The Carruthers Crest

Clan Carruthers LLC

Ancient and Honorable Carruthers Clan Society Int LLC


Carruthers Crest

Carruthers clan crest-no head 5

At the very top of a Coat of Arms sits the Crest.  When we updated the Coat of Arms I learned a lot about each and every piece of art word on a Coat of Arms.  Each and every piece had to be of historical significance to the Carruthers family.  I hope to send out information about each part of the Coat of Arms for you.

If you did not see it, there are three Fleur de Lis’ on the shield and a blog was sent out about that already.

If you live in Scotland, you might be presented with an individual Coat of Arms, that can only be used for the person it is given too.  The last individual Coat of Arms of a Carruthers was in the Holmain line, and many people have seen it.  It was not the first Coat of Arms issued to a Carruthers.  This Coat of Arms by the Holmains can only be used by the man it was given to, not for use by all Carruthers.


Through out time there has been an artistic license taken with the Crest, and its description.  The description most people see today is “Seraphim Volant”.  This was the Crest description on an individuals Coat of Arms. It is believed that there were changes made to either the drawings or the descriptions.  We had to look at this quite carefully.


Seraphim means: An order or group of Divine Beings distinguished for fervent zeal, unconquerable will, and religious ardour and vivacity. Yet on this individual Coat of Arms, it is a single angel, not a group of angels.

Volant means:  In flight

There are not a group of angels, or Divine Beings in flight on the Crest.

On one of the older Crests, the upright angel has their right arm raised in the air.  This might represent being in flight to some.

Lets look at the word Seraph, or Saraph.

It is said the word Seraph comes from the Hebrew verb saraph (fiery or to burn), or Hebrew noun saraph (a fiery, flying serpent).


Seraph as a Verb

The word Seraph appears three times in the Torah (Numbers 21:6–8, Deuteronomy 8:15) and four times in the Book of Isaiah (6:2–6, 14:29, 30:6). In Isaiah 6:2-6 the term is used to describe a type of celestial being or angel.

The vision in Isaiah Chapter 6 of seraphim in an idealised Jerusalem First Temple represents the sole instance in the Hebrew Bible of this word being used to describe celestial beings. “… I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and His train filled the Hekhal (sanctuary). Above him stood the Seraphim; each had six wings; with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.” (Isaiah 6:1–3)

In Jewish, Christian and Islamic literature, they use it in the verbial sense as a celestial being with two or three pairs of wings who guards the throne of God. They are described as very tall, with six wings and four heads, one for of the cardinal directions. One pair of wings are for flying, one for covering their eyes (for even they may not look directly at God), and one for covering their feet (which is almost certainly a euphemism for genitals).


Seraph as a Noun

As a Herbrew noun, the term appears several times with reference to the serpents encountered in the wilderness (Num. 21.8, Deut. 8.15; Isa. 14.29; 30.6), it has often been understood to refer to “fiery serpents”. From this it has also often been proposed that the seraphim were serpentine in form and in some sense “fiery” creatures or associated with fire.

The text describes the “seraphim” as winged celestial beings with a fiery passion for doing God’s good work. Notwithstanding the wording of the text itself, at least one Hebrew scholar claims that in the Hebrew Bible the seraphim do not have the status of angels, and that it is only in later sources (like De Coelesti Hierarchia or Summa Theologiae that they are considered to be a division of the divine messengers.

carriuthers Pat narrow final wings (1)

So, a Seraph may not be an angelic being at all, but a fiery flying serpent.  Either noun or verb, it is said that whoever lays eyes on a Seraph, he would instantly be incinerated due to the immense brightness or fire.


Are we using the right symbol?

The ancient symbol of a Seraph is the six wings.  If you do a quick search you will see how this ancient symbol has been used for thousands of years.  Eastern Orthodox religions, Buddhist, Japanese, Egyptian, and such all have used this symbol for a Seraph.


There is one more twist to this.

Our relatives The Gotlanders may have something to do with all of this too.

flammende flyvende slange :  This is a term used to describe our relatives in Gotland. The ship builders, the men of the Ash Tree, the adventurers who sailed the seas, and the warriors who dangerously sailed at night.

fiery flying serpent is the translation:  Men who were rich from making ships that sailed so fast.  Men who were the ones they hired to sail at night, with a fire on board their boats.  Men who had the symbol of a serpent on their sails.


Isaiah 30:6:

The burden of the beasts of the south: into the land of trouble and anguish, from whence come the young and old lion, the viper and fiery flying serpent, they will carry their riches upon the shoulders of young asses, and their treasures upon the bunches of camels, to a people that shall not profit them.


The Jewish Encyclopaedia states: “The seraphim are frequently mentioned in the Book of Enoch (xx. 7, lxi. 10, lxxi. 7), where they are designated as δράκονες (‘serpents’), and are always mentioned, in conjunction with the cherubim, as the heavenly creatures standing nearest to God.  …Some authorities hold that the seraphim had their origin in the Egyptian ‘seref,’ a composite, winged creature…” (Hirsch and Benzinger, 2002, p. 201).  Since the Israelites had lived with Egyptians for so many years, it is not surprising that they would have adopted their word.


Is Seraph/Saraph a noun, a verb, a sailing ship or even a pterosaur?


Anyway you want to look at it, it is ours!



We are Border Reveilers!



