1. List: William Douglas, 1st Earl of Douglas and Mar
    William Douglas, 1st Earl of Douglas and Mar thumbnail image

    William de Douglas, 1st Earl of Douglas (and Mar) c1323 was born at Douglas Castle, Douglas, Lanarkshire. William's father was Archibald Douglas, Regent of Scotland in 1333.

    William Douglas is important to the Bonjedward line as it was his natural daughter Margaret c1376 who together with her husband Thomas Johnson or Johnstone and their son John (Douglas) were the first of the Douglases of Bonjedward.

    William Douglas, the 1st Earl and his mistress Lady Margaret Stewart, 4th Countess of Angus besides Margaret Douglas of Bonjedward also produced George Douglas, 1st Earl of Angus (Douglas line).

    William had a son James Douglas, 2nd Earl of Douglas and a daughter Isobel or Isabella Douglas, Countess of Mar, with his wife Margaret of Mar (Mormaers).

    Sir William de Douglas died in May 1384 at Douglas, Lanarkshire of a fever.

    Some points of interest -

    * It has been said that William ‘had been educated in France, and returned to England in 1348’ (http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Douglas; and Scots Peerage)

    * In 1348 William Douglas gave the barony of Calder to Sir James de Sandilands as a wedding gift on the occasion of his marrying his sister, Eleanor Douglas. Electric Scotland - History of West Calder - "Family of Torphichen. The first authentic account of this ancient family is in the reign of David II., 1336, when Sir James Sandilands obtained a grant from that monarch of lands in the county of Peebles for his lands of Craiglockhart and Stennypath in the county of Edinburgh. He also possessed the land and barony of Wiston, in Lanarkshire, and in 1346 (or was it in 1348?) he obtained a confirmation of the lands of Sandilands and Reidmyre, in Douglasdale, from William, Lord Douglas. Having greatly distinguished himself under that illustrious commander, in war against the English - (the war of Scottish Succession) - he became a great favourite, and obtained the hand of Elionora, Countess of Carrick, and sister of Lord Douglas, in marriage. She was the only sister of Archibald Douglas of Douglas, and relict of Alexander Bruce, Earl of Carrick - (a title previously held by Robert the Bruce) - and with her he received the Barony of West Calder in liberum marilagium, to be held in like manner as Earl William held the said Barony from Duncan, Earl of Fife".

    * He recovered Douglasdale from the English and he expelled the English from Ettrick forest and Tweeddale, and part of Teviotdale (Roxburghshire). Sometime around 1348 - "...Sir William of Douglas ... returned to Scotland from France, where he had been trained in arms, about 1348, and the Douglas estates being then in the hands of the English, he proceeded to recover them. He expelled the English from Douglasdale, and, aided by his maternal uncle, Sir David Lindsay of Crawford, took Roxburgh Castle from Sir John Copland, its English governor, thereby restoring the forest of Ettrick to the Scottish allegiance". (Wikisource).

    * " In 1351 he was one of the commissioners who treated for the release of David II, and three years later took part in the treaty of Newcastle, by which the king's ransom was finally arranged". (Wikisource).

    * In 1353 William Douglas, the Knight of Liddesdale was murdered by his kinsman William, 1st Earl of Douglas in the Ettrick Forest. They were third cousins and the Knight of Liddesdale had become Godfather to the 1st Earl of Douglas in about 1327. ("These two powerful and influential kinsmen, each with his own agenda, encountered each other one day when the Knight was hunting in Ettrick Forest, and the Lord Douglas killed the Knight of Liddesdale. William of Liddesdale’s body was taken first to Linden Kirk, a chapel in Ettrick, and then on to Melrose Abbey for burial in front of the altar of St. Bridget (the patron saint of Clan Douglas). Later, the Lord of Douglas granted a mortification to the church for the saying of masses for the soul of the man he had slain". There are a few theories as to why this killing occurred such as revenge, jealousy and rivalry. Ref. Wikipedia). " The ‘Chronicle’ of Pluscarden expressly assigns the desire to possess Liddesdale as one of the causes of the murder of the Knight of Liddesdale". (Wikisource).

