Archibald, 4th Earl of Douglas



4th Earl of Douglas & Duke of Touraine
 Archibald, 4th Earl of Douglas
and Duke of Touraine

Archibald Douglas, 4th Earl of Douglas, Duke of Touraine (c. 1369 – 17 August 1424),[2] was a Scottish nobleman and warlord. He is sometimes given the epithet "Tyneman" (Old Scots: Loser), but this may be a reference to his great-uncle Sir Archibald Douglas. He was 2nd son of Archibald Douglas, 3rd Earl of Douglas


In 1390 he married Margaret Stuart, daughter of Robert III. He held Edinburgh against the English when Henry IV invaded in 1400. In 1402 Douglas was tried and acquitted of the murder of David Stuart , Duke of Rothesay, heir apparent to the throne. Later that year Douglas led a Scottish army against the English and was taken prisoner by Sir Henry Percy at Homildon Hill


He was then induced to join the Percy conspiracy against Henry IV, but at the battle of Shrewsbury (1403) he was taken prisoner by Henry and held until ransomed in 1408. 


From 1412 to 1422, Douglas continued his border warfare against England and was a member of several delegations of Scottish nobles who tried, unsuccessfully, to ransom their young king, James I , from the English. 


In 1423 he and his Scottish contingent joined the French against the English. He was made lieutenant general of the French army and Duke of Touraine. In 1424 the allies were defeated at Verneuil, and Douglas was slain.



 From: Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 15

Archibald Douglas, fourth Earl of Douglas, first Duke of Touraine (1369?–1424), called ‘Tyneman,’ was second son of the third earl, Archibald ‘the Grim’ [q. v.] The influence and ambition of his father led to his marriage in 1390 to Margaret, daughter of Robert III, who granted him on that occasion, with his father's consent, the lordship of Douglas and the regalities of Ettrick, Lauderdale, and Romanock (Robertson, Index of Charters, p. 142). Ten years later, 4 June 1400, he was made keeper for life of the castle of Edinburgh. Towards the close of the same year, 24 Dec. 1400, he succeeded his father as earl and in the great estates of the Douglases, both on the east and west borders, as well as the barony of Bothwell, the inheritance of his mother, Jean Moray. In February of the following year, as warden of the marches, he remonstrated with Henry IV, then threatening an invasion of Scotland, and opposed with success the Earl of March and Henry Percy, whose followers were dispersed and many of them captured at Cockburnspath. Douglas carried the pursuit to the gates of Berwick, before which the lance and pennon of Thomas Talbot were taken. In August, Henry in person came to Scotland, and besieged the castle of Edinburgh, but the vigilant defence of the Duke of Rothesay and Douglas, aided by Albany, who appeared with a force at Calder Moor, forced him to raise the siege and return home. Possibly news of the threatened rising of Owen Glendower in Wales may have already reached him.

In the spring of 1402 occurred the death of Rothesay, the heir-apparent to the crown, at Falkland Palace, whither he had been conveyed, at the instance of Albany and Douglas, when arrested near St. Andrews. That at this time Douglas was acting in close union with Albany, whose aim appears to have been to convert his virtual into an actual sovereignty of Scotland, is proved by their meeting at Culross shortly before, and the joint remission in their favour issued shortly after the death of Rothesay in the parliament which met at Holyrood on 16 May. The silence of Wyntoun, and the statement of Bower that Rothesay's death was due to dysentery, cannot outweigh the charge implied by Major, and expressed in the ‘Book of Pluscarden,’ that he was murdered. That he had been incarcerated by them was confessed by Albany and Douglas in the preamble of the statute, the necessity for which, as in the similar case of Bothwell, is a further argument of guilt. Nor can the act of the aged king, who sent his remaining son James out of the kingdom soon after, be left out of account in judging of the share which Albany took in conducting his nephew along the short road from a royal prison to the grave. The account of later history, which describes his arrest by Sir John Ramorney and Sir William Lindesay, the perpetration of the deed by Wright and Selkirk, and the mode of death as starvation—not uncommon in that age—has all the appearance of a real, not of an invented, narrative, while the burial of the king's heir as a pauper at Lindores gives the final touch to the tragedy. Lindesay had a personal wrong to avenge in the dishonour of his sister. Ramorney was a baulked conspirator. The motive of Douglas in effecting the removal of one doubly allied to him by marriage is less clear. If the secrets of history were disclosed, probably we should find that the aggrandisement of his house, which no Douglas could resist, had been secured by the terms of his agreement with Albany. We seem to get a glimpse of the dark plots in which Albany and Douglas were engaged when we read in the ‘Book of Pluscarden’ that Sir David Fleming of Cumbernauld, who had been sent by the king to conduct his son James to the ship which was to carry him to France, was slain on his return by Sir James Douglas of Balveny, the brother of the earl.

