Archibald Douglas, 4th Earl of Douglas

Archibald Douglas, 4th Earl of Douglas

Infobox Monarch
name =Archibald Douglas
title =Earl of Douglas

caption =Seal of the 4th Earl of Douglas
reign =
coronation =
othertitles =Duke of Touraine
Earl of Wigtown
Lord of Galloway
Lord of Annandale
Lord of Bothwell
predecessor =Archibald Douglas, 3rd Earl of Douglas
successor =Archibald Douglas, 5th Earl of Douglas
married =Princess Margaret of Scotland
issue =Archibald Douglas, 5th Earl of Douglas
Elizabeth Douglas
William Douglas
James Douglas
royal house =
dynasty =Douglas
royal anthem =
father =Archibald Douglas, 3rd Earl of Douglas
mother =Joanna de Moravia, Lady of Bothwell
date of birth =1372
place of birth =Scotland
date of death =1424
place of death ="killed at" Verneuil-sur-Avre
date of burial =1424
place of burial =Cathedral of St Gatien, Tours, France|

Archibald Douglas, Duke of Touraine , Earl of Douglas, and Wigtown, Lord of Annandale, Galloway 13th Lord of Douglas, (1372–1424), was a Scottish nobleman and warlord. Often mistakenly quoted as the "Tyneman".

Master of Douglas

The eldest legitimate son of Archibald Douglas, 3rd Earl of Douglas and Joanna de Moravia of Bothwell. He was born either at Threave Castle or at Bothwell Castle c.1372 and was known as the "Master of Douglas" until his accession. By 1390 he had married the Princess Margaret of Carrick, a daughter of King Robert III of Scotland. Around this time, his father bestowed upon him the regalities of the Ettrick Forest, Lauderdale and Rommano, Peeblesshire. [ Maxwell, Vol I p.130]

On June 4 1400, King Robert, appointed him Keeper of Edinburgh Castle for life, on a pension of 200 Merks a year. ["ibidem"]

Rites of Passage

Renewal of the Percy/Douglas feud

At Candlemas 1400 the George I, Earl of March and Henry 'Hotspur' Percy had entered Scotland and laid waste as far as Papple in East Lothian. The villages of Traprain, Markle and Hailes were burnt and two unsuccessful attempts were made to invest Hailes Castle. The Master of Douglas, who held the office of Lord Warden of the Marches, surprised them by night at their camp near East Linton and defeated the English Force. The Douglases chased the enemy away as far as Berwick upon Tweed, slaughtering many stragglers in the woods near Cockburnspath. ["ibidem p.131]

iege of Edinburgh

Later that summer Douglas was second in command during the siege of Edinburgh Castle by Henry IV, to David Stewart, Duke of Rothesay, the lieutenant of the Kingdom. Henry was unsuccessful in his endeavours and with Owain Glyndŵr's rebellion gathering apace in Wales, he became the last English monarch to ever invade Scotland in person. ["ibidem p.132]


Archibald, the 3rd Earl died at Christmas 1400, and the newly created 4th Earl became the largest and most powerful magnate in the realm. His father's vast lordships stretched from Galloway Douglasdale, Moray, Clydesdale to the shires of Stirling and Selkirk. These were augmented by the forfeited lands of the Earl of Dunbar in Lothian and the Merse. ["ibidem p.132]

Death of Rothesay

In 1402 Douglas' brother-in-law, the heir to the throne, David Stewart, Duke of Rothesay was held in close arrest. First at the Bishop's Palace at St Andrews, then at the Royal Palace of Falkland. At Falkland, Duke David died on the 27th of March, in what have been alleged to be mysterious circumstances. The Duke was 24 years old and in good health prior to his arrest, and rumours abounded that he had been starved to death in Falkland's pit prison. ["ibidem p.135]

Prince David had been arrested under a warrant issued in the name of his father the decrepit Robert III, by his uncle, Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany and Douglas. Both Albany and Douglas, were rumoured to have been the authors of any foul play suspected. This can be shewn by the fact that both men were summoned to appear before Parliament. However on the 16th of March, both men were acquitted when Parliament passed an act stating that the Prince had: "departed this life through Divine Providence, and not otherwise", clearing both of High Treason, and any other crime, and strictly forbidding any of the King's subjects to make the slightest imputation on their fame.This can be considered a whitewash, as the Kingdom of Scots could not afford to lose its two most powerful men due to renewed English hostility. Douglas and Albany were considered to be the only fit antidote to the traitorous Earl of March and his English allies. ["ibidem pp.135-6]

