DOUGLAS. UNCROWNED ROYALTY
The DOUGLAS lineage is remarkably fine; wealthy through France and Flanders, by much land and many Lordships, by the Countship of Longueville and the Dukedom of Touraine. They were perfectly connected by marriage to the Stewarts and in particular to Robert II and later Robert III.
The Earl of Douglas was appointed Lieutenant or Governor of the Kingdom whilst James II was still a boy. In 1439 a young seventeen year old Earl of Douglas inherited the role and established himself with a mighty retinue of 1,000 knights and followers in all but name as King himself. In a ruse set up by Sir William Crichton, Chancellor and governor of Edinburgh castle where the boy King James was "held", the unsuspecting, young Earl of Douglas (naive or brazen?) was enticed to come to the castle. Douglas and his brother quickly lost their heads.
In the time that Edward 1st of England sat as Lord Superior to advise on the Crown of Scotland there were several claims to the Scottish crown, among them those of Comyn, Baliol, Douglas and Stewart.
The Douglas claim was a thin one but plausible through the marriage of Archibald Douglas to Dornagilla, reputed to be the sister of the Red Comyn and also the daughter of Baliol's sister. So they claimed that the house of Douglas was descended from the elder daughter of William the Lion's brother (the house of Stewart from the younger). Later challenges have been made that Dornagilla was in fact Beatrice, daughter of Sir David Lyndsay of Crawford.
However, when the Red Comyn was slain in Dumfries as he tried to raise support for his claim, both the Comyn and Douglas claims floundered. The house of Baliol was extinct. History may say that any claims made in the name of Baliol would have had an uphill battle to overcome the poor reputation of John Baliol acting as Edward's man as even the name "John" fell from favour. The Stewarts were rewarded in the legend of the Bruce and so prevailed in a complex process of genealogy, power and force in arms.
DOUGLAS 1 Generation
daughter of King Robert Stewart.
Sir William Douglas, (son of Sir Archibald Douglas, Lord of Galloway and 3rd Earl of Douglas).
By wedding the daughter of the king he received a grant of Nithsdale, and was constituted sheriff of Dumfries. The DOUGLAS family have direct lineage through the early Stewarts by Robert II and Robert III. They also are ancestors through the Flanders line with De Moravia and the Counts of Flanders, the Baldwinite house and the Kingdom of Jerusalem.
Sir William Douglas of Nithsdale 1370-1391
Above all others this knight of famed good looks was given the hand of Egidea Stewart, Princess of Scotland.
In 1388 He led a raid on Eire to subdue the raiding parties in Galloway. Despite an attempt to ambush his troops William defeated the raiders on 2 fronts and sized the town of Dundalk. He raided the Isle of Man before defeating the English garrison at the battle of Otterburn.
By 1389 William Douglas was looking for further glory and redemption joining The Teutonic Knights fighting the in the Baltic states. By this time the Northern Crusades had less to do with converting pagans and was much more focussed on political , commercial and land benefits.
There is some controversy surrounding his death in 1391.
William had previously quarrelled with Lord Clifford, a former adversary in battle, who's family claimed Douglasdale. Clifford challenged William to single combat. Clifford, however, may have died on 18 August 1391, but William kept their fixture but whilst on the bridge leading to the main gate at Danzig was "killed by the English". The later Northern Crusades were easier to seek glory for English knights, Henry IV spend all of 1390 leading 80 or so of his English knights in the unsuccessful siege of Vilnius. Many stayed on seeking riches by booty and ransom.
One version has Clifford killing William in the duel.
There are documented records of William some years later in Dumfries.
Some tales say he dies much later, as late as 1430, having lived quietly in retirement.
It is certain that William very much drops off the radar by 1400 so any of the versions of his death are possible.
HOHE THOR, High Gate in Danzig (GDANSK)
The burghers of Danzig decided that "upon account of a signal service which the Douglas family did to this city in relieving it in its utmost extremities against the Poles, the Scots were allowed to be free burghers of the town". Subsequently, the stone fascia of the Hohe Thor (High Gate) was adorned with the coat of arms of this nobleman and for centuries it was commonly referred to as the Douglas Port or Douglas Gate, described as such as late as 1734.
Lady Egidia Jill Douglas daughter of Egidia Stewart
Egidia (Jill) Douglas, Countess of Orkney = Sir Henry Sinclair, Earl of Orkney.
"Giles The Fair Maid of Nithsdale" ( Giles, Jill aka heiress)
(Married secondly in 1418, Sir Alexander Stewart, appointed Knight in 1424 then was beheaded with his father Murdock Stewart 2nd Duke of Albany with forfeiture of all their titles and lands.)
Sir William Sinclair, (1410 - 1484) son of Lady Egidia Jill Douglas
Knight Templar, Builder of Rosslyn Chapel
Merciless, savage and flamboyant, James Douglas was the stuff of legends.
His father fought with Wallace and died in the Tower of London, after which his family’s land had been given to the English Cliffords. Douglas was on a personal mission of revenge.
In 1307 he joined Bruce and became known by the English as ‘Black Douglas’ for his ruthless treatment of English garrisons. He regularly burned crops, slaughtered livestock and spread fear amongst English forces with his brutality and cunning in winning back castles and power for his king.
Early on 23 June at the battle of Bannockburn, Douglas led a group of cavalry to report on the advance of Edward’s army. Once the fighting began, Douglas dismounted and joined Edward Bruce’s division, fighting hand to hand alongside his men.
With victory assured and the English army in retreat, he pursued the fleeing Edward II with a posse of horsemen but was unable to prevent the king escaping by boat from Dunbar.
Douglas fought on for Bruces and Scotland's cause, taking Berwick, the last English stronghold in Scotland in 1318.
After Bruce’s death in 1329, Douglas carried the king’s heart with him on a crusade but, warrior to the end, was killed fighting in Spain in 1330. This earned him the enduring title of ‘Good Sir James’, in Scotland, at least.