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Malcolm Douglas, 8th Laird of Mains 






Malcolm Douglas (abt 1545 - 9 FEB 1585) was the son of Matthew Douglas, 7th Laird of Mains, and Margaret Buchanan.


Malcolm Douglas of Mains was allegedly involved in an intrigue to recover debts owed to William Ruthven, 1st Earl of Gowrie by nobles in the king's court and to influence the Scottish monarchy. In August 1582 he along with the Earl of Gowrie, The Earl of Angus, et al, participated in the Raid of Ruthven. They captured King James VI and held him prisoner in what is now known as Huntingtower Castle, Stirlingshire. The King escaped and the Ruthven Raiders were subsequently tried for kidnapping and treason.

Douglas of Mains and others including John Cunningham of Drumquhassle (a member of his wife's family) were brought before an assize, on 6 February 1584, for conspiring in the Raid of Ruthven. Robert Hamilton of Inchmachane (or Ecclesmechan) appears to have come forward as a witness against them. Douglas and Cunningham were both found guilty and sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered at the Market Cross, in Edinburgh. They were publicly executed the same day.

The story has been romanticised over time by many authors, including Sir Walter Scott, with Malcolm Douglas being described as a "gentleman of considerable property, and universally respected" and (by his enemies) "dreaded on account of his courage and independence of spirit". The key witness against him (Robert Hamilton) has been accused of being motivated by financial reward, while the evidence given by him was considered to be false. The second witness (James Edmonston of Duntreath) was allegedly put on a false charge to make him corroborate the evidence in exchange for a pardon.


See also:
•  A Murky Affair, a tale of conspiracy and plotting involving Douglas of Mains, Edmonston of Duntreath, and various others.



1.  Robert Douglas in Drumgarland was granted a remission for participation in the Raid of Ruthven



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Last modified: Monday, 25 March 2024