During this year, 1402, there were several Scottish raids into England, in retaliation for Henry's invasions, all of which were either prompted or led by Douglas. Sir John Haliburton of Dirleton returned from the first of these laden with booty. Sir Patrick Hepburn of Hailes, who had distinguished himself at Otterburn, and was ‘dear to Douglas as himself,’ says Hume of Godscroft, conducted the second with unlike fortune, for he fell with the flower of the Lothians at Nisbet Muir. To avenge his death Douglas, with Murdoch, the son of Albany, the Earls of Angus and Moray, and other nobles, and a strong force, advanced into Northumberland, where they were met on 24 Sept. 1402, the day of the exaltation of the Holy Cross, by the Earl of March and Hotspur, at the head of ten thousand men, at Milfield, not far from Wooler. The Scots took up their position on the rising ground of Homildon Hill, when March, checking the impetuosity of Hotspur, harassed them by the English archers, and, pursuing his advantage, put the Scots to rout with the slaughter or capture of almost all their principal leaders. Douglas, who was wounded in five places and lost an eye in the battle, Murdoch, the son of Albany, and the Earls of Moray and Angus were among the captives. Three French knights were also taken prisoners, and an effort was made in Paris to raise a sum sufficient for the ransom of Douglas along with them, but nothing came of it so far as Douglas was concerned. Next year events took a sudden turn in England. Henry ordered Northumberland and his son not to release any of their prisoners without his consent, and his grant to them of the Douglas lands in Scotland was not unnaturally regarded by the Percies as a gift of birds in the bush in lieu of those in their hands. They demanded money for their services to the king, whom they had helped to win and keep the crown, and, this being refused, entered into a league with Glendower to dethrone him, and encouraged the rumour that Richard II was still alive, a refugee at the Scottish court. Douglas was induced to join this formidable conspiracy by the promise of Berwick and part of Northumberland, and fought on the side of his captor in the great battle of Shrewsbury on 23 July 1403, where Hotspur was killed, and Douglas, again severely wounded, was taken prisoner. His personal prowess in this field is celebrated both by English and Scottish writers. Drayton compares him to Mars, and he and Shakespeare preserve the tradition that he sought to encounter Henry himself.

His final release from captivity in England was not effected until June 1408, but during this period he several times revisited Scotland with the view of raising the sum required for his ransom, leaving on the occasion of each visit a large number of hostages from the families of his chief vassals or retainers as pledges for his return. The names of these hostages, preserved in an indenture of 14 March 1407, afford striking proof of the power of the Douglas family and the value set upon its head. Besides his own son and heir and his brother James, the hostages included James, the son and heir of Douglas, lord of Dalkeith, the son and heir of Lord Seton, Sir James Douglas of Drumlanrig, Sir William Sinclair of Hermiston, Sir Simon Glendinning, son and heir of Sir Adam of that ilk, Sir John Herries, lord of Terregles, Sir Herbert Maxwell, Sir William Hay, and Sir William Borthwick. His release was in the end effected through the influence of the Earl of March and Haliburton of Dirleton, on payment of a large ransom, and on condition of the restoration of the lands of March to the earl, which had been held by Douglas since 1400, but he retained Annandale and the castle of Lochmaben. After his return he entered into a bond of alliance on 30 June 1409 with Albany, which was confirmed by the marriage of his daughter Elizabeth with John Stewart, earl of Buchan, the second son of the regent.

