The Douglas Archives

A collection of historical and genalogical records

In the middle of the fourteenth century, Kidston, which lies near Peebles, in the modern Scottish Borders, 'gave surname to its possessors'.

Roger of Kydeston was on an inquest touching the lands of Hopkelchoc in the year 1259; and Roger of Kedistun and Michael of Kedistun were on an inquest regarding the moss of Waltamshope in the year 1262. Kidston was taxed, together with Wormestoun, at £10 of old extent.

We also know this:

"s' Macolmi Fleming."Appended to a Charter by Malcolm Fleming, Lord of Byggar, to William Earl of Douglas, of all his Lands of Kidston, m the Sheriffdom of Berwick, for the sum of six hundied pounds, at the Castle of Douglas, 8th September 1372.—Muiray of Cringletie's Charters.

From the above, it would appear that the earliest use of Kidston as a surname was in about 1350 by people living on land held by the 1st Earl of Douglas.

In A history of Peeblesshire By William Chambers (1864) we read:

The estate of Cringletie, increased by recent acquisitions, lies generally to the south of Blackbarony, the distance from Darn Hall to Cringletie House being about two miles. The Murrays, the present proprietors, are ... descended from Sir Alexander Murray of Blackbarony (time of Charles I. and Commonwealth), by a second marriage with Margaret, daughter of Sir David Murray of Stanhope. John, the son of this pair, received from his father, in 1667, the lands of Upper and Nether Kidston, purchased by him only a year before, and which lands, along with Easter and Wester Wormiston, were erected into a barony called Cringletie, in 1671.

Kidston, in its various parts, at one time belonged to Lord Fleming, and afterwards to the Earl of Douglas, who conveyed the lands to a family named Lauder. These Lauders appear to have had considerable possessions about Eddleston Water. In the returns, under date 1603, mention is made of' Alexander Lauder of Haltoun,' heir of Alexander Lauder, who was killed at the battle of Pinkie ; and in 1655, there was a ' John Lauder of Hethpool.' It is interesting to note how this family, which cut a figure in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, culminated, waned, and disappeared. As early as 1512, there are writs embracing the Green Meldoun, which, from its description, is assumed to be Hamilton or Hamildean Hill. By a charter of resignation and novodamus, 1610, this hill, the subject of future contests with the town of Peebles, was associated with Kidston and Wormiston, in virtue of which it was adjudged to be part and parcel of the Cringletie estate, and as such it remains till the present day.


I would welcome any further details of how the Kidstons might have become regarded as a sept of the Douglases.

Views: 522

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Hello Mr. William Douglas,

I joined the Douglas Archives so that I could send you information I have gathered on the historical link between the Douglas family and Kidston family.  My wife, Elizabeth Kidston Davic, joined the Douglas Archives a few years ago, and I have been helping her on her family genealogy by conducting research on the Kidston family name at Peeblesshire.  As you know, some Douglas branches recognize Kidston surname as a ‘sept’ of Clan Douglas, others do not.  My goal is to provide information to support the inclusion of Kidston as a sept of the Douglas Clan.   

As an aside, there is a wonderful document on the genealogy of the Kidston family written by the late John Kidston Tait (The Kidstons’ of Logie; 1995 edition, 20 chapters, 4 addendum).  Based on information compiled by Mr. Tait my wife has been able to trace her Scottish ancestry unbroken from her father born in the USA to her 12th Great Grandfather, John Kydstoun, known from Logie Parish in Stirlingshire in the early 1500s.  She has posted her Kidston family tree on 

The major connection I have been able to find between the Douglas and Kidston families in ancient Scotland has to deal with ‘lands of the Kidston’ at Peebles.  It is known that these lands were once under ownership of William, the 1st Earl of Douglas of the Black Douglas linage, granted to him in 1372 by King Robert II (source: Hamilton, 1828, Memmoirs of the House of Hamilton, Corrected with Additions, with the source link below:

In this document by Hamilton, if you type the word ‘Kydiston’ in the search box, then hit the ‘go’ link, you will read that the Earl of Douglas (who must be William, the 1st Earl of Douglas, given the date) was granted a charter by King Robert II: “superioritatem, sive superiut, dominium tenandrie de Kydiston, lying in the Barony of Dalyell” (the primary source for this charter is given as Reg. Rob II, 113; a document I have not read).  Thus the first Earl of Douglas was granted superior rights and associated responsibilities to the ‘lands of Kidston’ in Peeblesshire.  This must mean that the first Earl of Douglas, and those Earls that followed, would have been obligated to protect any tenants living at the Kidston lands, even if they were not Kidston.  I think this is a very important historical link between the Douglas and Kidston appears that the relationship is one of protection given by Clan Douglas to whatever family lived on Kidston lands they owned and received rent, and not one between Douglas and Kidston individuals living at the same time. 

