Robert Lumsden - Governor of Dundee 1651

A lecture given to the Friends by Archie Lumsden, Lumsden Sennachie, on 2nd October 1997.


In John Lament's Diary for the 1st September 1651 is the following entry:

The town of Dundee was taken by storm by the English forces commanded by Lieutenant General Monck, the town's people were secure and surprised unawares. The Governor, Robin Lumsden of Balwhinnie, was killed, the Lord Newton and his son also. A number of towns people and strangers also were killed, to the number of five or six hundred; the town plundered, both by land forces and ship men. Behind these few words lies the story of one of the greatest disasters to strike Dundee in its history. The plunder and fires that ensued were the cause of the loss of many of the City Archives. As Friends of the Archives of Dundee this story will be familiar to you.

Less familiar will be perhaps the name and history of the dead Governor of Dundee, Robin or Robert Lumsden of Balwhinnie, or, as it now known, Montquhinnie. This estate is situated north of Cupar in the County of Fife, and is now owned by the Wedderburn family. The story of this particular Lumsden is the subject of this short lecture. I should emphasise that most of the history of Scotland and England during this most complicated period which I am going to give you is very much simplified and is only intended to set the scene for our story.

At this point I should introduce myself. My name is Archie Lumsden, not related, except in the widest possible way to Robert. I became interested in Lumsden history while researching my own family, and was appointed Lumsden Sennachie by Gillem Lumsden of that Ilk and Blanerne, the present Chief of the name of Lumsden. As such I am responsible for the records and history of the Family of Lumsden. And now I must confess to you that really very little is known directly of Robert, but we are fortunate in that he did have two brothers, who were possibly more famous and who are often mentioned in the written history of this turbulent time in Scotland. These brothers were Sir James Lumsden of Innergellie and William Lumsden of Rennyhill, both in the Parish of Kilrenny in Fife.

At this point it may be appropriate to give you a short account of the genealogy of the senior Lumsden family of which these three brothers were members. The origin of the name of Lumsden lies in the name of an estate in the parish of Coldingham in Berwickshire. In 1095, after succeeding to the throne of Scotland, King Edgar granted the rents of this estate, along with several others in the area, to the Priory of Coldingham. By 1166, we have written evidence of a family calling themselves de Lumsden. In 1329 Gilbert de Lumsden was granted the estate of Blanerne in the parish of Bonkyll near Duns, probably as a reward for his assistance to the Earl of Angus during a campaign in the Western Isles against opponents of Robert Bruce. Various lines of his family held the estates of Lumsden and Blaneme until the 1930s.

In about 1439 a younger brother of the family, John, entered into possession of the Barony of Airdrie in Fife, an estate just inland from Anstruther. This branch of the family died out in the male line in 1566, when the estate reverted to a younger son of the senior line, James Lumsden of Airdrie. When he died in 1598, his younger brother Robert inherited. Robert Lums­den, married to Isabella Cor or Ker, was the father of our three brothers, who were probably born in Edinburgh, where their father was a burgess. Although the estate of Airdrie, which incidentally was sold for over £1,500,000 in 1997, was very rich, Robert was evidently not a very good business man. He became involved in the disastrous adventure to establish a colony on the Isle of Lewis, which took place in 1605. This resulted in the ruin of many Fife lairds, and Robert was forced to sell Airdrie in about 1618. So life was not looking too rosy for our three brothers, and the solution was, as for many other young Scots of the period off to the Continental Wars! Edinburgh 'History of Scotland' -

The main outlet abroad for Scottish energy was, of course, service in continental armies. From the 1560s onwards it was a common occurrence for the Scottish government to grant licences to individuals for the raising of specific numbers of men for service in Denmark, Sweden and the Low Countries, and after 1600 the traffic increased. The Thirty-Years' War, (largely a war between Catholic and Protestant interests), beginning in 1618, merely heightened the demand and widened the opportunities. First Christian IV of Denmark, then Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden, kings of coun­tries already accustomed to employ Scots, led the protestant armies. Gustavus is said to have had 10,000 Scots under his command, and there is some reason to believe this an under-statement.