Clan Carruthers

Ancient and Honorable Carruthers Clan Society Int LLC


The History of the Border Reivers


If your surname is Armstrong ,Beattie, Carruthers, Maxwell, Johnston, Graham, Bell, Scott, Nixon, Kerr, Crozier or Robson then your family history, just like the astronaut Neil Armstrong’s, may very well be intertwined with the Border Reivers. And, if you do share one of these surnames, you may be advised not to read on…


The story of the Reivers dates from the 14th century and continued through into the late 17th century. It concerns the border between the two sovereign countries of England and Scotland. In those days, this Border displayed all of the characteristics of a frontier, lacking law and order. Cattle rustling, feuding, murder, arson and pillaging were all common occurrences.


It was a time when people owed their tribal or clan loyalty to their blood relatives or families. And it was common for these families to straddle the Border.


The Reivers were the product of the constant English-Scottish wars that would often reduce the Border area to a wasteland. The continuing threat of renewed conflict offered little incentive to arable farming. Why bother planting crops if they may be burned before they could be harvested?


The reiving (raiding or plundering) of livestock was however a totally different matter, and so it became the principal business of the Border families.


The Reiver came from every social class from laborer to peer of the realm. He was a skilled horseman and fine guerrilla soldier, practiced in the fine arts of arson, kidnapping and extortion. There was no social stigma attached to reiving, it was simply an accepted way of life.


It is said that the wife of one famous Border Reiver demonstrated that her larder was empty by serving her husband his spurs on a plate instead of his dinner. The message was clear either mount up and go reiving, or go hungry.


Reiving was simply a way of earning a living. Scottish Reivers were just as likely to raid other Scots as to raid across the English Border. Scots and English would even join forces to raid on either side of the Border. The victims of reiving could be anyone from outside the immediate family.


Raids were planned like military operations and could involve gangs of armed men and last for days. More modest raids might involve no more than a short moonlit ride, a quick plunder from a small farm followed by a dash home for breakfast.


“Few fought fiercer than family hands. When fathers and sons, brothers and cousins rode side by side, none turned aside and many found courage when the names of their blood needed them at their back. Astute commanders understood these bonds, and in battles or skirmishes they always set the older and more experienced men in front, believing that honour and valour flowed down through the generations to the younger men behind. (Fm The Reivers)


The Reiver rode a small sturdy pony known as a hobbler, which was noted for its ability to cover great distances over difficult ground at high speed. On his head the Reiver would typically wear a steel bonnet and a quilted jacket of stout leather sewn with plates of metal or horn to protect his body, called a Jack of Plate. Although the Reiver carried a variety of weapons including sword, dagger and axe, his preferred weapon was the ‘lang spear’ or Border lance.


The central governments of both England and Scotland attempted in vain to establish law and order across the Border, however a borderer would owe allegiance to England or Scotland only when it suited him or his family.


When England and Scotland were at war, it could become very much a Border affair with Reivers providing large numbers of cavalry. The battles of Otterburn (1388), Flodden Field (1513) and Solway Moss (1542) are all linked with the Reivers.


With the exception of the Scottish Highlands, the Borders were the last part of Britain to be brought under the rule of law.


It was only following the Union between England and Scotland in 1603 that a concerted effort was made by James I (VI of Scotland) to rid the Border of Reivers. However, between the death of Elizabeth I and the crowning of James I in March, several Scottish families launched massive raids into Cumbria, claiming to believe that when a monarch died the laws of the land were automatically suspended until the new king was proclaimed!


James I, who now ruled over a new kingdom called Great Britain, was furious with his Scottish subjects for relieving his new English subjects in Cumbria of some 1,280 cattle and 3,840 sheep and goats. James issued a proclamation against ‘all rebels and disorderly persons’.


James decreed that the Borders should be renamed ‘the Middle Shires’ and in 1605 he established a commission to bring law and order to the region. In the first year of the commission’s existence it executed 79 individuals and in the years which followed, scores more were hanged.


Other Reivers were encouraged to leave and serve as mercenaries in the armies of continental Europe. The Armstrongs, Beatties, Carruthers and the Grahams were singled out for special treatment and were taken to Fermanagh Ireland, by Lord Atchison and his brother. Some continued as outlaws and became known as ‘Mosstroopers’.


By the early 1620’s peace had arrived in the Borders, possibly for the first time ever.


Some view the Border Reivers as loveable rogues, while others have compared them to the Mafia. Whatever your opinion their legacy remains in the fortified dwellings called pele towers, their ballads and their words now common in the English language such as “bereave” and “blackmail”: greenmail was the proper rent you paid, blackmail was “protection money”!


The rescue of Kinmont Willie Armstrong


Three of the most celebrated Reivers of all time were Kinmont Willie Armstrong, Wat Scott of Harden and Geordie Burn. The night before he was hanged in 1596, Geordie Burn admitted that ‘he had lain with above forty men’s wives… and that he had killed seven Englishmen with his own hand, cruelly murdering them; that he had spent his whole time in whoring, drinking, stealing and taking deep revenge for slight offences’.’


Kinmont Willie prided himself on his large-scale raids, targeting whole areas rather than individual farms or villages. He would ride at the head of some 300 Reivers, known as ‘Kinmont’s bairns’. One of the most famous incidents in Border history involves the rescue of Kinmont Willie from Carlisle Castle on 13 April 1596.


On 17 March 1596, a truce-day was held in the Borders, so that Scots and English could meet to negotiate deals and treaties. On the Scottish side was one William Armstrong of Kinmont or ‘Kinmont Willie’ – perhaps the most notorious of all the Border Reivers.


