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Douglas


The Douglases were considered to be the most influential and powerful of the Lowland families and who at the height of their powers were possibly the greatest family in Scotland. The first record of this name was in 1175 when William de Duglas witnessed a charter by the Bishop of Glasgow to the monks of Kelso. Grants of the land were made to Sir James Douglas one of Robert Bruce's chief lieutenants and famed for his many brave exploits. Unfortunately he was killed by the Moors in Granada, Spain whilst attempting to carry Bruce's heart to the Holyland. His nephew was created Earl of Douglas, later becoming Earl of Mar by marriage. The strength and wealth of the Douglases were a constant threat to the Stewart Kings. At one time they formed an alliance with the English crown and the Lord of the Isles against the Scots crown, the failure of which meant that Lord Douglas had to flee to England. The Black Douglases were thus forfeited in 1455 and Threave Castle was bombarded by the famous cannon, Mons Meg. George, 4th Earl of Angus, chief of the Red Douglases became head of the whole clan. His son, Archibald, "Bell-the Cat", led the nobles rebellion against James III which ended in the defeat and death of the King at the Battle of Sauchieburn in 1488. His grandson also Archibald married Margaret Tudor widow of James IV who had fallen at Flodden. Their daughter, Lady Margaret married the Earl of Lennox, their son Lord Darnley married Mary Queen of Scots and was father of James VI & I. The Douglases continued to play an important role in the life of Scotland throughout the centuries and were ancestors of the Earls of Morton, Douglas, Annandale, Moray, Ormond, Angus and Forfar and the Dukes of Touraine, Queensberry, Buccleuch and Hamilton. It would appear that the senior representative of this house is at present Lord Home (ex-prime minister of Great Britain) but he cannot exercise the chiefship while he is also chief of Home, the heir male is the Duke of Hamilton.


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