John Son Of Drimy


In a charter roll of King Robert The Bruce
dated 1309, appears the following.

"The King's band of XX merks
to Joanni filio Drimyngis,
furth of Lathirdaill."

Who was John ?

Where was John ?

What was John doing ?

What do we know of our kinsman John.....................?
The short answer is not very much.
However we can be reasonably certain, given the scarcity
of numbers of our family members through out the years
that he is one of our kinsmen. A stickler for documentary proof
will no doubt decry this assumption but it suits our purpose.
At least we can include him in our story on the merits of his name
if not on cast iron direct links. For we are as much concerned here
with the name as we are with our family ties.
Much later these links whilst tenuous at times
will by and large be well documented.
However most of the people we will meet for a while
will relate to us by reason of their name
and geographical location only.


"Furth of Latherdaill"?

Where then is this place where John came from........?
For a long while, when ever I questioned those people
whom I assumed might know the answer, they would say,"Lauderdaill"
in relation to the place of that name in Berwickshire.
However this certainly didn't satisfy my regard
for the fact that I have yet to find any reference to our name
any further south than Dundee. (I will expand on this in a later section)
This being over the period researched 1309 to at least 1745.
My assumption from this, being,
that it was unlikely that Lauderdaill in Berwickshire
was the local that I was looking for.
What are our chances of establishing the actual location
of this earliest known holder of our surname.
For this I think we must consider first the dialect of the area
in which we know that the Drimmie's had been located
from the mid 1500's, then use that in context
with the written rendition of the place name.
Our ancestors, from say, Charles Drymmie in Perth 1546,
Johnne Drymmie in Dundee 1612
and the closely connected enclave stretching across the
Howe Of The Mearns, noted over the period 1580's to 1850's
place us firmly in the north eastern lowlands.

A.C. Cameron in his book on Fettercairn,
quoting an anecdote, illustrative of the cleverness of a boy
waiting to be hired at one of the last Fettercairn markets,
points the direction which we should take in our quest.
The boy was asked by a spruce farmer if he wished to be engaged.
"Ou ay," said the youth.
"Wha was your last maister?" was the next question.
"Oh yonder him," said the boy; and he agreed to wait where he stood
with some other youths till the enquirer should return
from examination of his late employer.
The farmer returned and accosted the boy.
"Weel, lathie, I've been speerin' about ye an' I'm to tak' ye."
"Ou ay," was the prompt reply,
"an' I've been speerin' about you tae, an' I'm nae gaen!"

Lathie/Laddie
When we consider the vernacular of the farmer
in his use of the word "Lathie",
over the more anglicized, "Laddie"
and relate this to our charter roll name "Lathirdaill
we must not forget that when the scribe asks John where he comes from
Johns reply will sound like the farmers Lathie
and the written word will echo on paper this sound.
So for Lathirdail we are looking for Lauderdaill,
not the well known Lauderdaill of Berwickshire,
but by virtue of the known area in which the early Drymmie's
have been located and the dialect of that area
we are not looking any further south
than Dundee and the natural boundary of the Tay.
Indeed the place name we are searching for probably no longer exists
and a prolonged and detailed search
back through the records is the order of the day.
As luck would have it
whilst looking through some documents in Records Office Edinburgh,
totally unrelated to the quest for Lathirdaill,
I came upon this item.

Instrument of sasine, by Alexander Pattoune, brabiner, burgess of Forfar,
now indweller in Glasgow, in favor of James Dall, yr., writer in Forfar,
of a croft of land called Lauderdaill croft,
and another croft lying above the kirk in said burgh. 1669.
(ref. GD1 / 61 / 7 ) S.R.O.

Could this be the place named Lathirdaill in the charter?

Index Of Charters Robertson reads,
1309 King Robert The Bruce.
The King's band of xx. merks to
Joanni Filio Drimyngis, furth of Lathirdaill.

Register Of The Great Seal,
Index A , reads-----Carta Joannis fili Brinenge de Terris de Netherdole.

Index B , reads ------ Lathirdaill.
British Museum M.S., reads -----Sathirdaill.

Looking at the above manuscript entries
it would seem that there is some difficulty
in deciphering the written word as there are several renditions.
This illustrates the necessity to go directly
to the original manuscripts to ascertain what exactly has been written.
It is never advisable to take secondary information as gospel truth,
many editors and translators make mistakes
and may gloss over portions of worth to the researcher
What do we know of Forfar at this time which would
strengthen it in our favor as John Drimy's domicile?

Forfar is a town of considerable antiquity
it's name is derived from the Gaelic words, fuar and barr' being cold point.
It is thought, that the first Scottish Parliament met here convened by
Malcolm Canmore (1057-1093).
Malcolm and his beautiful Queen Margaret are said to have spent
much of their time here in their Royal Palace or Castle at Forfar.
In the reign of William the Lion (1165-1214),
we hear of the Castle being the occasional residence of William
and of a Court assembly being held at Forfar.
William's son Alexander II resided in it more frequently
and held Parliaments at Forfar in 1225 and 1227
giving charters from it dated almost to the end of his reign in 1294.
In 1291 Gilbert de Umfraville had the command of the castle of Forfar
and when King Edward I of England demanded the surrender of it he refused,
declaring that he had the castle in charge from the Scottish nation.
In 1296 Edward visited Forfar and lodged in the castle for a few days.
In the following year while Brian Fitzadam held the castle for Edward,
William Wallace captured it, then by 1308
it was once again in the hands of the English.
Soon after, King Robert Bruce
assisted by Philip the forester of Platane or Plater
took it by escalade, put all the English in it to the sword,
levelled it and it's fortifications to the ground and it was never rebuilt.
After he had demolished the castle, Bruce had a house at Forfar
and we may infer that he was not a stranger in it from the fact that,
only two years before his death he gave his falconer in the shire of Forfar
Geoffry of Foullertoune and Agnes his wife,
the lands of Foullertoune in Forfarshire.

Whilst it is obvious that Bruce would be ranging far and wide
in his campaigns against the English,
and many men would join with him from all over the land,
it is at this point that I would like to submit that indeed our John Drimy
was indigenous to Forfar despite the meager evidence.

From here we may enter the realms of conjecture and imagine
that having bonded himself to the King the bold John
went on through each campaign with Bruce
even to take part in that glorious victory of 1314
so beloved of all Scots, Bannockburn.








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Last Update To This Page 14th November 2004 ©Alan Mitchell Drummie 2004