Margaret, The Fair Maid of Galloway

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Margaret Douglas, Countess of Douglas (died c. 1474), known as the Fair Maid of Galloway, was a Scottish noblewoman, a member of the Black Douglas family towards the end of the family's position as a major force in Scotland.

She was the daughter of Archibald Douglas, 5th Earl of Douglas, and Eupheme Graham, daughter of Patrick Graham, Earl of Strathearn and Euphemia Stewart, Countess of Strathearn.

She acquired Galloway when her two brothers (one of whom was William Douglas, 6th Earl of Douglas) were murdered at the Black Dinner in Edinburgh Castle.

She married her cousin William Douglas, 8th Earl of Douglas. When he was assassinated she obtained permission to marry his brother, James Douglas, 9th Earl of Douglas, but it is not entirely clear that the marriage ever happened, if it did it must have ended in divorce since they both married again. She then married John Stewart, 1st Earl of Atholl.

She had no children by the Earls of Douglas, but two daughters by the Earl of Atholl. These were Janet, wife of Alexander Gordon, 3rd Earl of Huntly and Elizabeth, wife of Andrew Gray, 2nd Lord Gray. They both had issue by their respective husbands.

Margaret Douglas in fiction
She is a significant character in Black Douglas by Nigel Tranter, which is rather speculative about her relationship with the 8th and 9th Earls of Douglas.

She is the protagonist and fictional author of May Margaret, a 1905 novel by Samuel Rutherford Crockett and also appears as an important character in his earlier novel The Black Douglas (1899).

Mons Meg

Next comes the King’s Bastion, wherefrom there is the view and whereon is no less a person than Mons Meg, that centuries-old fetish of the Scots folk, that idol of the Scots school-boy. "Munsch Meg" (to give phonetically the popular pronunciation) would not claim your particular notice, for ‘tis but an old, uncouth mass of metal, were it not for its history. That is lost in antiquity. Once ‘twas believed that Meg was a Flemish lass, and Mons recalled her place of birth. (To this effect runs the inscription on the metal.) Others said that it was made by command of James II. for the siege of Threave Castle, the last stronghold of the Douglas, and that it was cast by a local artisan, one M’Kim of Mollance. Meg was the name of his good lady, and it was his humour to trace a likeness between the voice, which you augur was neither soft nor low, of his wife Meg, and the thunder of the gun, and there you have the name a little contracted. The huge piece was dragged into position, a peck of powder and a granite ball, vaguely described as "the weight of a Carsphairn cow," were rammed in, the match was applied, and off went Meg with a roar which shook the firmament. Margaret, the Fair Maid of Galloway, was raising with beringed band a cup of wine to her lips, when lo! enter the cannon ball and off goes the hand, ring and all! Meg roared once again and the castle surrendered at discretion. Local tradition pointed out the spot where Meg was cast. The two bullets were found and accounted for, nay, the very ring, with Margaret’s name on it, turned up in due course, and who could doubt the story after that?






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    Last modified: Friday, 17 May 2024