In the spring of 1412 Douglas, with a considerable retinue, made his first journey to Paris. His family had always favoured the French alliance, and the efforts of the French knights to effect his release when a prisoner in England strengthened the tie. Bower relates that the earl was thrice driven back by hostile winds, and having, on the advice of Henry Sinclair, earl of Orkney, landed at Inchcolm in the Forth, and made an offering to St. Columba, the saint sent him with a prosperous wind to Flanders, and brought him safely home again. From Flanders he passed to Paris, and concluded a treaty with Jean Sans Peur, duke of Burgundy. Returning home, Douglas appears to have intended to revisit the continent in the following year, but the safe-conduct he received for that purpose from Henry V was not used. For the next ten years he pursued an ambiguous policy—at one time carrying on the border war against England, while at another he was negotiating the ransom of his young sovereign James I from Henry V. In this endeavour he appears to have been more sincere than Albany, whose desire to prolong his own regency made him indifferent, if not hostile, to the release of James I. In 1415 Douglas invaded England and burnt Penrith. In 1417 he was in command at the siege of Roxburgh, while Albany invested Berwick. The failure of both sieges, which were raised by the strong army of the Dukes of Bedford and Exeter, got for this expedition the name of the Foul Raid. In the interval between the two invasions Douglas had visited England along with several other nobles about the release of James I, but they were unable to come to terms with the English king.


In 1420 he made a third attack upon the English borders, and burnt Alnwick, but next year Henry V met him at York, and succeeded in gaining him over by a yearly pension of 200l., in return for which he engaged to provide two hundred horsemen. The change of front was probably due to the death of Albany, and the transmission of the regency to his feebler son Murdoch. But this defection was only temporary. The natural allies at this period of the Scots were the French, not the English. In 1419, shortly before the death of Albany, the Count of Vendôme had then sent, in the name of Charles VI, but really by his son the dauphin, afterwards Charles VII, for the king was prostrated by an attack of madness, to implore the support of Scotland on behalf of its ancient ally, which had never recovered from the defeat of Agincourt, and was now in great straits. The English were in possession of most of the north of the kingdom, and scoffingly called the dauphin king of Bourges. As a response to this request, the Scotch parliament voted a force of seven thousand men, who were sent under the command of John, earl of Buchan, the second son of Albany, Archibald, earl or lord of Wigton, the son of Douglas, and Sir John Stuart of Darnley. The victory of Beaugé, in which the Duke of Clarence was killed and the English routed, on 21 March 1421, was chiefly due to the Scotch troops. Buchan, their leader, was created constable of France. Wigton received the fief of Longueville, and Darnley that of D'Aubigny.