It was in this context that we first find a mention of James, Robert and William Lumsden, sons of Robert Lumsden of Airdrie. In "Munro, His Expeditions and Observations" London 1637, there is a list of the "Scottish Officers in Chief (called the officers of the field) that serve his Majesty of Sweden, anno 1632," and among them appear "Sir James Lumsdell, Colonel to a Regiment of Scots," and "Robert Lumsdell, Lieutenant Colonel to Foote". Sir James Turner in his "Memoirs", says:

But before I attained to the eighteenth years of my age, a restless desire entered my mind to be, if not an actor, at least a spectator of these wars, which at that time made so much noise over all the world, and were managed against the Roman Emperor, and the Catholic League in Germany, under the auspicious conduct of the thrice famous Gustavus Adolphus, King of Sweden. Sir James Lumsdaine was then levying a regiment for that service. With him I engaged to go over ensigny to his brother Robert Lumsdaine eldest Captain, who, since that time was a General Major, and ten days before the King (Charles II) was routed at Worcester (3rd September 1651), was killed at Dundee (where he was Governor) in cold blood, one hour after he had got quarter.

In the "Swedish Intelligencer" we read this account of the action at Frankfurt-on-Oder on 3rd April 1631:

The king calling the valiant Sir John Hepburn and Colonel Lumsdell to him; now my brave Scots (says he) remember your countrymen slain at New Brandenburg" (on the 9th March preceding, when "the Scots of the Lord Reay's regiment were quite cut off"). "Lumsdell therefore with his regiment of Scots and English, and Hepburn with his High Dutchers press upon that sally-port, ever the enemy's bullets flying as thick as hail, Lumsdell with his drawn sword in his hand cries "Let's enter, my hearts", thrusting himself in among the thickest of them. His men follow as resolutely, the pikes first entering, all knocking down the enemys most pitifully, for the inner port being shut behind them, they had no way of escape but the little wicket gate through which as many as could crept into the town. And by this time the greater gate being broken open, Hepburn and Lumsdell entering with their men made a most pitiful slaughter, and when any Imperialists cried "Quarter"; "New Branderburg" cries the other and knocks him down, ne Scottish man protested he had killed 18 men with his own hand. Here did Lumsdell take 18 colours, yea, such testimony showed he of his valour that the king after the battle, bade him ask what he would, and he would give it him.

At Leipzig, on 7th September 1631, we learn from the "Intelligencer", that the Scottish Brigade under Hepburn was in the centre of the reserve.

On the right hand of Sir John Hepburn's Brigade was the valorous Scottish Colonel Lumsdell, who with the Lord Reay's men and his own helped make up Hepburn's Brigade complete, the most of the other part of it be­ing of the German nation. On the right hand of Lumsdell, again had the king caused Sir James Ramsay with his chosen muskateers to fall in.

Probably as a result of losses during the battles mentioned, James Lumsden returned to Scotland in 1631 to raise more troops for the war in Ger­many. An entry in the Privy Council Register dated April 1632, gives permission for Colonell Lumisden to raise a regiment of 1200 soldiers for the service of the King of Sweden as a result of a letter from Charles I to the Privy Council.

By 1639 in Scotland, things were not going so well. In 1625, Charles I had inherited from his father a fairly orderly and loyal kingdom of Scotland; less than thirteen years later the great majority of his Scots subjects of all classes had united in opposition to him. David Stevenson The Scottish Revolution' -

Thus there was a wide variety of causes of dis­content in Scotland in the 1630s, most of them being discontents with the rule of Charles I, centring on his religious policies. All these discontents contibuted to some extent to the conception and growth of the troubles which began in 1637. Some of the discontents were common to many regimes - grumbles at high taxation, the mutterings of nobles who feel that they are insufficiently regarded by their king. Others were inherited by Charles from his father - the hatred of the Five Articles of Perth, for example. The failure of Charles I in Scotland lies in the fact that he made all the difficulties facing him, all the discontents of his Scots subjects, far deeper than necessary by his secretivness, tactlessness and arrogance. He constantly refused to take account of the opinions and feelings of his subjects. Convinced of the rightness of his religious and other policies, and of his duty to impose them, he would have regarded it as a betrayal of his trust to changethem in the face of opposition by subjects who had, he believed, no right to oppose him.

