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Douglas of Pittendreich









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The following is a transcription of Maxwell's 'A history of the house of Douglas from the earliest times down to the legislative union of England and Scotland'

Pittendreich sealThe origin of Douglas of Pittendreich is obscure. The first of the family recorded is James Douglas, King's Chamberlain in Moray in 1466.
By his wife, Elizabeth Douglas, with whom he (Sir George Douglas, d1552) inherited the estates of Pittendreich, etc, he left two sons: David, who succeeded as 7th earl of Angus, and James who became 4th earl of Morton and Regent of Scotland. David having been well provided for, by his uncle's disposition of the Angus estates in his favour, to the exclusion of the Countess of Lennox, Sir George left Pittendreich to James, who afterwards bestowed it upon one of his illegitimate off-spring, Archibald Douglas.

Upon the execution of Regent Morton in 1581, Archibald was forfeited and banished, and with him ended the line of Douglas of Pittendreich.



The following indicates that there was a Pittendreich House in the burgh of Elgin itself – probably a town-house. What sort of house stood on the land of Pittendreich is uncertain, but the estate was vast – always on the west side of the River Lossie it extended south almost to Kellas.
Rex concessit Patricio Commendatario de Lundoris (Lindores), heredibus ejus et assignatis, - edes et habitaculum appellatum the hous of Pettindreich, cum horto et pomario, jacen. in burgo de Elgin ex boreali latere vie publice ejusdem (inter terras Wil. Innes burgen de Elgin, hortos the Channownis-yairdis, viam publicam appellatam the Channonrie-clois, et communia stagna dicti burgi); qui regi devenerunt ob forisfacturam Archibaldi Douglas, olim de Pettindreich, filii naturalis quondam Jacobi, olim comitis de Moirtoun dom. de Dalkeyth. Tenend in libero burgagio.” King granted to Patrick Commendatario of Lundoris (Lindores), his heirs and assigns, - a building, a dwelling called the hous of Pettindreich with garden and orchard, lying. in the borough of Elgin and the north side of the same public way (between the lands WU. burgen lanes of the Elgin-yairdis Channownis the gardens, public road called the Channonrie-Cloio, and a common pool of said borough); He came to the forfeiture of Archibald Douglas, once the Pettindreich, once natural son James, once the count Moirtoun DOM. of Dalkeith. To have a free burgage. "

As the 'original' Pittendreich is near Lasswade, in Midlothian, this change of location brings some difficulties in determining lineage!

Sir George Douglas of Pittendreich, d 1552


Father: George (Master of Angus) Douglas b: ABT. 1469
Mother: Elizabeth Drummond

Marriage 1 Elizabeth Douglas Children
  1. Has Children James Douglas married Elizabeth, dau of James, 3rd Earl of Morton. Their son, James, inherited the Earldom.
  2. Has Children David (7th Earl of Angus) Douglas b: ABT. 1515


James Douglas of Pittendreich
    a grandson of Robert de Innes, 11th of that ilk, and his wife, a daughter of Douglas of Drumlanrig
David Douglas of Pittendreich
    His daughter, Elizabeth, married Sir George, above
Archibald Douglas of Pittendreich, b1556
    Illegitimate son of James 4th earl of Morton
    Marriage 1 Elizabeth Sutherland  Their son, Samuel, was Prior of Coldingham
Margaret Douglas, who married Sir John Carmichael of the ilk, d June 1600, was the daughter of a Sir George Douglas of Pittendreich
James Douglas of Pittendreich is mentioned as bailies of Pluscarden. Is this the same as the person below? Also described a 'Commendator'
There was also a James Douglas who was Prior. Some time before James became prior, his brother Archibald obtained the barony of Pittendreich on the road from Pluscarden to Elgin, which had been held by their father, James, 4th earl of Morton (c.1516–81), and their grandfather, Sir George Douglas of Pittendreich (1490–1552), who had himself obtained it from his wife’s father, David Douglas of Pittendreich.
David Douglas of Pittendreich was provost of Elgin in 1521–5 and his father, James Douglas of Pittendreich, in 1488: Records of Elgin, ii, 475. James, who was bailie of Pluscarden in 1474, was the son of Archibald Douglas, earl of Moray, and received Pittendreich from King James III in a feu charter of 1469: RMS, ii, 984. James Douglas had been in dispute in 1494–5 with the priory of Pluscarden over the erection of a mill at Pittendreich:
We find the prior’s relatives benefiting and others of his surname occurring among those granted the offices of the priory. Among such grants, his brother Archibald Douglas of Pittendreich was given lands in the baronies of Pluscarden and Urquhart, mills on Pluscarden lands formerly held by Robert Dunbar of Durris and the priory’s salmon fishings; John Douglas, parson of Ruffill, was appointed by the new prior as bailie of the lordship of Pluscarden on 21 April 1577 and took his oath at Elgin on 10 May ( he is described as 'servant of Bishop George Douglas of Moray in 1574'); and George Douglas, vicar of Aberchirder, had become chamberlain of Pluscarden by March 1579. Giving office to this George Douglas would have been particularly offensive to the Dunbars as on 18 October 1577, a few months after James Douglas became prior, he took part with various Inneses in an attack on the manse of Dean Alexander Dunbar in the chanonry of Elgin. This was a particularly notorious event in the Innes-Dunbar bloodfeud as not only was the dean badly wounded but Elizabeth, his thirteen-year-old daughter, was killed.

