Dingwall or Dingwell is a Scottish surname but is of Viking origin.
Origins of the Name
This is a habitation surname, derived from an already existing place name, the town of Dingwall in Ross-shire. According to the old Statistical Account of Scotland, the name, formerly Dignaval or Digna vallis, took its origin from the richness of the soil of the lower grounds, which form a considerable part of the parish of Dingwall. Other writers, with greater probability, consider the name to be of Scandinavian origin, reflecting the settlement of this area by Viking invaders, and refer it to a word expressive of its being the seat of justice: the Scandinavian Þingvöllr (field or meeting-place of the thing, or local assembly - compare Tynwald, Tingwall, Thingwall in the British Isles alone, plus many others across northern Europe).
Dingwall family of Kildun
One of the most prominent families by the name of Dingwall in Scotland were the Dingwalls of Kildun. An early reference to the family is made by Mr James Fraser, minister of Kirkhill, in his MS. history of the Frasers; Simon Fraser, Lord Lovat who was executed in 1306, had a son, Hugh Fraser who was fostered with the Baron of Foyers, and afterwards taken into the custody of the Earl of Ross who married him with Eupham Dingwall, the Baron of Kildun's only daughter.
Another early record of the Dingwalls of Kildun is that of their involvement in the Battle of Bealach nam Broig in 1452 where William Dingwall and 140 followers are said to have been killed fighting in support of the Earl of Ross.
Before the year 1460 and 1463 Thomas Dingwall is granted charters for the lands of Kildun. He resigned Kildun in 1506 to John, Abbot of Dunfermline who then granted it in the same year to William Dingwall, the son of Thomas. In 1527 more lands were granted to William Dingwall of Kildun by King James V of Scotland. During the same year the Laird of Kildun was killed by Roderick McLeod of Lewis who was the son in law of Mackenzie, Baron of Kintail. McLeod was imprisoned on the Bass Rock for the killing. However in Alexander Mackenzie's 'History of the Clan Mackenzie' it states that the man who killed Dingwall of Kildun was in fact Roderick Mackenzie, fourth son of Sir Kenneth Mackenzie of Kintail. This however cannot be correct as this Roderick Mackenzie was killed at the Battle of Flodden Field in 1513.
William Dingwall was succeeded by his son, Sir Thomas Dingwall who with Janet Hay, his spouse, had a charter of Kildun granted in 1538 and other lands in 1543. Thomas Dingwall of Kildun was succeeded by his son John Dingwall of Kildun. In 1583 he sold to Colin Mackenzie of Kintail some of the lands that had been granted by the Earl of Ross to Thomas Dingwall in 1463.
In modern times the name of Dingwall especially is used widely in the north east of Scotland, Moray shire specifically. In the towns of Forres and the village of Brodie there are numourous Dingwalls.
Spelling variations of the name include:
- Motto: 'Deo Favente' which translated means 'By the favor of God'
- Family Record of the Name Dingwall Fordyce in Aberdeenshire by Alexander Dingwall Fordyce.