Sir Thomas Dick Lauder, 7th Baronet, of Fountainhall, DL, FRSE, lived from 13 August 1784 to 29 May 1848. He was a writer and a minor member of Scottish nobility. The wider picture in Scotland at the time is set out in our Historical Timeline.
Thomas Dick Lauder was born in Edinburgh as the only son of Sir Andrew Dick Lauder. As a young man he joined the army, serving in the 79th (The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders) Regiment of Foot. In February 1808 he married Anne Cumin whose family lived in Moray, overlooking Findhorn Bay. They settled together in Moray and had two sons and eight daughters. In 1820, Thomas Dick Lauder succeeded to the title of 7th Baronet, of Fountainhall and inherited the family estate at Fountainhall near Pencaitland in East Lothian. He continued to live in Moray until 1832, when he moved to Grange House, on the south side of Edinburgh.
Sir Thomas Dick Lauder took an active interest in politics. In 1832 he spoke at a mass gathering of 30,000 supporters of the Reform Bill in Edinburgh. In 1839 he was appointed Secretary to the Board of Manufactures and Fisheries in Scotland, and a little later Secretary to the Board of British White Herring Fishery. He also served as a Deputy Lord Lieutenant of the counties of Moray and Haddingtonshire. He became Secretary to the Royal Institution for the Encouragement of the Fine Arts, and was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
Sir Thomas was a close friend of Sir Walter Scott. He started contributing articles to Blackwoods Magazine in 1817. The following year he presented a paper on The Parallel Roads of Glenroy to the Royal Society of Edinburgh, for the first time drawing attention to the lines that run around Glen Roy. In the mid 1820s he published two historical romances, and then moved on to a mix of magazine articles, and non-fiction works about Moray. In the 1830s he became friends with the Sobieski brothers, who went on to publish their classic book Vestiarium Scoticum in 1842, which did much to popularise the wearing of tartan, albeit on a largely fabricated set of "traditional" clan tartans.
Sir Thomas's own later publications included the two volume Highland Rambles, with Long Tales to Shorten the Way (1837) and the three volume Legendary Tales of the Highlands (1841) and Tour round the Coasts of Scotland (1842). He died in 1848 at Grange House, an was buried in the Dick Lauder tomb at the new cemetery at Grange, Edinburgh.