The Douglas years at Pluscarden were, however, not to last long. In May 1581, during the imprisonment of the former Regent, the earl of Morton, in Dumbarton Castle and just a month before his trial and execution, he was forced to make his son, Prior James Douglas, restore Pluscarden to Alexander Seton.

In 1476, James Douglas, custumar of the burghs of Elgin and Forres, charges himself with twenty pounds, being the custom of salmon carried beyond the kingdom for two years past. It is noted in the " Rolls " about this time (1501) that James Douglas of Pittendreich "has had and exersit the office of Chaumerlanery of oure lordschip of Murray this lang tyme bypast."

1477, November 22nd. The King granted to James of Douglas and his heirs certain lands in the Lordship of Moray, he paying, inter alia, the sum of 5 6s. 8d. yearly from the lands of Pittendreich to a chaplain, of old foundation, on the Castle Hill of Elgyne.


David Douglas of Pittendreich was provost of Elgin in 1521–5 and his father, James Douglas of Pittendreich, in 1488: Records of Elgin, ii, 475.


1528, September 6th. The King granted to his brother James, Earl of Moray, his heirs and assignees, the third part of the lands of Duffus, the lands of Pettindreich, Caldcottis, Darcle and Serestoun, and the house, tower, tenements and buildings within the burgh of Elgin per- taining to the King by reason of the forfeiture of George Douglas, brother of Archibald, formerly Earl of Douglas.

1528, September 6th. The King granted.... 2s. of yearly rent from the east land of William Douglas, senior, burgess of Elgin, on the north side of said burgh ; Isabella Douglas, relict of Robert Pedder is mentioned as being a neighbour in the same charter, as is James Douglas in Elgin

1546, August 1 7th. The Queen granted to Alexander, Lord Gordon (son and heir apparent of George, Earl of Huntly), his heirs and assignees, the land and tenement, with garden and tail in the burgh of Elgin, on the east side of the Queen's highway, between the croft called Harvyisfield, the lands of Robert Innes and Elizabeth Douglas, and the land called St. Ninian's land, pertaining to the Queen by the death of James, Earl of Moray, her uncle, bastard, without lawful heirs.


On 12th March, 1560-1, James Hay of Mayne, Alexander Guthrie in Elgin and seven others burgesses of Elgyne were delated before the Lords for convocation of the lieges to the number of eight score on the eighth day of January last, and for setting upon Alexander Robertson in 1'ittendreich and others tenants and servants to Elizabeth Douglas, Lady of Pittendreich, and hurting and wounding them to the great effusion of blood. They compeared not and were denounced rebels.


1571. John Douglas of Pittendriech, Rector of the University of St Andrews, "received a letter under the Great Seal, in name of James VI," ordaining that "for all the days of his life," he shall "have all and hail the benefice of the Archbishoprick of St Andrews, as well temporality as spirituality"dated 8th Sept. He was the first protestant archbishop of St Andrews.


1603 - Charter of alienation by Archibald Douglas of Pittendreich, in favour- of Alexander Gordon of Sydra (Siddcray in Sutherland), and Margaret Keith, his spouse, of the third of Duffus, dated 21st May, 1603. The sasine following thereupon is dated 24th May same year.

1603 - Charter granted by Archibald Douglas of Pittendreich, in favour of Alexander Keith, lawful son of Mr. John Keith, Rector of Duffus, of the third of Blackgate ; third of Starwood ; third of Inchkeil; third of Roseisle, with the milns thereof; third of Burghsea ; third of Bagro ; third of Burnside ; third of Over and Nether Crookmuirs ; and third of Sheriffmill, with the astricted multures thereof, dated 24:th May, 1603. The seisin following thereon is of same date.

No trace of the Pittendreich mansion house now exists, though a group of trees may mark the spot.  The doocot still stands, now a Grade A Listed Building, though it is classified as being 'at risk'. It once had a 'bloody heart' crest, reported circa 1900 to be 'much obliterated, yet decipherable'. Location: Easter Pittendreich Farm, Elgin, in Scotland


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