As a counter-stroke to the support the Scotch gave to the French, Henry V brought their captive king with him to France, hoping to detach them by the loyalty for which the Scotch were distinguished. According to one account James refused to lend himself to this stratagem, saying he was no king who had no kingdom. Another credits Buchan with refusing to serve a king who was a prisoner. The battle of Crévant in Burgundy, two years after Beaugé, in July 1423, in which the French and their allies were defeated by the Earl of Salisbury, Sir John Stuart of Darnley taken prisoner, and many Scots slain, led to a fresh appeal for reinforcements from Scotland, and the Earl of Buchan, who came for the purpose to Scotland in May 1423, persuaded his father-in-law, Douglas, to lead the new contingent. He landed at La Rochelle with ten thousand men, joined the court of Charles VII, who had now succeeded his father at Chatillon, and accompanied the king to Bourges. There he was appointed lieutenant-general of the French army, and granted the title of duke, along with the duchy of Touraine to him and his heirs male. On 19 April 1423 he took the oath of fealty at Bourges. The chamber of accounts of France declined to ratify the gift, as it was illegal without the consent of a parliament, and because it was their duty to oppose alienation of royal domains. But the king guaranteed them against the consequences, and obtained their reluctant consent. The people of Touraine showed their dislike to handing them and their fine district over to a foreigner, and when they heard that the letters patent were in contemplation sent a deputation to Tours to inquire whether the king had actually made the grant. The deputation was assured he had, and ‘that they should not be at all alarmed at it, for the people of Tours and county of Touraine will be very gently and peaceably governed.’ After this assurance they too acquiesced, and met Douglas at the gates of Tours with the customary honours and presents to a new duke on 7 May, where he made his entry with great pomp, took the oaths, and was made a canon of the cathedral. Next day he was installed a canon of the church of St. Martin. Shortly after he appointed his cousin, Adam Douglas, governor of Tours. The honours of Douglas were enjoyed for a brief space. Soon after his arrival he had to turn his attention to the war vigorously carried on by the Duke of Bedford, the regent in France for his young nephew, Henry VI. The castle of Ivry in Perche besieged by Bedford had agreed in July 1424 to surrender unless relieved within forty days, and the French army having come too late the surrender was made. The French about the same time took the town of Verneuil, three leagues distant from Ivry, having deceived the inhabitants by the stratagem, it was said, invented by Douglas, of passing off some of the Scotch as English prisoners. On hearing that Verneuil had been taken, Bedford at once advanced to recover it, and sent a herald to Douglas informing him that he had come to drink with him. The earl replied that he had come from Scotland to meet Bedford, and that his visit was welcome. The battle which ensued on 17 Aug. began as usual with a signal advantage gained by the English archers, which the men-at-arms followed up and turned into a rout. The slaughter was immense. Besides the chief leaders as many as 4,500 of the combined forces of the French and Scots were said to have been slain. Among those who fell were Douglas, his son-in-law, Buchan, his second son, James Douglas, and many other leaders. As often happens, recriminations were the result, perhaps the cause of this fatal defeat. The French and Scotch, between whom there was much jealousy, accused each other of rashness. It is even said there had been a dispute who was to have the command, ending in the foolish compromise of leaving it to the Duke d'Alençon, a prince of the French blood royal, then scarcely fifteen years of age. The small remnant of the Scotch who survived formed the nucleus of the celebrated Scots guard, but after that day no large contingent of Scotch troops was sent to France. Douglas was honourably buried at Tours. The character of an unsuccessful general was indelibly stamped on his memory by the issue of Verneuil. In Scottish history he received the by-name of ‘Tyneman,’ for he lost almost every engagement he took part in from Homildon to Verneuil. In this he was contrasted with the rival of his house, the Earl of March, who was almost invariably on the winning side. Nor can the claim of patriotism be justly made to cover his dishonour. His plots with Albany against Robert III and his sons are not redeemed by his anxiety for the release of James I, which was due to his preference for a young king over the headstrong son of his old confederate. Ambition is the key to his character. He was ready to fight on the side of France or England, for Henry V or for Hotspur, for any cause he thought for the advantage of his house. Personal courage, a quality common in that age, he possessed; but when Hume of Godscroft urges that his ‘wariness and circumspection may sufficiently appear to the attentive and judicious reader,’ he had in view the family and not the national verdict.



Father: Archibald Douglas, 3rd Earl of Douglas



In 1390 he married Margaret Stuart, daughter of Robert III.