As Willie was riding home to his tower at Morton Rigg, just north of Carlisle, a band of Englishmen broke the truce and apprehended him. Kinmont Willie was escorted to Carlisle in chains.


Willie had been a prisoner of the English for almost a month when the Keeper of Liddesdale, Scott of Buccleuch, decided to launch a rescue attempt. ‘Bold Buccleugh’ and his party of about eighty men entered the castle on Sunday 13 April and rescued Willie from the English, who were under the command of Sir Thomas Scrope, 10th Lord Scrope of Bolton Knight of the Garter (pictured left). Buccleugh had bribed a member of the garrison to leave a door unbarred.


Together Buccleugh and Willie made good their escape with Scrope in hot pursuit. Scrope was so angered by the audacity of the rescue that he vented his anger by burning the towns of Annan and Dumfries to the ground, capturing two hundred prisoners whom he marched home ‘naked, chained together on leashes’. This caused a major diplomatic incident, Queen Elizabeth was furious with Scrope.


It was also said that north of the Border, James VI of Scotland was so terrified that Buccleugh had ruined his chances of succeeding Elizabeth on the throne of England that he ordered Buccleugh to hand himself over to the English.


And as for wiley Willie, he was never apprehended again and is said to have died of old age in his bed. The tale of his escape recorded forever in the Ballad of Kinmont Willie:


Ballad of Kinmont Willie


O hae ye no heard o’ the fause Sakelde?

O hae ye no heard o’ the keen Lord Scroope?

How they hae ta’en bauld Kinmont Willie,

On Haribee to hang him up?


Had Willie had but twenty men,

But twenty men as stout as he,

Fause Sakelde would never the Kinmont ta’en,

Wi’ eight score in his company.


They band his legs beneath the steed,

They tied his hands behind his back.

They guarded him, fivesome on either side,

And they led him through the Liddel-rack.


They led him through the Liddel-rack,

And also through the Carlisle sands;

They took him tae Carlisle Castle,

To be at my Lord Scroope’s commands.


“My hands are tied, but my tongue is free,

And whae will dare this deed avow?

Or answer by the Border law?

Or answer tae the bauld Buccleuch?”


“Now haud thy tongue, thou rank reiver.

There’s never a Scot shall set thee free:

Before ye cross my castle gate,

I trow ye shall take farewell of me.”


Now word has gane tae the bauld keeper,

In Branksome Ha’, where that he lay,

That Lord Scroope has ta’en the Kinmont Willie,

Between the hours of night and day.


And here detained him, Kinmont Willie,

Against the truce of Border tide.

And forgotten that the bauld Buccleuch

Is keeper on the Scottish side?


“Had there been war between the lands,

As well I wot that there is nane,

I would slight Carlisle Castle high,

Though it were built of marble stane.”


“I would set that castle in a lowe,

And sloken it wi’ English blood.

There’s never a man in Cumberland,

What kent where Carlisle castle stood.”


“But since nae war’s between the lands,

And here is peace, and peace should be;

I will neither harm English lad or lass,

And yet the Kinmont shall be free.”


And as we crossed the Debatable land,

And tae the English side we held,

The first of men that we met wi’,

Whae should it be but fause Sakelde?


“Where ye be gaun, ye broken men?”

Quo’ fause Sakelde; “Come tell to me?”

Now Dickie o’ Dryhope led that band,

And there never a word of lear has he.


And as we left the Staneshaw-bank,

The wind began full loud tae blaw;

But ’twas wind and weet, and fire and sleet,

When we came beneath the castle wa’.


They thought King James and a’ his men

Had won the house wi’ bow and spear;

It was but twenty Scots and ten,

That put a thousand in sic a steir!


And as we reached the lower prison,

Where Kinmont Willie he did lie,

“O sleep ye, wake ye, Kinmont Willie,

Upon the morn that thou’s to die?”


Then shoulder high, with shout and cry,

We bore him doon the ladder lang;

At every stride Red Rowan made,

I wot the Kinmont’s airns play’d clang!


He turn’d him on the other side,

And at Lord Scroope his glove flung he.

“If ye na like my visit in merry England,

In fair Scotland come and visit me!”


All sair astonished stood Lord Scroope,

He stood as still as rock of stane;

He scarcely dared tae trew his eyes,

When through the water they had gane.


“He is either himsel’ a devil frae hell,

Or else his mother a witch maun be;

I wadna hae ridden that wan water,

For a’ the gowd in Christendie.”

Clan Carruthers

Ancient and Honorable Carruthers Clan Society Int LLC



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Ancient Symbol Fleur-de-lis: It’s Meaning And History Explained

Clan Carruthers LLC

Ancient and Honorable Carruthers Clan Society Int. LLC.


Ancient Symbol Fleur-de-lis: It’s Meaning And History Explained


You will look at the Carruthers Coat of Arms, and see a shield with three Fleur De Lis on it.  Many have asked why do we have that on our shield.  This may help you get some answers.


Fleur-de-lis, ( French: “lily flower”) is an ancient symbol that has long been associated with French royalty. Depicting a stylized lily or lotus flower we encounter the emblem as in many places across the world.


What makes the Fleur-de-lis symbol is how it has been used in different contexts. Is has represented peace, war, religion, politics, royalty and more.