From 1636 we have the start of organised opposition to the policies of the King, resulting in the Prayer Book Riots Of 23 July 1637. On 28th February 1638, the National Covenant was signed in Greyfriars Kirk. By July 1638 both King and covenanters were arming openly. Both probably began secret preparations for war soon after the covenant was first signed, the King raising men in England to invade Scotland, the covenanters buying arms in Holland for defence.

The covenanters' preparations seem to have been more effective. By early July a system of beacons to be lit to give warning of invasion had been established. At about the same time instructions were sent to the shires from Edinburgh, ordering that two lairds of each parish should compile lists of the names of all able-bodied men and what estates, arms and provisions they had. The names of any that hes beine abroad and able to doe any seruice in warres were to be noted - the first signs that the covenantors were aware of the wealth of military experience with which those many Scots who had served in Germany in the Thirty Years War could provide them.

In February 1639 Sir James Lumsden wrote to his employer to beg for permission to leave the Swedish service as

I have received from the Scottish Estates the authority placed by God and nature over me, a peremptory call home, which I cannot disobey as a cavalier who loves his honour.

Presumably his brothers came home with him. Sometime before this, Sir James had married Christian Rutherford of the family of Hunthill and purchased the estate of Innergellie and extensive properties in the West of Fife for himself, and the estate of Stravithie for his second son, Robert. It is reported that he wished to re­purchase the estate of Airdrie, but this was not for sale at the time. Our Robert had married a Wemys of Craigtown, bought the estate at Mountquhinny, probably from the Balfours, and William had married Agnes Strang and entered into the estate of Rennyhill. It is fairly obvious that foreign service had restored the fortunes of the Lumsden family.

The following account of the military history of the period is paraphrased from The Army of the Covenant', a publication of the Scottish History Society. In May 1639 the Estates, in a comprehensive document, commissioned Alexander Leslie to command the Army of the Covenant. He had been a Field-Marshal in the Swedish Army and was already aged sixty. He was empowered to direct native and such foreign levies as might be raised; to appoint officers, clerks and secretaries; to call out the fencible men of the shires and to supervise their embodiment. His commission was to remain in force so long as Scotland was necesitat to be in armes for the defence of the couenant, for religion, crowne and countrie, and ay and whill the Lord send peace to this kingdome.' Leslie commanded the Scottish Army during the two incursions into England in what were known as the Bishops' Wars of 1639-41. In August 1642 Scottish troops were sent to Ireland, at the request of the English Parliament, however only three weeks later, on August 22nd, Charles I raised the Royal Standard at Nottingham and the English Civil War commenced. On 27th June 1643, Parliament invited the assistance of the Scottish Estates.

On 29th November the military alliance was completed: Scotland undertook to take the field with an army, the English Parliament promised to furnish £30,000 sterling a month for its maintenance. By the opening of 1644 Leven, who, on 26th August 1643, had again received the command-in-chief, had assembled twenty-one regiments of foot, nine bodies of horse, one regiment of dragoons and a powerful artillery-train. Sir Alexander Hamilton was appointed general of the Artillery, David Leslie major-general of the horse and William Baillie lieutenant-general of the foot. The army departed South, accompanied by half of the committee of Estates, headed by the Marquis of Argyle. At this point we meet up once again with Sir James Lumsden, he was joined to the Committee of Estates that goes along with the Army, presumably a staff appoint­ment. The order of battle of the Scottish Army also shows William Lumsden as a Lt.-Colonel in the Strathearn Regiment, commanded by James Elphistone, Lord Coupar.

