Clan Douglas, an aa referred tae as The Hoose o Douglas, is an auncient Scots clan frae the Scots Lawlands takin its name frae Douglas, Sooth Lanrikshire, an thence spreadin through the Scots Borderland, Angus, Lothian an ayont. The clan does no currently hae a chief, therefore it is considered an airmigerous clan.
The Douglases wur ance the maist pouerful family in Scotland. The pouerful Douglas chiefs held the titles o the Earl o Douglas (Black Douglas), Earl o Angus (Red Douglas) an at ane point the Earl o Morton.
Mony Douglases married intae Scots an ither European royal an noble hooses, therebi ensurin Douglas pouer athin Scotland, as a result o their accumulatit wealth.
There ar mony members o the Douglas Clan buried throughoot the warld, such as the Abbey o Saint-Germain-des-Prés in Paris, an at Melrose Abbey. Perhaps maist notable o aw is at St Bride's Kirk in Douglas. Dedicatit tae St Bride, the patron saunt o the Douglas, it haulds the mausolea o mony distinguished Douglases, includin that o the Good Sir James Douglas.
Table o contents
- 1 History
- 1.1 Oreegins o the clan
- 1.2 Wars o Scots Unthirldom
- 1.3 15t Century
- 1.4 16t Century Conflicts
- 1.5 17t century & the Bishops' War
- 1.6 18t century & the Jacobite risins
- 2 Freemit airtins
History[edit | edit source]
Oreegins o the clan[edit | edit source]
Accordin tae tradition the Douglases teuk their name frae the Gaelic placename "Dubh glas" meanin "black-blue/green" (stream). Ane auld tradition is that the first chief o Clan Douglas wis Sholto Douglas who helped the keeng o Scotland win a battle in the year 767. This is unsubstantiatit.
The true progenitor o Clan Douglas wis amsist certainly "Theobaldus Flammatius" (Theobald the Flemming), who received in 1147 the lands near Douglas Water in Lanrikshire in return for services for the Abbot o Kelso.
Although the Douglases wur first recordit in the 1170s, the Douglas family names consistit o Arkenbald an Freskin, an wur undoubtedly relatit tae the Clan Murray, an tae be o Flemish oreegin. The Clan Murray wur descendit frae a Flemish knight cawed Freskin. Though the Flemish oreegin o the Douglases is no undisputit, it is aften claimed that the Douglases wur descendit frae a Flemish knight who wis grantit lands on the Douglas Water bi the Abbot o Kelso, who held the barony an lordship o Holydean. Housomeivver this is disputie, it haes been claimed that the lands which wur grantit tae this knight wur no the lands which the Douglas family came frae.
In 1179 William Douglas wis Lord o Douglas an it seems likely that he wis Theobald the Flemming's son an the first tae take the surname Douglas.
Wars o Scots Unthirldom[edit | edit source]
Durin the Wars o Scots Unthirldom, Sir William Douglas the Hardy, Lord o Douglas wis govrenor o Berwick-upon-Tweed when the toun an Berwick Castle wur besieged bi the forces o Edward I o Ingland. Douglas wis captured an wis released ae efter he haed agreed tae accept the claim o the Inglis keeng tae be owerlord o Scotland. He subsequently joined William Wallace in feghtin for Scots unthirldom, but wis captured an taken tae Ingland, whaur he dee'd in 1298, a preesoner in the Touer o Lunnon.
The "Good" Sir James Douglas or "Black Douglas"[edit | edit source]
- Main airticle: James Douglas, Lord o Douglas
William Le Hardi's son, James Douglas, "The Good Sir James", wis the first tae take the epithet "Black". Douglas wis set tae share in Bruce's early misfortunes, being present at the defeats at Methven an Dalrigh. But for baith men these setbacks wur tae provide a valuable lesson in tactics: limitations in baith resources an equipment meant that the Scots woud aye be at a disadvantage in conventional Medieval warfare. Bi the time the war wis renewed in the ware o 1307 they haed learnt the value o guerrilla warfare – kent at the time as 'secret war' – uisin fast movin, lichtly equipped an agile forces tae maximum effect against an enemy aften locked in tae static defensive positions. Sir James Douglas recaptured Roxburgh Castle frae the Inglis in 1313. Sir James Douglas wis made a knight banneret, a heich honor, on the field an commandit a wing o the airmy at the Battle o Bannockburn in 1314.
