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Lt General James Douglas



James Douglas, Lord Drumlanrig
Lieutenant-Colonel James Douglas, Lord Drumlanrig, an officer in the King’s Regiment of Horse.
Grave marker
Click to enlarge - This gravestone of Thomas Richard may be of a later date than the early eighteenth century, possibly done by 'Old Mortality', who travelled the country repairing Covenanters memorials. The inscription only appears on one side, but is divided by a line where one would expect if the text was taken from an earlier stone, possibly inscribed on two-sides, 
General James, son of  James, 2nd earl of Queensberry (d. 1671) was originally an advocate, but became Lieutenant-General, commander in chief the 'Scotch' army, and then transferred his allegiance to King William, fighting at the Battle of the Boyne.

He succeeded the Earl of Linlithgow as Colonel of the foot Guards in 1684. He was ordered to pursue the rebels at the battle of Bothwell Bridge (1679), and received a grant of forfeiture to him for his services.

He superseded Claverhouse in his command against the 'Western fanatics', who defeat him, with the loss of two of his men, and an officer of his staff, and would have been shot himself "had not the Whig's carbine misgiven, whereupon Douglas pistolled him presently". He also superseded Claverhouse as Commissioner of Justiciary in the Southern and Western shires.


In 1685, he was in charge of a party of 'Highlanders' who came upon a group of Covenanters on what became known as Martyr's Moss who were shot down.

He was supported in his rivalry with Claverhouse for the command of the army in Scotland, by Queensberry and Secretary Earl Moray, and promoted to be Brigadier, with his commission dated two days prior to Claverhouse's commission to the same rank, at the instigation of Moray. He was then promoted to be Lieutenant-General, over Claverhouse as Major-General, and placed in command of the Scottish army, when ordered to England to meet the Dutch invasion, Claverhouse commanding the cavalry under his orders.

However, immediately turns traitor, being among the first to desert his Sovereign, and proposes " to my Lord Dundee to betray, and carry in his regiment" of horse to the invader, as told to Balcarres by Dundee himself. He duly sends over to William of Orange a battalion of his own regiment of Guards. Balcarres said of him, that "none in all the Revolution acted a blacker part".

Lt General James Douglas subsequently commanded 10,000 men in support of King William at the Battle of the Boyne, in 1690.

22 August, 1685:
‘I James Baird ane of the serjants to Collonell [James] Douglas his oune companie [of Foot Guards] grant me to have receaved out of the Tolbuith of Edinburgh from My John Vanss and Arthure Vdney masters of the said Tolbuith the persons of William Jacksone William Cunynghame John Muirhead prisoners there conforme to ane ordor from his Maties privie Councill direct to Mr George Scott of Pitlochie who hes ordor from his Maties privie Councill to receave them and transport them to the fiorringe plantations and in respect the said Mr George Scott is not present at the recept of the said persons Therfor I bind and obleis me to procure ane recept from the said Mr George and lykwayes to warrand the Magistrats of Edr and Keepers of the said Tolbuith of all hazard that they or aither of them shall happen to sustaine through their said liberation
As witnes my hand att Edr the 22 day of August 1685 befor thir witnesss John Blaikie servant there and Mr Thomas Gow wryter heirof and syrvant in the said tolbuith
Sic Sub James Baird J Blaikie witnes’ (Book of the Old Edinburgh Club, XII, 174.)

He died at Namur in 1691.


Received a charter of lands in 1685



Covenanters Section
  • The Killing Times
  • Battle of Bothwell Brig
  • The Wreck of The Crown
  • Henry & Francis
  • Jamie Douglas - poem
  • Incident at Martyrs Moss
  • Col James Douglas
  • Battle of Airds Moss
  • Battle of Bothwell Brig
  • Battle of Drumclog
  • List of Covenanters
  • Rev. Thomas Douglas
  • Capt. Thomas Douglas
  • Col Richard Douglas's Regt
  • Sir James Douglas of Mouswald’s Regiment of Foot
  • Colonel Robert Douglas’ Regiment of Foot
  • Colonel William Douglas of Kilhead’s Regiment of Horse
  • The storm of Dundee
  • Sir William Douglas’ Regiment of Foot
  • Sir William Douglas’ Troop of Horse


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    Last modified: Monday, 25 March 2024