Birth Datebef 1330
Birth PlaceLanarkshire, Scotland
Death DateDec 1400
Death PlaceThreave Castle, Lanarkshire, Scotland
Burial DateDec 1400
Burial PlaceBothwell, Lanarkshire, Scotland
ChildrenWilliam , M (~1355-~1392)
Notes for Archibald “The Grim” (Spouse 1)
He [‘Good Sir James’] had also a natural son, Archibald, who became, under an entail referred to later, the possessor of the estates, and third Earl of Douglas.

Source: THE SCOTS PEERAGE, ed. by Sir James Balfour Paul, Vol III, Edinburgh, 1906, pp. 142-46.

III. Archibald Douglas, styled ‘the Grim,’ who succeeded to the estates and title of Douglas,
was, as already stated, a natural son of the ‘good sir James.’ His parentage had been much discussed, and even Lord Hailes was puzzled, and assigna a ‘capricious entail’ as the reason for his succession. He did succeed under the entail of 1342, already described, which was unknown to Lord Hailes, but there he is distincly named as son of the late Sir James Douglas. There is further proof of the fact, in a charter by himself to the monastery of Holywood, where he speaks of his father, the late sir James Douglas, and other evidence might be quoted.

He must have been very young at his father’s death in 1330, as he is not named in record for nearly thirty years afterwards, and he survuved his father for seventy years. His first appearance in history was at the battle of Poitiers on 19 September 1356, whither he had gone with Sir William Douglas and other Scottish nobles. He was taken prisoner, but escaped captivity by a ruse practised by Sir william Ramsay of Colluthie, who treated him as a camp-follower, and, boxing his ears, dismissed him, after paying forty shillings for his ransom, with apparent contempt.

But although Archibal Douglas escaped being made prisoner at Poitiers, he did fall into English hands a few months later; but the details are not known, and he was soon released, as he was made a captive in time of truce. On his release, he received a safe-conduct, dated 16 November 1357, which he is described as a Knight, but when or how he received the honour is not known.

Between 1361 and 1364, he held the office of constable of the Castle of Edinburgh, at a yearly fee of 200 merks. During that period, the insurrection of his kinsman, the Earl of Douglas, and the High Stewart, took place, but Sir Archibald adhered to the King’s party, and witnessed the submission of the Steward and his sons.

In August 1364, Sir Archibald is found acting as Warden of the West Marches, an office which he held during his life. His first recorded act as Warden was an agreement as to Lochmaben Castle, which was then in the hands of the English Earl of Hereford. He also appears in the various parliaments of the time.

In 1369, he entered upon that possession which earned him the distinctive appellation of Lord of Galloway. The chiefs of that district had always been troublesom to the Scottish Crown, with a tendency to revert to English rule when they could. In 1353, however, William, afterwards first Earl of Douglas, had compelled them to return to their allegiance to the Scottish King, and then had since remained faithful.

As Sir Archibald had probably shown energy in assisting his kinsman, and had manifested that he was eminately fitted to control the resless Galwegians, King David II bestowed upon him all Galloway betwist the Nith and the Cree, by a charter dated 18 September 1369, which refers to his diligent labour and grateful service, and Sir Richart Maitland says he received that territorybecaus he tuke grit traweell to purge the cuntry of Englis blude.’

A few years later, Thomas Fleming, Earl of Wigtown, who held the other portion of the district called Galloway, sold his earldom to sir Archibald, the main reason being that he could not govern his territory properly, and serious discords and deadly feuds had arisen between him and the minor chiefs of the earldom. Sir Archibald’s grip of the territory was strong and just, and from his time that district gave no further trouble.

In 1369 and 1371, Sir Archibald was sent on embassies to France, but while in Scotland, he was chiefly occupied in his duties as Warden of the Marches

Sir Archibald Douglas was one of the leaders of the larger division of the Scottish army which invaded the West March of England in 1388. They did much damage, but their success was marred by the news of the death of the Earl [James, 2nd] of Douglas at Otterburn. By his decease, the estates of Douglas fell to Sir Archibald, as next surviving heir named in the entail of 1342, though he did not at once assume the title of Earl but took steps to complete his title to the lands.

