Armorial of Douglas,
Earl of Angus
, North Front,
Dumfries & Galloway
This carved armorial, that of
Douglas, Earl of Angus, lies to the right of the main entrance
porch on the north front. The shield is divided into four
quarters, each of which represents an eminent Scottish family.
The first quarter (top left) shows a crowned lion rampart (for
the Macdowall family) and the second, a lion
rampart (without a crown) surmounted by a ribbon (diagonal band)
for the Abernethy family. The third quarter (bottom left) shows
three piles (forms of wedges with the point of each wedge facing
the lower part of the shield) for Wishart, and the fourth, 'fess
chequy' (a strip of small squares, usually with seven squares in
the top line) surmounted by a bend (horizontal band) with three
buckles for Stewart. In the centre is the crowned heart and
three five-pointed stars for Douglas.
The emblems of a
heart surmounted by a crown, and three five-pointed stars appear
everywhere at Drumlanrig - in stone, lead, iron, wood, leather
and carpeting. The latter dates from the 14th century when it
was carried as the coat-of-arms of 1st Duke's ancestor, Sir
James Douglas, 'The Good' or 'Black' Douglas, and previous Lords
The origins of the crowned heart date from
1330 when Sir James was entrusted to carry the heart of Robert
Bruce, King of Scots to the Holy Land for burial.
Drumlanrig Castle, one of the great Renaissance courtyard houses
of Scottish domestic architecture, stands within extensive
parkland amongst the hills of Nithsdale. The mansion was built
between 1679 and 1690 for William Douglas, 1st Duke of
Queensberry, incorporating part of a mid-16th-century house and
the remains of a late 14th-century Douglas stronghold which
originally stood on the site. The architect was almost certainly
James Smith who had worked on the construction of Holyrood
Palace, Edinburgh, and the builder was William Lukup who is
buried in Durisdeer churchyard nearby.
contribution to SCRAN.
This page forms part of our Heraldry section.