The Dewar’s are known to have first settled in an area to the south east of Edinburgh, Legend has it that they were awarded the lands for killing a wolf who had been terrorising the area.
There is also a variation of the name that derives from the Gaelic ‘Deoireach’, meaning ‘pilgrim’. One of five Highland families who carried the name were the Dewar Coigerachs. They were traditional custodians of the staff of St Fillan, a Celtic saint who had died in AD 777. This famous holy relic was carried with the Scots army at Bannockburn (depicted above) on Robert the Bruce’s command. Despite changing hands many times through the centuries the relic was tracked down and now resides at the Museum of Antiquities in Edinburgh.
The infamous Ragman’s Roll featured the first recording of the Dewar name Thomas and Piers de Deware both having swore to Edward I. Later in 1474 a charter of lands was granted to William Dewar. There were also mentions of Dewars in Stirling around 1483. From this branch rose the Dewar of Cambuskenneth branch. In 1710, John, son of Patrick Dewar of Cambuskenneth, was fined £50.95 for causing ‘blood and riot’.
William Dewar of that Ilk sold his lands of Dewar and moved to Carrington. It is from this family that the present chiefs descend.
The Dewars were commercially successful and purchased the barony and estate of Vogrie in 1719. David Dewar of Vogrie was Postmaster General of Leith and Edinburgh. The Vogrie estates were extremely fruitful, a flourishing Coal Mine was sited there in the mid 19th century as well as Scotland’s first gunpowder mill.
The Mansion house of Vogrie was built by Alexander, sixth Laird, although the estate has shrunk from 2,000 to around 250 acres the house still stands and the estates are now open to the public as Vogrie Country Park.
Vogrie House, Midlothian, former home of the Dewar family
The name Dewar is synonymous with whisky and this was due in no small part by the efforts of John Dewar. Born in 1856 he transformed the business and the industry and was created Baron Forteviot of Dupplin In 1917.
The present chief was recognised by the Lord Lyon in 1990.