For example, Joan of Arc carried a white banner that showed God blessing the French royal emblem, the fleur-de-lis, when she led French troops to victory over the English. Joan of Arc was of noble birth.  The Catholic Church has used the Fleur-de-lis emblem for many years. The lily flower was a symbol of the Holy Trinity as well as an emblem of the Virgin Mary. Many of the Catholic Popes were of noble birth, and in some cases that helped them get to be Pope.  The birth rights of nobility traveled throughout many areas of the world.

A number of military units use the symbol’s resemblance to a spearhead to identify martial power and strength. Always when a ranking officer was of noble birth, the whole unit would have the fleur-de-lis emblem to display on their uniforms and even flags.

Why Is The Fleur-de-lis – Lily Flower A Symbol Of Royalty?

Fleur-de-lis should not be confussed with the Flower of Life, which is an ancient sacred geomerty symbol and blueprint of the universe.   

The fleur-de-lis symbol was sporadically used in Babylonian, Indian, Egyptian and Roman architecture, but it is most associated with French royalty and the Church.


The fleur-de-lis’ symbolic origins with French monarchs may stem from the baptismal lily used in the crowning of King Clovis I.

An ancient legend tell, a golden lily flower given at his baptism to Clovis, king of the Franks (466–511), by an angel or even the Virgin Mary. The lily was said to have sprung from the tears shed by Eve as she left Eden. The lily flower was a symbol of his purification upon his conversion to Christianity.

According to another legend, Clovis adopted the symbol when water lilies showed him how to safely cross a river and thus succeed in battle.


The symbol has been regarded as a sign of purity ever since antiquity. The Roman Catholic Church adopted the Fleur-de-lis symbol to represent Virgin Mary. When Pope Leo III in 800 crowned Charlemagne as emperor, he is reported to have presented him with a blue banner covered (semé) with golden fleurs-de-lis.


The symbol was later adopted by many European noble families, most notably the French monarchy, to establish an association with the Church.

In the twelfth century, either King Louis VI or King Louis VII became the first French monarch to use the fleur-de-lis on his shield.


In the 14th century, the fleur-de-lis was often incorporated into the family insignia that was sewn on the knight’s surcoat, which was worn over their coat of mail, thus the term, “coat of arms.” The original purpose of identification in battle developed into a system of social status designations after 1483 when King Edmund IV established the Heralds’ College to supervise the granting of armor insignia.

How The Fleur-de-lis Symbol Became Popular On Other Continents

Knowledge of Fleur-de-lis crossed the Atlantic when French nobility reached the New World. Their presence on North American flags and coats of arms usually recalls the involvement of French nobility in the history of the town or region concerned, and in some cases the persisting presence there of a population descended from such nobels.


The fleur-de-lis symbol also appears on the Canadian coat of arms, the flag of Quebec.

Knowing history is very important when exploring the fleur-de-lis.  Many French royalty and nobles came and settled in Canada, thus the use of the fleur-de-lis is permitted by birth rights.

The Carruthers are very proud of this symbol that was given to us to use on our Crest.

Carruthers clan crest-no head 5


Happy St Andrews’ Day!

Ancient and Honorable Carruthers Clan Society Int LLC

Clan Carruthers

Happy St. Andrew's Day

St Andrew’s Day (or in Scottish Gaelic ‘Là Naomh Anndrais’), celebrates Scotland’s patron saint. November 30th!   It’s also an excuse for Scotland to enjoy a bank holiday. But who was St Andrew the Apostle?


St Andrew, according to Christianity’s teachings, was one of Jesus Christ’s apostles and was born in Bethsaida, in Galilee, now part of Israel. His remains were moved 300 years after his death to Constantinople, now Istanbul, by the Emperor Constantine.


He was revered in Scotland from around 1,000 AD but didn’t become its official patron saint of Scotland until the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath in 1320.


Like Jesus, Andrew died a martyr and was crucified in Greece on an X-shaped cross in 60 AD, rather than the ‘T’ shape cross that Jesus was crucified on. This type of cross is also known as a saltire – the symbol that makes up the Scottish flag.

The city of St Andrew’s in Scotland


St Andrew’s links with Scotland come from the Pictish King Oengus I, who built a monastery in what is now the town of St Andrews – where the Scottish university now stands – after the relics of the saint were brought to the town in the eighth century.


But he was made the patron saint of Scotland after the king’s descendant, Oengus II, prayed to St Andrew on the eve of a crucial battle against English warriors from Northumberland, around 20 miles east of Edinburgh.


Legend has it that, heavily outnumbered, Oengus II told St Andrew that he would become the patron saint of Scotland if he were granted victory. On the day of the battle, clouds are said to have formed a saltire in the sky, and Oengus’s army of Picts and Scots were victorious.


St Andrew’s was a popular medieval pilgrimage site up until the 16th century – where the supposed remains of the saint including a tooth, kneecap, arm and finger bone were kept.


In 1870, the Archbishop of Amalfi sent an apparent piece of the saint’s shoulder blade to Scotland, where it has since been stored in St Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh. The other relics were destroyed in the Scottish Reformation.


The Saltire flag – a white cross on a blue background – is said to have come from this divine intervention and has been used to represent Scotland since 1385.

Google’s St Andrew’s Day Doodle

 Google's St Andrew's Day doodle       

Google have celebrated the national day this year by creating a Doodle drawn by Scottish artist Johanna Basford. The drawing nods to the country’s heritage with a unicorn, Scotland’s national animal, leading the parade against a backdrop of highlands, lochs, thistle and bluebell woods.


