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Dickey / Dickie / Dick

Dickson / Dixon


Dickey, with variants Dickie and Dick was accepted by CDSNA as a sept in January 1987.

Dickson/Dixon was accepted by CDSNA as a sept and allied family in July, 2012.

According to The Douglas Archives, Dickey Sept of the Douglas Clan,

“The Douglas clan held lands in the Glasgow area where the Dickey ancestors lived. Further evidence that the Dickey's were Septs of the Douglas clan can be found in the heraldry of the Dickeys and the Douglases. One will notice that the shield of the Douglas knight has 2 stars across the top and a red heart. The Dickey family crest is black with a silver chevron, at the top, three five leafed flowers.

At the time of Robert's birth we find the end of the Black Douglases and their power. Once James II had defeated the Black Douglases, with the aid of the Red Douglases, their political and military power was no more. The Red Douglases continued in power beyond the departure of our line of Dickey's near 1600."

This similarity seems to suggest that the Dickey's sided with the Black Douglases, which is the senior branch of the Douglas Family. The Black Douglases trace descent from the early Douglases through their progenitor, William,"le Hardi".

The author includes the chapter on the Douglas clan to make some suggestions about the Dickey family. The station and place of our ancestors suggest that some of our fathers could and may have fought with the Douglas clan and taken part in the glory and bravery they displayed. At the publishing of this book, the ancestral research stops at 1463 with our father Robert Dickey of Glasgow, Scotland. We find that he is a man of means and a business owner. Further research also shows family connections to the Kennedy and Auchincloss families, both of significant nobility. In the midst of a class society and feudal system, we can reasonability assume that the Dickey's played a part in the military and political affairs of this Scottish lowland clan.

It is very likely that the aforementioned surnames (Dickey, Dickie, Dick) are all variants of Dickson/Dixon, a surname not currently considered a sept of Douglas but one that also has strong ties to the Douglas sept surname Symington.  According to [http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~ohscogs/Dickson.html],

“Nisbet, in his Heraldry of Edinburgh, says the Dicksons are descended from one Richard Keith, son of the family of Keith's --- Earl Marshall of Scotland, and in proof carry in their arms the Chief of Keigh Marischal; Richard, called "Dick" and his sons carry this prefix in the family name Richard, son of the Great Marshal Harvey de Keth, who died in 1249, by his wife Margaret, daughter of William, 3rd Lord Douglas. The paternal and maternal arms of these families have been combined to form the arms of the Dickson Clan. "Dicksons" of Buchtrig bore the chief of the Keiths with the Douglas Mullets in base, a perfect specimen of composed arms.  (p. 118) Thomas Dickson, Laird of Symonston and Heslesede County Lanark, and Castellane of Douglas, son of Dick de Keth, was born 1247 A.D. and if grandson of the afore said Henry de Keth, was then also second cousin of William, 7th Lord Douglas, father of the good Sir James, 8th. Lord Douglas, to both of whom Dickson was certainly trusty friend.)”

During the Scottish Wars of Independence, “The Good” Sir James Douglas was involved in taking castles from the English.  Fraser (The Douglas Book, 1, 381) relates one such event involving the assistance of Thomas Dickson.

The castle of Sanquhar was at this time in the possession of an English garrison of forty men, under a commander named Beaufort. A vassal of Douglas's, Thomas Dickson, proposed to his lord a plan for the seizure of this stronghold. He knew the countryman who supplied the garrison with firewood, and he offered, if Douglas would lie in ambush near the gate, to personate this man and procure an entrance. The offer was accepted.  Douglas with thirty trusty followers placed themselves near the entrance of the castle, and Dickson, arrayed in the costume of the carrier, in the grey dawn of the early morn, drove his cart of wood up to the gate, which, with a remark as to his untimely arrival, the unsuspecting porter threw open. Dickson immediately stabbed the porter, and giving the signal, Douglas and his men rushed in and completed the work, all the garrison being put to death save one, who escaped and gave the alarm to the English troops in the vicinity. Concentrating on Sanquhar, these laid siege to the castle, but Douglas found means to convey, by his henchman Dickson, a message to Wallace, at that time in the Lennox, and he, leaving a detachment to complete the work he had then in hand, immediately marched to Douglas's relief. The English fled at his approach, but he overtook them before they reached Dalswiuton and put many to death. Douglas, adds the writer, was after this made warden of all the district from Drumlanrig to Ayr.

Fraser goes on to relate the death of Thomas Dickson in the event known more popularly as “The Douglas Larder”.

Encouraged by this success, Douglas meditated striking a blow at the wrongful possessors of his own inheritance, and having obtained Bruce's permission, he set ofi' for Douglasdale accompanied by only two yeomen.  In disguise he reached his native valley, and having privily sought out his f ather's sturdy and faithful henchman, Thomas Dickson, was cordially and affectionately welcomed, and secreted in his house of Hazelside. Here Dickson night after night brought to his young lord one by one the most trustworthy and devoted of his father's vassals, who, overjoyed to see the son of their former lord, swore to give him their loyal and unyielding support. These furnished Douglas with all the information needed to mature his plans, and he speedily revealed to them the plot he had formed for the overthrow of their English oppressors. It lacked but a few days to Palm Sunday, when the garrison of Douglas Castle would march out in force to the neighbouring church of St. Bride. Douglas, too, would be there in the guise of a peasant, bearing a flail, his armour covered with a mantle, while his men would also present themselves armed, though outwardly in the guise of peaceful worshippers. The signal for the united onset was to be their war-cry " Douglas."  The English had not the slightest suspicion of the terrible surprise that was in store for them, and with unusual carelessness the castle was left in the sole care of the porter and the cook. All had come forth to the solemnity, and had almost filled the little church, when the dreaded slogan burst forth, and they were suddenly attacked both from within and without the edifice. The signal had been somewhat premature, before Douglas himself was on the spot, one result of which was that his faithful vassal Dickson was stricken down before assistance could be rendered.

In a footnote to the narration of these events, Fraser says,

Tytler, Sir Walter Scott, and Godscroft, all state that Dickson was killed in this encounter, but the narrative by Barbour implies no more than that he was placed hora de combat in the beginning of the melee.  The slogan having been raised too soon, Dickson and another rushed into the church and began to lay about them, "Bot tha in by war left lyand." Shortly after this, the barony of Symingtoun, in Lanarkshire, was bestowed by King Robert theBruce upon Thomas, son of Richard, [Registrum Magni Sigilli, vol. L pp. 15, 78], and the family then assumed the surname of Symington. His descendants held both Symington and Hazelside long afterwards. [The Upper Ward of Lanarkshire, by Irving and Murray, vol. i. p. 188;  vol. ii. p. 139.]




Fraser, William. The Douglas Book: In Four Volumes. Burlington, Ont: TannerRitchie Pub. in collaboration with the Library and Information Services of the University of St. Andrews, 2005. Internet resource.


Dickson. http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~ohscogs/Dickson.html


The Douglas Archives, Dickey Sept of the Douglas Clan. http://www.douglashistory.co.uk/history/Septs/dickey.htm




Special thanks to Dickey/Dickie/Dick Sept Commissioner Tim Tyler for suggestions regarding where to find suitable information.