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A writer, blogger, historian, and web designer born in New York, educated in Argentina, Scotland, and South Africa, and now based in London. read more

David Lumsden of Cushnie, 1933-2008

Garioch Pursuivant of Arms, sometime Baron of Cushnie-Lumsden, Knight of Malta, Patron of the Aboyne Highland Games

It was with great sadness that I learned this morning of the death of David Lumsden. He was an exceptionally genial and affable man, and was relied on to provide good company at many events, from balls to Sunday lunches and everything in between. But David was generous not only with his good company but with his patronage, as is attested to by the countless organizations he helped and guided. Here was a man who was generous of spirit. David’s death came very suddenly yesterday afternoon in his hotel room at the annual conference of the 1745 Association, of which he was president. Just last Sunday he had attended the traditional Mass at St. Andrew’s, Ravelston in Edinburgh, where a friend described him as “looking as hale and hearty as ever”.

David Gordon Allen d’Aldecamb Lumsden of Cushnie, sometime Baron of Cushnie-Lumsden, was born on 25 May in 1933 in Quetta, Baluchistan in 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 before serving in the Territorial Army with the London Scottish while working at British American Tobacco. He was a Knight of the Order of Malta, as well as of the Constantinian Order, and was Patron of the Aboyne Highland Games. David enthusiastically served as Garioch Pursuivant to the Chief of the Name and Arms of Mar (presently Margaret of Mar, the 30th Countess of Mar), one of the four surviving private officers of arms in Scotland recognised by the Court of the Lord Lyon.

Lumsden with friends, at the Aboyne Highland Games.

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 to his Magister Artium from Cambridge, 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 famous 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 and had rowed at Cambridge, in addition to his interest in sailing and riding.

Left: Representing the Royal Stuart Society at the Henry IX commemoration at the Royal Hospital Chelsea. Right: In his capacity as Garioch Pursuivant of Arms, at the XXVIIth International Congress of Genealogical and Heraldic Sciences in 2006.

David had a passion for architecture, and especially that of his native Scotland. Returning in 1970 after a spell in Africa, he undertook the restoration of two family properties: Cushnie House, built in 1688 by Alexander Lumsden and Tillycairn Castle, built in 1540 by Matthew Lumsden. He later went on to restore Leithen Lodge at Innerleithen, an 1880s shooting lodge built in a distinctly Scottish take on the Arts & Crafts tradition. Under the auspices of the Castles of Scotland Preservation Trust, in 1994 he oversaw the restoration of Liberton Tower just south of the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh.

“David was a unique man possessed of an insatiable love of life and learning,” his friend Rafe Heydel-Mankoo said. “He will be deeply missed and fondly remembered by those fortunate enough to have met him.”

“David was at the centre of so many things, and brought together so many different people,” said Lorna Angus, the wife of Robin Angus. “He could bring life to any gathering and he made so many good things possible.”

Robin Angus, meanwhile, said that David Lumsden “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,” Robin continued. “What his friends must now do is keep the flame, and — as he did — pass it on to others with the same generous wisdom. He was the soul of old Scotland. I hope that, in Heaven, Raeburn will make amends for what the centuries did not allow, and paint his portrait.”

While I wholeheartedly agree with Robin, it must be said that those who were blessed to know David are left with a portrait of him in our hearts and minds far greater than even the brush of Raeburn could achieve.

David Gordon Allen d’Aldecamb Lumsden
of Cushnie


“… hold fast to that which is good.”
— 1.Thess 5:21

Requiem aeternum dona eis Domine:
et lux perpetua luceat eis.

Requiescat in pace.

This post was published on Saturday, August 30th, 2008 3:00 pm. It has been categorised under Great Britain Heraldry Order of Malta People Scotland and been tagged under , , , , , , .
Mark M
30 Aug 2008 4:38 pm

What sad news, Andrew. And to think I too saw him just a week ago. :(

Richard Howting
30 Aug 2008 7:02 pm

Dear Andrew, I am sorry for you and for all who knew David Lumsden. And, having read your tribute, I am sorry for myself for not having known him.

I am sure that Mr Lumsden felt all the richer for having had a friend such as yourself.

Alex Orr
2 Sep 2008 6:26 am

Such sad news, I saw him both at lunch on Sunday and on his way to the Festival Theatre on Monday !

Still in shock, David was truly one of life’s characters.


