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.


Carruthers history, Castles in Carruthersland, Scotland History, Uncategorized

Annan Castle and the Vampires

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


The true vampire story of Annan Castle, Scotland



The ancient red-sandstone royal burgh of Annan, Carruthersland – named for the river on which it stands – was a stronghold of the Bruce’s and the home of Robert de Brus ‘The Competitor’, Lord of Annandale, grandfather of Robert I, The Bruce.   Annan Castle was built by King Willian The Lion, in the mid 1100’s, as one of his 13 castles he built along the rivers.

Ever since the 12th century, the Bruce’s considered themselves cursed. Robert Bruce believed his contracting leprosy was ‘the finger of God upon me’ and a consequence of the family’s execration. Folklore says the bad luck came about in this way.

During his visit to the then castle-hamlet of Annan in 1138, the Irish Bishop of Armagh, Maolmhaodliog ua Morgair, named St Malachy O’More, was entertained at the Bruce’s castle (the last traces of which were removed in 1875). While he ate, Malachy overheard servants speaking about a robber who was to be hanged. Malachy asked his host – the chief lawman of the district – to spare the robber, and Brus agreed to do so.

Malachy left soon after his repast and as he rode out of the town he saw the cadaver of the robber hanging by the roadside. Angered that Brus had lied to him, Malachy laid a curse on Brus, his family, and the little castle-hamlet. After Malachy died in 1148, Robert de Brus paid for lights to be maintained at the shrine of St Malachy at the monastery of Clairvaux, France, where the soon-to-be saint had died. But folklore has it that Malachy’s curse was never expiated.



The curse of Annan

Another story was also associated with ‘St Malachy’s Curse on Annan’. Celtic myth speaks of blood-drinking spirits, even though the romanticism of the vampire is largely an eighteenth century invention, and Scottish folklore does not dwell much on the vampire of folklore even though some devotees point to Cruden Bay, Aberdeenshire, as the supposed birthplace of the inspiration that gave the Irish writer Bram Stoker (1847-1912) his Count Dracula.

It seems that no long after the laying of Malachy’s curse the plague came to Annan, spread by a man on the run from Yorkshire. The Bruce’s had given the man sanctuary, but Annan soon regretted the family’s generosity as the man continued the ‘wickedness’ that had led him to flee, but the man succumbed to the plague.

Not long after he had been buried, locals reported seeing the man around Annan accompanied by ‘a horrible crowd of dogs’. Terrified by the sight of the ambulant ‘rotting corpse’, the good folk of Annan sent for priests to come and cleanse the place with their prayers. Alas the plague raged, all spread, said the locals, by the undead visitation.

One evening the Bruce’s were holding a banquet for the clergy visiting the burgh to drive out the plague with new prayers they had composed, when two brothers started a conversation concerning the death of their father in the plague. The upshot was that they volunteered to rid Annan of the dread monster and wreak their own revenge for their father’s death.

As the banquet went on the two young men slipped out of the castle and through the silent streets of Annan to where the plague man had been buried. They resolved to disinter the cadaver and destroy it by fire, so they both set about digging.

At last they came to the body and observed that it had ‘swollen with much enormous corpulence, and the face red and swollen above measure’. Yet the clothes in which the man had been buried seemed to have been cut as if the body had been trying to escape from its mortal trappings.

One of the two men could not contain his anger any longer as he remembered the fate of his father and, taking up the sharp spade with which he had dug the grave, he brought its point down upon the chest of the corpse with great force. He let free a huge issue of blood which soaked their feet as they stood in the shallow grave.

It was more blood than any human body might have contained and the two young men realised that they had disinterred a vampire still full of its victims’ blood.

The cadaver was hauled out of the grave and dragged through the streets to the edge of town, where the two young men placed it on a pyre. Remembering the old superstition that the vampire could not be destroyed without removing the heart, this was done by a few deft strokes of the spade. As they tossed the heart separately into the flames the cadaver let out a huge sigh and was consumed. Thereafter Annan was never affected by the plague again.

Ancient and Honorable Carruthers Clan Society Int LLC

Clan Carruthers Int LLC

Follow us on facebook at:





Carruthers history, Uncategorized

Who Were the Nine Tribes of Ancient Scotland?

Ancient and Honorable Carruthers Clan Int LLC

Clan Carruthers Int LLC


Who were the nine tribes of ancient Scotland?


From the red haired fighters found in Caledonia to the heavily bejeweled people of modern-day Fife, the Romans identified nine major tribes after arriving in what is now Scotland in AD79.