On 19th January 1644, in bitter weather, Leven crossed the Tweed, and on 3rd February appeared before Newcastle, into which the Marquess of Newcastle had thrown himself a few hours before. After lying for three weeks before the town, and failing to take it, Leven marched up the north bank of the Tyne, leaving Newcastle covered by seven regiments under the command of Sir James Lumsden. After the battle of Hilton on 24th March, Leven joined Sir Thomas Fairfax at Wetherby on the 18th April, and on the 22nd drew towards York. Early on the morning of 1st July, the allies moved out to Long Marston, and on the 2nd gave battle to Rupert and Newcastle, who had joined the Prince from York.

The result of this battle, which so far as numbers were concerned was certainly the biggest ever to be fought on English soil, was influenced by the support of the Scottish troops, including the reserve of three thousand men commanded by Sir James Lumsden, and Baillie's pikemen, including a regiment commanded by William Lumsden. The Scottish cavalry under David Leslie were with Cromwell's horse. Sir James had taken over command of a regiment of foot prior to this battle. It is interesting that this regiment has Sir James as Colonel, a James Lumsden as Lt.-Colonel and another James Lumsden as a Captain. I have not yet identified which particular members of the Lumsden family these were, James being a common name. Spalding in Troubles in Scotland' -None of our Scottis regiments baid exept the Regiments, ane under the Earl of Lyndsay, another under Sir David Leslie and the third under Colonel Lumsden who faught it out stoutlie.

Meanwhile in Scotland a supplementary army had been raised under the Earl of Callender; for Montrose's activity in Northumberland imperilled Leven's communications. In Balfour's Annuls of 2nd July 1644, we read,

The house ordains Colonel Robert Lumsden to go and attend the lord Lieutenant General the Earl of Callander, and to serve in this ex­pedition as a General Major, and according to that place to have pay so long as he serves, as also for his outrig a months pay in hand.'

The composition of the force is nowhere definitely stated, but from the accounts of the Quartermaster, William Livingstone, we know that it included nine regiments of foot, three regiments of cavalry, and nine troops of horse. The Staff consisted of Major-General Ramsay, Major-General Robert Lumsden (both continental veterans), Quartermaster-General Forbes, Quartermaster-General Robert Innes, Surgeon David Douglas, Provost Marshal John Dempster, and Andrew Oswald (Secretary).

On 25th June Callender marched from Scotland with a force of seven to ten thousand men. On 27th July he occupied Gateshead and awaited Leven's arrival to invest Newcastle-upon-Tyne. On 7th August Leven broke his camp from Leeds, and on the 15th established his headquarters at Elswick, to the west of Newcastle. The town was straitly encompassed, but the stout defence of its citizens delayed its fall until 19th October. Tynemouth surrendered on the 27th. With that event the campaign of 1644 concluded, and the Scottish army went into winter quarters in Northumberland and Durham. Sir James Lumsden was appointed Governor of Newcastle, a post which he held until January 1647. The co-operation between the English and the Scots was deteriorating for many reasons. However Leven was requested to co­operate with Fairfax and the New Model Army. But he was reluctant to leave the North of Eng­land, where he could watch Montrose. He was hampered also by lack of money, food and transport. In June, however he led his army south-wards. On the 12th he was at Doncaster, and had news of the victory at Naseby.

The withdrawal of part of the Scottish army after Montrose's victory at Kilsyth was regarded with displeasure in England. Scotland, on her side, was straining at the alliance. Hope of ecclesiastical uniformity was fading. Her army was ill-paid, its wants were inadequately furnished, and her obligations to England placed her at the mercy of Montrose. Her anxiety was somewhat allayed by David Leslie's victory at Philiphaugh, on 13th September. But it was not until 28th November, having forced the Trent at Muskham Bridge on the previous day, that Leven sat down to the siege of Newark. The siege was still in progress when, on 5th May 1646, Charles rode into the Scottish camp at Southwell. In the desperate condition in which he stood, the king regarded Leven's army as a force which, judiciously humoured, might carry him back to his throne. The Scots on their part left him in no doubt of their willingness to act with him against the Sectaries, provided he could satisfy them regarding Presbyterian uniformity. At the king's bidding, Newark surrendered on 6th May. On the following day the Scottish Army withdrew northwards, and on the 13th entered Newcastle with Charles in its charge.

