously to discharge till interrupted by his last illness. He was for some time Secretary to the Royal Institution for the Encouragment of the Fine Arts,[5] an office which he relinquished about two years before his death. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, where he presented his paper on Parallel Roads of Glen Roy on 2 March 1818.[6]


With his close friend Henry Thomas Cockburn, Lord Cockburn, Sir Thomas was an active Liberal, and took a keen interest in politics. In 1832 he presiding over a huge meeting of some 30,000 people rallying in favour of the Reform Bill at St. Anne's Yards, the field immediately to the east of Holyroodhouse – said to be the largest ever political rally ever held in Scotland.[7]


Sir Thomas and his family were close friends of Sir Walter Scott.[8] His first contribution to Blackwood's Magazine in 1817, entitled Simon Roy, Gardener at Dunphail, was ascribed by some at first to Sir Walter Scott. His paper (1818) on The Parallel Roads of Glenroy, printed in vol. ix. of the Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, first drew attention to the phenomenon in question.

In 1825 and 1827 he published two romances, Lochandhu and The Wolf of Badenoch. He became a frequent contributor to both Blackwood's Magazine and Tait's Magazine, and in 1830 he published An Account of the Great Floods in Morayshire in 1829 in the Province of Moray and adjoining Districts.

About this time he was befriended by the Sobieski Stuart brothers, eventual publishers, in 1842, of the disputed Vestiarium Scoticum. Lauder agreed to transcribe the famous Cromarty MS which remained in the possession of his family until 1936, when it was presented to Queen Mary. It is now in the Royal Library at Windsor Castle. With it is a letter in which the donor states that the book was 'given' to Sir Thomas "by the Sobieski-Stuart brothers, Ian and Charles Edward". Sir Thomas and Sir Walter Scott corresponded on this MS at length. A full transcript of the Cromarty MS can be found in Stewart & Thompson's book, Scotland's Forged Tartans, which deals mainly with the Vestiarium and their opinions on it.[9]

Some subsequent works of Sir Thomas were Highland Rambles, with Long Tales to Shorten the Way (2 vols. 8 vo, 1837), Legendary Tales of the Highlands (3 vols. 12mo, 1841), Tour round the Coasts of Scotland (1842), and was asked by Queen Victoria to write the official history of her visit, entitled Memorial of the Royal Progress in Scotland (1843). Volume One of a Miscellany of Natural History, published in 1833, was also partly prepared by Lauder. An unfinished series of papers, written for Tait's Magazine shortly before his death, was published under the title Scottish Rivers, with a preface by John Brown, MD., in 1874.


He died at Grange House, and was buried in the new Dick Lauder tomb in the new cemetery at Grange, Edinburgh.

He was succeeded by his eldest son and heir, Sir John Dick-Lauder, 8th Baronet.

Lauder tartan

The Lauder tartan first appears, it would seem, about this time, in the Vestiarium Scoticum amongst the "bordour clanns". It can be found in The Tartans of the Clans and Septs of Scotland by W. & A.K.Johnston, Edinburgh, 1906.


  1. The portrait was painted by Robert Scott Lauder and subsequently engraved. One of those engravings hangs in the New club, Edinburgh.
  2. Waterston, Charles D; Macmillan Shearer, A (July 2006). Former Fellows of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 1783–2002: Biographical Index (PDF). II. Edinburgh: The Royal Society of Edinburgh. ISBN 978-0-902198-84-5. Retrieved 17 November 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Stewart-Smith, J., The Grange of St. Giles, Edinburgh, 1898: 357
  5. J Stewart-Smith (1898). The Grange of St. Giles. Edinburgh. p. 358.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. J Stewart-Smith (1898). The Grange of St. Giles. Edinburgh. p. 355.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. J Stewart-Smith (1898). The Grange of St. Giles, 339.
  8. The Journal of Sir Walter Scott 1825–32, New edition, Edinburgh, 1891; and Corson, James C., Notes & Index to Sir Herbert Grierson's Edition of the Letters of Sir Walter Scott, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1979.
  9. Stewart, Donald, and Thompson, J Charles, Scotland's Forged Tartans, Edinburgh, 1980, pps 133- 157 ISBN 0-904505-67-7


  • Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. Missing or empty |title= (help)CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

Further reading

  • The Peerage & Baronetage of the British Empire, by John Burke, 8th edition, London, 1845, volume 1, pps: 590/1.
  • The Royal Families of England, Scotland, and Wales, with their Descendants, etc., by Messrs.,John and John Bernard Burke, London, 1851, vol.2, pedigree CLXXIII.
  • The Scottish Nation, by William Anderson, Edinburgh, 1870, volume 2, pps: 632-3.
  • The Grange of St.Giles, by J.Stewart Smith, Edinburgh, 1898.
  •  Henderson, Thomas Finlayson (1892). [ "Lauder, Sir Thomas Dick" ] Check |ws link in chapter= value (help). In Lee, Sidney (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography. 32. London: Smith, Elder & Co.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainCousin, John William (1910). A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature. London: J. M. Dent & Sons. Wikisource 
Baronetage of Nova Scotia
Preceded by
Andrew Dick-Lauder
(of Fountainhall) 
Succeeded by
John Dick-Lauder