Roman geographer Ptolemy did much of the documenting as he embarked on his new map of the world. While his results are mixed, with some of his surveying done from the sea, his work gives us some insight into the Iron Age settlements of the day.

Here we look at the nine major tribes, many who would unite to fight the Romans in the key battle of Mons Graupius in AD84.

The Caledones

Considered a strong and mobile enemy by the Romans, the Caledones settled between the modern towns of Fort William and Inverness with one translation of the tribe’s name being “possessing of hard feet”.

Others believe the name may relate to the rocky land and the hardy people.

Whilst one distinct tribe, the Romans also labelled all people living in a vast area between Loch Long or Loch Fyne in the west to the Beauly Firth in the east as the Caledones.

Several sub-tribes of this land called Caledonia including the Creones and Carnonacae but little is on record of them. Another tribe is the Smertae, from the border of Ross and Sutherland, understood as those ‘smeared’ with enemy or sacrificial blood.

Roman historian Tacitus describes the inhabitants of Caledonia as having ‘red hair and large limbs’ who were fierce and quick to fight.



The original Glaswegians, the Damnonii were conquered by the Romans for many years with their land – which stretched over the Clyde Valley and Strathclyde – occupied by the Roman army on several occasions.

The tribe may have had a settlement at Dumyat Hill near Stirling with their headquarters during Roman times likely to have been a vast hill settlement on Walls Hill, near Howwood in Renfrewshire. The Damnonii is thought to mean ‘the masters’, ‘the dominators’, or ‘the lords’.


Based in Argyll, it is presumed their original territory of Epidion is the island of Islay. Its people spread across Jura and Arran and through Kintyre. The name has its origins in the Celtic for horse.


Vacomagi centred around the fertile lands of Strathmore with their name translating as “inhabitants of the curved fields.”

The Roman forts at Dalginross near Comrie, Cardean in Angus and at Fochabers, Moray are thought to have built on the tribe’s territories.


This tribe lived around the River Tay and what is now Fife, one of the Roman’s most active areas as its legions sought to quell attacks in the east of the Highlands.

A Roman fortress was built at Inchtuthill which remained occupied during the late first century by the Twentieth Legion Valeria.

The Venicones were one of the few groups in northern Britain at this time to bury the dead in stone graves.

The tribe was also known for its massive bronze armlets, which could weigh 1.5kg each.


Lived in small undefended farms and hamlets in what is now Grampian.

The key town was Devana – the area now known as Aberdeen – at the mouth of the River De

While the Taexali were defeated by Romans in AD84 at the Battle of Mons Graupius, their land was never permanently occupied.


This tribe had a large settlement around Traprain Law, in East Lothian – a large volcanic hill – with territory extending across the Lothians.

Hundreds of roundhouses were built around the Traprain settlement with excavations carried out in the early 1900s unearthing Roman silver, wine jugs, goblets and military buckles.

Much of it appeared as if it had been cut for melting down. The finds, including coins from Gaul, suggested the tribe may have had trading links with the Continent. It is not certain if the hoard was stolen or a bribe or payment from the Romans.

The Traprain Treasure and other artefacts from Traprain are on display at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.

The descendants of the Votadini were the Gododdin who had their great stronghold at Din Eidyn – Edinburgh.


A little known tribe or people who lived in what is today Galloway who lived a more humble lives that their neighbours the Votadini. Considered to be farmers and herders.

One of their towns, ‘Locopibium’, recorded by Ptolemy, may have been Whithorn or Wigtown. This area was later controlled by Roman forts at Glenlochar and Dalswinton.



Thought to be the neighbouring tribe to the Novantae. Selgovae is thought to mean ‘the people of the hunt’ or ‘the hunters’. The tribe were long associated with the massive hill fort on the north peak of the three Eildon Hills, near Melrose, but they are now thought to have lived farther to the south west in Galloway.

Robert Mc Angus




Carruthers – Gotland – Ashman

Clan Carruthers LLC

Ancient and Honorable Carruthers Clan Society International


Carruthers – Gotland – Ashman


In the last two blogs, it was mentioned that all the Carruthers ancestors, no matter how it is spelled, have the same 32-36 DNA markers, and our earliest location is Gotland.  The same DNA takes us to 500 BC on the island of Gotland.

Gotland was in a perfect position to be a destination that people traveling would stop at. Its position in the middle of the Baltic Sea made the island a natural hub for contact between West and East. However, being an island also meant developing along different paths, creating special traditions and legends.
An island off the southwestern coast of what is now Sweden.