It also is known that immediately after the Earl of Douglas was granted the ‘Kidston lands’ in 1372 by King Robert II, within a year he granted them to the Lauder family via Alan de Lawedre (Lauder) and his wife named Elizabeth.  This grant is recorded in the National Archives Scotland GD436/1/8 from papers of the Murray family of Cringletle.  Alan de Lawedre is recorded as being a loyal knight and close friend of William, the 1st Earl of Douglas.  The Lauder family was re-granted rights and ownership to the “Kidston lands” for the next ~261 years, until 1631, when Richard Lauder, 11th Laird of Haltoun, mortgaged the Kidston lands.  They went under ownership of the Murray family from 1666 to mid-1950s.

I think it is important to note that when the Kidston lands were granted to the Earl of Douglas in 1372 no Kidston were living in Scotland, thus it is impossible for the Douglas and Kidston families to be linked by direct marriage, or for Kidston males to have supported any Douglas in battles, etc.  From early 1300s to early 1500’s there are no birth, death, or marriage records for any Kidston in Scotland.  The Kidston family essentially disappears from Scotland for many generations, the family name only associated with lands at Peebles.  There are only two persons with a Kidston surname  known to be present in Scotland before 1500, both recorded to have been at Peebles to serve as jurors for legal proceedings: (1) Roger of Kydeston (aka Kedistun) in 1259 and 1262, and (2) Michael of Kedistun (aka Kydston) in 1262.  There is no record that either of these men were associated with the Douglas famiy, nor that they had a family or left any offspring.  As a matter of record, the Kidston name (under surnames Kydston, Kydeston, Kediston) is known for people in England between the mid-1300’s and early 1500. 

It also is known from two sources (Buchan, 1926, History of Peeblesshire; Armstrong, 1902, Chronicles of the Armstongs) that both Roger and Michael Kedistun owned land at Peebles before 1326 (today known as Upper Kidston and Nether Kidston), and it would be these  lands that were eventually granted to William, 1st Earl of Douglas by King Robert II in 1372.  However, before the Kidston lands were owned by the Earl of Douglas, and after the death of Roger and Michael Kedistun, they were granted to a number of other Scottish families (Byseth, Hunter, Fleming, Walays [Wallace], Nesbith), many loyal to King Robert I and Robert II.  Apparently the Kidston lands at Peebles have always been viewed as important for farming, and a mill has been associated with them at least since the mid-1400s.   

I have found another possible link of the Douglas and Kidston families, again related to land at Peebles.  At least two daughters of Earls of the Black Douglas linage married husbands who were granted Kidston lands.  Elenanor Douglas, daughter of Archibald, 2nd Earl of Douglas, married Sir Duncan Wallace, who once owned “lands of Kydiston” (Buchan, 1926).  Also, Lady Helen Douglas, daughter of Archibald, 4th Earl of Douglas, married Sir Alexander Lauder of Haltoun, who was granted ownership of Kidston lands in 1465.   It seems possible the some Douglas families may have lived as tenets at the Kidston lands during the time those lands would have been under protection of the Black Douglas linage (1372 to 1451). 

