In the 1720s the family of Dundas of Arniston,1 already long distinguished at the Scottish bar, entered on the three generations of their greatest achievement and influence. Their estate of Arniston had been acquired in 1571. Here, in about 1620, their mansion was built by the founder of the family’s law dynasty, James Dundas, who was knighted by King James. In the next six generations their protagonists numbered two knights (Sir James and his son), six MPs for Midlothian, four Lords of Session, two Lords President of the Session and a Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer. While not, it was generally felt, particularly remarkable for intellect they were admired for equally important qualities, notably a strict regard for justice — to the extent that the second Sir James, created a Lord of Session in 1662, felt unable to compromise over the Test Act even under the liberal interpretation allowed by Charles II, and his seat was therefore suspended. He lived retired on his estate, dying in 1679.