Homildon Hill

On June the 22nd of the same year, a small Scots force was beaten by George Dunbar, the Earl of March's son, at the Battle of Nesbit Moor. Douglas led a punitive raid with Murdoch of Fife, Albany's son, as far as Newcastle to avenge the battle. At the head of 10,000 men he laid waste to the whole of Northumberland. March persuaded Henry Percy, 1st Earl of Northumberland , and his son Harry "Hotspur" Percy to lie in wait for the returning Scots at Wooler. Once Douglas' men had made camp at Millfield, relatively low ground, the English army rushed to attack. The Scots did however have keen sentries and the army was able to retreat to the higher ground of Homildon hill, and organised into traditional Schiltron formations. Douglas had not learnt the lessons that had defeated his great uncle at the Battle of Halidon Hill seventy years previously. The Schiltrons presented a large target for the English Longbowmen, and the formations started to break. A hundred men, under Sir John Swinton, chose to charge the enemy saying: "Better to die in the mellay than be shot down like deer". ["ibidem pp.136-7] All perished. It has been suggested that Douglas hesitated to signal the advance of his main force, and when he did, it was too little too late. Douglas' mauled army met the as yet unbloodied English men at arms, and were routed. Many of Douglas' leading captains were captured, including his kinsman George Douglas, 1st Earl of Angus, Thomas Dunbar, 5th Earl of Moray and Murdoch of Fife. Douglas himself was captured having been wounded five times, including the loss of an eye. This wounding was despite the fact that it is alleged Douglas' armour had taken three years in its construction. ["ibidem pp.136-7]


With the Lords of the North

If the Percies and the other English knights thought that had gained great immediate riches from ransoms, they were to be disappointed. They received a message from King Henry congratulating them their victory but forbidding the release of any of their prisoners.

By 1403, Hotspur was in open rebellion against his King, joining with his kinsman Thomas Percy, Earl of Worcester and Owain Glyndŵr, Prince of Wales. Hotspur set free his Scots captives and Douglas with his co-prisoners decided to fight alongside their former captors. In the chivalric spirit of the time, Douglas marched with his former enemy Hotspur, and his forces to the meet with King Henry IV at the Battle of Shrewsbury. Fighting on the English king's side was George de Dunbar, 10th Earl of March, then in exile from Scotland. The result of the battle was another rout, Hotspur being killed by an arrow through the mouth. Douglas was once again captured, [ Dunbar, Sir Archibald H., Bt., "Scottish Kings", Edinburgh, 1899, p.178] after having fought gallantly on the field and being the death of Edmund Stafford, 5th Earl of Stafford. Douglas had again tasted heavy defeat.

Prisoner of King Henry

Douglas was now a captive of King Henry. The cost of ransom of the Scots nobles taken at Homildon was proving hard for the impoverished Scots exchequer. When Prince James of Scotland was captured "en route" to France by English pirates in 1406, the position seemed impossible. The aged King Robert III died of grief it is said soon after. The Kingdom of Scots was now in the hands of the Duke of Albany "de jure" as well as "de facto".

Return to Scotland

After giving his oath on Holy Scripture to King Henry to be his man above all others excepting King James, and on the production of suitable hostages for his Parole, Douglas allowed to return to estates to carry out his private affairs. Douglas had agreed again under oath to return to captivity in England upon an appointed day. At Easter Douglas went north and did not return upon the aforesaid day. King Henry wrote to Regent Albany complaining of this "un-knightly" behaviour and warned that unless Douglas returned the hostages would be dealt with at his pleasure. Douglas did not return. Only upon payment of 700 Merks in 1413 to the new King of England, Henry V were the hostages liberated. ["ibidem pp.139-140]

Lord of Annandale

In a political "volte-face", the Earl of March had been accepted back into the political fold in Scotland. Both Douglas and Albany being reconciled to him. In 1409 March's lands in Lothian and the Merse wer returned to him. This on condition of the Regent that his Lordship of Annandale be transferred to the Earl of Douglas. With his Lordship of Galloway, Douglas now controlled the whole of South west Scotland. The friendship between Albany and Douglas was confirmed in 1410 when they arranged the marriage of John Stewart, Earl of Buchan, Albany's oldest son with Elizabeth, daughter of Douglas.

