William, Lord of Douglas
The son of Sir James "The Good", William succeeded his father as Lord of Douglas in 1330. He fell at Halidon Hill, 1333, leaving no heir. The title passed to his uncle, Hugh, the 2nd son of William "le Hardi".
Hugh "The Dull", Lord of Douglas
The Death of William, Lord of Douglas at Halidon ended the hereditary line of Sir James "The Good". Therefore, the family honors passed to Sir James' brother, Hugh "The Dull", second of three sons of William "le Hardi". Hugh was born in 1294 and died in 1342. As his byname would imply, Hugh lacked the mental faculties needed to manage the Douglas possessions. For this reason, he renounced his rights. Hugh had no heir, and as his younger brother, Archibald, the first Regent of Scotland, had also been killed at Halidon. The honors passed to the Regent's son, William.
William, Earl of Douglas
Nephew of Sir James, "The Good" and Hugh, "The Dull", William, was created the first proper Earl of Douglas in 1352. In 1353 William was responsible for the death of his kinsman Sir William Douglas, the famed "Knight of Liddesdale", from the Morton line of Douglases. William was a participant in a rebellion against King David II in 1363, but still managed to earn an appointment as Justiciar of Scotland under Robert II in 1371. An affair with his first cousin, Margaret Stewart, Countess of Mar and Angus, resulted in a son, George, who became the 1st Earl of Angus, founding the Red Douglas branch of the family. William died in 1384, leaving his titles and possessions to his son James.
James, 2nd Earl of Douglas
The 2nd Earl was born in 1358 and succeeded his father at a time of much border warfare between Scotland and England. Due to the old age of King Robert II, the Douglases were left in charge of the defense of the kingdom. They literally became "the shield of Scotland". In 1388 the 2nd Earl led a plundering sweep into England in retaliation for the devastation caused by King Richard's army three years earlier. While on this raid, Douglas met and defeated the renowned English knight Henry "Hotspur" Percy in personal combat. In triumph he carried off Percy's pennon. In an effort to regain his pennon, and his honor, Percy pursued and engaged Douglas at the Battle of Otterburn. Douglas, although mortally wounded in the battle, directed his captains to carry his standard, sound his battle cry and rally his troops. Even in death, he carried the field. James left one illegitimate son, William, 1st Lord of Drumlanrig, who was the sire of the Queensberry cadet branch. As no legitimate heir was left, the earldom passed to the "base born" son of Sir James "The Good". Archibald "The Grim".
Archibald "The Grim" 3rd Earl of Douglas
The illegitimate son of Sir James "The Good", Archibald has been called the most able statesman and soldier of his time. Under his leadership the Douglases gained the Lordship of Galloway and, through marriage to Joanna Murray, the family possessions of the Murrays of Bothwell. Archibald's daughter, Mary, married the Duke of Rothesay, Prince of Scotland while his son and heir, also Archibald, wedded Princess Margaret, eldest daughter of Robert III. Archibald was also responsible for the construction of Threave Castle, a long time Black Douglas Stronghold. In 1384, Archibald defeated the English garrison at Lochmaben Castle and in so doing removed the last of the English Army in Annandale. He died at Threave Castle in 1400.
Archibald "The Tyneman", 4th Earl of Douglas, Duke of Touraine
Carrying on the military tradition of his fore fathers, the 4th Earl fought against King Henry IV of England at Shrewsbury. Archibald, bent on the extermination of the King, hunted the field ruthlessly for the Monarch. King Henry, for his own security, had dressed a number of his noblemen in the royal attire. Three of these impostors met their fates at the blade of Douglas. Douglas was captured and mercifully released by the victor. In France, Archibald displayed great courage in battle against the English and was made Lieutenant-General of the King's forces by Charles VII. His service to the French Crown earned him the Dukedom of Touraine in 1424. He was killed in France at the Battle of Verneuil four months later.
Archibald, 5th Earl of Douglas, 2nd Duke of Touraine and Earl of Wigtown
Born in 1390, Archibald earned distinction as Guardian of the Realm during the minority of James II. At the time of his passing the possessions of Douglas were immense. They included the Lordship of Galloway, which included the Earldom of Wigtown and the area which is now the county of Kirkcudbright. He possessed Annandale, Ettrick Forest, Jedburgh, Lauderdale, Eskdale, Teviotdale and estates which covered a vast area and stretched across the border. He also possessed the Dukedom of Touraine in France. These holdings were enough to make the Earl the greatest magnate in the realm. The victim of an outbreak of the plague, Archibald died in 1439.
All text on this page courtesy of Jeff Douglas.