The Douglas Archives

A collection of historical and genalogical records

Interpretating families from their heraldry

As you will know, I often post a question based on a Douglas armorial that has surfaced, hoping that someone may be able to decipher it and help with the genealogy.

This weekend, I have been adding descriptors of ancient Douglas seals to about 20 of our ancestors.  These seals were appended to documents for marriages and for the acquisition and disposal of lands, and so on.  They help identify their owners and their activities on specific dates.

A seal for George Douglas of Lochleven was amongst them.  This is the George who helped Mary Queen of Scots escape from Lochleven Castle, and was presumably the same George who assisted her whilst she was held prisoner by the English Queen Elizabeth.seal

I was surprised that there was no biography for  'George Douglas of Lochleven' in the Douglas Archives, so began the task of preparing one.  But along the way, I found that the George, who fell for the charms of Queen Mary, was present in the list as George Douglas of Rungallie and of Helenshill.

This George was apparently the one whom Mary is portrayed with in Landseer's painting, dying at the battle of Langside, although this was based on Sir Walter Scott's novel, so is just that - a story.

Recently, a letter written by Mary, whilst prisoner of the English Queen, asking for safe passage for George Douglas confirms he lived on.

Is George, of Lochleven, of Rungallie and of Helenshill the same person?  I need to sort this out!

It is all good fun for a damp and cold Sunday!

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Comment by Russell Lynn Drysdale on March 16, 2022 at 14:33

Yes William I tend  agree with ED - Any way - my interest in this has of course been James Drysdale's hand in all this 

Comment by Russell Lynn Drysdale on March 13, 2022 at 22:52

Chalmers says they are differnt people...'' This boy, William, was, afterwards, distinguished , by the appellation of Little Douglas ; being of small stature.''...

Comment by Russell Lynn Drysdale on March 13, 2022 at 19:11

''George, was only two years older than Willie Douglas, a boy of 16, a natural son of William Douglas, 6th Earl of Morton, but brought up as a gentleman and acknowledged as a member of the family.'' 

Comment by William Douglas on March 13, 2022 at 17:26

I think that 'little Douglas' and 'George Douglas' may be one and the same.
http://www.douglashistory.co.uk/history//george_douglas_of_lochleve...

Ed.  Seems I am wrong!
Little Douglas is the boy who stole the keys to enable Mary Queen of scots to escape from Lochleven Castle.

Comment by Russell Lynn Drysdale on March 13, 2022 at 15:43

11 November 1572....'' Morton will not be at Edinburgh till the 13th. Divers be come out of France, amongst them "little Douglas," and Drysdale''.... Further down near the bottom .....''Suspects they mean but drift of time till France succour them at last with money, by which they will entice all the King's soldiers, or the best of them. Morton thinks to procure a pension by De Croc, and George Douglas is not returned without somewhat unto him. Wishes that the Queen had had some other handling with the Electors in the choice of the Emperor.''....

Calendar of State Papers Foreign, Elizabeth

From H. Killegrew

to Lord Burghley

11 November 1572.

 Thanks him for the excuse he made to the Queen for him for not stating whether the Regent's death was violent or natural; confesses it was worthy of reproach, but he trusts his subsequent letters have satisfied the doubt. The assembly of the lords is holden doubtful because of the great practices of the Queen of Scots' faction to the contrary, and he hears say, though he believes it not, that the Duke, Athol, Huntley, Eglinton, Cassilis, and Montrose, whom Lord Lindsay assured him were French, wish Argyle to be Regent. The Castilians persuade all the lords to profess the King's obedience, to the end they may have a vote in the assembly, and so draw on either a divided regency or none at all. A Highlandman called Glancanner, a follower of Athol, last year slew a dear friend or two of one Macintosh, who, hearing by espial that the murderer had come to Perth to receive money for certain "kie" he had sold, went thither, well accompanied and defended, and desired the aid of the Provost, Lord Ruthven to apprehend Glancanner, who had stood long at the horn            Lord Ruthven sent men to take him, willing that those who came with Macintosh should remain at the door. The Highlandman slew one and wounded another, and though fallen upon with pistols, swords, and daggers, kept them at play long with an Irish skene, his only weapon, but at length fell, having received fifty wounds.

Morton will not be at Edinburgh till the 13th. Divers be come out of France, amongst them "little Douglas," and Drysdale; he is not yet advertised what they bring, but they, doubtless, come not empty-handed. Trusts he will advise the Queen to work effectually with the King's party, and that out of hand. Grange has had letters of late out of France, and gives out that the French King has promised him aid if the Queen of England shall assail him.

"Methinks I see the noblemen's great credit decay in that country, and the barons, boroughs, and such like take more upon them, the ministry and religion increaseth, and the desire in them to prevent the practice of the Papists; the number of able men for service very great and well furnished, both on horse and foot; their navy so augmented as it is a thing almost incredible; if this country, I see, were well governed, Her Majesty might reap good neighbourhood; and without Her Highness' substantial care and help to establish the same, I cannot see but a subversion, unless God preserve it by His miraculous hand."

Sees the wooing of France much like the siren's song, and hears also of some talk with Spain, which, though he accounts no better, it were well for policy's sake to yield more thereunto than of knowledge and conscience he would else do, in these eminent perils from abroad and conspiracies at home. He never receives a letter but he fears to open it, expecting ill news. Has dealt as secretly in "the matter he wots of" as he could for his life, but the same being in other mouths he fears there will be an inkling of it, and therefore if there were any other means to preserve the Queen's life and state than "by them here," he would it were put in "ure," the sooner the better, for they be so divided and uncertain in their doings, as he cannot tell what to write of them, but assures him he trusts no more than he can see with his eyes and feel with his fingers. Means to visit the Castilians to-morrow to understand their minds upon the answers their commissioners brought them, and what they will say to the referring of the controversies to the Queen. Suspects they mean but drift of time till France succour them at last with money, by which they will entice all the King's soldiers, or the best of them. Morton thinks to procure a pension by De Croc, and George Douglas is not returned without somewhat unto him. Wishes that the Queen had had some other handling with the Electors in the choice of the Emperor. It is constantly written from Wurtemburg that the Duke of Bavaria is infected with the disease called "morbus pedicularis." Desires him to give thanks to Sir Valentine Brown for his friendly usage.—Edinburgh, 11 November 1572. Signed.

Source: Elizabeth: November 1572 , Calendar of State Papers Foreign, Elizabeth, Volume 10: 1572-1574 (1876), pp. 200-210.

http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=73152

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?


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