The Loch Ness Monster, red deer – Scotland’s largest native land mammal –  and the national Saltire flag, believed to be the oldest in Europe, also appear in the Doodle.


How Scots celebrate St Andrew’s Day


November 30, 60AD is supposedly the date that St Andrew was crucified, which is why the patron saint’s day falls on this date each year, although it is the following Monday if a Saturday or Sunday.


In 2006 it was made a bank holiday in Scotland, and has traditionally been a day off for students of St Andrews University.


While St Andrew’s Day in Scotland and St Patrick’s Day in Northern Ireland are bank holidays, St George’s Day in England and St David’s Day in Wales are not.


The day is usually marked with a celebration of Scottish culture, including dancing, food and music, and both the British Prime Minister and Scotland’s First Minister give St Andrew’s Day messages.

Where else is St Andrew the patron saint of?


St Andrew is also the patron saint of Greece, Russia, Romania, Amalfi in Italy and Barbados, where St Andrew’s Day is celebrated as the national day of Independence on the Caribbean island.


As the patron saint of Barbados, St Andrew is celebrated in a number of Bajan symbols including the cross formation of the Barbadian Coat of Arms and the country’s national honours system, which styles persons as Knights or Dames of St Andrew.


St Andrew is also the patron saint of the Order of the Thistle, one of the highest ranks of chivalry in the world and second only to the Order of the Garter.


He also keeps busy as the patron saint of fishmongers, fishermen, women wanting to be mothers, singers, spinsters, maidens, sore throats and gout.


November 30 also holds significance in other countries. In parts of eastern and central Europe, including Romania, Russia, Austria, Germany and Poland, the date is associated with single girls’ future husbands.


In Romania, it is customary for young women to put 41 grains of wheat beneath their pillow before they go to sleep, and if they dream that someone is coming to steal their grains that means that they are going to get married next year.


Other traditions involve pouring wax through a keyhole into cold water, with the resulting shape determining a girl’s future husband’s profession.


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Clan Carruthers




Email us at:  Carrothersclan@gmail.com





Christina Bruce: An Uncommon Sister

Clan Carruthers LLC


An Uncommon Sister – Christian Bruce


Christian Bruce was one of the many children of Sir Robert le Brus, Lord of Annandale, and his wife Marjorie, Countess of Carrick in her own right. Christian was one of 11 children, with 5 boys and 5 girls surviving infancy. Unfortunately we don’t know when she was born, nor whether or not she was an older or younger sibling.


Christian was probably born at her father’s castle of Turnberry sometime in the 1270s or early 1280s.


Christian’s grandfather was another Robert le Brus, one of the 13 Competitors for the throne of Scotland following the death of Margaret, the Maid of Norway; when the vacancy of the Scottish throne was resolved by Edward I of England in favour of John Balliol. And when Balliol’s kingship failed it was Christian’s brother, Robert the Bruce, who became one of the leading candidates for the Scottish throne.


There are some question marks over Christian’s marital history. Some sources claim she married Gartnait, Earl of Mar in the 1290s, and was the mother of Donald of Mar. However, this has recently been disputed. Christian never seems to have been addressed, or described, as the Countess of Mar, and there seems to have been little communication between Christian and her supposed son, Donald, even though they were both held prisoner in England simultaneously.

robertandbruceelizabethRobert the Bruce and Elizabeth De Burgh


The main argument against the marriage appears to be that Abbot Walter Bower had stated that Gartnait had been married to the ‘eldest Bruce daughter’, a description never applied to Christian. However, if the elder daughters were already married, Christian may well have been the eldest ‘unmarried’ Bruce daughter.


By 1305, however, Gartanit was dead and Christian had married Sir Christopher Seton (c. 1278-1306). Sir Christopher was a knight with lands in Annandale and northern England. He was a stalwart supporter of Robert the Bruce, his family having had a long tradition of serving the Bruce family. We know little to nothing about Christian’s short marriage to Sir Christopher; their relationship had to take a back seat to the national events of the time.


Sir Christopher was with Christian’s brother on the fateful day in the Greyfriars Church in Dumfries, when Robert the Bruce fatally stabbed John Comyn, his rival to  the Scottish throne. Robert then made the dash for Scone, hoping to achieve his coronation before the Christian world erupted in uproar over his sacrilege. An excommunicate could not be crowned. Christian accompanied her brother, his wife Elizabeth and daughter Marjorie and her sister Mary to Scone Abbey. The Stone of Scone was the traditional coronation seat of the Kings of Scotland and, although the stone had been stolen by the English and spirited away to London, holding the coronation at the Abbey sent a message of defiance to the English.

Scone Abbey with a replica of the Stone of Scone in the forefront.Scone Abbey with a replica of the Stone of Scone in the forefront.


On 25th March 1306 Christian, alongside her husband, saw her brother crowned King Robert I by William Lamberton, Bishop of St Andrews, just 6 weeks after Comyn’s murder. The next day saw the ceremony repeated following the late arrival of Isabella MacDuff, Countess of Buchan, who claimed her family’s hereditary right to crown Scotland’s kings (despite her being married to a Comyn).


Robert’s coronation was the start of the most desperate period of his life – and that of his supporters. Edward I of England was never a one to casually acquiesce when he saw his will flouted. He sent his army into Scotland to hunt down the new king and his adherents. After his defeat by the English at Methven in 1306, Robert went into hiding in the Highlands. He sent his wife and daughter north to what he hoped would be safety. Christian, her sister Mary and the Countess of Buchan accompanied them, escorted by  the Earl of Atholl and Christian’s brother, Sir Neil Bruce.