Finally, I’ll end with a somewhat speculative claim made by Kidston family historian, John Kidston Tait (1995), that provides a direct, and if true, important link of the Douglas and Kidston families.  As I mentioned, my wife can trace her Kidston ancestry to a John Kydstoun from Logie parish in Stirlingshire, first recorded in records in 1530.  How this John Kydstoun came to live at Logie is a mystery, especially since there are no records of any Kidston in Scotland for the previous 200 or so years.  Below is the text from Tait (with my comments added to help clarify facts), where he claims that the Kidston family that originated at Logie  are related to a Douglas family that changed their name to Kidston after the murder of William, the 8th Earl of Douglas at Stirling Castle:

Quote from John Kidston Tait (1995)…”prior to 1451 the superiority of the lands of Kidston in Peeblesshire was held by the ‘Black’ Douglas’s.  A Douglas was farming at the Kidston estate in Peeblesshire when the ‘Black’ Douglases were outlawed following the murder of the Earl of Douglas in 1451.  It was then that the family sought refuge in the caves of the Ochil Hills.  It is known that there has been “Black” Douglases in the parish of Logie before 1451 [James, Lord of Douglas, was granted land in Logie-Airthrey in 1354].  It is now thought that John Kidston [aka John Kydstoun] was a grandson of the family of Douglas’s who lived in the caves of the Orhil Hills, but whether his family lived in Logie [Airthrey] before is uncertain.  This family is thought to have changed their name from Douglas to Kidston after they had a family”

This claim of Tait could be verified using DNA tests.  If true, male Douglas who can trace their ancestry back to the Black Douglas linage should have very similar y-chromosome genome to Kidston males. The Kidston family is today widespread, found in Scotland, Nova Scotia Canada, Australia, and throughout USA.  It would be very interesting for someone to analyze DNA results for Douglas and Kidston males to see if there is a close relationship.  I have no knowledge of any genealogy DNA test results for Kidston males, but perhaps such DNA data exist for Douglas males related to the Black Douglas linage ? 

There is another possibility how John Kydstoun came to live at Logie parish.  It is known that a Kydeston family was present in England both before and after 1530, thus perhaps John Kydstoun migrated from England to Scotland as a young man to begin a new life.

I welcome any and all comments, corrections of fact, and new information.  Cordially…R.D.Davic

That is very interesting, Robert.

I do not have personal views about Douglas septs.  I do acknowledge the work done by Harold Edington, whichi can be found in this book:

From time to time, I receive correspondence that informs me that such and such a family is, or is not, a sept. I tend to just make a note of this point of disagreement on the page and let others make up their minds.

I will ask the question about DNA in the Douglas DNA Yahoo group, and keep you informed of any outcome.  You might care to put a link from our DNA group to this correspondence.


Thank you William,

Perhaps I will contact the Clan Douglas Society of North America (CDSNA) to see if they would have interest in reviewing the information I have gathered concerning Douglas-Kidston link, and get a better understanding of what new information is needed.  I am retired with lots of time to play with Kidston genealogy.   I see that the CDSNA has a list of Douglas septs at this link that differs from that of Edington:

I wonder if the Kidston family would be more appropriately considered to be an 'Allied Family" of Clan Douglas rather than a "Sept" given the current facts how the two families appear to be related ? 

Thank you for asking the Douglas Archives DNA group about any possible genetic link between Douglas males who can trace their linage to the Earls of the 'Black Douglases' and Kidston males.  I need to see if I can recruit some Kidston males to get the proper genealogical DNA tests conducted.   Exactly what DNA test methods are recommended by the Douglas Archive DNA Group, and is there a link to the company web page that makes the test kits ?   Also, would you know any Kidston males in Scotland ?  There are pockets still living in Glasgow-Helensburgh area from what I understand.  The Kidston family was once well known in the Glasgow-Henlensburgh area, in shipping and ceramics plus other business activities.

Thank you for your help,


Robert, I am not involved with the DNA research - I confess i do not really understand it all! There are a number of email addresses on this page:

I had a look in the Phone book, and none turned up.

Hello William,

Thank you for this link to the Kidston family from Glasgow.  The Richard Kidston mentioned to be born in 1736 is the 6th Great Grandfather of my wife, Elizabeth Kidston Davic.  As far as she can determine, he is the first Kidston to migrate from Scotland and settle in U.S.A. and then at Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.   He became a wealthy merchant and shipowner. 



Making conections

The more information you can give about the people you mention, the more chance there is of someone else connecting with your family.

Dates and places of births, deaths and marriages all help to place families.

Professions also help.

'My great-grandmother mother was a Douglas from Montrose' does not give many clues to follow up! But a bit of flesh on the bones makes further research possible. But if we are told who she married, what his profession was and where the children were baptised, then we can get to work.

Maybe it is time to update the information in your profile?

© 2020   Created by William Douglas.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service