Stelios Rigopoulos
2 Sep 2008 10:34 am

David’s wit and wisdom, as well as his nobly authoratative character will be sorely missed. For all those who had the honour to know him, his sudden death – at Glenfinnan, a small consolation! – will leave a great void.

Requiescat in pace.

Stelios Rigopoulos

Tom Kerr
2 Sep 2008 3:56 pm

Terrible news, we were great friends, I had lunch with him at his home the day before he left to travel up north. He will be sadly missed.

Nico Nelson
3 Sep 2008 5:20 am

Tragic news. David threw a leaving dinner for me just a month ago and he looked positively spritely. He was warm, entertaining, and had a youthful vigor which truly belied his years. A gentleman in the truest sense of the word. He will be missed, I just regret I did not have the honour of meeting him sooner.

Martin Margulies
4 Sep 2008 6:11 pm

Shocking. I met David just once — we shared a table at a recent event sponsored by the Prestoungrange Trust — but even in that short time he impressed me with his warmth, good fellowship and keen interest in Jacobite affairs. And I have known for years of his many services to Jacobite studies. We are all richer for those services and poorer for his loss.

James R. Smith
5 Sep 2008 5:57 am

After the announcement by Brigadier John Macfarlane of the passing of David to the attendees of the Annual Gathering of the 1745 Association, and the short prayer service by the Reverend Nimmo in the main lounge of GlenFinnan House, we saw through the large windows, a fine stag walk across the lawn to the loch, drink, then partly turn and gaze steadily at the house for a while, finally walking off into the woods that now cover the area before and up the knoll on which the standard was raised…

Galbraith of Culross
6 Sep 2008 10:18 am

His funeral will take place on Wednesday the 10th of September at St Mary’s Roman Catholic Cathedral in Edinburgh at 2:30 p.m.
The Requiem Mass will be sung, and in the traditional rite.

David was a true friend from the outset when we first met at Culloden during the 250th anniversary of the battle, back in 1996. He always supported our efforts and endeavours in trying to keep the auld Franco-Scottish alive. He will not be forgotten by any of his many friends in France and we will all have prayer for him when we meet in Bergues this October, for the Gentle Lochiel commemoration. A bientôt David – Julian Hutchings – President of Alliance France-Ecosse

Andrew Cusack
9 Sep 2008 7:47 am

I am afraid that one or two notes of sympathy left here have been accidentally deleted through an internal error. I hope those who find their comments have not shown up will post them again.

Ludovic Robertson-Mackay
9 Sep 2008 12:31 pm

Such sad news, Reay Robertson-Mackay and Ludovic Robertson-Mackay, among his so many friends, present their deepest sympathy to David’s family.

Nicole MARC
9 Sep 2008 12:54 pm

What sorrowful news. I first met David at a Royal Stuart Society Dinner in 1955, quite a long time ago, and ever since, at Sancerre (France) and each year, at Culloden. I will always remember this great gentleman.

Diana Lumsdaine
10 Sep 2008 12:51 pm

David was one of life’s most charming men and we who knew him as a Founder of the House of Lumsden Clan Association will forever be indebted to his role in bringing us together. Acting as host at Tillycairn, Leithen Lodge and at Prestonpans, his welcome to our far flown family was legendary. We salute one of Scotland’s finest ambassadors and lament his passing with warm memories,this the day of his funeral. With sorrow, RIP David

Kevin F
10 Sep 2008 1:09 pm

I happily remember a wonderful lunch some years ago at Liberton Tower followed by a personal tour of many East Lothian manor houses that had yet to be restored – I’d never before been *inside* a dovecot – and I recall our conversations about music at Hamilton House in Prestonpans. David Lumsden’s great enthusiasm for Scottish architecture was infectious and he will be missed.

11 Sep 2008 10:03 am

David’s Requiem was held yesterday, 10 September 2008 in St Mary’s catholic Cathedral, Edinburgh. Fittingly for devout Catholic and lover of Tradition his Requiem was a Missa Cantata sung entirely in Latin and in the Extraordinary/Tridentine Form of 1962. It is believed this is the first time an Old Rite Mass has been celebrated in Edinburgh Cathedral since the early 1970’s. The celebrant was Monsignor Michael Regan, the cathedral administrator, the organist was Simon Nieminski.