    * In 1354 he succeeded to the estates of his father and uncle and to the lands of his kinsman, William Douglas, Knight of Liddesdale (known also as the 'Flower of Chivalry') whom he had slain. Wikisource - "The charter, 12 Feb. 1354, ... granted by David II to Sir William, includes Douglasdale, Lauderdale, Eskdale, the forest of Selkirk, Yarrow, and Tweed, the town castle and forest of Jedburgh, the barony of Buittle in Galloway, and Polbuthy in Moffatdale, all of which had been held by his uncle Sir James, and also Liddesdale with its castle, the baronies of Kirkandrews in Dumfries, Cairns, Drumlanrig, West Calder, and certain lands in Aberdeenshire, with the leadership of the men of Roxburgh, Selkirk, Peebles, and the upper ward of Clyde, which are described as lately held by his father Sir Archibald".

    * 1355 - "Douglas took part in the raid on the English border, incited by the French king, and, along with Eugene de Garancières, defeated Sir Thomas Gray at the skirmish of Nisbet in 1355" - Wikisource.

    * 1355 - The Battle of Nisbet (Nesbit) or Nisbet (Nesbit) Moor - (Andrew Spratt) "... In 1355 Archibald's son William (later 1st Earl of Douglas) with Patrick Dunbar, Earl of March and William Ramsay of Dalhousie routed almost the entire English garrison from Norham in an ambush at the battle of Nisbet, near Duns. Fearing for the security of the token garrison left at Norham the English unwittingly sent most of their troops from Berwick. Instead though the Scots led by Dunbar and against William Douglas's wishes stormed Berwick town setting it ablaze as they were unable to secure the castle and had to withdraw when more English reinforcements suddenly arrived. In reply many Scots villages were burnt..."

    * 1355 and 1363 - At the first battle of Nisbet in 1355 John Halyburton of Dirleton was killed while helping Ramsay of Dalhousie, Dunbar of Dunbar castle and William Douglas (later 1st Earl of Douglas) of Tantallon castle defeat the English garrison from Norham castle. Surprisingly, a few years later in 1363 Douglas and Dunbar turned on the Halyburtons and seized Dirleton castle in their first steps of rebellion against King David II of Scots for his attack on Kildrummy castle. This led to the battle of Lanark where Douglas and Dunbar were defeated by King David and forced to sue for peace. Dirleton was then returned to the Halyburtons. (Douglas Archives).

    * 1356 - "In January 1356 Edward III recovered Berwick, which the Earls of Angus and March had seized the previous year, but when he advanced on Lothian Douglas succeeded in delaying him by negotiations until the Scotch had removed their goods in the line of his march, so that his retaliatory raid, which resulted chiefly in the destruction of abbeys and churches, got the name of the Burnt Candlemas". (Wikisource).

    * The Battle of Poitiers, France on 19/9/1356, where he was wounded and narrowly escaped capture. Wikipedia - "... Douglas crossed with a large following to France and took up arms with Jean le Bon against Edward of Woodstock, the Black Prince. Douglas was present at the Battle of Poitiers where he was knighted by the French King. Douglas fought in the King's own Battle, but when the fight seemed over Douglas was dragged by his men from the melee. Froissart states that '...the Earl Douglas of Scotland, who fought a season valiantly, but when he saw the discomfiture he departed and saved himself; for in no wise would he be taken by the Englishmen, he would rather there be slain' ".

    * William Douglas, 1st Earl of Douglas had taken a retinue of forty men-at-arms to fight at Poitiers.

    * During the truce after the Battle of Poitiers, William Douglas, the first Earl of Douglas and his cousin Archibald 'the grim' Douglas sought shelter at Chateau Gaillard in Normandy. Archibald Douglas was the 3rd Earl of Douglas and Lord of Galloway. He was the illegitimate son of Sir James Douglas, Lord of Douglas.

    * 1358 - he was created 1st Earl of Douglas in 1358, and by marriage to Margaret of Mar, he took the title Earl of Mar. ("About 1374 he added to his already vast possessions in the south the territory and title of the Earl of Mar, through his wife Margaret, sister of Thomas, thirteenth earl of Mar, to whom he had been married in 1357" - Wikisource).

