Dunning Parish Historical Society in Perthshire Scotland has local Dunning history data including dunning village census and grave yard geneaology records Dunning history society logo text

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Dunning Surname

wedding photo 14.5kb

Harry and Marjorie Dunning
from Las Vegas
married in Dunning March 1999

Scottish Dunnings might be decendents of Anechal Thane of Dunning, who witnessed the Earl Gilbert of Strathernis charter of Maderin in the year 1199. He probably took his name from that of the village, which in Gaelic is Dùnainn, meaning 'little fort'. However, it seems all the Dunnings left the village soon after this.

Dunning is a fairly common English surname which probably stems from the Old English dunn, meaning dull brown, as in the colour of a horse. The name was recorded in Gloucestershire in 1066, Somerset in 1271, and Worcestershire in the year 1275.

From our Newsletter 31


The following is a clipping passed along by Rita Campbell of Newton of Pitcairns. It comes from an old magazine, a Family Circle of April 1970

DUNN: This surname originated from a description that was given to horses, as well as men. It stemmed from the Old English dunn, meaning dull brown, and this was used as a reference to the colour of a horse. In the case of a man, it was given to one who was dark or swarthy.

The surname is closely associated with that of Dunning, which was Old English for the son of Dunn, or the son of one who was dark or swarthy. The name Dunning was first recorded in 1066 and again in the Domesday Book for Gloucestershire.

William Dun (1180) also came from Gloucestershire, while John Le Dunn of Hertfordshire (1198) was the first man to be recorded with the modern version of the surname. The first branch of the family resident in the West Country was John Dun of Somerset, in 1271, while Adam Le Dun resided in Worcestershire in the year 1275.

A few families inherited the name through living at, or near, Dunning, Lower Strathern (sic), Perthshire.

Many miles away, Gillemichel De Dunin was at one time owner of Dunn's Torr, later changed to Dunster. This village, near Minehead in Somerset was owned by the family from 1066 to 1138, and then again in 1208.

The National Trust brochure says the Norman Mohun family built Dunster's first castle shortly after the conquest. They died out after 300 years and it was bought by the Luttrell family who owned it until 1976 when the National Trust took it over. This contradicts the above.

Tim photo 12.1kb

Tim Dunning, who visited in 2001
with his wife and daughter

Extract from 'The Surnames of Scotland' by Dr J. G. Black.

Dunning from Dunning in Lower Strathearn, Perthshire.
The founder of the old family of this name was Anechal, Thane of Dunning, who witnessed the Earl Gilbert of Strathernis charter of Maderin (Maderty) cll99 (Inchaffrey p3) and the same Earl's foundation charter of Inchaffrey in 1200 (ibid p6). He was succeeded by his sone Gillemichel de Dunin who appears in record c1208 (ibid p25). Roger de Dunyn, a cleric, was a charter witness c1214-49 (Scon p57) and Brucius de Dunyne or Dunin, steward (senescallus) of Robert, Earl of Strathearn appears as charter witness c1226-34 (Inchaffrey p 47, 49, 50). John duning was received to the King of England's peace in 1321 (Bain III 724). Christi Dunyng witnessed a sasine of lands in Tullibody in 1437 (SCM VP 260). Magister Johnannes de Donyn was a vicar of the church of Perth in 1440 (RD p29). Robert dunyn was seven times Provost of Perth 1472-92. John Dunnyng had remission for his part in the burning of the town of Dumbarton in 1489 (Lennox II p133) and John Donyne or Dunyn was Balie of Perth in 1514 (OPS II p662-3). John Donyng and James Donyng were witness in Perth in 1541 (Rollok 38) Doning 1477. Dunnynge 1561. Dynning 1643.

Rollock: Protocol book of Sir Robert Rollock 1534-52. Edinburgh 1931.
Inchaffrey: Charters, bulls and other documents relating to the Abbey of Inchaffrey Edinburgh 1908.
Scon: Liber ecclesie do Scon. Monumenta vertustiora monesteriei Sancti Trinitatis de Scon. Edinburgh 1843.
Pain: Calendar of documents relating to Scotland preserved in Public Record Office - Edited by Joseph Bain. Edinburgh 1881-84
SCM: Miscellany of the Spalding Club. Aberdeen 1841-52.
RD: Registrem de Dunfermelyn. Edinburgh 1842.
Lennox: The Lennox by Sir William Fraser. Edinburgh 1874
OPS: Origines parochiales Scotiae. The antiquities ecclisiastical and territorial of the perishes of Scotland. Edinburgh 1851-55.

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