Traces of around 60 coastal settlements have been found on Gotland, says Dan Carlsson. Most were small fishing hamlets with jetties apportioned among nearby farms. Fröjel, which was active  up until 1150, was one of about 10 settlements that grew into small towns, and Carlsson believes that it became a key player in a far-reaching trade network. “Gotlanders were middlemen,” he says, “and they benefited greatly from the exchange of goods from the West to the East, and the other way around.”

There is no doubt that Gotland served as a central meeting point in the Baltic Sea. Commerce took place among people from widespread areas, both near and far. Objects found in excavations include artefacts from Continental Europe and the Arabian caliphate. Since they found artifacts from the Arabian countries, does that mean we raped and pillaged our way down there.  OH, you bet we did!  And we were damn good at it too!

Most astounding of all are the great silver treasures, which have become well-known throughout the world. The huge number of” silver hordes” finds bears witness to wealth found nowhere else at our latitude. They have found in excess of 180,000 coins on Gotland, in comparison to 80,000 coins in all of Sweden and Norway.  The coins show the extent of Gotland’s contact with the outside world and the trade that helped make the island so rich. Ornamental metalwork is often found in burials but also comes from hoards and bog finds. Our ancestors were great “metal spinners”.  Findinsg in iron, copper, and silver are numerous. Besides the coins, the gold is found in the form of thin, disk-shaped pendants stamped on one side (known as bracteates), sword pommels, scabbard mounts, and large, extravagantly decorated collars with applied decoration.

bronzenechlace     vikingsilver

Fishing and hunting of wild animals, including moose, bear, and reindeer as well as small mammals and birds, remained important throughout the Late Iron Age, along with agriculture based on raising cattle, hogs, sheep, and goats and growing barley, rye, oats, and flax on arable land as the climate allowed.  Gotland was the most agriculturally rich areas. In the far north, there were reindeer herders . The hunters, fisherman and farmers were the upper class on Gotland, during the iron age.

Characteristic house types were long rectangular houses like those known at Vallhagar near the west coast of Gotland, dating to the sixth century, apparently similar to later Viking Age halls of indigenous longhouse type that are described in saga literature.


Earlier than that in the Iron Age,  hillforts dot the landscape of the west coast of Gotland.   In coastal areas, they seem to provide refuge from sea attacks and protect waterways. Stone forts were built on the Baltic Islands, including Torsburgen on Gotlands.


The huge number of” silver hordes” finds bears witness to wealth found nowhere else at our latitude. They have found in excess of 180,000 coins on Gotland, in comparison to 80,000 coins in all of Sweden and Norway.  The coins show the extent of Gotland’s contact with the outside world and the trade that helped make the island so rich.Hoards of Roman solidi (gold coins) deposited on the Baltic Islands from the late fifth century through the mid-sixth century also reflect unrest in this period.


Because of the fact that our ancestors were such master of metal spinning, the helmets they made were of course the best.  They had the only metal helmet made with a protector for their nose.   Roman had helmets, but they did not know how to have any protecting over their face.  gotlandhelmet


Burials include both inhumation and cremation during the Late Iron Age, with single mounds gradually replacing mound groups yet with great variation in grave types. At 500 AD ornamental gold and bronze fragments were discovered and shown to be damaged by a cremation fire.  The ancestors were quite ritualistic.   They held elaborate funerals.


Many families had their own graveyard, and they would build the outline of a ship around were all their immediate family was buried.  These were called barrow graves.

gotlandbayeux warships

Our Ancestors were fierce shipbuilders. Because of their metal spinning craftsmanship, they could create the tools needed.   They made ships mainly out of Ash Trees, which became a very sacred tree to them. When a new life was created or one had left this world they always planted an ash tree.   When people from other regions saw the boats, they would put their order in, and thus it was quite profitable for the Ancestors.  This is where they made the most of their money.   Boats and ships were a major importance in everyday life and they were a symbol of wealth and power.  Our ancestors were advanced in wood carpentry and it is mentioned often that these ships were lighter, slimmer, stronger and faster.

Because of the importance and sacredness of the Ash Tree, used for personal rituals and  for making these excellent ships, we were referred to as Ashman.  That was our name on Gotland, before coming to Scotland.  You will still see that name, mainly in Europe and what is interesting to me that many of the people who write books about ships, shipping, and in the shipping business are Ashman.


Before we were Carruthers, we were Ashman!

Carruthers Carrothers Pat on Facebook

Carruthers Clan Society International