It is thought that the Bruce women were heading north to Orkney in order to take a boat to Norway, where Robert’s sister, Isabel, was queen consort to King Erik II. Unfortunately they would never make it. The English caught up with them at Kildrummy Castle and laid siege to it. The defenders were betrayed by someone in their own garrison, a blacksmith who set fire to the barns, making the castle indefensible. The women managed to escape with the Earl of Atholl, but Neil Bruce remained with the garrison to mount a desperate defence in order give the queen, his niece and sisters enough time to escape.


Following their capitulation the entire garrison was executed. Sir Neil Bruce was given a traitor’s death; he was hung, drawn and quartered at Berwick in September 1306.



Doon Castle

Christian and her companions did not escape for long; they made for Tain, in Easter Ross, possibly in the hope of finding a boat to take them onwards. They were hiding in the sanctuary of St Duthac when they were captured by the Earl of Ross (a former adherent of the deposed King John Balliol), who handed them over to the English. They were sent south, to Edward I at Lanercost Priory in Cumbria.


Following the coronation Christian’s husband, Sir Christopher Seton, had been sent to hold Loch Doon Castle against the English. Following a siege the castle was surrendered by its Governor, Sir Gilbert de Carrick. Seton was executed on the orders of Edward I; the poor man was hanged.


Christian’s sister Mary and Isabella, Countess of Buchan, were treated particularly harshly by Edward I. The English king had special cages built for them and for centuries it has been thought they were suspended from the walls of the keeps at Roxburgh and Berwick Castles, exposed to the elements and the derision of the English garrisons and populace, and a taunt to the Scots just over the border. However, the cages were in fact indoors, within rooms in the castles’ keeps. In contrast, Christian was sent into captivity to a Gilbertine convent at Sixhills in Lincolnshire; she was probably told of her husband’s death – and the manner of it – some time during the journey south. Christian languished at Sixhills for 8 years, until shortly after her brother’s remarkable victory over the English at Bannockburn, in 1314.


King Robert the Bruce had managed to captured several notable English prisoners, including Humphrey de Bohun, 4th Earl of Hereford and Essex. Suddenly in a strong bargaining position, the Scots King was able to exchanged his English captives for his family, incarcerated in England.


Once home in Scotland Christian joined her brother’s court. In no hurry to remarry, she accompanied the king and his family on a short progress around Tyndale, an area of Northumberland which was officially in Scottish hands. Some time after her return to Scotland, Christian had also been granted the Bruce lands of Garioch in Aberdeenshire.


David II, Robert the Bruce_s son and successor

David II, Robert the Bruce’s son and successor

The Scottish Wars of Independence took a heavy toll on Christian’s family. Having lost her brother and husband in 1306, she lost her 2 younger brothers on the same day in 1307. Thomas and Alexander Bruce had been leading a force into Galloway when they were overwhelmed by the forces of Dungal MacDouall, a supporter of the Comyn faction. The brothers, both in their early 20s, were handed over to the English and were beheaded at Carlisle on 9th February 1307. Robert and Christian’s surviving brother, Edward, was killed in battle in Ireland in 1318.


The sad losses must have seemed endless to Christian. In 1316 King Robert had lost his daughter, Marjorie, in childbirth. She was just 19. Her son, Robert Stewart, survived and would be the king’s heir until the birth of his only son, David, in 1324. Marjorie’s son would eventually succeed as King Robert II following his uncle David II’s death in 1371. And in 1323 Christian’s sister Mary died; Mary had survived 4 years imprisoned in an iron cage at Roxburgh Castle before being transferred to a more comfortable imprisonment in 1310. It wouldn’t be surprising if her inhumane incarceration had contributed to Mary’s death in her early 40s.


Christian remained unmarried for many years. Although their marriage had been a short one, Christian kept her husband’s memory alive for many years to come; in 1324 she founded a chapel in Dumfries in his honour. There is a possibility  she was the Bruce sister mooted as a bride for Sir Andrew Harclay, earl of Carlisle, as part of a peace treaty with Scotland in 1323. However, negotiations broke down and the marriage never took place.


Bothwell Castle

Bothwell Castle southeast tower

Christian eventually married in 1326, to a man who was probably about 20 years her junior. Her 2nd husband was Sir Andrew Murray of Bothwell, posthumous son of the Sir Andrew Murray who had fought beside Sir William Wallace in the victory at Stirling Bridge.


Christian and Andrew were to have 2 children, sons. Their eldest, John, married Margaret Graham, Countess of Mentieth, sometime after 21st November 1348. John died in 1352 and Margaret would go on to marry Robert Duke of Albany, brother of Robert III and a great-grandson of King Robert the Bruce. A 2nd son, Thomas, would marry Joan, a daughter of Maurice Moray, Earl of Strathearn, and died in 1361.


On the death of Christian’s surviving brother, Robert the Bruce, in 1329, Scotland was once again thrown into turmoil. His 5-year-old son, David, was proclaimed king, with regents set to rule for him. As a member of the royal family Christian took part in David’s coronation in 1331. She shared a room in Scone Palace with her nieces, the new king’s sisters.