    * 1358 to 1361 - "Between 1358 and 1361 he made frequent visits to England, which were probably due to his being one of the hostages for the king's ransom, and the negotiations for a more permanent peace between the two countries. At other times he appears to have been in attendance on the king, from whom he received a grant of the office of sheriff of Lanark, and possibly also of justiciary of Lothian, an office he certainly held in the next reign... " (Wikisource).

    * "In 1363 a dispute arose between the king and Douglas, who was supported by the Steward and the Earl of March, relative to the application of the money raised for payment of the king's ransom, which these nobles accused David of appropriating. Douglas took up arms against the king, but after a skirmish at Inverkeithing he was defeated at Lanark, and obliged in May 1363 to submit. In Nov. 1363 Douglas went to London with King David, who with Douglas's assent negotiated with Edward III arrangements, whereby on certain terms the English king or his son Lionel should eventually succeed to the Scottish throne". (Wikisource).

    * 1371 - "On the death of David II in 1371 Douglas was present at the coronation of Robert II at Scone, to whom he swore homage on 27 March, and he also joined in the settlement of the succession on the king's eldest son, John, earl of Carrick, afterwards Robert III. About this time he was made justiciary south of the Forth, and shortly after acquired the castle of Tantallon and the port of North Berwick, which had formerly belonged to the Earl of Fife..." - Wikisource.

    * The Battle of Melrose in 1378 along with his kinsman Archibald ‘the grim’ c1320 who became the 3rd Earl of Douglas. William commanded the Scots troops that defeated Musgrave, the Governor of Berwick.

    * 1380 - Two years afterwards William entered England with an army, and after burning Penrith, returned home laden with spoil. "...In the spring of 1380 Douglas headed a more formidable raid into England, in retaliation for the invasions of the Earl of March's lands on the Scottish borders by Northumberland and Nottingham. His troops are said on this occasion to have numbered twenty thousand men, and after carrying away great booty - as many as forty thousand cattle - from the forest of Inglewood, and ravaging Cumberland and Westmoreland, Douglas burnt Penrith. He was afraid, however, to attempt the siege of the strong castle of Carlisle, and returned to Scotland. Though successful in its immediate object, this incursion cost the Scots more than they gained, by introducing the pestilence from which the English were then suffering. On 1 Nov. 1380 Douglas, along with the bishops of Glasgow and Dunkeld, and his kinsman, Sir Archibald Douglas, lord of Galloway, was present at Berwick, where John of Gaunt met them and negotiated a truce to last till 30 Nov. 1381... " - Wikisource.

    * 1381 to 1384 - "Between 1381 and 1384 Douglas ... was constantly in attendance on the king, who, as usual in these times, was travelling over his kingdom. He is shown by various charters to which he was a party or a witness to have been at Wigton in September 1381, at Edinburgh in October, and later in Ayrshire, where he remained till the following spring. In 1383 he was at Stirling and Dundee, and on 18 Jan. 1384 at Edinburgh. Almost immediately after the expiry of the truce hostilities were resumed on both sides of the border, and Douglas received a special commission from the king for the reduction of Teviotdale, where many of the inhabitants still refused to accept the Scottish allegiance. His satisfactory execution of this commission was the last act of his life..." (Wikisource).

    * Involved in 1384 the Siege of Lochmaben Castle which was held by the English (Scots Peerage). Douglas Archives - "... King Edward replaced the (Lochmaben) castle with a much sturdier structure at the south end of Castle Loch around 1300 and its remains still show the massive strength of its defences. Archibald Douglas, Lord of Galloway, with the assistance of the Earls of March and Douglas, after a siege of nine days, took Lochmaben Castle from the English and "razed it to the ground" (probably meaning it was burnt) on the 4th February 1384/5". It would have in 1384 as the Earl of Douglas died in 1384.

