This page was last updated on 11 August 2021

Click here to 
Print this page

Biography finder





























Index of first names

Douglas of Mouswald








The earliest reference to Mouswald yet ascertained takes us back to the time of Alexander II., and is thus cited in the Calendar of Documents relating to Scotland (vol. i. Wo. 1684): "Richard de Bancori quit claims to his lord Robert de Brus and his heirs, the whole land of Loyerwode by these bounds, viz., from Pollnilin as far as Blakebeck, as the half of the moss extends and from said half of the moss as far as the water of Loyer with a certain common pasture in the fee of Comlongan which the said Robert's men of Musfaud were wont to have from the grantor in farm for one mark yearly. Saving to the granter his wood in . . . . .gigo as before the date hereof. Appends his seal. Witnesses Sir Adam de .Carnoto, Sir Parco, Sir Umfridus de Kirkepatric, Sir Roger de Kirkepatric, Sir William de St Michael, Sir Engram de Musseus, James the Clerk, and others."


Although not mentioned here, the Carruthers family have had connections with Mouswald from this time.


"John of Carruthirs " is mentioned as one of those who in 1398 became responsible for the Earl - of Douglas, as warden of the West Marches. The occasion was that of a meeting of certain Scottish and English commissioners at " Cloekmabane Stano," in the parish of Gretna (Fosdera, vol. viii. p. 58, ed. 1727; and Gal. of Docs, relating to Scotland, vol. iv. No. 512).

Archibald, Earl of Douglas, Lord of Annandale and Galloway, appears to have been in the habit of making considerable grants of land to his esquires, for in the interval between 1409 and 1424 Gilbert Grierson (Greresoun), one of them, -received " Mekildaltoun " and Dorrnont; whilst in the case of Mouswald the feudal ties between the Carruthers family and his own were strengthened by no less than six grants of lands, " containing together the several lands here following, viz., those of Mousewal, Middleby, and Dornock, with the patronage of these three parish churches, and the lands of Hetland-hill, Logan-tenement, Hodholm, Tunyrgarth, Westwood, and Roclef, all held of the granter, and renderingas follows :—for Mousewal, Hetland-hill, and Logan-tenement three silver pennies yearly ' nomine albae firme,' in the parish church of Moussald, and for the rest the services used and wont." Dated at Louchmabene, Dec. 4, 1411 (Original produced in LOG. of Mo/at, 1852).


So far as Mouswald itself is concerned, the usually accepted derivation has been Mosswald, or wood on the moss (wald = weald, wood, forest, cf. Bosworth's Anglo-Saxon Dictionary).

The traditions of the neighbourhood still tell of a great oak forest which spread from Mouswald by Torthorwald as far as Tinwald Kirk at least, so dense that it is said a man might have traversed the distance from tree to tree without ever putting foot to ground.


The sorry tale of how Mouswald came into the Douglas family is told elsewhere, but in summary, two neighbouring families hoped to obtain of Mouswald Castle on the death in 1548 of Sir Simon Carruthers, 10th Baron of Mouswald. These were the Douglas family of Drumlanrig and the Maxwell family of Caerlaverock Castle. Before his death Sir Simon Carruthers, the Baron of Mouswald Castle had given consent for Sir James Douglas, 8th Laird of Drumlanrig, to marry his daughter Lady Marion. This she refused to do.


Nonetheless, Sir James Douglas sued for his 'just' inheritance and won his case.  The new laird of Mouswald was ere long accused of a deed of blood, in the murder of a scion of the older stock. On 2nd January 1617, John Carruthers of Dormont was slaughtered "with shottis of hagbuttis and pistolats," in the dwelling-house of John Mundell, Torthorwald. All the accused were Mouswald people, and amongst them were James Douglas of Mouswald, John and William Grierson his servants, also John Carlyle in Banks and Thomas his son, John Blak in Mouswald, &c.
None of these appeared, but Habbie Eae, Peter M'Key, servitor to the Laird of Lag, and some twenty others, did so. It seems probable that the crime may have arisen out of a quarrel induced by the unhallowed success of the'Douglases in acquiring Mouswald


Sir James Douglas, 1st of Mouswald, was succeeded by his son, Sir James, brother to the 1st Earl of Queensberry. The title was conveyed in 1613. This James married twice, his second wife being Helena Grierson, by whom he had James, 3rd of Mouswald.