The English, however, saw the Bruce’s death as an opportunity and backed Edward Balliol‘s invasion of Scotland. Edward was crowned king in 1332, but could not consolidate his position. In the same year Murray was chosen as Guardian of Scotland and spent the next 5 years fighting the English and repulsing their attempts to return Balliol to the throne. Again, Christian found herself in the thick of the fighting when Sir Andrew installed her as keeper of Kildrummy Castle. In 1335 she was besieged by one of Balliol’s commanders, David Strathbogie, earl of Atholl. Her husband marched to her aid with a force of over a thousand men; he was able to surprise Atholl and defeated him at Culblean.



Kildrummy Castle

Christian remained in possession of Kildrummy Castle even after Sir Andrew’s death; her husband had died at Avoch Castle in Ross in 1338, having retired from national politics the year before. Christian is known to have entertained her nephew’s wife, Queen Joan, at Kildrummy Castle in 1342. David II was generous to his aunt, providing her with an income from a number of sources, including the customs of Aberdeen.


It is believed that Christian died sometime in 1356, the last time she was mention in the exchequer rolls. She must have been well into her 70s, a great age for the time. I couldn’t find any source to confirm where she was buried; however, her husband was initially buried in the chapel at Rossmarkie, but later reinterred in Dunfermline Abbey, suggesting that this is also Christian’s resting place. It would be appropriate if it was, as so many of her ancestors and family are buried there; including her husband, brother, Robert, and niece, Marjorie.

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The Carruthers : One of the lost tribes of Scotland.


The lost tribes of Scotland: 1,500-year-old silver casts light on forgotten ancient civilization

Clan Carruthers LLC

The lost tribes of Scotland: 1,500-year-old silver casts light on forgotten ancient civilization


Often typecast as tattooed barbarians, the Picts were famous for their aptitude for war. However, recent findings suggest the ancient peoples of Scotland also had a talent for carving stone and modeling silver. Archaeologists working in Northern Scotland have uncovered a hoard of over 100 silver items, including coins, brooches, and bracelets. The discovery, which dates back over 1,500 years to the late Roman era, has challenged traditional conceptions of ancient Scottish history, proving the Picts were far more than warlike barbarians. We know through the Gutland archeological digs that our relatives were superior in their metal workings.  Now the similarities are being uncovered in Scotland.


The Picts were a group of tribes who inhabited the region north of the Forth and Clyde during the Late Iron Age and Early Medieval era. During the late third century AD, the Picts launched several attacks against the northern border of the Roman Empire. According to accounts, the Picts fought stark naked, and the war paint featured in the movie Braveheart is a reference to Pictish martial culture. The tradition of fighting naked, particularly in the cold Scottish environment, did no harm to the tribe’s reputation for ferocity. Despite their inferior training and equipment, the Picts fiercely resisted the advancing Roman legions, resulting in the construction of Hadrian’s Wall in the during the second century AD.  Well, the Carruthers (Gutlanders), were known for pulling off their tartans and fighting naked.   Yes, you read tartan, because we already know that when they were in Gotland, they wove their own tartans, and when uncovering many skeletons , they would find a piece of their tartan rolled up in their mouths.


The silver found consisted of minor fragments of sheet silver, lacerated shards of objects, and some intact examples which may have belonged to notable members of society during the period. A crew led by Dr. Gordon Noble, a senior researcher in the department of archaeology at Aberdeen University, testified to the findings in a study published in the journal Antiquity.


The investigators were shocked when they found more than 100 silver items. The hoard consists of late Roman coins, military gear, personal effects including brooch and bracelet remains, ingots and Hacksilber parcels, and fragments of cut, curved and fragmented silver. According to the investigators, there were initially two man-made rock circles, one dating back to the Neolithic and one to the Bronze Age (B.C. 1670 to B.C. 1500). The location of these stone circles is now an enormous agricultural hub; this intense farming has destroyed all traces of these man-made rocks. The Carruthers (Gotlanders), were some of the riches men in the European territories.  Besides building the best and fastest boats, and having all shipping go best their island, they were bankers and traders.   They also made tremendous amounts of money for fighting.  Yes, sometimes they would be paid to fight against the romans, and sometimes they got paid to fight with the romans.


Three silver items were first excavated at the stone circle site over 170 years ago. The silver has been dated to the sixth or seventh century AD, after the Romans abandoned Britain and before the first Vikings landed. During the spring of 2013, two developments in Scotland came together to reexamine the site, and they found a significant number of silver objects. The items were quickly identified as belonging to a tribe of Picts.


A new investigation of the field revealed that the Gaulcross hoard was much larger than initially thought, and is now the northernmost example of a pre-Viking hoard. Evidence shows that the Picts had access to vast amounts of silver and, surprisingly, that they were not careful about managing what was such a valuable resource. The researchers discovered that the objects had been broken up, ready to be melted down and made into new items.


This find has led to speculation about the relationship between the Picts and the wider ancient world. How did they acquire Roman silver in the first place, and what sort of new products were made from it? This theme of recycling is so significant in understanding the hoard, and may explain the erratic nature of several of the specimens. Most other silver would have been melted down, but luckily for the archaeologists, this buried treasure escaped destruction.


This discovery will help to illuminate the history of the Dark Ages in Britain, which followed the collapse of the Roman Empire in the fifth century. The Roman name for the people was Picti, which means “painted people,” a word which the tribes themselves never used to describe themselves. It is hoped that the unearthing of new archaeological sites will cause the history of ancient Scotland to be better understood.

