Sir Robert Douglas, laird of Blackerston and Blythswood

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Blackerston, Blackerstoun, Blackerstone

Sir Robert Douglas of Blackerstone was born circa 1593. He was the son of Alexander Douglas, 9th of Mains and Grizel Henderson.

He married Elizabeth Douglas of Ivile, by whom he had two daughters. He married Susanna Douglas, the natural daughter of Robert Douglas, Viscount Belhaven, on 3 February 1634 at St. Andrew's Church, Holborn, London, England. They had nine children. He died circa 1669. His son, Col. John Douglas, emigrated to America.

Sir Archibald Douglas, the first son and heir of Alexander Douglas, became the 10th Laird of Mains. His wife was Isobel of Blythswood, married 22 July 1633. He died 1 July 1647 leaving his entire estate to his wife. Due to heavy debts, the landed estate of Mains was deeded over to John Douglas, a relative. At this time Mains stayed in the Douglas family but passed to another Douglas line.

Sir Robert obtained Blackerston by marriage. He purchased Blythswood. It should be noted that Col. John Douglas's plantation in Maryland was named Blythswood, the name of the 'Manor' in Scotland.

When Sir George Elphinston was forced to part with all his possessions, these, the lands of Gorbals and Bridgend, on the south side of the River Clyde, in Glasgow, were acquired by Robert, Viscount Belhaven, representative of the well-known family, Douglas of Mains, near Milngavie. Two years later Lord Belhaven conveyed the lands to Robert Douglas of Blackerstoun and Susana his wife. [Charters and Documents, i. 495.] Robert Douglas in turn was knighted, but the glories of baronial possession and knighthood appear to have been as fatal to the fortunes of Sir Robert Douglas as they had been to his predecessor, Sir George Elphinston.


The report underwritten was presented and read in parliament, whereof the tenor follows.

We undersubscribers, commissioned by the parliament for taking trial of the sufferings and losses sustained by Sir Robert Douglas of Blackerston, find that the said Sir Robert Douglas has, for his adherence to the royal interest and his endeavours for promoting the same, sustained the losses and sufferings following. Firstly, we find that in March 1644 he was forced to advance to the pretended committee of estates the sum of £200 sterling, proven by the bond granted by the said pretended committee bearing interest until the repayment, which principal sum, with the interest until March last at 6 per cent, amounts to £392 sterling. Secondly, we find that the said Sir Robert Douglas was, after Philiphaugh and for his joining with [James Graham], marquis of Montrose, fined in and paid the sum of £1,000 sterling, proven by two discharges granted by the several persons who had power and warrant from the general commissary to receive the same, which with the interest from the time of payment to Candlemas [2 February] 1661 at 6 per cent, extends in the whole to £1,900 sterling. Thirdly, we find it proven by the depositions of diverse well-known witnesses that the said Sir Robert did, by commission from the marquis of Montrose, his majesty's commissioner, levy a troop of horse consisting of 60, besides officers, all well appointed with arms and other furniture, and joined with the said marquis before and at Philiphaugh, the charges whereof the said Sir Robert declares, upon his word of honour, did amount to £700 sterling, which with the interest at 6 per cent to Whitsunday [2 June] 1661, amounts to £1,330. Fourthly, we find, by the depositions of diverse well-known witnesses, that the said Sir Robert Douglas did, in obedience of the commands of the deceased James [Hamilton], duke of Hamilton, his majesty's commissioner for the time, and of the privy council of Scotland, go to the parish churches within the barony of Renfrew and sheriffdom of Lanark and there, with the hazard of his life, caused read his majesty's covenant, the charges whereof the said Sir Robert declares, upon his word of honour, did arise to the sum of £150 sterling. Fifthly, the said Sir Robert Douglas declares, upon oath, that in addition to the payment of his fine he was forced at that time to put forth seven horse and ten dragoons, the charges whereof did amount to £266 13s 4d sterling. Sixthly, we find by the depositions of diverse well-known witnesses upon oath that the said Sir Robert was kept prisoner after Philiphaugh in the castles of Dumbarton and Glasgow by the space of three quarters of a year, at which time the whole army under the command of David Leslie, or a considerable part thereof, did lie upon the said Sir Robert's lands and destroy the whole crop of the ground, and plunder his whole horses, the charges and expenses whereof the said Sir Robert declares, upon his word of honour, did amount to the sum of £1,300 sterling. Lastly, we find that in the year 1648 there were three troops quartered on his tenants all the time the English army stayed then in Scotland, and that the said army in the year 1650 did spoil his dwelling houses and burnt his principal dwelling house of Harehead, and plundered great quantities of horse, nolt, sheep and corn that he had on the mains of Blackerston, and other rooms stocked with his own goods, and that the English, after their landing at Inverkeithing, did plunder his household stuff, his wife and family being in the house of Spencefield within a quarter of a mile of the said town, as also that he lost great quantities of silver plate, arras hangings, carpets and other household plenishings taken away by the English, all sufficiently proven by the depositions of diverse well-known witnesses, the which particulars the said Sir Robert Douglas declares, upon his word of honour, amounts to the sum of £2,500 sterling; so that the total of his sufferings upon the account of his loyalty, amounts to the sum of £7,838 13s 4d English money. It is, therefore, our humble opinion that the said Sir Robert Douglas, his sufferings and losses extending, as said is, be recorded in the registers of parliament as an evidence to present and after ages of his constant and untainted loyalty in the worst of times. Subscribed with our hands at Edinburgh, 18 June 1661, so subscribed, [James Graham, marquis of] Montrose, [William Ker, earl of] Roxburghe, [Sir] John Gilmour [of Craigmillar], Sir Archibald Stirling [of Garden], [Sir] Robert Murray [of Cameron] and John Bell [of Hamilton Ferme].

Which report, being taken into consideration by his majesty's commissioner and estates of parliament, they have appointed and appoints the same to be recorded in the books of parliament.

  1. NAS. PA2/27, f.97v-98.

Shortly thereafter the civil wars of Charles I broke out and desolated the kingdom from the one end to the other. The Marquis of Montrose who carried the standard of the king, raised an army in the north, and proceeding south gave battle, at Kilsyth, to General Bailie, at the head of 7,000 Covenanters, on 15th August, 1645. The Covenanters were entirely routed, and nearly 6,000 of them put to the sword, while of the remaining thousand, a vast proportion were suffocated in Dullater-bog. The city of Glasgow, having heard of Montrose's success, sent Sir Robert Douglas of Blackerston, and Mr. Archd. Fleming, commissary, to congratulate him upon his victory, and invite him and his army to spend some days at Glasgow. He accordingly marched next day to the city, where he was entertained with great cost and solemnity; but he only remained one night on account of the plague, which was then raging, though before be left it he made the inhabitants pay pretty smartly for his visit.    A History of the City of Glasgow - An excerpt from the 1847 Gazetteer of Scotland

See also:

•  Battle of Philiphaugh





Sources for this article include:

•  The Records of the Parliaments of Scotland to 1707

•  1847 Gazetteer of Scotland

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