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The Durie Family History & Ancestry

Family Crest Motto: CONFIDO (I trust)

Let me share the captivating history of your family, the Durie. The Durie surname emerged in the 1260s when Gilbert, a younger son of the Earl of Strathearn, was granted lands known as ‘Durie’ near Leven in Fife, Scotland. The exact origin of the surname remains uncertain, but it is believed to reference ‘black water,’ which is fitting considering Fife’s abundance of surface coal seams. Claims suggesting a French origin from ‘Du Roi’ are inaccurate. Throughout the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, the prominence of your family in Fife is evident from their appearances in various important charters. Eventually, the estates were sold in 1614 to Sir Alexander Gibson, who, upon becoming a judge in 1621, adopted the title ‘Lord Durie.’

Your family has had notable figures in both the Church and State. Abbot George Durie held a high position and was the last Abbot of Dunfermline prior to the Reformation. After the death of Queen Mary, he sought refuge in France, carrying some of his possessions to protect them from the changing times. His sons, George and John, maintained the family’s strong Catholic faith. John, likely the ‘Jesuit Durie,’ was implicated in a plot to depose Queen Elizabeth I of England and replace her with Mary, Queen of Scots. Another son, Henry, continued to possess the lands of Craigluscar. His wife, Margaret McBeth, was a renowned healer of her time and attended the births of the royal children of Anne of Denmark. She is also credited with saving the life of the future King Charles I by curing him when all others had failed.

During the latter part of the seventeenth century, another George Durie served as a captain in Louis XIV’s Scots Guard. Some of his brothers fought in Flanders and established a branch of the family in Belgium known as ‘du Roy.’

In 1812, an important Durie artifact was discovered during repairs to Dunfermline Palace. The Dunfermline Annunciation Stone, believed to have been carved as a door architrave, depicts the Archangel Gabriel announcing the birth of Christ to Mary. It bears the Arms of Abbot George Durie and is estimated to date back to around 1540.

For some time, the Durie lineage remained without a recognized chief until the acknowledgement in 1988 of Lt Col Raymond Varley Dewar Durie of Durie. He traced his descent through his grandmother and had an impressive military career, serving for thirty-five years in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and witnessing the fall of Shanghai to the Japanese.

Your family, the Durie, has a rich and diverse history with significant contributions in various fields, from religion and politics to healing and military service.

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Family Crest Motto: CONFIDO (I trust)

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