Sir James Lumsden, the Governor, and his Lady, had to give up their quarters, the house of Sir Francis Udell and presumably the best in Newcastle, for the king. There is an interesting account during this period, that because of the fear of royalist plots to rescue the king, he was only allowed to play golf at Shieldfield when accompanied by Leven or Sir James Lumsden! On 3rd February Charles was surrendered to Commissioners of the English Parliament, and a week or so later Leven crossed the Border. On its arrival in Scotland the army was almost entirely dis­banded.

Detestation of Cromwell and the ecclesiastical policy he stood for, attachment to the Monarchy whose existence in England it threated, and Charles's tardy acceptance of Scotland's ecclesiastical ideals, directed her military activity after 1647. Hamilton and Callender were defeated at Preston in 1648, and Cromwell, following his vic­tory by a visit to Edinburgh, secured the disbanding of the Scottish army, excepting a small force of fifteen hundred men under Leven's command.
Upon the execution of Charles in January 1649, the Scottish Estates summoned an army on behalf of his son.

On 16th February 1649 Sir James Lumsden was appointed Colonel of Horse and Foot for the shires of Fife and Kinross. At Dunbar, on 3rd September 1650, the Scottish army, under the command of David Leslie, met the English forces of Cromwell and the New Model Army.

Cromwell led an army north to deal with his late allies. He was at Musselburgh on 29th July 1650, while David Leslie lay on a fortified line between Leith and Edinburgh, where he was secure even although his army was weakened by a purge of men and officers whom the ministers considered unreliable. Cromwell marched and counter-marched in vain attempts to induce Leslie to fight, and ultimately had to fall back on Dunbar at the end of August. There, with about 11,000 effective men, he was trapped between Leslie's army of 23,000 on Doon Hill, and the North Sea. The tactical error of descending from the hill­side to meet Cromwell on the plain, on 3rd September, has, like the earlier purge, been attributed to the ministers, but the season was advancing, the weather was bad, and Leslie could not lie indefinitely on those exposed uplands. Cromwell, on hearing of this movement, exclaimed "God hath delivered them into our hands". Complete victory went to Cromwell, whose war cry was "The Lord of Hosts", and the Scots, whorallied to the cry of "The Covenant", lost 10,000 prisoners and 3,000 killed. Cromwell remarked that "There may be a covenant made with death and hell".
Lamont -

Ane armie was levied in this kingdome, under the conduct of Gener. Lesley, to with­stand the aforesaid English armie. The 3 of Sept. 1650, in the morning, being Tuesday, this armie was defeate neare to Dunbar, in Louthian, by the aforsaids Inglish armie. Gener. Major Lumsdaine was taken prisoner, sundrie werre slayen in the place, both of officer and souldiers, and sundrie of both werre taken prisoners and caned into Eng-lande, where they were very hardlie used.


An English report says-

Amongst prisoners of qualitie brought in were Sir James Lumsden, heretofore Governor of Newcastle when the Scots were in it and now a Lt.-General of the Army.

Sir James was a prisoner for two years and William Lumsden was so badly wounded in the battle that he was reported as dead by Cromwell. However, this was a mistake, as in an Act of Parliament of Scotland of December of 1650, Colonel William Lumsden made a sup­plication for pay of his arrears in respect of his present necessity, he being now a prisoner. The opinion of the Committees, that the Comittee of Estates may take some course for satisfaction to be given to him.'

