David Lumsden of Cushnie
Feudal baron, conservationist, Jacobite and herald who restored several Scottish houses and castles.
(Obituary) - David Lumsden of Cushnie, who has died aged 75, held the heraldic title of Garioch Pursuivant to the Chief and Name and Arms of Mar, and was a leading figure in Scottish heritage circles.
An affable, generous man with a youthful vigour that belied his years, Lumsden was co-founder and chairman of the Castles of Scotland Preservation Trust, established to promote and encourage the protection and preservation of Scotland’s architectural heritage, and served as president of the Scottish Military History Society. In addition he co-founded the Scottish Organs Trust and was also well known as a vigorous opponent of the wearing of white socks with kilts.
A staunch Jacobite, Lumsden was a member of the Royal Stuart Society, convener of the Monarchist League of Scotland, and served for 23 years as president of the 1745 Association, in which capacity he contributed to the Muster Rolls of the 45, listing all those who served with Prince Charles Edward Stuart in the abortive uprising.
In a letter to The Daily Telegraph in 1995 he observed that a royal baby that had recently been born in London to the Crown Prince and Princess of Liechtenstein “should [as the great-grandson of the 90-year old Duke Albert of Bavaria] not only eventually rule the principality himself but also eventually be head of the Royal House of Stuart”. The baby, Lumsden went on, was the first such to be born in Britain “since the birth of the de jure King James III and VIII in 1688″.
In 2007 Lumsden played a prominent role in the commemorations at the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, of the bicentenary of the death of Prince Henry, Cardinal Stuart, head of the Royal House of Stuart.
Lumsden was proud of the fact that his family was one of the oldest recorded families in Aberdeenshire, having possessed the Cushnie and other estates as far back as any records of the county extend. Robert Lumsden, 1st of Cushnie, was granted a charter of lands by King James IV in 1509.
In more recent centuries Lumsdens had fought with distinction in the service of Empire. His loyalty to family and passion for architecture led him to undertake the restoration of two family properties: Cushnie House, Aberdeenshire, built in 1688 by Alexander Lumsden; and Tillycairn Castle, built in 1540 by Matthew Lumsden.
The restoration of the castle, which had been left derelict after being destroyed by fire in 1722, was a daunting task which involved the sorting or removal of 300 years worth of rubble; moreover there were no extant plans for the original building. But Lumsden was familiar with L-shaped castles of its age, type and style; and the restoration, which took four years, was so successful that he went on to restore Leithen Lodge at Innerleithen, a grandiose 1880s shooting lodge in the Borders, built for the railway magnate John Miller in an eccentric Scottish version of the Arts and Crafts style. In 1994 he oversaw the restoration of Liberton Tower in Edinburgh under the auspices of the Castles of Scotland Preservation Trust.
David Gorden Allen d’Aldecamb Lumsden of Cushnie was born on May 25 1933 at Quetta, Baluchistan, where his father, Henry Gordon Strange Lumsden, a major in the Royal Scots, of Nocton Hall, Lincolnshire, was serving in the Indian Army. David was educated at Allhallows School, Devon, at Bedford School and at Jesus College, Cambridge, where he was a keen oarsman.
He held a commission in the London Scottish TA before joining British American Tobacco, for which he worked as an executive for 23 years in Africa, India, the Far East and eastern Europe, before retiring to concentrate on his architectural and heritage interests. In the mid-1980s he set up the Castles of Scotland Preservation Trust in conjunction with Lord Borthwick, Nigel Tranter and Hugh Ross.
Lumsden was one of only four private heralds in Scotland, serving Margaret, 30th Countess of Mar. He was also active in the Convention of the Baronage of Scotland and was the last of his family to hold the title of Baron of Cushnie Lumsden, Aberdeen, a title he sold in 2004 to Alan Robertson just before the Abolition of Feudal Tenure (2000) Act came into effect which, among other things, ended the legal “trade” in Scottish feudal baronies.
A keen shot who also enjoyed sailing and riding, Lumsden was a Knight of the Order of Malta, as well as of the Constantinian Order, and Patron of the Aboyne Highland Games. He was unmarried.
He died at Glenfinnan on the night of 28-29 August while attending the annual gathering of the 1745 Association.