Carruthers history, Scotland History, Uncategorized

Lady Devorgilla in Stone

Ancient and Honorable Carruthers Clan Society Int LLC
Clan Carruthers Int LLC



At Whitesands along the River Night which runs through Dumfries.


Walking on from the kinetic hangings and the curved railings beyond the Devorgilla Bridge, we come to Matt Baker’s granite sculpture of Lady Devorgilla. Many people must walk past without realizing a sculpture is on the river side of the wall beside a flight of steps. She is set into the sandstone wall, looking across the river. The figure was inspired by Lady Devorgilla Baillol who reputedly had the first wooden bridge across the bridge built in the thirteenth century.


She was the daughter of Alan, Lord of Galloway and married John Balliol when she was only 13. In her own right she was a wealthy and powerful woman. Although her husband founded Balliol College, Oxford (for poor scholars) she made a permanent endowment to the college to secure its future. She also founded Greyfriars Monastery in Dumfries. On the death of her husband she established a Cistercian Monastery at New Abbey, a few miles from Dumfries. She had his heart embalmed and carried it with her in an ivory casket. When she died she was buried at the abbey church she had founded, with her husband’s heart beside her. Is this a romantic tale, or is carrying your dead husband’s heart around a bit weird? The monks clearly decided on romantic, calling the abbey Dulce Cor, meaning sweet heart.


Now, carved in granite from salvaged harbour kerbs, Devorgilla stands gazing serenely across the caul. When the River Nith floods, which it does frequently, the sculpture is partially submerged and becomes part of the river in a powerful way.


Originally, a second part of Matt Baker’s installation was situated on the other side of the river. It was a translucent etching of a woman about to cross the river, laminated in glass with an oak frame. She was there for nine years before being destroyed, in 2007, by spring floods.


The Picts, Uncategorized
Ancient and Honorable Carruthers Clan Society Int LLC
Clan Carruthers Int LLC



“The Mystical Picts of Ancient Scotland”



Of all the mysteries in Ancient Scotland none are more mystical than the Pictish Runes and Engravings on the countless Standing Stones in the North East of Scotland. Did the Picts in prehistoric times for-tell the passing of Planet Nibiru every 3600 years by using the mythical “Black Mirror?”

blackmirrorsMadame Blavatsky describes how, whilst attempting to retrieve their stolen goods, the ‘Koodian’ (sorcerer) produced, from its case, a mirror of the kind known as ‘Persian Mirrors’.

It is on the Pictish engravings you see the ‘Black Mirror’, and the case in which it was kept.

These ‘Magic Mirrors’ which were generally black in colour were prepared in the Province of Agra in India, but also came from China and Tibet. They are also found in Ancient Egypt and it is said the ancestors of the Quichés brought them to Mexico.

The last mention we have is the Inca – when Pizarro demanded a room full of gold for the release of his captive, the Queen consulted the ‘Oracles’. During the consultation the Chief-Priest showed her, in the consecrated ‘Black Mirror’, the unavoidable murder of her husband.

thentheyvanishedThen they vanished, never to be seen or used again – what happened to these mystical artifacts from the Ancient World?

The Picts obviously had the use of these ‘Mirrors’ precisely why they portrayed them on their ‘Sacred Standing Stones’ – but what about the ‘Tuning Fork’ – (the name academics give to what looks like a ‘tuning fork’)

This object would have been quite large and struck on a hard surface giving off a loud sound. The accompanying vibrations would have raised the vibrations of the ‘Seer’ – the one who was using the ‘Mirror’ – similar to the Tibetan gongs and bells, or alternatively the repeating of a ‘mantra’.

onmanyengravingsOn many engravings is a large globe with two small circles, one on each side. This could well be a simple ‘Quaig’ (a bowl) — but why would this be so important as to be recorded for future generations to see on so many different stones?

Is the large globe the Sun with the Earth on one side and Nibiru on the other?

onthisstoneOn this stone in the center are 12 globes, these are the twelve planets in our solar system, including Nibiru – the 12th Planet.

On the bottom left corner panel is the Sun with Planet Earth and Nibiru on it’s journey through our Solar System.

