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Cavers was accepted as a sept of Douglas by CDSNA at its organization in 1975 based on the original list from the book Scots Kith and Kin.  

In Great Britain. Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts, Reports Part 2, page 726, published in 1879, it is reported that

In the reign of King Robert the Bruce, on the fall and forfeiture of the Balliols, when so many noble houses succumbed, Cavers it appears to have passed into the possession of the Crown and in the Douglas Emerald Charter of 1328 it is enumerated among the estates of conferred by the King on his gallant comrade, the ‘good Sir James Douglas.’  The lands and barony of Cavers, with the Sheriffship of Roxburgh, came into the possession of Archibald Douglas, founder of the present family of Douglas in Cavers in 1412.”

The Douglas Archives, in its section on Douglas of Cavers, gives the following:

Robert The Bruce rewarded ‘The Good’ Sir James Douglas with lands spread across Scotland.  These included Cavers, granted in 1320.  Sir James had been Bruce’s trusted lieutenant at Bannockburn in 1314, and was key to his power base in southern Scotland.  Bruce confirmed this in 1324 with the "Emerald Charter", giving James criminal jurisdiction over his own estates, as well as excusing the lords of Douglas from certain feudal obligations.  By tying Douglas to his side, Bruce was ensuring his own position, and also ensuring a supply of men at arms for Scotland’s defence against the English.

When the good Sir James died in Spain, at the battle of Teba, in 1330, en route to the Holy Land with Bruce’s heart, his estates would have devolved to his eldest, legitimate, son, William, Lord of Douglas.  However, he was himself killed in 1333 at Halidon Hill.   Archibald, who was later to become 3rd Earl of Douglas, the next surviving son, was not only a minor, but also a bastard, and so could not inherit.  It seems likely that Sir James’ brother, Hugh ‘The Dull’ was next to inherit, but he resigned in 1342.

The family line now continues through Archibald ‘The Tyneman’ Douglas, Regent of Scotland.  However, he too had been killed at Halidon Hill, and so it passes to his son, William, who was to be created 1st Earl of Douglas on 26 January 1357/58.  Through his marriage to Margaret, Countess of Mar, he was also earl of Mar.  On 26 May 1342 he inherited the vast Douglas family estates from his uncle, Hugh Douglas and in 1354, he received the lands of his kinsman, William Douglas, Knight of Liddesdale, whom he had slain. He has an extensive biographical entry in the Dictionary of National Biography.  When the 1st earl died in 1384, his son James, born about 1358, succeeded.  

James, 2nd Earl of Douglas, like so many other Douglases, was not to die in his bed, but on the field of battle, at Otterburn in 1388.  James's sons and (a) daughter(s) were all illegitimate! To ensure their succession, he granted the lands of Drumlanrig to his bastard son William and Cavers to Archibald.  Following the death of her mother, Margaret in 1390, James’ sister Isabel became Countess of Mar, inheriting the lands of Mar and his unentailed estates.  The 2nd Earl was succeeded by his cousin Archibald Douglas (the Grim), bastard son of James, Lord of Douglas, succeeded by his cousin Archibald Douglas (the Grim), bastard son of James, Lord of Douglas, (called the Good Sir James) who was in turn the son of Sir William (le Hardi) Douglas. 

Consolidation and strengthening of the Douglas powerbase was essential and steps were taken to safeguard the estates within the Douglas family.

James DOUGLAS, 2nd Earl of Douglas; Earl of Mar

d. Aug 1388 the Battle of Otterburn

m. Isabel STEWART, a.k.a. Eupheme, daughter of Robert II b. C 1438; d. C 1410

Children, but not of Isabel. They are all illegitimate.

1. Has No Children son Douglas, died young

2. Has No Children Catherine Douglas. She married James Douglas 28 OCT 1667. He was born 19 SEP 1639, and died 1708

                        3. Has Children William (Sir) (1st Baron of Drumlanrig) Douglas

                        4. Has Children Archibald (of Cavers) Douglas

                        5. Has Children Eleanor (of Douglas) Douglas b: ABT. 1380. She married William (Sir)

(2nd of Philorth) Fraser ABT. 1400, son of Alexander (1st of Philorth) Fraser and Joanna or Janet Ross. He was born ABT. 1376, and died BEF. 1441.