His succession was intered with by Sir Malcolm Drummond, husband of Isabel Douglas, sister of Earl James, and now Countess of Mar, who had procured a brief from Chancery for infefting himself in the lands of Selkirk Forest. But these were included in the entail, and the brieve was declared null, while the chancellor was censured for issuing it to Sir Malcolm. This was in the Pariament of April 1389, and a few days later, Sir Archibald produced, on his own behalf, a charter by the King declaring it to be evident that Douglasdale and other lands named in the writ of 1342 fell to Sir Archibald by entail, upon which he was declared to be legally infeft in the lands. Other claimants were directed to proceed by ordinary course of law, but all sasines given in violation of that charter were pronounced by Parliament to be utterly ineffectual against Sir Archibald. Soon afterwards, the latter took the title of, or was created, EARL OF DOUGLAS, retaining, in addition, his former designation of LORD OF GALLOWAY.

In 1389, a truce was made with England, which in 1391 was settled on a more enduring basis in terms of the treaty with France, which had been arranged by Douglas in 1371, and as the peace lasted to the close of the Earl’s life, he figures on the page of history, only at intervals.

His later years are marked by considerable benefactions to the Church, although he had always been accounted a good friend to the clergy. Indeed, shortly after he became Lord of Galloway, in 1369, he granted the lands of Crossmichael and Troqueer to the Monastery of Holywood for the support of a hispital for poor and infirm persons. This charity was for the weal of the souls of King Robert Bruce, Edward his brother, David II, and of the granter’s own father, Sir James, Lord of Douglas.

The Earl also, at a later but uncertain date, turned his attention to Lincluden, another religious house in his territory. It had been a nunnery, but the Earl removed the nuns, and erected the building into a collegiate establishment, consisting of a provost, eight prebendaries, twenty-four beadsmen, and a chaplain. The building was finished in a magnificent style of architecture, and it is said the place, which is beautifully situated, was a favourite residence of the Earls of Douglas.

The Earl also apparently restored the Abbey of Sweetheart or Newabbey, originally founded on 10 April 1273 by Devorgilla of Baliol, but which had suffered much from fire and pillage. The Earl is described in a writ of 1381 as founder and reformer of the monastery, and his benefactions to it were probably liberal; and only three years before his death he made a grant to the Abbey for his own soul and that of Joanna, his spouse, Archibald and James, their sons, and for his own father and mother, but he does not name the latter.

His last great architectural work was the founding and building the collegiate church of Bothwell, begun on 10 october 1398. It became a very stately structure, not large, but containing Gothic work of a very fine character. The Earl’s arms and those of his wife are still to be seen cut in stone.

These donations procured for the Earl the good word of the historians of his day, who were all churchmen, and they praise him highly, not altogether without warrant, for liberality, but also for justice and faithfulness to his promises, though other and later writers have not been so lenient to his memory.

One of the last acts of his life led, at a later date, to unhappy consequences. He was the means of breaking off the betrothal of David, Duke of Rothesay, to Elizabeth Dunbar, daughter of George, Earl of March, and he married the duke to his own daughter Mary. The Earl of March was greatly offended, and stirred up the English King to invade Scotland.

The exact date of the Earl’s death is a little uncertain, but it must have taken place before 9 February 1400-01, and it is probable, though the states is made by a late writer, that he died on Christmas Eve 1400.

His wife was Joanna Moray, widow of Sir Thomas Moray of Bothwell. On 23 July 1362, a dispensation was granted for their marriage, in which she is described as a widow, and relict of Sir Thomas Moray.

This statement has been ignored by all historians of the Douglasses, including Sir William Fraser, who maintains that ‘it conflicts with all evidence on the subject of Sir thomas Moray’s descent, and with the fact that Joanna of Moray calls herself, and is styled, Lady of Bothwell.’ He therefore holds with others that Joanna was the daughter and heiress of Sir Thomas. But Sir William was not aware of evidence proving that the dispensation is right, and that Joanna was a widow when Sir Archibald Douglas married her.

In or about 1362, while still a widow, Joanna, styling herself Lady of Drumsargard, granted to her uncle, Walter Moray certain lands in her barony of Cortachi, co. Forfar, and this grant was confirmed by her mother, Joanna of Menteith, as chief lady of the barony. The barony had been granted to Joanna of Menteith herself by her first husband, Malise, Earl of Strathearn, while Joanna Moray was her daughter by her third husband, Maurice Moray of Drumsargard, who was created Earl of Strathearn by King David II.

Joanna was thus Lady of Drumsargard, as heir of her father, and she was Lady of Bothwell as conjunct fiar with her husband, Sir Thomas Moray of Bothwell, who died in 1361. The extraordinary feature of the case is that Sir Archibald Douglas not only married Joanna, but became possessor of all the lands of which she was liferentrix.