And on the right side?

Lost City

This is a Lost City discovered off the coast of Cuba.


The city plan looking very similar to the to the lay-out on the Pictish Standing Stone.

The Picts had direct contact with the Atlantean Civilisation precisley why they came to possess these “Magic Mirrors”. Atlantis was not just a city — it was civilisation encompassing the entire planet — they were the Fourth Root Race — the Legendary “Super-Race”.

The mystery of the Pictish engravings has never been solved and it is only when our minds are opened to an alternative way of thinking will we be able to understand “Why” the Ancients took so much time and energy to leave us with such mysteries?


Thank you Jim Davidson

Ancient and Honorable Carruthers Clan Society Int LLC

Clan Carruthers Int LLC


Northern Ireland, Uncategorized

The Derrygonnelly Farmhouse Ghost

The Derrygonnelly Farmhouse Ghost

Ancient and Honorable Carruthers Clan Society Int LLC

Clan Carruthers



Ghosts in Ireland, like ghosts all round the world, can attach themselves to families or in particular family members. The Derrygonnelly farmhouse ghost seemed to do just that.


This haunting of a family, in particular their daughter, takes place in a Derrygonnelly farmhouse just outside Enniskillen- Carruthersland, in County Fermanagh in the late 19th Century


The Derrygonnelly Farmhouse Ghost


Farmhouses around the 19th Century in Ireland typically consisted of a living room, which would have also been used as a kitchen, and two rooms off to the side which would have been bedrooms divided out among the family.


Of course there would have been no such thing as electricity and if you were lucky oil lamps would have been the order of the day. All cooking and heat would have come from a large open fire burning mainly wood and turf, the latter being dug in the summer and stored away for the colder months.


This farmhouse consisted of the farmer who was widowed (mortality was very high in Ireland around this time), his son and four daughters. The eldest of these children was Maggie who was around twenty when the haunting started and they seemed to centre on her.


Stories of haunted farmhouses are two a penny in Ireland but what makes this one unique is not the haunting but the fact that it was investigated by some high-powered ghost watchers, including Sir William Barrett, a former president of the Society for Psychical Research (SPR) and also a distinguished scientist and Fellow of the Royal Society.


The farmhouse ghost

The first signs that anything was amiss was when loud rapping and scratching sounds could be heard throughout the night. Then objects started to move about, items would be found outside the farmhouse, especially after a night of continuous banging and rapping noises. Lamps and candles proved impossible to keep in the cottage and were always found outside in the morning.


The father, a Methodist, was told to leave a Bible open, its pages weighted down by stones in the room that Maggie and her sisters occupied. This was to be to no avail as the stones were removed and indeed the pages of the Bible were found ripped out.


Sir William Barrett visited along with Mr. Thomas Plunkett from Enniskillen and in his report, quoted in part by Peter Underwood in the Gazetteer of Scottish and Irish Ghosts states:


After the children except the boy and Maggie had retired to bed Maggie lay fully clothed on top of the bed so that her arms and legs could be seen at all times. The rest of us settled around the kitchen fire when faint rapping sounds could be heard these got louder apparently coming from the walls, the ceilings and other parts of the bedroom to which the door had been left open.


On entering the room with a lamp the noises stopped but commenced again once the lamp had been placed in the windowsill. I kept the boy and his father by my side and asked Mr. Plunkett to look around outside. I eventually was able to approach the bed where I saw the younger children asleep and Maggie lying motionless whereas the noises were still as loud as ever. Under close inspection there was no explanation for the noises or items moving. Suddenly a pebble landed on the bed beside Maggie with no matter of explanation.


Barrett visited the farmhouse on the next three nights with other members of the SPR and the events were the same with the noises repeating themselves. Additional experiments were carried out by Barrett and others prompted by the farmer Barrett asked questions the answers being given by a number of raps, every time the correct number of raps was given.


Finally one of Barrett’s companions Rev. Maxwell Close read some passages from the Bible first to tremendous din which gradually got fainter until the noises disappeared by the time he got to the Lord’s Prayer. After that the Derrygonnelly haunting came to a stop.

