Lord Carlyle of Torhorwald

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Lord Carlyle is an extinct title in the peerage of Scotland, conferred in 1473 by King James the Third, on Sir John Carlyle of Torthorwald, knight. The first of this name in Scotland was one of the English colonists brought by Robert de Brus into Annandale, when he obtained a grant of that district from King David the Second. The surname appears to be local, and was probably assumed from the town of Carlisle in Cumberland. In the reign of King William the Lion, one Eudo de Carlyle was witness to a charter of mortification, by Eustace de Vescy, of twenty shillings per annum out of the mill of Sprouston to the monastery of Kelso, about 1207. Adam de Carleolo had a charter of several lands in Annandale, from William de Brus, who died in 1215. Gilbert de Carlyle was one of the Scottish barons who swore fealty to King Edward the First in 1296. Sir William de Cairlyle obtained in marriage the lady Margaret Bruce, one of the daughters of Robert earl of Carrick, and sister of King Robert the Bruce, as appears by a charter of that monarch to them of the lands of Crumanston, in which she is designated “our dearest sister.” Their son, William Carlyle, obtained a charter from Robert the First, under the name of William Karlo, the king’s sister’s son, of the lands of Culyn, now Collin, in the county of Dumfries. He also possessed the lands of Roucan in the vicinity. There are now two villages bearing these names in the immediate neighbourhood of Dumfries.

William Carleil was one of the numerous train of knights and esquires, who attended the princess Margaret of Scotland, daughter of James the First, into France, on her marriage to Louis the dauphin, in 1436.

Sir John Carlyle of Torthorwald, the first Lord Carlyle, was active in repelling the invasion of the banished Douglases in 1455, when James earl of Douglas, at the head of a considerable force, entered Scotland by the west marches, and being met in Annandale by the earl of Angus, the lord Carlisle of Torthorwald, Sir Adam Johnstone of Johnstone, and other barons, at the head of their vassals, sustained a total defeat; Archibald, earl of Moray, one of his brothers, was killed, and Hugh earl of Ormond, another of them, was taken prisoner by Lord Carlyle and the laird of Johnstone, for which service King James the Second granted to them the forty pound land of Pettinain in Lanarkshire. He sat as Lord Carlyle of Torthorwald in the parliament of November and December 1475. He was subsequently sent on an embassy to France, and in recompense for the great expense attending it, he had several grants from the crown in 1477. Among others he received a charter of the lands of Drumcoll, forfeited by Alexander Boyd. On the accession of James the Fourth these lands were claimed by the king, as pertaining to him and his eldest son, and his successors, by letters of annexation made of Drumcoll, perpetually to remain with the kings and princes of Scotland, their sons, previous to the grant of the same to Lord Carlyle, and on 19th January 1488-9 the lords auditors decreed that the said lands of Drumcoll were the king’s property. His lordship died before 22d December, 1509. He was twice married. By his first wife, Janet, he had two sons, John and Robert, and a daughter, married to Simon Carruthers of Monswald. His second wife, Margaret Douglas, widow of Sir Edward Maxwell of Monreith, had also two sons to him, namely, John and George. John, master of Carlyle, the eldest son, died before his father, leaving a son, William, second Lord Carlyle, who was one of the three persons invested with the honour of knighthood, 29th January 1487-8, when Alexander, second son of King James the Third, was created duke of Ross. By Janet Maxwell, his wife, daughter of Robert Lord Maxwell, he had two sons, James, third lord, and Michael, fourth lord Carlyle. The latter signed the bond of association for the support of the authority of King James the Sixth in 1567, and was the only peer signing it who could not write his name. He was obliged, in consequence, to have recourse to the assistance of a notary. Soon after, however, he joined Queen Mary’s party, and entered into the association on her behalf, at Hamilton, 8th May 1568. He had three sons, namely, William, master of Carlyle; Michael; and Peter. His eldest son died in 1572, in the lifetime of his father, leaving an only child, Elizabeth Carlyle, who married Sir James Douglas of Parkhead, slain by Captain James Stewart, on the High Street of Edinburgh, 31st July, 1608. On the death of his eldest son, Lord Carlyle granted a charter of alienation of the barony of Carlyle, &c., in favour of Michael, his second son, dated at Torthorwald, 14th March, 1573, to which Adam Carlyle of Bridekirk, Alexander Carlyle his son, John Carlyle of Brakenquhat, and Peter Carlyle, the third son of his lordship, were witnesses. Of the family of Bridekirk, here mentioned, the late Dr. Alexander Carlyle of Inveresk, a notice of whom follows, was the male representative. The above settlement of the estate was set aside, after a long litigation at a ruinous expense, and the barony of Carlyle was, on the death of the fourth lord in 1580, found to belong to his grand-daughter, Elizabeth, already mentioned, who thus succeeded to the peerage, in her own right. A charter was granted to George Douglas, second legitimate son of George Douglas of Parkhead, of the barony of Carlyle, &c., in the counties of Dumfries and Lanark, dated on the last day of February, 1594. It is supposed that he had acquired that estate from his brother Sir James, who, as above stated, married the heiress of the title and estates, and had three sons, Sir James, Archibald, and John, the two latter of whom died without issue.

Sir James Douglas, the eldest son, was, in right of his mother, created Lord Carlyle of Torthorwald, in 1609. He married, first, Grizel, youngest daughter of Sir John Gordon of Lochinvar, by whom, it is said, he had a son, William, who sold his estate, and died abroad without issue; secondly, Anne Saltonstall, and by her he had a son, James, baptized at Edinburgh, 2d January 1621. According to Crawford, James, Lord Carlyle, resigned his title in 1638, to William earl of Queensberry, who had acquired his estate.

In 1730, William Carlyle of Lochartur, in the stewartry of Kirkcudbright, was served heir to Michael, fourth Lord Carlyle, as descended from Michael, his second lawful son. This William Carlyle died about 1757, and was succeeded by his brother, Michael Carlyle of Lochartur, who, on his death, left his estate to the heir-male of the family. By a decree of the House of Lords in 1770, the heir-male was found to be George Carlyle, whose ancestor had settled in Wales. In him also it was thought lay the right to the peerage; but after dissipating his estate at Dumfries, in a few years he returned to Wales. The Rev. Joseph D. Carlyle, professor of Arabic in Cambridge university, who died in 1831, was understood to have been the next heir.

Lords Carlyle of Torthorwald (c.1473–1638)

John Carlyle, 1st Lord Carlyle (d. 1501)
William Carlyle, 2nd Lord Carlyle (d. 1524)
James Carlyle, 3rd Lord Carlyle (d. 1526)
Michael Carlyle, 4th Lord Carlyle (d. 1575)
Elizabeth Douglas, 5th Lady Carlyle née Carlyle(?) (d. c.1605)
James Douglas, 6th Lord Carlyle, 2nd Earl of Queensberry (d. 1671) (surrendered 1638, succeeded as earl 1640)

See also:
•  Notes on the Douglases of Torthorwald
•  Torthorwald Tower

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Last modified: Monday, 25 March 2024