Douglas Rome marriage stone
Panel over Door of Grierson Burialplace, Mouswald Church commemorating James Douglas and Agnes Rome
James Douglas, 3rd of Mouswald, married Agnes Rome, daughter of John Rome of Dalswinton-Holm, and they had 10 children, two of whom succeeded to the title.


Their eldest son, also James, married in 1654 Janet Laurie, but he died predeceasing his father without children. William, the second son, succeeded in about 1667 as 4th baron, but he died in 1670, also without children.


The title then fell to the 3rd son, John, who became 5th baron of Mouswald. He too died without children. His brothers, Archibald and Robert had presumably died before him, because the title then fell, in 1692, to his niece, Elizabeth, Robert's daughter.



Mouswald. (Extracted from The Herladry of the Douglases by G. Harvey Johnston

Sir James Douglas second son of Sir James Douglas of Drumlanrig, and brother of first Earl of Queensberry, obtained Mouswald from his father, 7th and 8th October 1608.

In 1615 he married Helena, eldest daughter of Sir William Grierson of Lag. His son : —
James Douglas of Mouswald, M.P., 1644-47, married in 1627 Agnes Rome,
and had : —
(a) James (below)
(b) William Douglas of Mouswald, (b 1649, Cockpen) living 1663. (dsp?)
(c) John Douglas of Mouswald was retoured heir to his father

James and his brother William, 28th February 1674, he was also again retoured to his father 21st November 1676. He resigned the lands of Mouswald to the Earl of Queensberry, 24th February 1674.

(d) Robert Douglas, married and had a daughter Elizabeth, who on 9th February 1692 was served heir to her uncle George, and in same year to her uncle Archibald.
(e) Archibald Douglas. 
(f) George Douglas.

(g) Nicolas Douglas.

James Douglas of Mouswald, married, 1654, Janet, daughter of Laurie of Maxwellton, and died in his father's lifetime, s.p.

The above from " The Barony of Mouswald and its Barons," by John J. Reid, B.A., F.S. A.Scot. {Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of 1888-89).


Note:  Sir Simon Carruthers, 8th of Mouswald (d 1504) married a daughter of Douglas of Drumlanrig, possibly the 4th Laird.

See also:



1. From the records of the Scottish Parliament we learn that " the Laird of Mouswald" was M.P. for Dumfriesshire, and attended during the first session of the Parliament of 1644-7.

2. Sir James Douglas of Mouswald’s Regiment of Foot was a Covenanter foot regiment fighting at Dunbar, later serving as Sir James Douglas of Mouswald's Regiment of Dragoons. The Regiment was active in 1649 and 1650 in the Third Civil War.  Which James was this?



Any contributions will be gratefully accepted



Errors and Omissions

The Forum

What's new?

We are looking for your help to improve the accuracy of The Douglas Archives.

If you spot errors, or omissions, then please do let us know


Many articles are stubs which would benefit from re-writing. Can you help?


You are not authorized to add this page or any images from this page to (or its subsidiaries) or other fee-paying sites without our express permission and then, if given, only by including our copyright and a URL link to the web site.


If you have met a brick wall with your research, then posting a notice in the Douglas Archives Forum may be the answer. Or, it may help you find the answer!

You may also be able to help others answer their queries.

Visit the Douglas Archives Forum.


2 Minute Survey

To provide feedback on the website, please take a couple of minutes to complete our survey.


We try to keep everyone up to date with new entries, via our What's New section on the home page.

We also use the Community Network to keep researchers abreast of developments in the Douglas Archives.

Help with costs

Maintaining the three sections of the site has its costs.  Any contribution the defray them is very welcome



If you would like to receive a very occasional newsletter - Sign up!
Temporarily withdrawn.



Back to top


The content of this website is a collection of materials gathered from a variety of sources, some of it unedited.

The webmaster does not intend to claim authorship, but gives credit to the originators for their work.

As work progresses, some of the content may be re-written and presented in a unique format, to which we would then be able to claim ownership.

Discussion and contributions from those more knowledgeable is welcome.

Contact Us

Last modified: Friday, 17 May 2024