Dalziel Places & People

Clan Dalziel People

General Tam (Thomas) Dalyell (1615 – 1685)

Tam Dalyell

Scottish Royalist General. Also known by the soubriquets, 'Bluidy Tam' and the 'Muscovite de’il'. Dalyell was born in Linlithgowshire.

He appears to have accompanied Charles I’s expedition to La Rochelle in 1628 at the age of 13 and later became a colonel. Hearing of the execution of Charles I in 1649 it is said that he refused to shave his beard as a penance for the behaviour of his fellow countrymen. He was taken prisoner at Carrickfergus in 1650, but was given a free pass, and having been banished from Scotland, remained in Ireland.

He was present at the Battle of Worcester (1651), where his men surrendered, and he himself was captured and imprisoned in the Tower of London. In May he escaped and in 1654 took part in the Highland rebellion. Dalziel then fled to Russia where he became fought for Tsar, Alexei Mikhailovich, in the wars against the Turks and Tatars.

He returned to Britain upon The Restoration of Charles II. In 1666 he was appointed commander-in-chief in Scotland, with orders to subdue the Covenanters. Dalziel defeated them at the Battle of Rullion Green. He treated the defeated with great cruelty, imprisoning some 1200 covenanters in Greyfriars Kirkyard amongst other things, earning him the nickname Bluidy Tam. The General obtained several of the forfeited estates of his opponents.

On 3 January 1667 he was made a privy councillor, and represented Linlithgow in the Scottish parliament. In 1681, a commission was issued authorizing him to enroll the regiment afterwards known as the Scots Greys.

Legend has it that “Bluidy Tam” enjoyed on occasion a hand of cards with the Devil. During one of these games, the Devil losing threw the card table at the General. The Devil missed and the Table flew threw through the window and ended up in a pond on the grounds of the House of the Binns. This tale was passed down through generations of inhabitants of the Binns. In 1870 following a particularly hard drought, a Marble topped Card table was seen poking through the low waters of the pond.

Sir Thomas Dalyell of the Binns, 11th Baronet (born 1932) Scottish politician and was a Labour member of the House of Commons from 1962 to 2005. Dalyell was born in England but raised in his mother’s family home, The Binns, near Linlithgow, West Lothian.

Dalyell was educated at The Edinburgh Academy and Eton College and did his National Service with the Royal Scots Greys. He then went to King’s College. He joined the Labour Party in 1956 after the Suez Crisis and became an MP in June 1962. He became Father of the House after the 2001 General Election, when Sir Edward Heath retired. He was an MEP from 1975 to 1979.

He was opposed to Scottish devolution and first posed the famous “West Lothian question”, in 1978 to 1979 he voted against his own government over 100 times, despite a three-line whip. Dalyell is vocal in his disapproval of imperialism he has contested almost every British action – arguing against action in Aden, the depopulation of Diego Garcia, the Falklands War (especially the sinking of the General Belgrano), the Gulf War and action in Kosovo and Iraq, saying, “I will resist a war with every sinew in my body”.

On 7 March 2003 Dalyell was elected Rector of the University of Edinburgh by the staff and students.

He is 6th cousins with Harry S. Truman through the daughter of the 1st Baronet Dalyell of the Binns.