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Carmichael - a Douglas sept?



Image result for carmichael crest

Not all are agreed that the Carmichaels are a sept of the Douglases.

The name Carmichael originally comes from lands in Lanarkshire which were granted to Sir James Douglas of Clan Douglas in 1321, and let by his nephew William Douglas, 1st Earl of Douglas to Sir John Carmichael between 1374 and 1384.  Sir John was amongst the knights who supported the Douglases in their struggle for power in Scotland and in their raids across the English border. The grant of this large piece of Douglas land was undoubtedly a reward for the prowess of Sir John and the Carmichael men.

The name is also used to anglicise MacIlleMhicheil.

The Carmichaels were strong supporters of the Clan Douglas during their struggles for ascendancy, and were with them, fighting the English at the Battle of Otterburn in 1388 when the Scots defeated Henry 'Hotspur', Earl of Northumberland.

The Carmichaels were part of the Scottish Army sent to aid the French against English invasion, and at the Battle of Beauge in 1421 which was part of the Hundred Years' War. Tradition relates, Sir John Carmichael unseated the English commander, Clarence, in so doing broke his spear. This event, according to tradition, gained the Carmichaels their crest of a broken spear.

Katherine, daughter of Carmichael of Meadowflat, became a mistress of James V of Scotland and bore him a son who thus became half-brother to the ill-fated Mary, Queen of Scots. In 1546 Peter Carmichael of Balmedie was one of the murderers of the infamous Cardinal Beaton, and for his crime was sent to the 'galleys' where he shared penance with John Knox, 'father' of Protestantism in Scotland. Also Sir John Carmichael, was the keeper of Liddesdale, and commander of the Scots in the Raid of the Redeswire.

Carmichaels were on both sides during Wars of the Three Kingdoms and English Civil War. Lord Carmichael stood on the side of King Charles I but two of his sons fought for the parliamentarians while the other two were Royalists. The brothers were reunited tragically at the Battle of Marston Moor in 1644, where one of the royalist sons, John Carmichael was killed fighting against his own elder brothers, one of whom commanded the Clydesdale Regiment.

In 1647 Sir James Carmichael became Lord Carmichael and his son became Earl of Hyndford in 1701. The principal family became allied to the Clan Anstruther by the marriage of Lady Margaret, daughter of the 2nd Earl, to Sir John Anstruther whose descendants inherited the Carmichael lands on the death of the 6th Earl of Hyndford in 1817. This family then took the name Carmichael - Anstruther which they continued until the succession of the present chief who resumed the family name in 1980.

There are several marital links between the Carmichael and Douglas families.

Battle of Bauge

Image by Andrew Spratt

Note the display of arms on the rump of the Carmichael horse: Carmichael quartered with Douglas.

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