                        6. Has Children Joan (of Mar) Douglas. She married William 5th Lord Dacre, son of Hugh

(4th Lord Dacre) de Dacre and Elizabeth (of Carlaverock) Maxwell. He died 20 JUL 1388

Sir Archibald DOUGLAS of Liddesdale & 1st of Cavers

Regent of Scotland

Sir Archibald sided with the Red DOUGLASes of Angus against the Black DOUGLASes.

m. Margaret

            Children of Sir Archibald DOUGLAS and Margaret:

                        1.  William, 2nd of Cavers {below}

                        2.  Eleanor m. Sir Patrick Hepburne of Hailes;

                        3.  Elizabeth m. Alexander STEWART of Garlieston  

Archibald Douglas carried his father's standard at the battle of Otterburn, and defended it with success against the repeated attacks of the English; it is still preserved at Cavers. (This circumstance has probably misled those historians who have stated that it was the flag of Percy which Douglas captured before Newcastle. The trophy which Earl Douglas won in that encounter, and which has been always preserved along with the foregoing, was a small ornament of silk, with the cognisance of the Percies embroidered in small pearls, which was attached to the end of Percy's lance when it was captured by Douglas.*) He had from his father the lands and barony of Cavers, with the heritable sheriffship of Teviotdale. It seems that the superiority remained at first with the Countess of Mar, and that Archibald had from her a new charter of the lands and sheriffship without procuring the royal sanction, by which neglect they recognosced to the King, and were conferred by him on Sir David Fleming of Biggar in 1405. But as Fleming did not long survive that date, it does not appear whether he ever took possession. Sir Archibald afterwards obtained from King James I. a charter of confirmation, dated at Croydon, 30th November 1412, proceeding upon a charter granted to him by his aunt, Lady Isabel, Countess of Mar, in her widowhood, in which the superiority is resigned. He died in the reign of James I., and was succeeded by his son.

William DOUGLAS, 2nd of Cavers d. 08 Jan 1464

            Children of Sir William DOUGLAS

                        1. Sir Archibald DOUGLAS {below}

Sir William, who had a like charter from the King in 1432. He died in 1452, and was succeeded by his eldest son.

Sir Archibald DOUGLAS, 3rd of Cavers d. 1486

            Children of Sir Archibald DOUGLAS:

                        1. William {below};

                        2. Elizabeth m. Sir Alexander STEWART, 3rd of Garlies

Sir Archibald, one of the commissioners for settling a truce with the English in 1457, and a Warden of the Marches in 1459. He died in 1486, and was succeeded by his son.

William DOUGLAS, 4th of Cavers d. 26 Oct 1506

            Children of William DOUGLAS:

1. William;

2. Sir James {below}

1500 May 26. CHARTER by Sir WILLIAM DOUGLAS of Cavers, in favour of ANDREW KER of Over Crailing, of the half part of the lands of Feoroule. A notarial copy, on paper, made by PATRICK ATZENSONE, Notary. To all who shall see this charter, William Douglas laird of the barony of Cavers knight and sheriff of Roxburgh, Greeting in Godeverlasting. Know that I have given, granted and by this my present charter confirmed, as I by this my present charter give, grant and confirm to an honest man Andree Ker of Uvir Crailing all and sundry the land of the half part lands of Fewruele with tenants, tenandries andservice of free tenants of the foresaid half part lands with pertinents, lying within the barony of Cavers and sheriffdom of Roxburghe. ... Paying therefor annually the said Andrew Ker & his heirs the annual suits at the courts of the foresaid barony of Cavers, Reserving to me and my heirs the marriage of the heirs of the said Andrew Ker in place of all other exactions secular service or demands which could in any way be exacted or required for the half part lands with pertinents tenantstenandries and service of free tenants. In witness hereof my seal is appended to this my present charter At Jedworth the 26th day of May 1500 before these witnesses George Douglas and Sir Walter Douglas vicar of Hassenden my uncles and Archibald Douglas. Copy certified by Patrick Atzensone, Notary public.

Sir William, a Warden of the Marches in his father's lifetime, and called by King James III. to assist at the Parliament at Edinburgh 29th January 1487. In 1488 the old Earl of Douglas wrote to him from his cell in Lindores, exhorting him to continue loyal to the King, &c. Being at the battle of Sauchieburn, llth June 1488, he was outlawed by the victorious party, but obtained a remission for himself, with his friends, &c., dated 10th January 1489. A protection was given under the Privy Seal in 1502 to William Douglas of Cavers, knight, and William his son and heir, who is to pass to Denmark. Probably this William died before his father, who is said to have "died (1508) in defence of the realm, in resisting the old enemy of England" (Charter 21 of James IV. 1509.) Crawford's MS. Baronage in Advocates' Library.

Another online genealogical account of Douglas of Cavers (courtesy of haygenealogy.com) states:

Sir James Douglas (b.~1358), 2nd Earl of Douglas, was an influential and powerful magnate in the Kingdom of Scotland. He married Isabel Stewart, daughter of King Robert II, and died at the Battle of Otterburn in 1388, age 30, and was buried at Melrose. He left no legitimate male heir so the earldom and entailed estates of Douglas reverted to Archibald "The Grim" Douglas, cousin of the 1st Earl, and a natural son of the "Good" Sir James Douglas.

