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The great family of Douglas has been identified with the Borders for centuries, though of Lanarkshire origin.

Their estates both in Lanarkshire and the Borders are now held by the Earl of Home, to whose family they passed, through the Hon. Lucy Elizabeth Montague, wife of the eleventh Earl.

Lord Home received a peerage of the United Kingdom in 1875 and the title of Baron Douglas of Douglas. In his History of the House of Douglas, Sir Herbert Maxwell says, their " Estates included the lands of Cavers, with the Castle of Roxburgh and sheriffship of that county, the town, castle and forest of Jedburgh, the lands of Bonjedworth, the town of Selkirk, the regality of Buittle in Galloway, Drumlanrig and the lordship of Liddesdale, Tillicoultry in Clackmannan, and extensive lands in Banffshire," and he might have added, " and in Lanarkshire," where the castles of Douglas, Craignethan and Bothwell, still belong to their representative. The celebrated Douglas cause is recalled in the bookplates I am about to describe.
This famous litigation lasted from 1761 to 1769, and for ten years longer, several actions of reduction had to be fought ; the House of Lords at last confirmed Archibald Douglas, in his claim, to be head of the House of Douglas, and this was ofi&cially recognised in 1790, when he was made a peer of Great Britain, with the title of Baron Douglas of Douglas.

1. His bookplate bears the Douglas crest — on a chapeau p.p.r. a salamander in flames, also p.p.r. ; over it a Baron's coronet and beneath it a ducal one, and below all, the name " Douglas." Lord Douglas died in 1827, having been twice married — first to Lady Lucy Graham, daughter of the second Duke of Montrose, and secondly to Lady Frances Scott, posthumous daughter of the second Duke of Buccleugh.

2. Lady Frances used, within a lozenge, the arms of Charles II. in the first and fourth quarters, and in the second and third quarters the arms of Scott, and below all, " Lady Frances Scott."

3. After her marriage she adopted a new plate, of which the mark is 3 ins. by 2f ins. It bears a palisade or circular fence, on the ground enclosed by it the shield and supporters rest. The blazon is : quarterly, I., Azure, a lion rampant argent, crowned with an imperial crown or — Lordship of Galloway ;
II., Or, a lion rampant gules, debruised of a ribbon argent — Abernethy ; III., Argent, three piles gules — Lordship of Brechin ;
IV., Or, a fess chequy azure and argent, surmounted of a bend sable, charged with three buckles of the field — Stewart of Bonkill ; over all, on an escutcheon argent, a man's heart ensigned with an imperial crown p.p.r., and on a chief azure, three mullets of the field — Douglas, impaling the Buccleugh arms she used in the lozenge. Above the shield, a baroness's coronet. The dexter supporter, a naked man wreathed about the loins, resting a club on his dexter shoulder. Sinister, a stag rampant. Below all, " Lady Douglas." There is frequent mention of Lady Douglas in Lockhart's Life of Scott.


Sources for this article include:

  • History of the Berwickshire Naturalists' Club

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    Last modified: Tuesday, 01 February 2022