By the end of the year Cromwell controlled Edinburgh and Glasgow and all the land to the south of the Forth and Clyde. Charles II was crowned King of Scotland at Scone on 1st January 1651. Due to Cromwell's bouts of illness in February and May, the further campaign against Stirling, Fife and the north was somewhat delayed. The victory by the young Parliamentary commander John Lambert at Inverkeithing, on the 24th June, and the fall of Stirling on 14 August effectively subdued Fife and left the way clear to Perth, which was bombarded on 25th August. It is possible that Robert Lumsden and the remains of the Fife militia involved at Inverkeithing fell back on Dundee. Reports certainly mention soldiers from Fife in the garrison.
There was only one problem about this extended sally. It left the way clear for David Leslie and the remainder of the Scottish forces with Charles to break out to England. By the 5th August they were at Carlisle and Charles was proclaimed King of England at Penrith on 6th Au­gust. Cromwell left Scotland and headed south to victory on the 3rd September at Worcester, leav­ing the army in Scotland under the command of General George Monck. On August 24th the English Army marched from Perth towards Dundee, leaving a force in Perth. Large guns were loaded on ship and transported down the Tay. By the 25th August Monck was encamped outside Dundee and summoned the city to surrender: Monck says -

I sent in a summons to the governor, for to surrender us the town, together with all the apputenances that belong to war; and withal promising him good conditions for his officers and soldiers, and likewise for the inhabitants; but the Governor returned a very uncivil answer.

The Governor, Robert Lumsden had replied:
For Generall Major Monke:

Wee received yours. For answer wherunto we doe by these acquaint you, that we are commanded by the King's Majesty, to desire you, and all officers and souliers and ships, for the present in arms and opposition to the King's authority, to lay down their arms, to come in andjoyn with his Majesties forces in this kingdom, and to receive protection from them, conforme to the Kings Majesties Declaration sent to you herewith, which if you will obey, we shall continue, Sir your faithfull friend and servant in the old manner, Robert Lumsden, Dundee 26th August 1651.

 It may be that the defenders of the town were so obstinate as they were relying on relief by a Scottish force lying to the North. Unfortunately Monck detached about 500 horse under the command of Colonels Aldrich and Morgan and surprised the leaders of the Scots at Alyth, capturing the Earl of Leven, the Earl Marshal and Crawford and others, including James Sharp later Archbishop of St Andrews, in a night attack. This was probably not known by the defenders.
For a description of the siege I have chosen an account as close to the action as I could find. It happens to be an English account of the happenings at that time. This is contained in 'Scotland and the Commonwealth1 a publication of the Scottish History Society, and is entitled 'Diary of Proceedings of Forces under Lt.-General Monck after parting from the Army August 4, 1651'.

August 31 - This night the enimy in Broughton Castle quitted it, and fled away. It lies upon a point upon the sea beyond Dundee; they left in it 4 pieces of ordnance, one barrell of powder with match and bullet, 19 barrells of salmon, and some other provi­sion.

Sept 1 - About 4 of the clocke in the morning our great guns began to plaie before Dundee round about the line. The enimy for two or three houres answered us gun for gun, besides small shot from their workes, til such time as large breaches were made in two of their most considerable fortes. They shouted and seemed very high, calling our men dogges.

Wee had a Commander and several matrosses hurt by the hasty spunging of a great gun. Mr Hane the engineere plaid the mortar peece. There was three horses kild in Col. Okeys regiment in the west side by one shot from a great gun. Thre hundred horse and dragoons, being 11 of a troope, were appointed to fall on with the foot with sword and pistoll. Our men were drawne forth in ambeskadoes by day breake to fall upon when breaches were made, and with them 200 seamen whoe had their postes assigned, and 400 horse appointed to second them mounted.

About 11 of the clocke the signal was given, and breaches being made into the enimies fortes on the east and west side of the towne, our men entered, and after about halfe an houres hot dispute, divers of the enimy re­treated to the church and steeple, and among the rest the Govemour, whoe was kild with between foure and five hundred souldyers and townesmen. When our men got to the marquet place they gave quarter, and tooke about 500 prisoners, and among the rest Col. Coningham, Governour of Stirling, who was in the towne with many of the soulyers who had marched thence. The souldyers had the plunder of the towne for all that day and night, and had very large prize, many inhabitants of Edinburgh and other places having sent their ware and geere hither. There were about 60 sayle of ship in the harbour of 10, 6, and 4 guns, which were all prize, about 40 peeces of ord­nance, many arms and stores of ammunition.

There were killed of ours Capt. Hart and about 20 souldyers, and as many wounded.

