MJD from "The Black'n'Blue" 2002

Dunlap Coat of Arms   Delap Irish Coat of Arms


Rest assured, that if you are a Dunlap, Dunlapp, Dunlape, Dunlopp, Dunlope, Dunloup, Downlop, Dalape, Delap, DeLap, Delappe, Dulop, Dulap, Dulape, Dullope, Donlop, Donlap, Dunlip, Dewlap or any of a close  variation of spelling, then you are a DUNLOP.  (see below)

( updated 10.15.2012)

The name is a well-known Ayrshire (Southwest Scotland) surname derived from the lands of Dunlop in the District of Cunningham. The first part is derived from the Gaelic word "dun" which means "a fort or strong place" (all Iron Age fortresses in this language were called "Duns", i.e.: Dun Aidenn, Dunadd, Dumbarton, Dunbar, Dunkelt, etc).

The derivation of the second part is uncertain, but scholars say that it probably derives from the Gaelic word "laib" or "lub", (pronounced "labh") meaning "the winding or bending."

We know that both the Brythonic Celts (Welsh, Strathclyde Brits) and the DalRiadan Goidolic Celts (Irish, later also known as Scotti) who later occupied this area gave the name Dun Lop ("Fortress" at the Bend) to the stronghold built on a hill around which the "burn" or stream called the Glazert winds. To this very day that rise is still known as Dunlop Hill. The family from which we all descend took their (our) name from this Celtic landmark. The area was populated in the 5th century and earlier by the Damnoni tribe.


roman coin of 48 bce shows a CeltThe Celtic Chief who ruled the locals here from pre-Roman times (Romans were present in Britain from approx 26AD- 406 AD), according to legend, called himself the "Dunlop of Dunlop". The first recorded use, though, of the Dunlop surname appears during The Thirteenth Century in various documents (i.e.: a record of indenture between Godfrey de Ross and the Burgesses of Irvine, witnessed by Dom [baron] Willelmus de Dunlop in 1260.) Most surnames came into use in the 1200's.

After Scottish King Malcolm annexed the Kingdom of Strathclyde, he started the feudalization of the entire area. His successor, King David I (1224-1253), granted Lauderdale and Cunninghame to a Hugh de Moreville, who was appointed Hereditary Constable and built a castle at Kilmaurs.  de Moreville founded Kilwinning Abbey about 1140. Hugh was succeeded by his son, Richard, and then his son, William de Moreville. William de Moreville granted the lands of Stewarton to Dom Godfrey De Ros (or Rosse). It is believed that the adjacent lands Of Dunlop were also included in De Ros's possessions. That is , he was given the Fortress on Dunlop Hill. He called the local site Boarland and also Overhill. His son, of the same name, also held these lands. The Greater estate was called Hunthall, for the ancient seated Laird of Dunlop was appointed huntsman to the Norman de Ros.

This hereditary Celtic Mormaer, (Dunlop of Dunlop) whose line had ruled on Dunlop Hill for ages and was arguably of Noble lineage of the Kingdom of Strathclyde...was appointed the Huntsman for De Ros, and then given land to build a large manor house on the banks of the Clerkland Burn. Dunlop House (the fourth in a series) still stands on this site. The main branch of the Dunlop Family resided at this Clerkland estate, called Hunthall. The Estate was erected into the Barony of Dunlop in 1688.


Many prominent Scots appeared in this period, recorded as Dunlops:
See the Notable Relatives.

In 1407 Alexander Dunlop was titled "Dunlop of that ilk". (This title was peculiar to the Scots, denoting not just the gentleman, but that he was the Chief of all the Clans of his surname. The title is more honorable than modern titles such as Earls, Dukes, etc.) Today that title is held by
James Stuart Wallace Dunlop (1968-), 30th of that Ilk and Current Chief of the Name ; only son of Keith Stuart Wallace Dunlop, living near Devon, England. For the entire lineage of that Ilk see Dunlop Royalty


Cadet branches were established near Glasgow and in Berwickshire, in the Borders. Also founded were branches in Auchenskaith, Keppoch, and Gairbraid. These Dunlop families flourished in all areas, and played important roles in the affairs of Scotland, Britain, America, India, Canada, The West Indies, and Australia. The Glasgow and Doonside branches still have lands and titles today. See:

Dunlop Royalty


The many variations of the spelling of the name "Dunlop" were caused mainly by the heavy Gaelic accenting of the second syllable, (DunLOP). According to George Black, In about the middle of the 19th Century the name was locally (Ayrshire) pronounced Delap or Dulap.  Because of the pronunciation ,the early families spelled the name to reflect the way they thought it should be, then their descendants (usually) spelled their name that way.

 Rest assured, that if you are a Dunlap, Dunlapp, Dunlape, Dunlopp, Dunlope, Dunloup, Downlop, Dalape, Delap, DeLap, Delappe, Dulop, Dulap, Dulape, Dullope, Donlop, Donlap, Dunlip, Dewlap or any of a close  variations of spelling, then you are a DUNLOP. 


The Dunlop Family is not officially  recognized as a "Clan" by the Lord Lyon of Scotland. Families were affiliated with "Clans" due to economic or military necessity. The Dunlop's were a landed noble family listed in references as an Armigerous (holding a Coat of Arms) Family. There is much evidence that the family was a noble one of the Kingdom of Strathclyde.

 We had military and economic wealth and were protected by the relationships we had with other nobles (Hamilton's, Cunningham's, Browns) of the area. In other words, we did not need to be clan affiliated. The district that the Dunlops lived in was the Cunningham District. (All Dunlops are welcome at the Clan Cunningham USA tents at any highland games in the States by invitation of David Pickens, President CCUSA).

We  do have a Chief of the Name ("of that Ilk"), a Coat of Arms, tartan, badges, and a very distinctive history, as do many lowland Families. The Lyon Court recognizes the Coat of Arms, and those of the cadet branches, as does Burke's and other references of Scottish Royalty. Many of the Dunlop line were descendants of Robert the Bruce, the Wallace line, and other British Royalty. The Dunlop's' were a very influential landed Family in Ayrshire and Glasgow and you can see, by reading the rest of this site not only in Scotland, but also wherever displaced Scots landed, there was a Dunlop who made our mark.




Dunlop of that Ilk: Memorabilia of the Families of Dunlop

written by Archibald Dunlop in 1898

online page-by-page digital version of the very rare histories of early Dunlops


Rev James Hanna, The House of Dunlap, 1956, Michigan

Freda White, The House of Dunlop, 1951, Oakland, Ca

 George Black, The Surnames of Scotland. pg 230. 1999, Edinburgh

 George Way, Scottish Clan and Family Encyclopedia , pg 385. , 1998 Edinburgh

Donald Whyte, Scottish Surnames and Families, pg 76-7,  NY 1996

Keith Stuart Wallace Dunlop & Alex Wallace Dunlop


Mike Dunlap, House of Dunlop website creator