Rollo Family

Duncrub Holidays – the Rollo Family

Eric Rollo

Eric Rollo, a Dane, had obtained a settlement in Normandy in the 8th century. Direct descendants became the Dukes of Normandy, of whom William I (the Conqueror) of England was the most notable. Eric de Rollo, a scion from the same line, accompanied William to England in the capacity of Secretary. A portrait of him, taken in his 98th year, is said to be still in the possession of the family.

John de Rollo and Kind David I

A descendant of Eric de Rollo came to Scotland, as many Normans did, in the reign of King David I (about 1130 A.D.) and obtained a grant of houses and lands in the Lothian area. It was from this branch of the family came John de Rollo who, in the following century, settled in Perthshire and founded the family of Duncrub.

John de Rollo and King Robert III

King David Bruce died in 1371 and was succeeded by Robert, Steward of Scotland and Earl of Strathearn. John de Rollo obtained a Charter, dated Methven 14th February 1380-1, confirming the grant formerly given to him “de terris de Findonny, cum parte de Dunyn, et de terris de Drumcroube et de Ladcathy”. This translates to “of the lands of Findony, with part of Dunning and of the lands of Duncrub and Ledkettyl.

John de Rollo became Private Secretary to King Robert III and died at the beginning of the reign of King James I.

Recent History

The lineage is followed down through the centuries until William, the ninth Baron, died in 1852, leaving an only son – John Rogerson Rollo. The following extract is taken from “Dunning : Its Parochial History” by John Wilson D.D., Minister at Dunning 1861 – 1878.

“John Rogerson Rollo, Lord Rollo, in the Peerage of Scotland, and Baron Dunning of Dunning and Pitcairns in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. Since his accession, his Lordship has greatly extended and improved the family estates, having acquired the lands of Kelty, Boghall, Steelend, Greenhill, Midgemill and Knowhead, in the parish of Dunning, and other lands in the parish of Auchterarder. He has also erected a splendid mansion at Duncrub, and built many neat and comfortable houses for the accommodation of his tenants. He takes an active interest in the prosperity of all who reside on his property, and is ever ready to promote any undertaking that he considers calculated to promote the moral or physical well-being of the parishioners of Dunning.” 

From “Lost Houses of Scotland by Marcus Binney, John Harris and Emma Winnington we read the following :

“The original house of Duncrub, to which Robert Burn added wings in 1799, was remodelled and greatly enlarged in 1836-7 by his son William Burn, for the 8th Lord Rollo. In 1870 Burn’s house was demolished and replaced by one by Habershon and Pite. This was, in turn demolished in 1950, the lists saying only the laundry remains, containing some masonry of c.1880. The park had been altered by Walter Nicol c.1800.”

The magnificent Victorian house at Duncrub built in 1861 had fifty rooms and more windows and doors than days in the year. When the twelfth Lord Rollo inherited it in 1946 he decided it was too big to live in and too big to heat, though undoubtedly death duties were also a factor, and so the building and surrounding lands came to be sold in 1950. Much of the stone was transported to nearby Crieff and used to build the John Smith building at Morrisons’ Academy.

We don’t pretent to be experts on the history of the Rollo Clan – the extracts of information above have been taken from authoratative sources. A booklet, “Historic Dunning” may be purchased in the local shops or through the Dunning Parish Historical Society.