    * Canterbury Cathedral - William Douglas, 1st Earl of Douglas “made a pilgrimage to the shrine of St. Thomas-a-Becket in the year 1363; but, unlike some others of the great Scottish barons, who made such pilgrimages a pretext for treasonable intrigues with the English Government, Douglas continued steadfast in his adherence of his country's cause, and resolutely opposed the attempts of the unworthy son of Robert Bruce to betray it to the enemy...” - http://www.celtic-casimir.com/webtree/11/34661.htm

    * In 1363 Archibald Douglas who was to become the 3rd Earl of Douglas and his cousin William de Douglas, 1st Earl of Douglas visited Canterbury - Thomas Hoppringle site - "... On 10th January 1359 Thomas de Hoppringill witnesses, along with Sir Archibald de Douglas (afterwards 3rd Earl), Sir William de Gledstanyis, William de Dischington, and others, a, charter in which the Earl grants to John de Towers the farm of Rutherglen; while about the same date Adam de Hoppringill witnesses, along with the Earl, Sir Archibald de Douglas, and others, a charter granted by John of Erth of certain lands in the barony of Haltoun. In 1363 the Earl, along with the Steward and the Earl of March, was in arms against King David; but at the end of the year he and the King, who was secretly plotting to get a son of Edward III appointed his successor, were at the English Court together, when the Earl took occasion to visit the tomb of Thomas à Becket at Canterbury; and on 15th December we find King Edward granting safe conducts in a list reading, 'Thomas Hoppringill, Johannes de Douglas, Willielmus de Douglas, Adam de Hoppringill, Andreas de Vallance, Willielmus de Calabre, Johannes Whit, Willielmus de Gledstanis, Sir Hugo de Eglynton, Jacobus de Douglas, Johannes Abbas de Dymfermelyng, 'each with six mounted companions, and to thirteen others with fewer companions each, to enter England and to remain there a year...' " Besides William (Willielmus), 1st Earl of Douglas, the two other Douglases mentioned here - Johannes de Douglas and Jacobus de Douglas appear to be his old brother John (Johannes) Douglas of Westcalder and possibly William's son James (Jacobus), although James was only a young child in 1363. William and John also had an older brother James so perhaps it was him? Regarding John, it is written that John died before 1342 in the retinue of David of Scotland in France. (Douglas Archives). If so, then it was not that John. Five Gateways Genealogy - Douglas - says that John Douglas of Westcalder died in France before 1341.

    * More about West Calder (Westcalder) - "Sometime in the period 1335 -1336, Earl Duncan granted the barony of West Calder, Midlothian to Beatrice de Douglas in liferent and to her son and heir, John de Douglas in fee" and "John de Douglas - He is mentioned in a charter dated 1335-1336, as heir to his mother. He may be the John de Douglas who was at the Court of King David II of Scotland 1335-1339. He appears to have accompanied King David II to Normandy, and in 1340 formed one of his household at Chateau Gaillard. He died without issue overseas before 29 May, 1342, when the Douglas estates were settled on his younger brother, William. as heir to their father". (Magna Carta Ancestry - A study in Colonial and Medieval Families - Vol. 1 by Douglas Richardson). Moreover it (this book) relates that at the time when Archibald de Douglas died at Halidon Hill in July, 1333 he (Archibald) owned the baronies of Cavers, Drumlanrig, Terregles and West Calder and part of Conveth (Laurencekirk) in Aberdeenshire.

    * William Douglas was mentioned in Charters from as early as 1343.

    There are Records at the Parliament of Scotland to 1707 which reference William - from about 1357 is relevant - http://www.rps.ac.uk/

    These Records have been translated from Latin.

    An example is this Charter about William Douglas when he was still designated as Lord of Douglas -
    Charter: to William Douglas, lord of Douglas, of all the lands and possessions in which James, lord of Douglas, died vest.