James wis cried "The Black Douglas" bi the Inglis for his daurk deeds in Inglis eyes, becomin the Bogeyman o a Northren Inglis lullaby "Hush ye, hush ye, little pet ye. Hush ye, hush ye, do no fret ye. The Black Douglas shall no get ye." There ar also unsubstantiated theories that this wis because o his colourin an complexion, this is tenuous, Douglas ae appears in Inglis record as "The Black", in Scots' chronicles he is amaist aye referred tae as "The Guid" or "The Good". Later Douglas Lords took the moniker o their revered forebear in the same way that they attached Bruce's Heart tae their Coat o Airms, tae strike fear intae the hearts o their enemies an exhibit the prowess o their race.
Crusader[edit | edit source]
Keeng Robert the Bruce haed requestit that Douglas, latterly his maist esteemed companion in arms, should carry his hert tae the Holy Land, as atonement for the murder o John III Comyn. Douglas an his knights haed been invitit tae join the forces o Alfonso XI o Castile, Edward III o Ingland's cousin bi his mither Queen Isabella, tae fight against the Moors in 1330 at the siege o Teba. Douglas wis killed as he led a cavalry charge against the enemy while outnumbered an cut off frae the main Christian force; Alfonso kept his airmy back frae the attack; likely in some arrangement wi his cousin Edward who coud niver beat the Douglas in combat. The casket containin the hert o the Bruce wis recovered an returned tae Scotland, tae be interred at Melrose Abbey. Douglas' bones wur boiled an returned tae Scotland; his embalmed hert wis recently recovered in the Douglas vaults at the Kirk o St Bride but his bones ar no in the stane vault lyin unner his effigy an they hae yet tae be locatit.
Sir Archibald Douglas, Guardian o the Realm[edit | edit source]
- Main airticle: Sir Archibald Douglas
The Scots airmy that fought an lost the Battle o Halidon Hill in 1333 wis led bi James' yungest brither who haed been electit Regent o Scotland in late Mairch o 1333. Sir Archibald Douglas haes been badly treatit bi some historians; frequently misidentifyin this Douglas warrior as the Tyneman or loser when the moniker wis intendit for a later less fortunate but equally warlike Archibald. He wis mentioned in Barbour's The Brus for his great victory durin the Weardale Campaign; leadin the Scots airmy further sooth intae Coonty Durham he devastatit the lands an took muckle booty frae Darlington an ither nearby touns an veelages.
Sir James 'The Good' Douglas' natural son William succeedit tae the title as Lord o Douglas but may no hae completit his title tae the estates, possibly because he might hae been unnerage. He dee'd at Battle o Halidon Hill wi his uncle, Sir Archibald Douglas. James' younger brither, Hugh the Dull, Lord o Douglas, a Canon servin the See o Glasgae an held a Prebendary at Roxburgh became Lord Douglas in 1342; Hugh o Douglas resigned his title tae his nephew, the yungest survivin son o the Regent Archibald, William Lord o Douglas who wis to become the first Earl. The First Earl's legitimate son James Douglas, 2nt Earl o Douglas succeedit him. His illegitimate son bi Margaret Stewart, 4t Coontess o Angus wis George Douglas, 1st Earl o Angus, who wis the progenitor o the Earls o Angus an aa kent as the "Red Douglases".
The prestige o the family wis greatly increased when James Douglas's great nephew, James Douglas, 2nt Earl o Douglas married a House o Stuart princess. In 1388 at the Battle o Otterburn he wis instrumental tae the Scots' victory, but wis killed durin the feghtin. Leavin nae legitimate heir, his titles passed tae the illegitimate son o his great uncle.
15t Century[edit | edit source]
Wars with Ingland[edit | edit source]
Archibald Douglas, 3rd Earl o Douglas did muckle tae consolidate the family's pouer an influence. He successfully defendit Edinburgh Castle against Henry IV o Ingland in 1400 but dee'd the follaein year.
His son, Archibald Douglas, 4t Earl o Douglas, marriet the dochter o Robert III o Scotland. The fowert Earl fought against Keeng Henry IV o Ingland at the Battle o Shrewsbury in 1403, where he wis taken preesoner. He became a general in Joan o Arc's airmy an continued the fecht against the Inglis. He wis rewardit for his efforts wi the Duchy o Touraine.