It has been supposed that an intention to dispute possession of Bothwell was indicated by Alexander Moray, brother of Maurice, whom Queen Euphemia, by an agreement in 1375, bound herself to support in regaining his heritage, but his right to Bothwell is not clear, and nothing came of the proposal.

It was probably as a safeguard against similar claims that Sir Archibald Douglas, when about to leave for France in 1371, obtained from King Robert II a grant of all the casualties due to the Crown from the lands and offices of his wife. If she died without issue, the King renounced all claim to her heritable estate, and declared that Sir Archibald Douglas and his heirs should hold the same as freely as did the predecessors of Joanna of Moray. This, considering that Joanna was only, so far as is known, a liferentrix, is a remarkable arrangement, and shows the influence of Sir Archibald.

It may be noted that where Sir Archibal Douglas granted lands which belonged properly to the Morays of Bothwell, it was made a condition that the lands should be held of their heirs, or the heirs of Joanna Moray. She survived the Earl, and after his death, granted portions of the heritage of Bothwell in her own name.

She was alive in January 1403, and probably died befor August 1409, but the date of her death had not been precisely ascertained

By her, the third Earl of Douglas had issue:

1. Archibald, who succeeded as fourth Earl.
2. James, who, about 1440, became the seventh Earl.
3. Mary or Marjory, married in February 1399-1400 to David, Duke of Rothesay, Prince of Scotland, without issue. He died in 1402, and about 1403 she married, secondly, sir Walter Haliburton, younger of Dirleton, afterwards Treasurer of Scotland. She died about 1420.

Archibald, third Earl of Douglas, had also a natural son, William, known as Lord of Nithsdale

Source: THE SCOTS PEERAGE, ed. by Sir James Balfour Paul, Vol III, Edinburgh, 1906, pp. 157-65.

Archibald Douglas, Earl of Douglas and Wigtown, Lord of Galloway, Douglas and Bothwell
, called Archibald the Grim or Black Archibald, was a late medieval Scottish nobleman. Archibald was the bastard son of Sir James "the Black" Douglas, Robert I's trusted lieutenant, and an unknown mother. A first cousin of William 1st Earl of Douglas, he inherited the earldom of Douglas and its entailed estates as the third earl following the death without legitimate issue of James 2nd Earl of Douglas at the Battle of Otterburn.

He was an infant when his father went on crusade and was killed at the Battle of Teba whilst fighting the Moors. According to Walter Bower, "He was dark and ugly more like a coco [cook-boy] than a Noble" which was possibly an insult to his illegitimacy rather than a physical description. Jean le Bel in his chronicle describes Douglas, as an adult, as a large man capable of wielding a huge sword. It has been suggested that the young Archibald spent time with his cousin William at the court in exile of King David II at Château Gaillard in Normandy. It was only natural for them to take service with the French King. This was in keeping with the spirit of the Auld Alliance

Archibald's first major appearance in history is recorded in 1356 at the Battle of Poitiers where he was captured by the English. Archibald had accompanied his cousin, William Lord of Douglas, to serve King John II of France in his wars against the Black Prince. Edward III of England had concluded truce negotiations with the Scots lasting from 25 March until Michaelmas, following the Burnt Candlemas of 2 February. During the truce, Earl William had secured safe passage to travel to Château Gaillard to visit David II; amongst his entourage was the 28 year old Archibald. Once in France, in the chivalric spirit of the age the Douglases joined the French army, to prevent their harnesses rusting through inactivity.

The Battle was a disastrous defeat for the French. It was suggested by Froissart that part of the blame lies with Earl William, for his suggestion to the French King that his Knights dismount and fight on foot. Whatever the causes King John was captured along with many noblemen, amongst whom was Black Archibald. Earl William evaded capture.

Archibald's armour and harness was of fine construction and he was thought to be a valuable prisoner by his captors.

His escape from English hands was aided by one Sir William Ramsay of Colluthie, also a prisoner of the English. In the presence of one of the guards, Ramsay pretended to be furious with Archibald and accused him of the theft of his cousin's armour. Furthermore he stated that his cousin had been felled by an English arrow and had died as a result of his lack of protection. Ramsay than insisted that Archibald take off his boots. Archibald concurred and by the time he had removed one, Ramsay started beating him around the head with it. One of the guards intervened to stop Ramsay, insisting that Archibald was the son of a great Noble and should be respected. Ramsay retorted "Not he, I tell you, he is a scullion and a rogue", then to Archibald, "Go you rascal, and seek your master's body amongst the slain, so that we may at least give him a decent burial". Ramsay paid the fee of 40 shillings, the ransomable rate of an esquire. Ramsay cuffed Archibald round the head once more and bade him begone. Archibald made his way back to Scotland, and deprived the Black Prince's army of what would have been a considerable ransom.