    David, by the grace of God king of Scots, to all good men of his whole land, clerics and laymen, greeting. Know that we have granted and confirmed by this present charter to our beloved and faithful William [Douglas], lord of Douglas, knight, all the lands, rents and entire possessions with the pertinents through our whole kingdom of Scotland in which James [Douglas], lord of Douglas, his uncle, and Archibald de Douglas, his father, knights, died vest and seized as of fee according to the tenor of his charters made thereupon, to be held and had by the same William, lord of Douglas, and his heirs from us and our heirs in fee and heritage by all their rightful boundaries and divisions as freely and peacefully, fully, integrally and honourably with all their liberties, profits, easements and lawful pertinents whatsoever as the charters or letters of the same late James, lord of Douglas, his uncle, and Archibald de Douglas, his father, more fully purport and bear witness. We also confirm to the same William, lord of Douglas, by our present charter all the lands of the barony of Drumlanrig with the pertinents, to be held and had by the same William, lord of Douglas, and his heirs as freely and quietly, fully, integrally and honourably with all liberties, profits, easements and all and singular their lawful pertinents as the charter of our beloved kinsman Thomas, earl of Mar, to the same William, lord of Douglas, and his spouse, Margaret, our kinswoman, made thereupon more fully purports and bears witness. In testimony of which matter we have ordered our seal to be appended to our present charter. Witnesses, the venerable fathers in Christ William [de Landels], William [Rae] and Patrick [de Leuchars], bishops by the grace of God of the churches of St Andrews, Glasgow and Brechin, Robert the Steward of Scotland, earl of Strathearn, Patrick de Dunbar, earl of March and Moray, our kinsman, William de Livingston and Robert de Erskine, knights. [At Scone] in our council held in the same place on 13 November in the twenty-eighth year of our reign [13 November 1357].

    In this study - https://dspace.stir.ac.uk/bitstream/1893/25815/1/PHD%20THESIS%20FINAL%202017.pdf
    pages 183 and 184 it states "... Earl William ... had spent his formative years in the household of King David II at Chateau Gaillard, having travelled to France in the company of the Scots King in the 1330's. Indeed, such was his exposure to this 'Franco-Scottish environment' that upon his return to Scotland 'he was as much a French as a Scottish Nobleman'... Earl William's continued connection to the Country was as a consequence of his receipt of lands at Saint-Saens during his time there - 'Philippe de Valois (King of France) they say he had given him the land of Saint-Saens, whose Lords figured more than once in Scottish Wars' ". Another account says that the lands at Saint-Saens originally belonged to William's older brother John de Douglas who had died.

    Douglas Archives - 'In 1450 English and Burgundians took and burned Saint-Saens (Near Rouen). The Scottish family of Guillaume Douglas then owned the village. Isabel Douglas, Countess of Mar, born circa 1360, daughter of William Douglas, 1st Earl of Douglas, is said to have sold, on 28 July 1408, her lands of St. Saens in Normandy, inherited from her father. On leaving France, she placed a statuette or image of herself in the choir of the church of the Priory of St. Saens as a souvenir. The figure has since been lost'.

    From Electric Scotland - "...On the accession of Robert II., the son of the Steward and Marjory Bruce, the Earl of Douglas unexpectedly put forth pretensions to the crown, but abandoned them on finding that they were not likely to meet with public support. As a reward for the promptitude of his submission, the King’s eldest daughter was promised in marriage to his eldest son, and the Earl himself was appointed Justiciar of Scotland south of the Forth, and Warden of the East Marches. This great noble, one of the best of his race, died in 1384 at an advanced age. He was succeeded by his eldest son by his wife the Countess of Mar."

    In the case of this list, in building up a picture on the life of this William Douglas I have had to resort to quite a bit of quoting on what has been written by others.

    Most of the information on William Douglas in Wikisource is to be found in 'A History of the House of Douglas by Herbert Maxwell'.

    Sally E Douglas

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    created by: beetle on 2018-07-21 09:33:38.0
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  1. Digital representation of Sir William Douglas, 1st Earl of Douglas and Mar
    [ Photograph : 2018 ]
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    Digital representation of Sir William Douglas, 1st Earl of Douglas and Mar
  2. Digital sketch - Isobel or Isabella Douglas, Countess of Mar
    [ Photograph : 2018 ]
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    Digital sketch - Isobel or Isabella Douglas, Countess of Mar
  3. Digital sketch representing Lady Margaret Stewart
    [ Photograph : 2018 ]
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    Digital sketch representing Lady Margaret Stewart
  4. A digital sketch - representing Thomas Johnston or Johnson of Bonjedward
    [ Photograph : 2018 ]
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    A digital sketch - representing Thomas Johnston or Johnson of Bonjedward
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