The name Aske (or Ash (tree) or Hasse) derives from Scandinavian mythology and was mentioned as a manor in the Domesday Book. The de Ask family, descended from Whyomar, a kinsman of Earl Alan, lived at Aske until the early 16th Century. The property then passed to the Bowes family who sold it to Lord Wharton. Lord Wharton became the Duke of Wharton but went spectacularly bust in 1727 and Aske was sold to Sir Conyers D'Arcy. Sir Conyers lived at Aske for the next 30 years and died in 1758, leaving Aske to his nephew, the last Earl of Holderness.
Sir Lawrence Dundas Bt. (1712-1781) bought the Aske Estate from Lord Holderness in 1763 for £45,000 and the imposing Hall has remained the family seat ever since.
Sir Lawrence was a hugely ambitious and successful man and one of the reasons he bought Aske was that the estate included the pocket borough of Richmond and he was therefore able to nominate the MP. He married Margaret Bruce.
Sir Lawrence made his first fortune by supplying goods to the British Army during their campaign against the Jacobites and then in Flanders during the Seven Years War, 1756-1763. He subsequently branched out into banking, property (he developed Grangemouth in 1777) and was a major backer of the Forth & Clyde Canal which happened to run through his Estate at Kerse near Falkirk.
Despite his best endeavours, Sir Lawrence never made it to the peerage but his son Thomas was created Baron Dundas of Aske in 1794. The 1st Lord Dundas (1741-1820) married Lady Charlotte FitzWilliam, who provided him with additional social respectability and a great many children. He was Lord Lieutenant of Orkney & Zetland, MP for Richmond (1763-1768) and MP for Stirling (1768-1794). He was succeeded by his eldest son Lawrence.
In return for providing financial assistance to the Duke & Duchess of Kent, the future Queen Victoria's parents, the 2nd Lord Dundas (1766-1839) was created the 1st Earl of Zetland in 1838. Sir Lawrence Dundas, his grandfather, had bought many estates and among them (again for Parliamentary purposes) was an estate on Orkney & Zetland, which is now better known as Shetland. Thus, when Lawrence was promoted to the earldom, he chose Zetland as the name for his new title. He was, during his career, Lord Lieutenant and Vice-Admiral of Orkney & Zetland. He married Harriot, daughter of General John Hale.
His son Thomas Dundas (1795-1873) succeeded as 2nd Earl of Zetland. He was a Knight of the Garter, Lord Lieutanant of the North Riding of Yorkshire and Grandmaster of the Freemasons of England. He was also the fortunate owner of Voltigeur, a great racehorse, who won the Derby & St Leger in 1850. The following year, Voltigeur and The Flying Dutchman, owned by the Earl of Eglington & Winton and winner of the 1851 Derby, raced each other at York for 1,000 guineas in what became known as The Great Match. The Flying Dutchman won. The 2nd Earl married Sophia Williamson, daughter of Sir Hedworth Williamson Bt. but died childless.
His nephew Lawrence Dundas (1844-1929) became the 3rd Earl of Zetland and subsequently, the 1st Marquess of Zetland. He married Lady Lilian Lumley, daughter of the 9th Earl of Scarbrough. He was promoted to the marquesate in 1892 following his term of office as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland between 1889-1892. In addition, he was a Knight of the Thistle, MP for Richmond, Mayor of Richmond and a Lord-in-Waiting to Queen Victoria.
The 1st Marquess was succeeded by his son, another Lawrence Dundas (1876-1961), as 2nd Marquess of Zetland. This Lawrence had an impressive career in public service first as MP for Hornsey in Middlesex 1907 - 1916, then as Governor of Bengal 1917 - 1922 and finally as Secretary of State for India between 1935 & 1940. He was also president of the Royal Geographical Society, the first chairman of the National Trust, a Governor of the National Bank of Scotland, a Knight of the Garter and Privy Councillor. He bore the Sword of State at the coronation of King George VI in 1937. He married Cicely, daughter of Col. Archdale.
Lawrence Aldred Mervyn Dundas, The 3rd Marquess of Zetland, (1908-1988) succeeded his father in 1961. He was a member of the Jockey Club, Chairman of both Redcar & Catterick Racecourses and a vice president of the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club as he had been a good enough player to have taken part in the Wimbledon championships in the 1940's. He carried out substantial alterations to Aske Hall which resulted in a greatly reduced but much more manageable house. He married Penelope, daughter of Col. Ebenezer Pike and they have four children: the present Marquess, Lady Serena Kettlewell, Lord David Dundas, the composer & singer and Lord Bruce Dundas.
This work on Aske Hall has been continued by Lawrence Mark Dundas, the 4th (born in 1937) & present Marquess of Zetland. The 4th Marquess has been involved with the administration of British racing for many years, is a member of the Jockey Club and was a founding member of the British Horseracing Board. He married Susan, daughter of Guy Chamberlin and they have four children: Earl of Ronaldshay, Lord James Dundas, Lady Henrietta Stroyan and Lady Victoria Madel.