Equally appropriately for a keen heraldist, David’s coffin was draped with his robes and orders and headed by a funeral hatchment of his arms. The Requiem was attended by members of his knightly orders: Malta; the Constantinian order of St George and the order of St Lazarus, vested in their respective mantels. Margaret, 30th Countess of Mar, whom David had long served as Garioch Pursuivant was among the mourners. An address was given by Robin Angus, dressed in the uniform of a papal Knight of St Sylvester, between the end of the mass and the final obsequies.

For another account see:

Fraser Carnegie Dickson
16 Sep 2008 4:15 pm

I was shocked to hear of David’s sudden death. Many years ago I was involved in setting up a Clan Society and through an article concerned with this, David wrote to me as he was wanting to set up a Lumsden Clan Association. We met and found we had much in common and kept in touch over many years until more recently. I was hoping to renew the friendship in 2009 at the Scottish Clans Gathering at Edinburgh in July 2009. My Clan Chief and his family have resided in Aberdeenshire for many centuries. I am an Aberdonian by birth. My sincere condolences to David’s family. Fraser

Terry Mosley
19 Sep 2008 4:46 pm

I had the pleasure of meeting David at the International Gathering of Scottish Clans and Families held in Glasgow, Kentucky, USA in 2001. My family and I found David to be a warm and generous man. Our deepest sympathies to David’s family and friends.

Evelyn Pelosi
18 Nov 2008 5:43 pm

On behalf of the Monarchist League of Scotland
we send our deepest sympathies to David’s family.
We shall miss his wise counsel, his generosity over the years to the League and his great sense of humour. It was fitting that David should die at Glenfinnan , where Prince Charles Edward Stuart raised his standard in 1745.
Requiescat in pace.

Kenn Marr
21 Nov 2008 2:15 pm

As the National Commissioner of the Tribe of Mar Association, USA and behalf of the entire membership, I extend our deepest sympathies the family and to Lady Mar for their lose. I met David only once at the Mar tent at the Aboyne Games in 2000, but carried on a long distance friendship over the years. Because of that chance meeting in 2000, I was loving badgered into starting the Tribe of Mar Association, USA. I enjoyed my association with David & miss him greatly.
“You can tell the greatness of a man by how he is morned.”

John R. Lumsden
6 Dec 2008 6:33 am

I was very shocked and saddened to learn of David’s passing. He introduced me to the House of Lumsden over 20 years ago and we became good friends. I last saw David at the 2006 Gathering. He was always warm and friendly and enjoyable to be around. I am in the USA and did not get to see him that much, but we did correspond. I for one will miss him.

Robert G A Mair
22 Dec 2008 1:02 am

We were saddened to hear, only recently, of the David’s passing. We extend our deepest sympathies to the family and to The Countess of Mar for their loss. He was most helpful to the Clan Tribe of Mar in Australia and will be sadly missed by the Clan members here in Australia.

President: Robert G A Mair
Hon Secretary: John Cornall-Reilly

James Fraser
10 Jun 2009 4:55 pm

This is late! I have been overseas and have only just learnt of David’s death. I first knew him in his BAT days when we were both working for the Company in Ghana, where I now live. I later saw a lot of him when he was living in London in the 1970s. As many have said, he was wonderful company and I valued him as a good friend. I had hoped to re-establish contact, his death is very sad.

Scott MacMillan of Rathdown
9 Oct 2012 1:34 am

David is still sorely missed.

Shahid Ahmad Rajput
23 Oct 2012 8:12 pm

I am sad and very sad indeed to have got the news today that David Lumsden is NO MORE!

He was such a good friend of mine. I feel him besides me and can hear his laughter and see him taking care of the old castles of Scotland where I lived with him at several occasions during the 1990s when I was student at London University.

He came to Pakistan a couple of times and it was great fun to have him around. I am impressed with his humbleness, having had so many title as he had,he never told me any of those titles nor he ever tried to show off. He was just dear old humble friend to make everyone feel comfortable around him.

I wrote him an e.mail today to ask him how he was doing. A moment later I got the E.mail alert that the message cannot be delivered. I then checked his e.mail twice and found it was okay. Thinking that he might have changed his e.mail I Googled him on the net and there I saw him smiling face of David in smart suit as he was normally known.
Could believe my Eyes when I read David Lumsden 1933-2008.

I have known his friend Ian? and also one of his cousins living somewhere away in Scotland (can’t recall his name but I stayed with him at his farm house). To both of them I want to say I am sorry to contact them so late, but it is only today I got know!

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