Genealogies and Family History

Here is where the real interest lies; after the basic facts of births marriages deaths have been collected and census records scoured the there are the deeper records of wills, testaments and land records etc.

Indeed this is the aspect of the site I'll be concentrating on – building up the background information.

The early Aberdeen Duns, who were almost certainly the ancestors of the Duns of Bristol, provide some of the most interesting research tasks.

Whereas the Border Duns simply seem to appear and their origins have long fascinated me- though they appear early in the records of the Scottish Parliament.

The Fife family, amongst the earliest, spread abroad mainly to Australia but really world wide.

The Stirlingshire Duns spread to Canada and the United States, though my own branch barely moved 60 miles in 400 years!

Dr. William Dun


Australia Bristol
Dun/Dunn Scotland US Canada

compiled by the late Dorothy Ann Brehm



- for updated version please contact the Editor.

Note that has several trees for this family none of which are completely accurate.

1st Fife Royal Garrison Artillery (Volunteers) 13th Battery Stirling.
List of longservice etc.
John Dunn died 1823 master of the Sophia of Greenock  
They came as Strangers by Loftus Dun
Early Dun and related families in UK and Australia

Some mentions of Duns during the Killing Time

Rev. Duncan Stewart and Rev. John Smith (ed.) The Covenantors of Teviotdale: and neighbouring districts. (Galashiels: A. Walker & Son, 1908)

[Page 228]

Previous to 1679 there lived a merchant in Selkirk named George Dun, ruled by the fear of God both in his house and all his dealings with his fellow-men, fond of his Bible and of the society of lively Christians. Careful watch had been kept over him, as was done over Covenanters generally.

At length he was noticed one day walking out the road peacefully in the company of Archibald Riddell, the Covenanting preacher. It was a suspicious circumstance in the eyes of the authorities to be seen in the company of Riddell, and George Dun was at once seized and lodged in prison. Probably for the purpose of inflicting severe sufferings on him, he was transferred from prison to prison, and ultimately lodged in Edinburgh tolbooth, “where he endured a tedious and painful imprisonment”.

At length he was brought upon trial for his life. The charge preferred against him was his being at Bothwell Bridge. One informer had been got to assert positively that he had seen him there, but when put upon oath in the witness-box he relented and said, “he now believed that might not be the man”.

Thus George Dun escaped with his life, but “all he had was taken from him to the value of upwards of 3000 merks”. He endured suffering rather than prove untrue to principle, and by following this course he ultimately prospered, for he became tenant of Tinnis, on the Yarrow, where, it is said, “he became possessed of double what he lost for the safety and peace of his conscience”.

Rev. Robert Simpson Traditions of the Covenanters (Edinburgh: Gall and Inglis, no date but written inscription is 1907)

[pages 35 -38]

Chapter IV

In the beginning of the summer of 1685, a year in which the persecution raged fearfully in the south and west, six men fled from Douglasdale, namely, David Dun, Simon Peterson, John Richard, William Brown, Robert Morris, and James Welsh.

In their wanderings they proceeded southward, and sought refuge among the more inaccessible heights in the upper parts of Nithsdale. They concealed themselves in a thicket in a place called Glenshilloch, a little to the west of the mining village of Wanlockhead, in the parish of Sanquhar, and not far from the ancient farm-house of Gogshead.

This house, now a shepherd’s cottage, is situated in a delightful glen, and is surrounded by lofty green mountains. It stands not far from the edge of a precipitous brow, the base of which is laved by the limpid brook that traverses the glen, and pours its slender streamlet into the river Crawick.

In the times of our persecuted forefathers the place must have been an desirable retreat, as even now there are no regular roads that lead to it except the solitary footpaths which here and there mark out a track for pedestrians across the hills.

The family which at this time resided in Gogshead was related to William Brown, one of the wanderers who had taken refuge in Glenshilloch, and as the two places were contiguous, Brown made his way stealthily over intervening height, and inform his friends of the circumstances in which he and his companions in suffering were placed.

The sympathy of this household was easily gained, and an ample supply of provisions was conveyed to the men in their hiding-place. It is not easy to say how long the party might have continued here among the dense brushwood during the warm days of summer, had not a strict search been made for them in all the glens and hills of the locality in which it was suspected they had taken refuge.

The report had reached Drumlanrig that a company of refugees from the Douglas Water had eluded the pursuit of the dragoons, and were concealed somewhere in the wilds between the Mennock and the Crawick.

On this information Drumlanrig collected his troopers for a vigilant search. He formed his party into three divisions, one of which traversed the lonely stream of the Mennock, another the pastoral banks of the Crawick, and the third pursued the middle route by the dark Glendyne.

By this means it was confidently expected that the fugitives could not possibly escape, and more especially as no note of warning had been sounded in the district respecting the design of the persecutors.

The six men who were lying among the hazel bushes, not anticipating any danger in their solitary retreat, had adopted no precautions in stationing a watch on any of the neighbouring heights to give notice of the approach of the enemy.

Drumlanrig himself conducted the middle division of the troopers, and having led them over the height on the north side of Glendyne, descended on the Water of Gog and took his station on what is now denominated “The Martyr’s Knowe” – a romantic elevation at the lower end of an abrupt ravine, called by the shepherds “The Howken”.

