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Archibald Douglas and Elizabeth Boyd

Archibald Douglas. (Bell the Cat). 5th Earl of Angus
Born on 16 October 1449 at (Kilmark, East Ayrshire-S2)(Tantallon Castle, East Lothian-S3), Scotland; son of George Douglas, 4th Earl of Angus, and Isabella Sibbald of Balgony.

He succeeded his father, George Douglas, 4th Earl of Angus, in 1462 or 1463 at the age of just fourteen. (S3).

Husband of Elizabeth Boyd, Lady, Countess of Angus and Katherine Stirling. Partner of Janet Kennedy, Lady Bothwell. (S2).

On 4 March 1468 he married Elizabeth (d. 1498), daughter of Robert Boyd, 1st Lord Boyd. (S3).

In the summer of 1500: he married Katherine Stirling, daughter of Sir William Stirling of Keir (S3).

Janet, daughter of John Kennedy, 2nd Lord Kennedy, was one of his mistresses. (S3).

In 1481, Angus became Warden of the East March, but the next year he joined the league against James III and his favourite, Robert Cochrane, at Lauder. Here he is said to have earned his nickname by offering to "bell the cat"—specifically, to deal with Cochrane—beginning the attack upon him by pulling his gold chain off his neck, and then ordering the hanging of Cochrane and others of the king's favourites from Lauder old bridge (the site of which is in the grounds of Thirlestane Castle). The earliest written source for the story is in David Hume of Godscroft, the Douglas family biographer. The phrase "to bell the cat" comes from the fable "The Mice in Council", erroneously ascribed to Aesop, and refers to a dangerous task undertaken for the benefit of all. (S3).

Subsequently, he joined Alexander Stewart, Duke of Albany, in league with Edward IV of England on 11 February 1483, signing the convention at Westminster which acknowledged the overlordship of the English king. However, in March Albany and Angus returned, outwardly at least, to their allegiance, and received pardons for their treason. (S3).

After a period of peace between them, Angus and the king again started to quarrel. Angus now decided to rebel against the king. Having the support of the Scottish nobility this time, he marched against James III and they fought the Battle of Sauchieburn during which the king was killed. (S3).

Angus became one of the guardians of the young king James IV. but soon lost influence, to the Homes and Hepburns, and the wardenship of the marches went to Alexander Home. Though outwardly on good terms with James, Angus treacherously made a treaty with Henry VII around 1489 or 1491, by which he undertook to govern his relations with James according to instructions from England. He also agreed to hand over Hermitage Castle, commanding the pass through Liddesdale into Scotland, on the condition of receiving English estates in compensation. (S3).

In October 1491 he fortified his castle of Tantallon against James, but had to submit and to exchange his Liddesdale estate and Hermitage Castle for the lordship of Bothwell. (S3).

In 1493 Angus again returned to favour, receiving various grants of lands. He became Chancellor, which office he retained till 1498. (S3).

In June 1497 he opened talks for the surrender of Perkin Warbeck at 'Jenyn Haugh'. (S3).

In 1501, in disgrace once more, he was confined to Dumbarton Castle. (S3).

At the disaster at Flodden Field in 1513, though absent himself, Angus lost his two eldest sons. As the Scottish nation licked its wounds, Angus won appointment as one of the councilors of Margaret Tudor the queen regent; but the newly appointed councilor died at the end of October 1513. His successor to the Earldom of Angus was his grandson, Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus. (S3).

He died on 29 November 1513 at Tantallon Castle, North Berwick, East Lothian, Scotland (from Heartbreak over death of his sons at the Battle of Flodden Field). (S2).

Elizabeth Boyd.
Born about 1458 at Kilmarnock, Aryshire, Scotland; daughter of Robert Boyd and Mariota Maxwell.

She died on 21 February 1496 at Tantallon Castle, North Berwick, East Lothian, Scotland. (S1).

  1. George Douglas. Master of Angus. Born in 1469. He married Elizabeth Drummond in March 1488. He was killed at the Battle of Flodden on 9 September 1513.
  2. Marion Douglas of Angus. (Mariot-S3). Born in 1470. She married Cuthbert Cunningham.
  3. Sir William Douglas of Glenbervie, Kt.. Born in 1471. He married Elizabeth Auchinleck. He was killed at the Battle of Flodden on 9 September 1513.
  4. Gavin Douglas, Bishop Of Dunkeld. Bonr in 1472.
  5. Elizabeth Douglas. Born in 1474.
  6. Sir Archibald Douglas of Kilspindie. Born in 1475. Given the nickname Greysteil by James V. He died about 1540.
  7. Janet Douglas. Born in 1476.


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