The Earls of Morton

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The earldom of Morton was conferred by James the 2nd on James Douglas of Dalkeith the head of the Douglas’s in Dumfriesshire. In 1458 he married a daughter of James 1st and their son became second Earl.


James the 4th Earl was the famous Regent Morton who favoured the reformation and took part in the conspiracy against Rizzo and he was a Chief Commander at the Battle of Langside he was elected Regent  in 1572 but his administration was unpopular and in 1581 his enemies succeeded in bringing him to trial for his part in the murder of Darnley, for which he was executed.


He was in command of operations against Queen Mary’s partitions during the so called Douglas Wars he was Regent to the young King for 8 years during the boys minority.


Sir William Douglas of Lochleven became the Earl of Morton on the Death of the 8th Earl of Angus and the Earldom of Angus after some opposition from the young King James as he was heir in line to Douglas of Glenbervie.


Power such as they once had passed from the Douglas’s but Honours still accumulated.


When Archibald Duke of Douglas died without issue in 1761 the son of his sister Lady Jane Douglas wife of Sir John Stewart of Grandtully was served heir to the Duke after a lot of lawsuit’s known as the Great Douglas Cause. But the title of  Marquis of Douglas Earl of Angus passed to the 7th Duke of Hamilton. The Duke of Hamilton is now recognised as the Head of the Douglas’s  the present holder of the title is Douglas Douglas Hamilton 14th Duke of Hamilton Premier Duke of Scotland and heir male to the House of Douglas.



James Douglas, 1st Earl of Morton (d. 1493)

John Douglas, 2nd Earl of Morton (d. 1513)

James Douglas, 3rd Earl of Morton (d. 1548)

James Douglas, 4th Earl of Morton (c. 1516-1581)

Archibald Douglas, 5th Earl of Morton (c. 1555-1588)

William Douglas, 6th Earl of Morton (1540-1606)

William Douglas, 7th Earl of Morton (1582-1648)

Robert Douglas, 8th Earl of Morton (d. 1649)

William Douglas, 9th Earl of Morton (d. 1681)

James Douglas, 10th Earl of Morton (d. 1686)

James Douglas, 11th Earl of Morton (d. 1715)

Robert Douglas, 12th Earl of Morton (d. 1730)

George Douglas, 13th Earl of Morton (1662-1738)

James Douglas, 14th Earl of Morton (c. 1703-1768)

Sholto Charles Douglas, 15th Earl of Morton (1732-1774)

George Douglas, 16th Earl of Morton (1761-1827)

George Sholto Douglas, 17th Earl of Morton (1789-1858)

Sholto John Douglas, 18th Earl of Morton (1818-1884)

Sholto George Douglas, 19th Earl of Morton (1844-1935)

Sholto Charles John Hay Douglas, 20th Earl of Morton (1907-1976)

John Charles Sholto Douglas, 21st Earl of Morton (b. 1927)

John Stewart Sholto Douglas, 22nd Earl of Morton (b. 1952)



The name of this earldom derives from a small holding in East Calder. Originally it was named for another family holding, the Parish of Morton in Nithsdale but at the time of his belting as Earl, his step-grandmother, Janet Borthwick, who held Morton in Nithsdale objected to the name of the Earldom but it was at that time determined the name came from Morton in East Calder (Calderclere).

See also:
Douglas Morton Family Tree

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Last modified: Friday, 17 May 2024