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Opposite are the green hills of Fawdon, and the farm-place itself, and what is now the shepherd's house, but once a separate holding, the Clinch, near a water gulley or ravine. Fawdon was one of the Umfrauiville fees, in the Barony of De Vescy. In the reigns of Kings Richard and John, it belonged along with the moiety of Nedderton to HENRYde BATAIL, whose ancestors had been enfeoft'ed in them at the Conquest by Robert With-the- Beard. Near the end of the reign of Henry III., it was in possession of one of the ancestors of the house of Douglas, William de Douglas called " the Hardy," from the gift to his father and him of Edward I., then Prince Edward. This same William was nearly wounded to death and cut to pieces by another claimant of the property.

The Douglases were also a Northumbrian family, and possessed the manor of Fawdon in the same county, as far back as 1267. In that year, as we learn from an English record, William Douglas accused Gilbert Umfraville Lord of Redesdale, and John Hirlaw, of having falsely calumniated him at the siege of Alnwick to Prince Edward, son of Henry III., as being an enemy to the King and the Prince, with the view of obtaining the manor of Fawdon in Northumberland, held by William, of Gilbert, and which Edward had granted to him. A jury, to whom the matter was referred, acquitted Douglas, who, in consequence, was reinvested by the King in the property.  Thereafter Umfraville, at the instigation of Hirlaw, despatched a hundred men of Redesdale to Fawdon, who destroyed, and carried off Douglas's goods and chattels, " et Willielmum filium ipsius Willielmi de Duglas, lethaliter vulnaverunt, ita quod fere amputaverunt caput ejus." William the son, however, recovered, doubtless in consequence of the hardiness of his frame, which eventually gave him the surname of "William the Hardy."

With Sir William de Douglas, named Long-leg (c. 1240- 1276), the family emerges from the mist of an almost unwritten antiquity. William de Douglas, appointed a regency to act until Alexander III. should come of age. Douglas from the first adhered to the English party, and his is a typical example of the influence affecting many of the Scottish nobility in the coming struggle. His principal possessions may be assumed to have been in Douglasdale, but he certainly also held lands in the county of Northumberland, whereof the possession was so long in dispute between the Kings of England and Scotland.

There is some reason to suppose that his wife (possibly a second wife) CONSTANCE or COUSTANCE was one of the family of BATTAIL of FAWDON in Northumberland, from whom in 1264 Douglas purchased the lands of Fawdon.  Clearly, therefore, it was his interest to keep in favour with the English King.  In 1257 the Menteith party strengthened their hand by capturing King Alexander at Kinross, and won the trick; after which there was a coalition of factions and a suspension at least of violent intrigues, enabling Long-leg's eldest son Hugh to choose a wife from an ultra-nationalist house, to wit, that of Abernethy. The indenture between Sir Hugh de Abernethy and Sir William de Douglas for this marriage is the earliest charter of the Douglases which has escaped destruction. It is dated 1259.

Sir William died before 16th October 1274. It is doubtful whether his eldest son Hugh survived him. Little of Hugh de is known about him beyond the fact of his marriage with Marjory de Abernethy, and tradition points to a recumbent figure in St. Bride's Church as marking her tomb.  Tradition also is the only warrant for an exploit attributed to her husband Hugh by Maitland and Godscroft. Hugh is said to have got into feud with one of his neighbours in Douglasdale, Fatten Purdie of Umdrawod, who laid an ambush for Hugh as he rode alone. Hugh, perceiving the trap in time, turned and galloped off, pursued by Purdie's men, till he met a party of his own people, when he in turn became the pursuer and inflicted severe punishment upon his assailants. Purdie and two of his sons were slain, and Maitland quotes some doggerel in which the affair was commemorated.

Upon Hugh's younger brother, William " le Hardi," the light of history falls clearly. He is first mentioned in the proceedings of an assize at Newcastle-on-Tyne in 1256, when his father, Sir William, reported that he had granted him a carucate of land at Warndon(1) in Northumberland for his homage and service.

About the year 1264 Sir William, the father, purchased the house and lands of Fawdon in the same county. These he held as the vassal of a Scottish noble, the Earl of Angus. But this earl was none other than the English knight, Gilbert de Umfraville, Lord of Redesdale, who had come by that great earldom through his mother, and now laid before Prince Edward (afterwards Edward I.) charges of disaffection against Douglas, begging a gift of his manor of Fawdon. The case was tried before a jury, Douglas being acquitted and Fawdon restored to him. Thereupon Umfraville, taking the law into his own hands, attacked the house of Fawdon with a hundred men on I9th July1267, captured it, appropriated 31L marks in cash, besides silver spoons, cups, clothes, arms, jewels, gold rings, etc., to the value of ­100, carried Douglas off and imprisoned him in Harbottle Tower. In the mellay young William Douglas was wounded in the neck nearly to death.

A second trial followed in 1269, whereat Douglas was adjudged owner of Fawdon, and Umfraville was fined William le Hardi was knighted before 1288. In that year Duncan, Earl of Fife, one of the Six Guardians, was foully done to death at Pitteloch in Fife by Sir Hugh de Abernethy and other gentlemen of the opposition. Now Sir Hugh was the brother of Douglas's sister Marjory, and in those days kinship commonly overrode other civil obligations; but on this occasion the Douglas was all for law and order; it was to him that Sir Andrew de Moray handed over Abernethy, to be imprisoned in the vaults of Douglas Castle, where he died before 1293.  Not often did captives survive for long the intolerable rigours and unwholesomeness of mediaeval dungeons. In 1291 Edward I., as overlord of Scotland, ordered the transfer of Abernethy from Douglas to one of the royal prisons, but his commands were not obeyed.

In 1289 Douglas sent a messenger from Glasgow to the Abbot of Kelso to receive his family charters, which had been stored in the cell  of Lesmahagow for safety. In the receipt for these Douglas styles himself Lord of Douglas ?the first instance of the use of that title. He had married Elizabeth, daughter of Alexander the Steward, but she was dead before 1288, nor was the widower so disconsolate as to omit business considerations in the choice of a second spouse. Moreover, in giving effect to that choice he proved the fitness of his sobriquet?" le Hardi."

1.  The carucate or carrucate was a medieval unit of land area approximating the land a plough team of eight oxen could till in a single annual season. It was known by different regional names and fell under different forms of tax assessment.
2.  William Le Hardi is said to have sold his lands in 1270 so as to go on Crusade, serving in the retinue of Earl Adam as a Squire. A seal exists in the Selby deeds.

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