Political Machinations

Embassy to the continent

Douglas went to Flanders and France in 1412, on arriving in Paris he entered into negotiations with John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy whereby they agreed a mutual defence and offence pact in their respective countries.

Warden of the Marches

Douglas had resumed his duties as Lord Warden of the Marches soon after his return to Scotland. On the Border had a free rein to defend it and to keep the peace. However, it appears that Albany was not prepared to pay for this, so Douglas recovered his costs from customs fees on all trade goods enteriing the country.

The Foul Raid

In 1416, with King James still a hostage in England, Douglas twice visited London to enter negotiations for his release. Whilst there the Lollard faction, during Henry V's absence in France, tried to persuade the Scots delegation to on the offensive. Albany decided that this would be an opportunity to reclaim Berwick upon Tweed and raised an army to take it. He despatched Douglas to Roxburgh Castle which was also helld by the English. When the Scots learnt of a huge army led by King Henry's brother, John of Lancaster, 1st Duke of Bedford and Thomas Beaufort, Duke of Exeter, they retreated ignominiously. The following devastation in Teviotdale and Liddesdale, and the burning of the towns of Selkirk, Jedburgh and Hawick earned this title of the "Foul Raid".

The Great Army of Scotland

Douglas's son the Earl of Wigtoun had been fighting in France with his son-in-law Buchan, where they were able to inflict a heavy defeat over the English at the Battle of Baugé in 1421. In 1423 Wigtoun and Buchan, arrived back in Scotland to raise more troops for the War effort, and personal request to the Earl of Douglas from Charles VII of France to lend his aid. Douglas' ally and King Charles' implacable enemy, John the Fearless of Burgundy had died in 1419, so Douglas willingly consented to King of France. After considerable gifts to the church, Douglas left his son, the Earl of Wigtoun in Scotland. Wigtoun was charged with care of his estates and the negotiations for the release of King James, Douglas prepared for war.Douglas and Buchan sailed into La Rochelle with an estimated 6500 men on the 7th of March 1424.

Duke of Touraine and Lieutenant General of France

On the 24th of April Charles VII reviewed his new troops at Bourges. Douglas was given the post of "Lieutenant-General in the waging of war through all the Kingdom of France. On the 29th of April, Douglas was granted the Duchy of Touraine, including the "Castle, town and city" of Tours, and the "Castle and town" of Loches. Douglas was the first foreigner and also the first non-royal to be granted Ducal status in France.

Battle of Verneuil

The newly created French duke was defeated and slain at Verneuil on August 17, 1424, along with his second son, James, and son-in-law John Stewart, 2nd Earl of Buchan. Douglas was buried in Tours Cathedral, where his mausoleum is on display.

Marriage and issue

In 1390 he married Lady Margaret (d.1451), eldest daughter of John Stewart, Earl of Carrick, who later became King Robert III. Of their children:
*Archibald Douglas, 5th Earl of Douglas, and Wigton, &c., (1390–1439), who succeeded to the earldom.
*Elizabeth (d. c. 1451), who married first John Stewart, 2nd Earl of Buchan, secondly Thomas Mar, son of Alexander Stewart, Earl of Mar, and thirdly William Sinclair, 3rd Earl of Orkney (d. 1480).
*William Douglas (b. before 1401)
*James Douglas (d. August 17, 1424)

Douglas in Literature

The 4th Earl of Douglas is represented in William Shakespeare's "Henry IV, Part 1" from the defeat at Homildon to his release following the Battle of Shrewsbury.



*Boissont, Abbé C. H. "Histoire et description de la cathédrale de Tours." Paris, 1920 fr icon
*Brown, Michael. "The Black Douglases-War and Lordship in Late Medieval Scotland". Tuckwell. East Linton, 1998
*Chalmel, J.L. "Histoire de la Touraine" IV vols. Lafitte, Marseille 1981 fr icon
*Maxwell, Sir Herbert. "A History of the House of Douglas". Freemantle. London, 1902
*Nicholson, Ranald. "Scotland-The Later Middle Ages". Oliver & Boyd. Edinburgh, 1978
*Thomson, Oliver. "From the Bloody Heart-The Stewarts and the Douglases".Sutton. Stroud, 2003
*Crawfurd's "Peerage", (p.91)
* []

NAME=Archibald Douglas, 4th Earl of Douglas
SHORT DESCRIPTION=Scottish Nobleman and General
PLACE OF BIRTH=Threave Castle
PLACE OF DEATH=Verneuil-sur-Avre

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