Clan Dunbar Places & People

Clan Dunbar People

Agnes, Countess of Dunbar (c.1312-1369) - main image, from 1906

‘Black Agnes’, so called for her dark complexion and hair, was the thorn in the side of the Earl of Salisbury, who wasted nineteen weeks conducting a siege against her and Dunbar Castle in 1338.

It is said that whenever her castle was struck by cannon fire she would dust the battlements of debris with her handkerchief. Exasperated, Salisbury eventually returned to England and to Edward III.

William Dunbar (1460-1513)

His position within the court of James IV could be described as ‘Master Poet’. His works celebrated his King’s achievements and those of the court, but his eloquence and poetic skill also allowed him to express words of criticism, advice and warning to court members.

His works include ‘Lament for the Makaris, The Fenzit Freir of Tungland and Ane Dance in the Quenis Chamber’. Contemporary admirers of Dunbar’s work have included High Macdairmid and Richard Burton.

Gavin Dunbar (1495-1547)

After studying at Glasgow University, Gavin Dunbar went on to become tutor and advisor to James V. He was Archbishop of Glasgow from 1525 until 1547. Also, in 1528, he became Lord Chancellor for 11 Years. At roughly the same time. His uncle, also Gavin Dunbar was Archbishop of Aberdeen from 1519. His legacy is the major contribution to the completion of the Bridge of Dee and St Machar’s Cathedral.

Seal of Gavin Dunbar

Seal of Gavin Dunbar

Clan Dunbar Places

Dunbar Castle, East Lothian

Dunbar Castle

The first stone castle was built around 1070, built by Gospatric, Earl of Northumbria. The castle was in the possession of the Earls of Dunbar until 1497. The castle is now ruined, and has been that way since it was slighted (intentionally damaged) by order of the Scottish Parliament in 1567.