The Douglas Archives Genealogy Pages

Discovering our Douglas Ancestors and their Relatives

King Charles II

Charles II was born in St James's Palace, London. During the Civil War he lived with his father in Oxford 1642-45, and after the victory of Cromwell's Parliamentary forces he was in exile in France. Accepting the Scottish Covenanters' offer to make him King, he landed in Scotland in 1650, and was crowned at Scone on 1 January 1651. An attempt to invade England was ended on 3 September 1651 by Cromwell's victory at the Battle of Worcester.

Charles escaped according to legend by hiding in an oak tree, and for nine years he was in exile in Holland, France, Germany, Flanders, and Spain. The death of Cromwell and the collapse of the English Commonwealth lead to opening of negotiations in 1659 by George Monk for the restoration of the monarchy.

With numerous mistresses, he is ancestor to many listed in the Douglas Archives.


The origins of the Douglas family are lost in the mists of time. It is said that "In the margin, about one-third into The Book of Clan Douglas, Volume III, are written the words: `This is about the time when the Earth began'." (Mary Murray, nee Mary Douglas, of Earltown: 1991).

Perhaps, at the time when surnames were first used, a family took the name of the river that flows though what became known as Douglasdale, possibly descendants of Flemish settlers.

There is the following tradition in regard to the origin of the name. In the year 770 Solvathius king of Scotland, obtained a victory over Donald Bain of the Western Isles, by the assistance of a man who was unknown to him. After the battle, being desirous to see one who had done him so signal a service, he was pointed out to him with these words: " Sholto Dhuglass," behold that swarthy man.

One of this family, Sir William Douglas, entered into the service of Charlemagne and was the founder of the family of Douglassi in Tuscany.

Sir James de Douglas took the heart of Robert Bruce to the Holy Land, to commemorate which his descendants have ever since horn a crowned heart in their arms. Before the death of Bruce in 1329 the arms of the family were azure, three mullets argent. (Ane Historie of the House and Race of Douglas and Angus, David Hume of Godscroft, Edinburgh 1646).

The first recorded Douglas to stride across the stage of Scottish history was Sir William Douglas who fought and died for William Wallace. His son, Sir James Douglas was a supporter and lifelong friend of Robert the Bruce. "Good Sir James" died taking Bruce's heart on a crusade to the Holy Land. The 2nd Earl of Douglas died at the Battle of Otterburn in 1388 as his army defeated an English force led by Prince Henry "Hotspur". In 1402 the 4th Earl was defeated by the same Henry Hotspur at the Battle of Homildon Hill. Not many Douglases died in their beds.

The Good Sir James Douglas

Sir James the Good, one of the finest soldiers Scotland ever produced, is sometimes better known by the name given to him by the English - the 'Black Douglas'. He terrified the northern shires of England throughout the reign of King Robert the Bruce and the Wars of Independence.

Son of Sir William Douglas (d. c. 1298), who was captured by the English and died in the Tower of London, Sir James was educated in Paris and returned home to find an Englishman, Robert de Clifford, in possession of his estates. He joined Robert de Bruce, attending his coronation at Scone (March 1306) and sharing his wanderings in the Highlands after their defeat at the Battle of Methven (June 1306). The following year they separated, Sir James returning to the south of Scotland, when he three times attacked his own castle at Douglas, finally destroying it. His assault made on Palm Sunday, March 19, 1307, is known as the Douglas Larder. His many successful raids on the English won him the dreaded name of the Black Douglas. Through the capture of Roxburgh Castle (1313) by the stratagem of disguising his men as black oxen, he secured Teviotdale; and at the Battle of Bannockburn (June 1314) he commanded the left wing with Walter the Steward. He invaded Yorkshire (1319) with Thomas Randolph, earl of Moray, defeating an English army assembled at Myton-upon-Swale. Shortly before peace was finally concluded, he nearly captured Edward III in a daring night attack on the English camp in Weardale (August 1327).

Before his death (1329) Bruce asked Sir James to carry his heart to the Holy Land in redemption of his unfulfilled crusading vow; Sir James set out (1330), bearing the embalmed heart in a silver casket, but he fell that year fighting against the Moors in Spain.