Earls of Douglas

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Index of first names

The Good Sir James's nephew William, Lord of Douglas was created 1st Earl of Douglas in 1358, and greatly increased Douglas territory by marrying Margaret, Countess of Mar. The creation of the Earldom can be accurately dated to 26 January that year, because of a charter witnessed by Douglas on the 25 January where he is described as "William, Lord of Douglas, Knight", and another of the 27th of the month as the Earl of Douglas. The power of Douglas was further increased by the marriage of the 2nd Earl to Princess Isabel, daughter to Robert III of Scotland. The acme of Douglas territorial power came when Archibald the Grim, Lord of Galloway a bastard son of the Good Sir James inherited the Earldom following the 2nd Earl's death at the Battle of Otterburn. "Black Archibald" as he was also known, was by right of conquest Lord of Galloway; and by right of his wife, the Moray heiress Joanna de Moravia, the Lord of Bothwell and its vast entail. Already one of the largest landowners in the realm, Archibald the Grim was now the greatest Tenant-in-chief of the Scottish Crown.

William, the 1st Earl, Archibald the Grim and both his son the 4th Earl and grandson, the 5th Earl fought in France as well as the along the Anglo-Scottish Border, during what would become known as the Hundred Years War. The 1st Earl and the 3rd were both present at the Battle of Poitiers, and the future 5th Earl Archibald, Earl of Wigtown was a deputy of John Stewart, Earl of Buchan at the Battle of Baug้ and elsewhere. Archibald Douglas, 4th Earl of Douglas, had fought at Homildon Hill, was captured there and then joined the rebel Northern English Barons to fight at Battle of Shrewsbury where he was again captured. It was during this episode of his life that Douglas makes an appearance as one of the characters in William Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part 1. In 1423 Douglas's son Wigtown, returned to Scotland to raise more troops for the French war and managed to enlist his father's support, the 4th Earl sailed for France with an army some 6500 strong, was created Duke of Touraine and Lieutenant General of France by a grateful Dauphin. Douglas was killed at Battle of Verneuil in 1424. The 5th Earl of Douglas upon his accession was sometime regent of Scotland during the minority of James II of Scotland and Lieutenant-General of Scotland. The 5th Earl's sons, the sixteen-year-old William Douglas, 6th Earl of Douglas and his brother David Douglas, were to be victim to the cabal of Sir William Crichton, Sir Alexander Livingston of Callendar, and their great uncle James Douglas, Earl of Avondale who wished to break the power of the Black Douglases. The boys were summoned to Edinburgh Castle, and where at what is known as the 'Black Dinner' the Earl and his brother were taken into the Castleyard and executed before the young King.

•  William Douglas, 1st Earl of Douglas (1327–1384)
•  James Douglas, 2nd Earl of Douglas (1358–1388), killed at the Battle of Otterburn
•  Archibald Douglas, Lord of Galloway, 3rd Earl of Douglas (1325–1400) "the Grim", Bastard cousin of the 1st Earl, created Earl of Wigtown[9] 1372
•  Archibald Douglas, 4th Earl of Douglas (1370–1424) Duke of Touraine, killed at the Battle of Verneuil
•  Archibald Douglas, 5th Earl of Douglas (1390–1439), son of the above
•  William Douglas, 6th Earl of Douglas (1426–1440), Murdered at the Black Dinner at Edinburgh Castle
•  James Douglas, 7th Earl of Douglas (died 1443) "the Gross" created Earl of Avondale in 1437, murderer and great-uncle of above.
•  William Douglas, 8th Earl of Douglas and 2nd Earl of Avondale (1425–1452), Murdered by James II of Scotland at Stirling Castle.
•  James Douglas, 9th Earl of Douglas and 3rd Earl of Avondale (died 1488), the last "Black Douglas", brother of the previous, attainted 1455 and all his titles forfeit.

Lordship of Douglas, and other estates and title devolved upon: George Douglas, 4th Earl of Angus

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Last modified: Thursday, 16 January 2020