Sir George Douglas of Pittendreich


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

Marriage 1 Elizabeth Douglas, daughter and heiress of David Douglas
  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

He also had a natural son, George Douglas of Parkhead.

He acquired the estate of Pittendriech through his wife.

Sir George Douglas of Pittendreich was master of the royal household, and in September 1526, had the charge of the young king, when his brother hastened forward from Edinburgh, to encounter the force under the earl of Lennox at Linlithgow bridge, on that nobleman’s unsuccessful attempt to rescue the monarch from the Douglases. James, who secretly favoured Lennox’s enterprize, advanced slowly and unwillingly, when Douglas, incensed at the delay, seizing his horse’s bridle, passionately exclaimed, “Think not that in any event you shall escape us; for even were our enemies to gain the day, rather than surrender your person, we should tear you in pieces,” – a threat which was never forgiven by the king. He was forfeited, along with his brother and uncle, 5th September 1528, when he took refuge in England. In 1542, he and the earl his brother, at the head of a large body of their retainers, joined an English force which made a hostile incursion across the borders into Scotland, but was defeated at Hadden-rig by the earl of Huntley and Lord Home.

After the death of James the fifth, the forfeiture of the Douglases was rescinded by parliament, 15th March 1542-3, and Sir George, on his return to Scotland, was appointed a member of the privy council of the regent Arran. He had been intrusted by Henry the Eighth with the principal share in negotiating the proposed marriage of the young queen Mary with Henry’s son, Prince Edward, and made several journeys into England on that account in 1543. His talents, says Tytler, for the management of political affairs were superior to those of his brother, the earl, over whose mind he possessed great influence, and in his correspondence with Henry he expresses himself with great warmth of devotion to the English monarch, who, in his designs upon Scotland was very much guided by the information transmitted to him and his ministers by Sir George.

The treaties of peace and marriage were finally arranged at Greenwich on the 1st July 1543. In all the intrigues of the period he acted a prominent part, and when Angus and the other lords of the English faction, to escape the sentence of forfeiture to which their repeated treasons had exposed them, transmitted to the governor Arran a bond of adherence to the government, Sir George was one of the pledges that it would be faithfully kept, but was soon liberated. He and his brother subsequently joined the party of Cardinal Bethune, and their names appear among those of the Scots nobility who signed the agreement in June 1544, to support the authority of the queen-mother as regent of Scotland against the earl of Arran. In a parliament held at Edinburgh in the beginning of December of the same year, he and the earl were absolved from the charge of treason, and declared innocent of the crimes which had been alleged against them. In 1545 he joined the earl of Cassillis and other noblemen in the conspiracy (mentioned by Mr. Tytler for the first time by any historian) which, on the suggestion of Henry the Eighth, they had entered into for the assassination of Cardinal Bethune, and had an interview with one Thomas Forster, the English envoy, on the subject, but the project seems early to have been abandoned on their part. In August 1545, he was with the Scots army that invaded England, the vanguard of which was commanded by the earl of Angus, but retreated without effecting anything of consequence, “through the deceit,” as an ancient Chronicle relates, “of George Douglas and the vanguard.”

In the memorable year 1546, after hearing George Wishart preach at Inveresk, he said publicly, “I know that my lord governor and my lord cardinal will hear that I have been at this sermon. Say unto them, I will avow it; and not only maintain the doctrine that I have heard, but also the person that teacheth, to the uttermost of my power.” After the assassination of Cardinal Bethune, he and his brother the earl of Angus were the first to vote that the castle of St. Andrews, in which those engaged in that act had taken refuge, should be besieged. He is said by Douglas in his Peerage to have been killed at the battle of Pinkie, 10th September 1547, but there is no evidence for this statement; and Godscroft says expressly that having been one of the “appointed to ride about among the soldiers, to encourage them and keep order, it was so much the easier for him to flee.”

He appears as one of the extraordinary lords of session in the sitting of that court of the 1st April 1549. He died before his brother, though the date of his death is not mentioned by the family historian.

By his wife, Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of David Douglas of Pittendreich, he had David, seventh earl of Angus, James, earl of Morton, regent of Scotland, of whom a memoir is given below, and two daughters.

Although he appears to be alive in 1549, some have him  as killed at the Battle of Pinkie, 1547, as above.