  1.  Elizabeth Douglas b: ABT. 1394, Died: Bef 1451 
    Married     (1): John Stewart, Earl of Buchan; Died: 17 Aug 1424 Battle Of Verneuil,
                     (2): Sir Thomas Stewart 
                     (3): William Sinclair, Earl of Orkney and Caithness
  2. Archibald "of Touraine" Douglas, Born: Abt 1390 Of, Douglas, Lanarkshire. Died: 26 Jun 1438 Restalrig; Married: Euphemia Graham, Countess of Douglas
  3. James Douglas, Earl of Abercorn,  Born: Abt 1392 Of, Douglas, Lanarkshire, Scotland Died: 17 Aug 1424 Battle Of Verneuil, Maine-Et-Loire, France Bur.: 24 Aug 1424 Tours Cathedral, Tours, Indre-Et-Loire, France; Married: Beatrice (or unmarried?)
  4. Margaret Douglas, Born: [1394], Scotland; Married: William Earl Of Orkney
  5. Helen Douglas,  Born: [1396], Scotland; Married: Alexander Lauder
  6. Mary Douglas, Born: [1398], Scotland; Married: Sir Simon Glendoning of Parton.




The Heraldry of The Earl of Douglas, Duke of Touraine

Coat of arms - 4th Earl of Douglas seal
One of the leaders of the Scottish expeditionary force was Archibald Douglas, 4th Earl of Douglas (called Archambault Douglas in French texts). Obviously, Charles VII had little money with which to reward his supporters, although his supporters were few. One way to express his gratitude was to bestow honors; and giving fiefs was a way to help them support the costs of war far from home.

The earl of Douglas was made Constable of France in 1421. By Letters Patent of April 19, 1424, he was given the duchy of Touraine to hold in peerage by him and his heirs male of the body (Père Anselme 3:231), and gave homage the same day. The earl was killed at the battle of Verneuil on August 17, 1424. His only son Archibald, who had been made count of Longueville, succeeded as 5th earl of Douglas; he had left France for Scotland in 1423, and at the time of his father's death a rumor reached France that he had died without children; the king assumed the title extinct and gave the duchy to Louis d'Anjou on Nov. 21, 1424. When the news were disproved, the 5th earl was allowed to retain the title of duke of Touraine (Dictionary of National Biography, s.v. Archibald Douglas, Père Anselme, 3:231). He died in 1439. His only two sons, William and David, were executed for treason in 1440 in Edinburgh and the descent of the 4th earl was extinct.

The 4th earl of Douglas used two arms on his seals: one was Quarterly Douglas and Galloway, en surtout Murray of Rothwell (Stevenson and Wood), another was Quarterly Douglas, Galloway, Murray and Annandale (Catalogue of Seals, 16054). One seal, attributed to him, shows a modified version: Quarterly France, Douglas, Annandale, Galloway with the title of duke of Touraine, earl of Douglas and of Longueville in the legend. However, both Laing (suppl. 282) and the catalogue of the British Museum (16055) date it to 1421, which is impossible; moreover, the title of count of Longueville was given to the 4th earl's son. I suspect that the latter seal belonged to Archibald, 5th earl. In any event, the 4th earl did use those arms with a French quarter, since a seal of his widow Margret, daughter of Robert III king of Scots, shows Quarterly France, Douglas, Annandale, Galloway impaling Scotland, and the title of duchess of Touraine (on a document dated 1425; Laing).

Both the 5th and 6th earls used the same shield with a quarter of France and the title of duke of Touraine (Stevenson and Wood). No other earl of Douglas did so.

It is not clear where the escutcheon comes from. This was the first time that a French king conferred a peerage on someone who was not of royal blood. Hitherto, the differenced arms of France became associated with the peerage, so that the arms of Touraine, Burgundy modern, Anjou, Berry, Alençon, as provinces, are all differenced versions of the arms of France. In other words, there were no arms of Touraine proper to be borne by a non-royal.

Although there is no evidence to that effect, I suspect that the reason for the escutcheon is the same as that for the escutcheon of the Stuarts of Darnley, which is well documented, and for the quarter of the Kennedy of Bargany. Thus, the escutcheon of France is not a mark of peerage, and does not represent the duchy of Touraine (or the seigneurie of Aubigny in the case of the Darnley), but a special augmentation conferred by the king independently of any fief.







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