Sir Archibald Douglas - Regent of Scotland
The younger son of Sir William "le Hardi" Douglas, the Governor of the castle at Berwick-upon-Tweed, and his wife, Eleanor de Lovaine. Douglas was also half-brother of "the Good" Sir James Douglas, King Robert the Bruce's deputy.
Douglas is first heard of in 1320 when he received a charter of land at Morebattle in Roxburghshire and Kirkandrews in Dumfriesshire from King Robert. In 1324, he was recorded as being granted the lands of Rattray and Crimond in Buchan and the lands of Conveth, Kincardineshire, already being possession of Cavers in Roxburghshire, Drumlanrig and Terregles in Dumfriesshire, and the lands of West Calder in Midlothian. By the time of his death, he was also in possession of Liddesdale.
History then keeps quiet about Douglas except whilst serving under his older brother, James, in the 1327 campaign in Weardale, where his foragers "auoint curry apoi tot levesche de Doresme"- overran nearly all the Bishopric of Durham.
Following the death of King Robert I and his brother's crusade with the dead king's heart, Douglas once again becomes of note. He was made guardian of the kingdom since he was "the principal adviser in...the confounding of the king" as much as he was heir to his brothers influence after Murray's capture. Archibald's success in local raids though, did not prepare him for full scale conflict.
During the Second War of Scottish Independence, Edward Baliol, son of King John of Scotland, had invaded Scotland with the backing of Edward III of England, inflicting a defeat on the Scots at the Battle of Dupplin Moor. Douglas served under the dubious leadership of Patrick V, Earl of Dunbar leader of the second army that aimed to crush the smaller Balliol force. Following the rout of the Earl of Mar's force Dunbar did not engage the disinherited but retreated allowing Edward Balliol to be crowned at Scone. Following this battle, and as a sweetener to the English, Edward Baliol agreed to cede the county, town and castle of Berwick to England in perpetuity. However Douglas led a Bruce loyalist defeat on Balliol at the Battle of Annan, forcing him to flee back to England.
Edward III himself came north to command his army, and laid siege to Berwick. However, a temporary truce was declared with the stipulation that if not relieved within a set time, Sir Alexander Seton, the governor, would deliver the castle to the English. Douglas raised an army to relieve the beleaguered defenders of Berwick. As a feint to draw the English away he invaded Northumberland, but was forced to return to Berwick when the English refused to be lured. On 19 July, Edward's army took positions at the summit of Halidon Hill, a summit some mile and a half north of the town with commanding views of the surrounding country. Douglas' numerically superior force was compelled to attack up the slope and were slaughtered by the English archers, a prelude, perhaps, to the battles of Crécy and Agincourt.
The English won the field with little loss of life, however by the close of the fight, countless Scots common soldiery, five Scots Earls and the Guardian Douglas lay dead. The following day Berwick capitulated.
The Scottish army that fought and lost the Battle of Halidon Hill in 1333 was led by The "Good" Sir James Douglas or "Black Douglas"'s youngest brother who had been elected Regent of Scotland in late March 1333. Sir Archibald Douglas has been badly treated by some historians; frequently misidentifying this Douglas warrior as the Tyneman or loser when the moniker was intended for a later less fortunate but equally warlike Archibald. He was mentioned in Barbour's The Brus for his great victory during the Weardale campaign; leading the Scottish army further south into County Durham he devastated the lands and took much booty from Darlington and other nearby towns and villages.
Sir James 'The Good' Douglas' natural son William succeeded to the title as Lord of Douglas but may not have completed his title to the estates, possibly because he might have been underage. He died at Battle of Halidon Hill with his uncle, Sir Archibald Douglas. James' younger brother, Hugh the Dull, Lord of Douglas, a Canon serving the See of Glasgow and held a Prebendary at Roxburgh became Lord Douglas in 1342; Hugh of Douglas resigned his title to his nephew, the youngest surviving son of the Regent Archibald, William Lord of Douglas who was to become the first Earl. The First Earl's legitimate son James Douglas, 2nd Earl of Douglas succeeded him. His illegitimate son by Margaret Stewart, 4th Countess of Angus was George Douglas, 1st Earl of Angus, who was the progenitor of the Earls of Angus also known as the "Red Douglases".
The prestige of the family was greatly increased when James Douglas's great nephew, James Douglas, 2nd Earl of Douglas married a House of Stuart princess. In 1388 at the Battle of Otterburn he was instrumental to the Scots' victory, but was killed during the fighting. Leaving no legitimate heir, his titles passed to the illegitimate son of his great uncle.
Archibald was succeeded by his son, William Douglas, 1st Earl of Douglas.
Sir Archibald Douglas married Beatrice Lindsay, daughter of Sir Alexander Lindsay of Crawford, an ancestor of the Earls of Crawford. They had three children.
*John Douglas (d.b. 1342 in the retinue of David II of Scotland in France)
*William Douglas, 1st Earl of Douglas
*Eleanor Douglas married five times
*Alexander, Earl of Carrick, natural son of Edward Bruce, King of Ireland (k. 1333, Battle of Halidon Hill)
*Sir James de Sandilands, ancestor of the Lords of Torphichen (d.b. 1358)
*Sir William Tours of Dalry (d.b. 1368)
*Sir Duncan Wallace of Sundrum (d.b. 1376)
*Sir Patrick Hepburn of Hailes, ancestor of the Earls of Bothwell
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Last modified: Friday, 12 September 2014