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The Caput of the Barony of Drum

CAPUT is a Latin word literally meaning “head, and in Scotland is used to denote the seat of a Barony”.

The Barony of Drum was granted to William de Irwin and his heirs in 1323 by Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland.  It continued uninterrupted from 1323 until 1975, when the 24th Baron of Drum, Henry Quentin Irvine died without issue. By his unilateral decision, taken without the agreement of his younger brothers and heirs, he had arranged that the Castle and House of Drum, together with some 400 acres of land, be transferred to the National Trust for Scotland in perpetuity. This effectively ended the rights of the Irvine family to reside at Drum and own the land.

However, the Barony of Drum and the position of Chief of the family could not be transferred to an institution as opposed to an individual in the same manner as was the property. With the encouragement of the Lord Lyon King of Arms and the active assistance of the National Trust for Scotland, it was arranged for a small plot of Drum land to be conveyed to the next in line, his brother, Charles Francis Irvine. In a reciprocal transaction, Charles Irvine transferred the title of the land.

This, then, enabled him to matriculate his Coat of Arms to include the Baronial artifacts and thus preserve the unbroken line of Irvines of Drum as Barons of Drum. On his death in 1992, the position of Chief of the family and the Barony of Drum passed to his son, David Charles Irvine, the present Chief of the family and Baron of Drum.

Provided future successors continue to matriculate their Arms at the Lyon Court in Edinburgh, the transfer of the Barony is will continue for future generations. Additionally, the Rights over this small plot of land are now legally protected and documented. The present Chief's successor is Hugh Irvine, Younger of Drum, who in turn has a young son, Thomas Alexander Irvine.

In 1998, with funding provided by the Irvine family and the Clan Irwin Association of America, the site of the Caput was encircled by a dry stone wall and a commemorative granite stone was erected, bearing a short explanation of its historical significance.  The Dedication ceremony on 2nd August 1998 was conducted by the Right Rev. Bishop Fred Darwent, Bishop Emeritus of Aberdeen and Orkney, and attended by nearly 50 Clan members from Scotland and America.

During the summer of 2002, the Clan Irwin Association funded the finishing touches to the Caput, when the grass was replaced with landscape chippings, and stepping-stones were added.


Note: This article is adapted from an article of this title written by David Irvine of Drum and published in The Holly Leaf Chronicle Third Quarter 1998 pp.7-9.