In 1406, wi the daith o the keeng, the 4t Earl o Douglas became ane o the cooncil o regents tae rule Scotland durin the childhood o James I o Scotland. In 1412 the 4th Earl haed visitit Paris, when he entered intae a personal alliance wi John the Fearless, Duke o Burgundy, an in 1423 he commandit a contingent f 10,000 Scots sent tae the aid o Charles VII o Fraunce against the Inglis. He wis made lieutenant-general in the French airmy, an received the title Duke o Touraine, wi remainder tae his heirs-male, on 19 Aprile 1424. The newly creatit French duke wis defeatit an slain at Battle o Verneuil on 17 August 1424, alang wi his seicont son, James, an son-in-law John Stewart, 2nt Earl o Buchan.
Murder o the Douglas chiefs at Edinburgh Castle[edit | edit source]
The Douglases became so pouerful that bi the early fifteent century they wur seen as a threat tae the stability o the naition. In 1440 the young William Douglas, 6t Earl o Douglas an his brither wur invitit tae dine wi the ten year-auld Keeng James II o Scotland. The dinner wis organised bi Sir William Crichton o Clan Crichton. Kent as the Black Bull Dinner, a black bull's heid, the seembol o daith, wis brought in. Efter the dinner the Douglas chiefs wur dragged oot tae Castle Hill, given a mock trial an beheadit. The Clan Douglas then laid siege tae Edinburgh Castle. Crichton perceivin the danger surrendered the castle tae the Keeng an wis raised tae the title o Lord Crichton. It is still unclear exactly who else wis ultimately responsible, though it is thought Crichton, Livingstone an Buchan as likely candidates.
Clan Conflicts[edit | edit source]
The keeng gave the Earl o Atholl's confiscatit lands o Strathbogie tae Clan Gordon. The castle there became kent as Huntly, a reminder o the Gordons' Berwickshire lands. Sir Alexander Gordon wis creatit Earl o Huntly in 1449. At this time the keeng wis at enmity wi the pouerful Clan Douglas. The Gordons stood on the keeng's side, an wi their men involved in the sooth o the kintra. The Earl o Moray wis a relation an ally o the Douglases. He an the Douglases teuk the opportunity tae sack the Gordon lands, settin Huntly Castle ablaze. Housomeivver the Gordons returned an quickly destroyed their enemies. Although the castle wis burned tae the grund, a grander castle wis built in its place.
The Douglases haed a lang feud wi Clan Colville. Sir Richard Colville haed killed the Laird o Auchinleck who wis an ally o the Douglases. To avenge this murther the Douglases attacked the Colvilles in their castle, where mony wur killed. The Douglases levelled the Colville's castle an put their men tae the sword. William Douglas, 8t Earl o Douglas personally executit Richard Colville.
Murder o the Douglas chiefs at Stirling Castle[edit | edit source]
The strength o the Douglases made it impossible for James II o Scotland tae rule freely. Efter fruitless feudin wi the Douglases the Keeng invitit William Douglas, 8t Earl o Douglas tae Stirling Castle in 1452 unner the promise o safe conduct, but then the Keeng accused the Earl o conspiracy in his dealings wi the Yorkists in Ingland an through a pact made atween Douglas, the Earl o Crawford an the Lord o the Isles. Upon Douglas' refusal tae repudiate the pact an reaffirm his loyalty tae James II, the Keeng drew his dagger an stabbed Douglas in the throat. The story goes that the Keeng's Captain o the Guard then finished off the Earl wi a pole axe. The body wis thrown frae the windae intae a garden belaw, where it wis later given burial. A stained glass windae bearin the Douglas Arms nou owerluiks "Douglas Garden", the spot where the Earl is said tae hae fallen.
Feud wi the Stewart royal family[edit | edit source]
In 1455 James Douglas, 9t Earl o Douglas rebelled against the keeng but his forces wur defeatit at the Battle o Arkinholm bi the keeng's forces who wur commandit bi the Red Douglas, Earl o Angus. This brought an end tae the Black Douglases. Efter the battle an act o parliament gave the Earl o Angus the lordship o Douglas wi the oreeginal possessions o his ancestors in Douglasdale. The 9t earl wis later defeatit bi the forces o Keeng James III o Scotland at the Battle o Lochmaben Fair in 1484.