It happened while Drumlanrig and his party were on the hillock, that some of the dragoons who were scouring the adjacent hills in search of reputed rebels, seized a boy who was returning from Glenshilloch to Cogshead carrying an empty wooden vessel, called by the peasantry a kit, in which were several horn spoons – a proof to the soldiers that he had been conveying provisions to some individuals among the hills, and they naturally suspected that the individuals of whom they were in quest were the persons.

Under this impression they carried him to their commander, who strictly interrogated him, without eliciting anything satisfactory. The firmness of the youth enraged Drumlanrig, who drew his sword with the intent to run him through the body, and would have slain him on the spot, had not a second thought occurred that by using other and gentler means he might eventually succeed in obtaining all the information he desired.

With this design he caused him to be bound hand and foot, while he sent out the soldiers in the direction in which he had been seen returning over the hills. It was not long before the troopers in descending the north side of the mountain found the men in their hiding place. They pounced on them as a falcon on his quarry, and secured Dun, Paterson, and Richard, while Brown, Morris, and Welsh made their escape.

The troopers having been so far successful in their object, were seen returning triumphantly over the height, but ere they reached the rendezvous an unexpected occurrence befell, which fairly routed the assailants, and accomplished the deliverance of the prisoners.

In the hilly districts, after a clear and chilly night in summer, the incident of a thunderstorm after noon is not infrequent. When the sun has fully evaporated the dew, small dense clouds with bright edges begin to appear above the tops of the higher eminences, and, gradually increasing in size and approximating to each other, form in a short time a dark and lowering mass of vapour, which soon overspreads the whole sky.

An immediate thunderstorm is the consequence, and so terrific sometimes is the explosion from the clouds and the gush of waters from the teeming firmament, as to alarm the stoutest heart. In these cases the fiery bolts, falling incessantly on the hills, tear up the benty surface for a great space around, and the tumultuous descent of the waters, covering the green sides of the hills wait a white foam, gathers into a torrent, which carries moss, soil, and rocks, promiscuously to the vale beneath, and forms, all at once, a trench down the steep declivity, which afterwards becomes the channel of a mountain rivulet.

It was with one of these hasty storms that Drumlanrig’s station on the Martyr’s Knowe, the first burst of thunder rattled its startling peal over their heads. The horses snorted and the sheep on the neighbouring heath crowded together, as if for mutual protection. The rapid descent of the hail, the loud roaring of the thunder, like the simultaneous discharge of a hundred cannon from the battlements of the hills, and the flashing of the lightning in the faces of the animals, rendered them unmanageable, and they scampered off in every direction, like the fragments of a fleeing army that has been signally routed on the battle-field.

In the confusion, Drumlanrig himself, panic-struck – as when heaven bears testimony, by terrible things in righteousness, against the ungodly when caught in their deeds of wickedness – fled from the face of the tempest, reckless both of his men and of his prisoners, provided he could obtain a place of shelter.

It is not said to what place he fled, but there can be no doubt that it was to the farm-house of Cogshead, which was scarcely half-a-mile from the place where he stood. When the soldiers saw their master retreating with such precipitancy from the warring elements, they followed his example, and let go the captives.

The three worthy men stood undaunted in the storm, because they knew that God who guided its fury was He in whose cause they were suffering, and though it was regarded with consternation by their enemies, it was hailed as a friendly deliverer by them, who were incessantly exposed to the pitiless storms of a wrathful persecution, compared with which the fierce raging on the elements was mildness itself.

When the prisoners found themselves at liberty, and being shrouded in the mantling of the murky tempest, they resolved to embrace the opportunity of instant flight. As they passed the Martyr’s Knowe, they observed a person lying on its summit, apparently lifeless. This they found to be the little boy who had brought them provisions in the morning, and whom Drumlanrig, in his haste, had left bound on the spot. They untied him, and found that he was not dead, but only stunned with terror. Having raised him up, and informed of what occurred, and directed him to keep himself in concealment till the soldiers should leave the glen,, they went westward and sought a retreat among the wilds in the upper parts of Galloway.

The other three who escaped at Glenshilloch, namely Brown, Morris and Welsh, fled northward, but were intercepted by the party who were sent up the vale of the Carwick. Brown and Morris were shot at the back of Craignorth, where they lie interred in the places respectively where they fell, at Brown Cleuch and Morris Cleuch, as noticed in a later chapter. Welsh, however, managed to escape, and remained in concealment among the Nithsdale mountains.

[Page 362 – 363]

Chapter XXXI

A few notices may here be given for Roger Dun, a noted Covenanter, who lived in the higher parts of Ayrshire. He was related to the David Dun mentioned in Chapter IV. Roger Dun was born in 1659. His father, James Dun, a worthy man, was farmer of Bennet or Benholt, in the parish of Dalmellington, and was, with others, exposed to no small trouble in those trying times. Roger, when he grew up, and was able to judge for himself, resolved to share the fortunes of the Covenanters. It was soon known that Roger Dun had allied himself to the obnoxious party, and therefore his ruin was determined on. A conventicle had been held at Craignew, in Carsphairn, and Roger, with two of his brothers, attended the meeting. The report of this circumstance soon spread, and the dragoons were sent to apprehend all they could find returning from the place. They met the three brothers on their way home – Andrew and Allan were made prisoners, and carried back to Carsphairn; but what befell them is not known, for they were never heard of. Roger, however, by a sudden unexpected spring, eluded the grasp of the soldier who attempted to seize him; and bounding away, fled to a soft marshy place into which the horsemen durst not venture, and made his escape.