Northern Ireland, Uncategorized

Vanishing Lake Loughareema


Ancient and Honorable Carruthers Clan Society International LLC

Clan Carruthers LLC

Unusual Lake Loughareema That Vanishes And Re-Appears In Northern Ireland


Located a few miles from the town of Ballycastle in Northern Ireland, Lake Loughareema (Loch an Rith Amach) is unusual because it sometimes vanishes and then later re-appears.

To get a good view of the vanishing lake you have to be there at just the right moment. Lake Loughareema’s sudden disappearance has resulted in a number of legends trying to explain its odd behavior, but there is a scientific explanation why the lake is sometimes visible and not.

The reason why the lake sporadically appears and disappears has to do with the area’s rock structure.

The vanishing lake sits on a leaky chalk-bed, a topographical feature called the ‘chalk ‘plug hole’. Occasionally, the  hole gets jammed with peat, causing the depression to fill with water, which is when the lake is visible to all.


When the plug clears, all the water in the lake drains underground at a rapid rate, and when someone passes the place he or she could not even suspect there is a lake at the site because the lake is almost completely devoid of water. All that is left is a small stream and lots of mud.

Many years ago this place was dangerous. The road to Ballycastle runs right through the lake, and at one point it used to be extremely unsafe to cross, flooded for weeks on end.

To deal with the problem, a modern road was built but at an elevation as high as maximum water level, to avoid flooding. A stone wall has also been erected on either side of the road.


This is what it looks like when the lake is gone.

In 1898, Colonel John Magee McNeille, was rushing to catch a train from Ballycastle. He was in such a hurry that he misjudged the depth of the lake’s waters and he along with his coachman and horses drowned.

Today there is still a local legend alive. It warns visitors that on nights when the lake is full, a phantom coach and its passengers haunt the lake shores to this very day.


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



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.

Ancient and Honorable Carruthes Clan Society International LLC

Folow us:

Landscape Genealogy, Uncategorized

A Visit to Dumfries House

Clan Carruthers LLC


It was my first visit although Dumfries house is on of Britain’s most beautifuldumfries house prince charles stately homes that was saved for the nation by the personal intervention of Prince Charles the Prince of Wales in 2007. The house and estate is now owned in charitable trust by The Great Steward of Scotland’s Dumfries House Trust, which maintains it as a visitor attraction and hospitality and wedding venue. Both the house and the gardens are listed as significant aspects of Scottish heritage.  dumfries-house-prince-charles

The 18th century house is set in lovely grounds and combines the neoclassical architecture of Robert Adam with the furniture of Thomas Chippendale. The refurbished blue bed is a stunning work of modern and classical craftsmanship.


We sampled coffee and cake at the visitor centre before touring the house and grounds. The baking was fresh and the scones the most enormous I have ever seen! We enjoyed the bright, freshly decorated cafeteria. There were many tables and it was well appointed. We enjoyed exploring the grounds and the playground is delightful. We only wished we had a child with us to enjoy it too.

On our visit around the house we were entranced by the quality of the restoration and the beautiful, original furniture that has been saved by Prince Charles. He has secured employment for many people in and around Cumnock. This is an area of Scotland that suffers from serious unemployment and a lack of investment. dumfries house blue roomI paticularly liked the yellow room in the house. It was so bright and light and cheerful. The collection of Chippendale chairs in this room is splendid. Anna enjoyed the blue room with its cool colours and original furniture.


After our tour of Dumfries House, we stopped for lunch downstairs in the original kitchen and servants’ working area of the house in the basement. The cutlery and table furnishings were beautiful. We were served vegetrian dumfries house yellow room parsnip soup, made from produce grown in the grounds. There was also a selection of sandwiches with various fillings. Biscuits and cakes finished off the meal. Some of the sandwiches and pieces of cake tasted slightly stale. that was disappointing. I suspect they are cut early in the day and uncovered until served, at whatever time of day.



However, after lunch we took another tour of the grounds and visited the walled garden. The beauty of the house, grounds and the stylish walled garden far out-weighed the slightly dry cake.


Valerie Penny


Ancient and Honorable Carruthers Clan Society Int. LLC