16t Century Conflicts[edit | edit source]
A dispute occurred in 1530, when Sir Robert Charteris, the 8t Laird an chief o Clan Charteris fought a duel wi Sir James Douglas o Drumlanrig in what wis said tae hae been ane o the last great chivalric contests. It wis fought wi aw the observance o a medieval tournament wi heralds an the keeng himsel watchin frae the castle walls. The joust wis apparently fought wi such fury that Charteris' swurd wis brakken an the keeng haed tae send his men-at-arms tae pairt the combatants.
Archibald Douglas, 6t Earl o Angus held the post o Lord Chancellor an became guardian o James V o Scotland bi marryin his widowed mither, Margaret Tudor, wi whom he haed a dochter, Margaret Douglas, mither o Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley. In 1545, Angus led his forces tae victory at the Battle o Ancrum Moor where they defeatit the Inglis army durin the Rough Wooing, an he wis an aa present at the defeat in 1547 at the Battle o Pinkie Cleugh.
James Douglas, 4t Earl o Morton, nephew o the 6t Earl o Angus, wis a bitter enemy o Mary, Queen o Scots. He wis ane o the murderers o the queen's secretary David Rizzio an wis hivily implicatit in the murther o her seicont husband Lord Darnley. As regent, he wis brutal in crushin factions still lyal tae Mary, housomeivver, he wis accused o complicity in the murther o Darnley an wis executit in 1581.
17t century & the Bishops' War[edit | edit source]
Durin the Wars o the Three Kinricks, William Douglas, 11t Earl o Angus, a Catholic, wis a supporter o Charles I o Scotland. In 1633, he wis creatit Marquess o Douglas. Followin the Battle o Kilsyth in 1645, he joined James Graham, 1st Marquess o Montrose, an wis present when Royalist forces fought Covenanter cavalry at the Battle o Philiphaugh where he barely escaped wi his life. Follaein Cromwell's victory, he wis able tae make peace an wis fined £1,000.
In 1660, William Douglas, the brither o the seicont Marquess o Douglas became, through marriage, the Duke o Hamilton. Eventually, the titles o Marquess o Douglas, Earl o Angus, an several others devolved tae the Dukes o Hamilton an the heir o that house is aaways styled 'Marquess o Douglas an Clydesdale'. The Douglas an Hamilton lines became Douglas-Hamilton an, unner Scots law, ar barred frae inheritin the title o chief o Clan Douglas due tae the hyphenatit surname. This similarly applies tae the Douglas-Home family who joined their surnames in the aichteent century.
In 1689, James Douglas, Earl o Angus raised the Cameronian regiment (Earl o Angus's regiment) Although greatly outnumbered, the regiment managed tae defeat a lairger Jacobite force at the Battle o Dunkeld. The regiment wis victorious unner the command o Captain George Munro o Auchinbowie.
18t century & the Jacobite risins[edit | edit source]
In 1703 the Marquisate o Douglas wis elevatit tae a Dukedom, housomeivver, in the late 17t century, mair politeecal pouer wis wieldit bi the Douglases o Drumlanrig, in Dumfriesshire who ar also descendit frae the Black Douglases. The Douglases o Drumlanrig haed become Earl o Queensberry in 1633, Marquises in 1682 an Dukes in 1684. The manoeuvres o James Douglas, 2nt Duke o Queensberry, contributit to the Union o 1707. Later, in the 18t century, durin the Jacobite Uprisings, the Douglases continued their support for the Breetish government. The Duke o Douglas led the volunteer horse durin the Battle o Sheriffmuir in 1715. An aa at that fecht wis the Duke's young cousin, Archibald Douglas, 2nt Earl o Forfar, colonel o the 3rd Regiment o foot, an who dee'd o wounds taken there shortly efterwards. Douglas Castle wis burnt bi the Hieland armies o Bonnie Prince Charlie in the 1745 uprisin. Douglas Castle wis again burnt doun in 1755, an the Duke commenced wirk on a new edifice designed bi Robert Adam. Biggin wirk ceased on the Duke's daith in 1761, an wi it his Dukedom became extinct. The Marquisate o Douglas, an Earldom o Angus devolved tae James Hamilton, 7t Duke o Hamilton, the senior male line descendant o the 2nt Marquis o Douglas, his great-great-great grandfaither.
Freemit airtins[edit | edit source]
- Clan Douglas Society o North Americae
- Douglas Family Site, Brief Historical Account
- Douglas History The Douglas Archives - a compendium o historical notes an biographies.
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