Heraldry of The Douglas Family in France

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The family of Douglas, say the French writers, were on account of their high feats of arms, honoured, ennobled, and raised to the dignity of Dukes of Touraine, and marshals of France, a post which no coward can fill, and few amongst the valiant obtain. However no report of this encomium may appear, it is far inferior to what the services of the house of Douglas to the French nation deserved, as will appear in the sequel.” 

Motto: Tendre et Fidèle

This article forms part of the Douglas family in France section of the Douglas Archives.


Some of the Douglas families matriculated arms in France.  Some, such as the 4th earl of Douglas, incorporated their French arms into their Scottish arms.


Plants: image 1 0f 4 thumb armorial - Picardie Philippe Douglas
 Lord of Arrancy Douglas armorial

The 4th earl of Douglas used two arms on his seals: one was Quarterly Douglas and Galloway, en surtout Murray of Rothwell (Stevenson and Wood), another was Quarterly Douglas, Galloway, Murray and Annandale (Catalogue of Seals, 16054). One seal, attributed to him, shows a modified version: Quarterly France, Douglas, Annandale, Galloway with the title of duke of Touraine, earl of Douglas and of Longueville in the legend. However, both Laing (suppl. 282) and the catalogue of the British Museum (16055) date it to 1421, which is impossible; moreover, the title of count of Longueville was given to the 4th earl's son. I suspect that the latter seal belonged to Archibald, 5th earl. In any event, the 4th earl did use those arms with a French quarter, since a seal of his widow Margret, daughter of Robert III king of Scots, shows Quarterly France, Douglas, Annandale, Galloway impaling Scotland, and the title of duchess of Touraine (on a document dated 1425; Laing).

Both the 5th and 6th earls used the same shield with a quarter of France and the title of duke of Touraine (Stevenson and Wood). No other earl of Douglas did so.

It is not clear where the escutcheon comes from. This was the first time that a French king conferred a peerage on someone who was not of royal blood. Hitherto, the differenced arms of France became associated with the peerage, so that the arms of Touraine, Burgundy modern, Anjou, Berry, Alençon, as provinces, are all differenced versions of the arms of France. In other words, there were no arms of Touraine proper to be borne by a non-royal.

Although there is no evidence to that effect, I suspect that the reason for the escutcheon is the same as that for the escutcheon of the Stuarts of Darnley, which is well documented, and for the quarter of the Kennedy of Bargany. Thus, the escutcheon of France is not a mark of peerage, and does not represent the duchy of Touraine (or the seigneurie of Aubigny in the case of the Darnley), but a special augmentation conferred by the king independently of any fief.


chateau    picardy

Research by John Tepper Marlin has revealed three interesting groupings of Douglas-related arms by canton (county):
• Ardennes (on the border with Belgium, east of Pas de Calais) – Amblimont, Doux and Lametz.
• Corrèze (interior southwest France, the Dordogne) – Beaumont (gold stars), Margerides (1986), St Remy and St Fereole.
• Pas de Calais (northwest France near Belgium; Flanders territory) – Leulinghem (red stars and stripes) and Sibiville (post-Sir James Douglas heart included in the arms, so clearly the link is from Douglas to Sibiville). The Comtes de Douglas apparently had lived for generations as seigneurs of Sibiville in 1747 (when their arms were recorded).





Bookplate for 'Louis Archambault Earl DOUGLAS, Knight of the Legion of Honour and the Order of St Maurice and St Lazarus of Piedmont'.


It is assumed that his home, Montreal Castle, contained a library.

This page forms part of the France section of the Douglas Archives.

See also:

•  People in France
 Places in France
•  Titles in France

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Last modified: Friday, 17 May 2024