Black Archibald was appointed Constable of Edinburgh Castle in 1361, which along with the office of Sheriff of Edinburgh, he held until 1364. In that year he was appointed Warden of the Western March. This was an uneasy appointment as the English held Annandale, which formed the greater part of his new jurisdiction.

In the following years he carried out numerous raids against the English. In 1368 Douglas was appointed Lord Warden of the Marches and was successful in ousting the English from Annandale completely by 1383.

Archibald further increased his power by his marriage to the widow and heiress Joanna de Moravia in 1362
. Joanna de Moravia was the daughter of Maurice de Moravia, Earl of Strathearn and Joanna Menteith, herself daughter to Fause Menteith. Archibald is said to have offered five English Knights battle in single combat for her hand. The Lady of Bothwell and heiress to the de Moravia dynasty, Joanna brought with her large estates and Lordships throughout Scotland which Archibald claimed de jure uxoris. This included the semi-ruined Bothwell Castle, which he promptly started to rebuild. The marriage was a device of the king to ensure that the Moray inheritance would be passed into safe (and loyal) hands. Since the death of Joanna's first husband, Sir Thomas de Moravia, the Lord of Bothwell, in 1361, she and her widowed mother had been wards of the court. Joanna was declared to be not only heiress of her father's unentailed lands, but also those of her first husband. The estates stretched from Aberdeenshire, Moray and Ross in the north, to Lanarkshire and Roxburghshire in the south. Although Douglas did not inherit his wife's father's Earldom of Strathearn, Douglas would be able to use his new-found kindred ties to the advantage of the King in the centre of the kingdom.

In 1369, Archibald had been appointed Lord of Galloway by King David,
"becaus he tuke git trawell to purge the cuntrey of Englis blude". .... In 1353 Earl William had succeeded in bringing the eastern part of the fiefdom under the control of the Scottish crown. By 1372 after reaffirming control in the east, Archibald acquired the Earldom of Wigtown from Thomas Fleming, Earl of Wigtown, thus consolidating his power over the whole of Galloway, the first time under one man since 1234. This transfer of the Earldom of Wigtown was ratified by Robert II, on 7 November the same year. Archibald's conquest of Galloway was depicted on his seal, which depicts two "wild men" holding up his arms. ...

In 1384, William the first Earl of Douglas died of a seizure at Douglas, and was succeeded by his son James Douglas, 2nd Earl of Douglas, who was killed during his victorious Battle of Otterburn four years later in 1388. Archibald inherited his cousin's earldom and all the entailed Douglas lands making him the most powerful magnate in Scotland.

During the intervals of war with the English he imposed feudal law on the border chieftains, drawing up a special code for the marches. The power of the Black Douglas overshadowed the crown under the weak rule of Robert III. Archibald appeared to have strengthened his line's connection with that of the Royal Stewarts, when in 1390 he arranged the marriage of his son and heir, Archibald, Master of Douglas to the Princess Margaret, and in 1399 his daughter Marjorie to David Stewart, Duke of Rothesay; both of these spouses were children of Robert III, Rothesay being the heir apparent to the throne. Rothesay was already contracted to marry Elizabeth Dunbar, daughter of George I, Earl of March, who had paid a large sum for the honour. March, alienated from his allegiance by this breach of faith on the king's part, now joined the English forces.

The Earl of Douglas died at Threave Castle, around the Christmas of 1400, and was buried at Bothwell.

Around 1362 Douglas married Joanna de Moravia, daughter of Maurice de Moravia, 1st Earl of Strathearn.

They had four children.
Archibald Douglas, who succeeded as 4th earl
James Douglas, later the 7th earl
Marjory Douglas, married 1st David Stewart, Duke of Rothesay, 2nd Walter de Haliburton the Treasurer of Scotland
Helen, married Sir George de Lawedre of Haltoun, Lord Provost of Edinburgh

Lord Douglas had an illegitimate son:
• Sir William Douglas of Nithsdale (assassinated c. 1392), married Egidia Stewart daughter of Robert II

Source: Wikipedia:,_3rd_Earl_of_Douglas
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