Capt. Ely led on the pioneers whoe made wayfor the horse, and the Lieut. General! went in person. By the best testimony we could get, the townes people were most obstinate against a rendition upon termes, being confident of their owne workes and strength, having formerly beeten out Monstrose, but they have now most suffered for it, and paid dearely for their contempt.
Sept 2 - Proclamacion was made by the Lt.Generall that the soudyers should forbeare
further plundering, or rifling of the houses in Dundee, and order given to the inhabitants to
bury the dead carckases.

There are, of course, other descriptions of the seige. Several of these repeat a story that Monck was informed by a small boy that the soldiers were usually well gone in drink by 12 noon and so launched the attack at this time. This is contradicted by the English account which has the attack commencing at four in the morning. Other accounts have a seige which lasted three weeks. This is difficult to reconcile with the fact that the heavy guns and most of the English army were still involved at Perth until the 25th and that Monck only summoned the city to surrender on the 26th of August. The number of deaths and the extent of the plundering has also probably been exaggerated with the passage of time, which does not detract from the tragedy which it undoubtedly was depending on the political tenor of the var­ious reports, it is not clear if Robert Lumsden was killed in the battle or executed in cold blood after surrendering the town.

The English reports quoted say that he was killed, and indeed Monck's own report to Cromwell merely says There were killed of the enemy about five hundred; and two hundred or therabouts, taken prisoner, the Governor was killed. Lamont, in his entry of 1st September, again says only that Robin Lumsden was killed. Sir James Turner on the other hand, has him Killed in cold blood, one hour after he had got quarter. Other histories go further and write that Lumsden and the last defenders were smoked out of the tower of St Mary's Church several days after the city fell and that the Governor was executed by beheading at Monck's express orders and that his head was fixed on a pike on one of the abutments of the steeple, where it remained until the late 1790s. And indeed a modern writer, Raymond Lamont-Brown in his Discovering Fife, tells us that

One famous scion of Mountquhanie was General Robert Lumsden who defended Dundee against General George Monck and Cromwell's army in 1651. When Dundee fell the general's head was fixed on a spike on the Old Steeple and there it remained well into the 18th century.

There is even a story that at some later date, during repairs to the tower, a broken skull was found with a rusted steel cap bearing a silver band. This was immediately identified as the head of Robert Lumsden. There is another account in which the defenders of the church surrendered themselves to a Captain Kelly. As Lumsden and his officers were being escorted to Monck, a Major named Butler shot the Gov­ernor dead. Evidence of the true story may possibly be somewhere in an archive, awaiting only discovery by the hand of fate, or by an interested researcher.

I mentioned that Robert Lumsden had been married to a Weemys. Lamont writes in April 1652 - The Lady Balwhinnie, surnamed Wemmys, in Fyfe, depairted out of this life, at Balwhinne; her husband, Robt Lumsden, was slain at Dundie (as before spoken). We know that the couple had a son James, reported as a Coronet in the Scots Army in 1667, indicating that he was possibly born shortly before the seige, and as a Captain in 1672 among the Scots troops moved from Edinburgh to Newcastle in anticipation of the wars with Holland, after the restoration. There the line of Robert Lumsden fades from history.

His elder brother Sir James of Innergellie lived to a ripe old age, fathered six children, but his male line died out in about 1823. William Lumsden of Rennyhill's male line died out in 1830, one of his descendants having married a grand-daughter of Archbishop Sharp, and the present senior Line of Lumsden is descended through a grand-daughter of this marriage, Lillias Sandys-Lumsdaine. This family held Lums­den and Blanerne until the 1930s and Innergel­lie until 1953. Gillem Sandys-Lumsdaine took the name of Lumsden in 1985 and was recog­nised as Chief of the Name and Arms of Lums­den, with the style of Lumsden of that Ilk and Blanerne.

I hope that this short lecture has given you some greater insight into the life and times of Robert Lumsden, who may previously have been only a name to you.
Robert Lumsden, Governor of Dundee 1651, rest in peace!

Archie Lumsden, Lumsden Sennachie, on 2nd October 1997.