However, Sir James' widow, Isabel Stewart, Countess of Mar, behaved handsomely to her husband's three "natural" children (bastards), bestowing the lands of Cavers upon Archibald and the lands of Drumlanrig to his older brother William. [In 1398 the first Scottish dukes were created. Hitherto the title of earl (laird) had been the highest secular dignity under the monarch.] However, she did so without obtaining the necessary assent and sanction of the King, who decided to confer them upon Sir David Fleeming of Biggar, along with the sheriffwick of Roxburghshire. More than displeased, Sir William Douglas locked up Sir Alexander Ramsay of Dalwolsy, a former sheriff, in the Castle of Hermitage, and there "immured in the dungeon till he died of want." Sir James Douglas, second son of Archibald Earl of Douglas, assassinated Sir David Fleeming at Longherdmanston in 1406. After this the lands of Cavers, together with the hereditary sheriffship of Roxburghshire, were possessed by the family of Douglas till the abolition of the heritable jurisdictions.

1. Archibald Douglas (~1370s-~1435),1st of Cavers, married Margaret Unknown, and had 1 known child, William, 2nd of Cavers.

By the 1420s, the seemingly limitless power of the Douglas family in Scotland was causing concern to supporters of their Stewart cousins. The 4th Earl of Douglas, (another) Archibald Douglas married Margaret Stewart, James I's sister, became Duke of Touraine, and on the King's death became Lieutenant General of the Kingdom. A cousin, Sir George Douglas, 1st Earl of Angus, founder of the "Red" Douglas Dynasty, married Mary Stewart, daughter of Robert III in 1397. In 1440, the young 6th Earl of Douglas and his brother were invited to dine with the 10-year- old James II at Edinburgh Castle, whereupon they were accused of treason and executed. Twelve years later, the 8th Earl was invited to Stirling Castle by the King and he too was murdered.

2. William Douglas (~1400-1464), 2nd of Cavers, married Unknown, and had a son Archibald, 3rd of Cavers, and a daughter unknown who married Andrew Ker of Cessford and Auldtounburn. Last of the Black Douglases. In 1455, Sir James Douglas, 9th Earl, together with his three brothers

proclaimed King James II a false and perjured man, and proceeded to pillage and burn the town of Stirling, and unsuccessfully besiege the castle. Sir James then entered into a treasonable correspondence with the English Government, and swore allegiance to the English King. On

receiving intelligence of these intrigues, King James II called a meeting of Parliament, which declared it was lawful for the King to put Earl of Douglas to death as a rebel, his mother and brothers were also declared traitors, their estates were forfeited to the Crown and were shortly afterwards distributed among the barons who opportunely deserted the Douglas side and joined the King. Assembling a powerful army, the King marched in person against the rebellious baron, intent upon a complete overthrow of the house of Douglas, burning and ravaging his estates, dismantling their strongholds -- Douglas Castle, and the fortresses of Strathaven, Thrieve, Lochendorb, and Darnaway. While the Earl of Douglas had fled into England, his three brothers, the Earls of Ormond and Moray and Lord Balveny, collected a numerous army on the Borders and plundered and laid waste to the country, until they were defeated and killed. (The former Sir) James remained exiled in England for nearly thirty years. After an additional five years of exiled retirement in Lindores Abbey, the Earl died in 1488, and with him expired the main line of the great house of Douglas whose rank and power, which had been gained by the unwavering loyalty and invaluable services of its founders and early heads, were forfeited through the ambition and treasonable practices of its later chiefs. The earldom had lasted for ninety-eight years (1358-1455), making an average of only eleven years to each possessor of the title.

3. Archibald Douglas (~1430s-1486), 3rd of Cavers, married Unknown, and had a son William Douglas, 4th of Cavers, and a daughter Elizabeth Douglas who married Sir Alexander Stewart, 3rd of Garlies.

The "Red Dynasty" continued. In 1482, Archibald, 5th Earl of Angus, achieved notoriety for murdering the favourites of James II in an incident at Lauder, earning himself the title of 'Bell the Cat.' He subsequently was appointed Lord Chancellor of Scotland, and his grandson, the 6th Earl of Angus, became Guardian of James V, when he married the King's mother, Queen Margaret, widow of James IV. Their daughter was Lady Margaret Douglas, who married the Earl of Lennox. Their grandson, Henry Stuart Lord Darnley, married Mary Queen of Scots in 1565 (his cousin -- both Catholics) and was the father of James VI of Scotland, I of England.

4. William Douglas (~1460s-1506), 4th of Cavers, married Unknown, and had a son William (predeceased) and a son James 5th of Cavers.




Douglas of Cavers Peerage @ http://haygenealogy.com/hay/scotland/peeragedouglas.html


Johnston, G H. The Heraldry of the Douglases: With Notes on All the Males of the Family, Descriptions of the Arms, Plates and Pedigrees. Edinburgh: W. & A.K. Johnston, limited, 1907. Print.


Seventh report of the royal commission on historical manuscripts, Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts, 6 (1879)


The Douglas Archives, Douglas of Cavershttp://www.douglashistory.co.uk/history/families/douglasofcavers.htm