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Archibald Douglas, Earl of Moray 






Archibald Douglas, Earl of Moray (1426 – 18 May 1455) was a Scottish nobleman during the reign of King James II of Scotland. He was one of the five brothers from the Black Douglas family who clashed with the king.

He was a twin brother of James Douglas, 9th Earl of Douglas. In later years, James was believed to be the older by only a few minutes, as he inherited the earldom of Douglas, when their older brother was killed by the king, but it has been suggested that in earlier years Archibald was believed to be the older.

He became Earl of Moray jure uxoris (in right of his wife) by marrying Elizabeth Dunbar, 8th Countess of Moray.


He was responsible for the razing of Duffus Castle in 1452.

He was killed fighting the king's supporters at the Battle of Arkinholm.



John Dunbar married King Eobert 11. 's daughter, who, March 2nd 1372, gave the Earldom of Moray (except Badenoch, Lochaber, and the castle of Urquhart) dilecto filio nostro Joanni de Dunbar and Mariotas Sponsse ejus filiae nostras charissimae " f (Publ. Archiv.). Their sons were. Earl Thomas and Alexander of Frenderet. Earl Thomas, leaving no male issue, was succeeded by his nephew Earl James son of Frenderet, who married, 1st, Isabel, daughter of Sir "Walter Innes of Innes, who brought him a son Alexander; and, 2ndly, Janet Gordon, daughter of Huntley, by whom he had Janet, married to James second Lord Crichton, Lord Chamberlain of Scotland ;and Elizabeth, married to Archibald brother to the Earl of Douglas. Earl James died about anno 1446, and his son ought to have succeeded him ; but because his mother Isabel Innes (who stood in the 4th degree to her husband) died before a dispensation was obtained, the power of the Douglasses got Alexander declared illegitimate, made his eldest sister renounce her right, and Archibald Douglas, husband of the younger sister, was made Earl of Moray anno 1446. Thus was Alexander, son of Earl James, unjustly deprived.
But, to make some compensation to him he was knighted, made heritable sheriff of Moray, and got an opulent estate. And Archibald Douglas, having joined in his brother's rebellion, was slain in the field of battle, and the Earldom of Moray was forfeited, and annexed to the Crovm anno 1455, where it remained, till King James lY. bestowed it on his bastard son James, by Jean daughter of John Lord Kennedy in the year 1501 ; Who, dying in the year 1544, without male issue, it again reverted to the Crown, where it remained till the 10th of February, 1562, when Queen Mary conferred it on her base brother James, afterwards Eegent; whose eldest daughter, Lady Elizabeth, conveyed it to her husband James Lord Down, whose issue at present enjoy it, as will be more fully shown afterwards.


The barony of Pettie was anciently a part of the Earldom of Moray, but upon the death of Earl Archibald Douglas, anno 1455, the Castles of Inverness and Urquhart, and the lordships of them, the water mails of Inverness, the Lordship of Abernethie, the baronies of Urquhart, Glenurchan, Boneich, Bonochar, Pettie, Brachlie, and Strathern, with the pertinents, were annexed to the Crown {Act Pari. 1455).


Above Inverness, 3 miles on the river, is Borlum. This was a part of the estate of the Earl of Moray ; and after the forfeiture of Earl Archibald Douglas, the Laird of Findlater obtained this barony and held it of the Crown, and his son was designed Ogilvie of Cardale. And upon the forfeiture of Earl Archibald Douglas, anno 1455, Urquhart was annexed to the Crown.

Arms of Douglas, Earl of Moray. Quarterly, 1st and 4th, The arms of Randolph, Earl of Moray, above blazoned, 2nd and 3rd, a man's heart ensigned with an Imperial Crown proper, on a chief azure, three stars of the field.

The Buke of the Howlat, often referred to simply as The Howlat, is a humorous 15th century Scots poem by Richard Holland. The Howlat was composed in the late 1440s for Elizabeth Douglas, wife of Archibald Douglas, earl of Moray. It is one of the great monuments of fifteenth-century Scots verse, perhaps the finest example of Older Scots alliterative poetry


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Last modified: Friday, 17 May 2024