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Origins of the Clan

The first person by the name of Wedderburn to appear on record in Scotland is Wautier de Wederburn, who rendered homage to King Edward I of England on the Ragman Rolls in 1296. The lands of the Clan Wederburn lay in Berwickshire. References can also be found to John de Wedderburn living in 1364, and William de Wedderburn living between 1426 and 1452. However, the lands of Clan Wedderburn passed at an early date to the head family of Clan Home. Later the Wedderburn family seems to have settled in Forfarshire. By the year 1400, four distinct yet closely related Wedderburn families could be found in Dundee and at Kingennie in Forfar.

17th Century

One of the Dundee families was that of James Wedderburn, whose three sons, James, John and Robert, were among the earliest Scottish Protestant reformers. They united to round the famous Guide and Godlie Ballads, otherwise known as the Wedderburn Psalms. From the eldest of these brothers descended James Wedderburn, Bishop of Dunblane in 1636, who, as the friend of Archbishop Laud and those responsible for introducing a new liturgy to the Church, was driven from Scotland in 1638. He retired to Canterbury, where he is buried in the cathedral. Two Dundee families are now extinct in the direct male line of Walter Wedderburn of Welgait and David Wedderburn, ancestor of the lairds of Craigie.

18th Century & Jacobite Risings

David wedderburn’s grandson, Sir John Wedderburn supported the British Government. He entered the British Army, and married and died in 1723. He had sold Blackness Castle to his cousin, Sir Alexander, who also succeeded to the baronetcy.

However Alexander was deposed from the office of Clerk of Dundee for having Jacobite sympathies. His eldest son was also a Jacobite, and served as a volunteer in Lord Ogilvy’s regiment at the Battle of Culloden, where he was taken prisoner in 1746. He was convicted and executed for treason in 1746, when the baronetcy was forfeited. His eldest son, who was also at Culloden, survived and fled to Jamaica.

Sir David Wedderburn of Balindean, who was MP for Perth and Postmaster-General for Scotland, succeeded to the chiefship of the family, and in 1775 was created a baronet. Alexander Wedderburn, the great-grandson of the judge, Sir Peter Wedderburn of Gosford, became a distinguished lawyer in his own right, and Solicitor General for Scotland. He spoke against the Government’s policies in the American colonies, and predicted that they would break away from the British Empire. He was created Lord Loughborough in 1780 and Earl of Rosslyn in 1801. He was succeeded in the earldom by his nephew, Sir James St Clair Erskine.

Clan Chief

The chiefship of the family is now held within the family of the Scrymgeour-Wedderburns, the Earls of Dundee. By family arrangement, the chiefship of Wedderburn is held by the eldest son of the earl who is himself chief of the Clan Scrymgeour. When the Wedderburn chief succeeds to the earldom, the chiefship passes to his heir.



      Blackness Castle was owned by the Wedderburn family from the late 17th to early 18th century.

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