We may be called the Picts in Scotland, but if  you look at the old maps of Scotland, one section was Got!

Our DNA is over 75,000 years old.  We definitely have a long history to explore.

Through the Carruthers DNA Research Project, and the Carruthers DNA Tree, we are learning at a fast clip all about these fierce Gots, Goths, Gotlanders, that were are relatives.


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‘Witch’ prison revealed in 15th-century Scottish chapel

Clan Carruthers LLC


An iron ring set in the stone pillar of a 15th-century chapel in the Scottish city of Aberdeen may not look like much, but historians say it could be a direct link to a dark chapter in the city’s past — the trial and execution of 23 women and one man accused of witchcraft during Aberdeen’s “Great Witch Hunt” in 1597.

“I was skeptical, to be honest — the ring is not all that spectacular, but it is actually quite genuine,” said Arthur Winfield, project leader for the OpenSpace Trust in the United Kingdom, which is restoring the chapel as part of a community-based redevelopment of the East Kirk sanctuary at the historic Kirk of St Nicholas, in central Aberdeen.

Winfield told Live Science that two places within the kirk (the Lowland Scots word for “church”) had been equipped as a prison for witches snared in the Aberdeen witch hunt: the stone-vaulted chapel of St Mary, and the tall steeple of the kirk, which was at that time the tallest structure in the city.

Winfield said that neither location would have been warm in the winter of 1597, when those accused of witchcraft awaited trail, and likely their execution: “In the winter nowadays, the temperature gets down to 3 degrees [Celsius] in St Mary’s Chapel, and I guess it would be even colder up in the spire.”

Witch hunting in Scotland in the 16th century was not carried out by mobs with pitchforks, but by royal commissions at the orders of the king. As a result, Aberdeen’s city archives today hold meticulous original records of the witch trials and executions in 1597, including payments to a local blacksmith for the iron rings and shackles installed to imprison accused witches at the Kirk of St Nicholas.

The city records also detail the costs for the rope, wood and tar later used to burn the convicted witches at the stake, at Castle Hill and Heading Hill in Aberdeen, before large crowds of onlookers. As a small mercy, most of the condemned were strangled to death before their bodies were burned, according to the University of Edinburgh’s online Survey of Scottish Witchcraft.

Chris Croly, a historian at the University of Aberdeen, told Live Science that Aberdeen’s Great Witch Hunt of 1597 was one phase of a wave of witch persecutions across Scotland sparked by the witchcraft laws of King James VI of Scotland (who became James I of England in 1603).

“It is often said that Aberdeen burned more witches than anywhere else — that may not be entirely accurate, but what is absolutely accurate is that Aberdeen has the best civic records of witch burning in Scotland, and so it can appear that way,” Croly told Live Science.

He said the wave of witchcraft persecutions that began in Europe in the 15th century and reached Scotland in the 1590s, continued into the Americas in the 17th century and led to the infamous witch trials at Salem in Massachusetts in 1692 and 1693.

Many Protestant and Catholic authorities at the time were united in a belief that witchcraft was the result of witches “communing with the devil” and that biblical scripture justified their execution. “That’s how this wave can sweep through both Protestant and Catholic countries,” Croly said.

One the most famous cases of the 1597 witch trials in Aberdeen involved two members of one family. The mother, Jane Wishart, was convicted of 18 counts of witchcraft, including casting spells that caused illness in her neighbors; inducing a mysterious brown dog to attack her son-in-law after an argument; and dismembering a corpse that hung on a gallows, to provide the ingredients for her magic.

Wishart’s son, Thomas Leyis, was also convicted of heading a coven of witches that had danced with the devil at midnight in Aberdeen’s fish market area. Both mother and son were strangled and burned, and the city records note that it cost “3 pounds, 13 shillings and 4 pence” to provide enough peat, tar and wood for Leyis’ pyre.

Buried beneath the kirk

In 2006 and 2007, the East Kirk of St Nicholas was the scene of a major archeological excavation before restoration work could be done to develop the former church as a community center. The redevelopment effort is known as the “Mither Kirk Project,” from the Lowland Scots words for “mother church.”

No remains of the accused witches were found at the site, and Croly noted that they would have been buried elsewhere, on “unhallowed ground.” But the excavations had provided archaeologists with an extraordinary look at the lives of the people of the city from the 11th to the 18th centuries, he said.

Over the course of the excavation, the remains of more than 2,000 people, including 1,000 entire skeletons, were disinterred from grave sites that lay under the floor of the East Kirk, said Croly, who was Aberdeen’s city historian at the time of the excavations, and worked closely with city archaeologists on the project.

Most of the bodies were buried before the 1560s, when the Protestant Reformation in Scotland forbade burials inside churches, but the practice was profitable and continued in a small way until the 18th century, he said.

The excavations had also found evidence of earlier church buildings beneath the existing kirk that dated to the 11th century, and the graves of nine babies that had been laid out together in an arc near an 11th-century wall — possibly the victims of an epidemic of disease, Croly said.

Now that archaeological tests on the bodies from the kirk have been completed, the Mither Kirk Project plans to hold a ceremony later this year to reinter the bodies in a vault beneath the current floor level.

At a later date, the former “prison for witches” in St Mary’s Chapel will be redeveloped as a “contemplative space,” said Arthur Winfield, the project leader for the OpenSpace Trust. “That space will be kept as an area of peace and tranquility — essentially, it is going to be respected for the chapel that it was, and will be again,” he said.

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