Douglas, William (1533-1591) (DNB00)

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DOUGLAS, WILLIAM, ninth Earl of Angus (1533–1591), eldest son of Archibald Douglas of Glenbervie and Lady Agnes Keith, daughter of William, second earl Marischal, was born in 1533. His paternal grandfather was William Douglas of Braidwood and Glenbervie, second son of Archibald, fifth earl of Angus (‘Bell-the-Cat’), and on the failure of the heirs male of the eldest son of that earl in the death of Archibald, eighth earl of Angus, William Douglas of Glenbervie succeeded, in right of entails made by Archibald, sixth earl of Angus, in 1547, as ninth earl. James VI, who as grandson of Lady Margaret Douglas, the daughter of the sixth earl, was heir of line, instituted legal proceedings for the reduction of these entails as being expressly violations of the law of God, the law of man, and the law of nature. The court of session repelled the king's claim, but James had other weapons, and the laird of Glenbervie judged it most prudent to accept a proffered renunciation of the royal claim at the king's own price, thirty-five thousand merks, and the loss of his lands of Braidwood.

While laird of Glenbervie, Douglas attained to some repute as a soldier at the battle of Corrichie in 1562, where he sided with Queen Mary against the Earl of Huntly. On later occasions he also fought against Huntly. He was chancellor of the assize which convicted Francis, earl of Bothwell, for whose incarceration he lent his castle of Tantallon, at the king's request. As a privy councillor he was required to reside in Edinburgh for the government of the country every alternate fifteen days during the absence of James VI when he went to bring over his Danish bride, and on their arrival he took part in the coronation ceremonial. He died at Glenbervie on 1 July 1591, in the fifty-ninth year of his age, and was buried in the Douglas aisle at the parish church of Glenbervie. His countess, Egidia, daughter of Robert Grahame of Morphie, whom he married in 1552, erected a monument to him and herself there. They had a family of nine sons and four daughters, and three of the younger sons originated the families of Douglas of Glenbervie, of Bridgeford, and of Barras.

[Fraser's Douglas Book; Histories of Knox, Calderwood, and Hume of Godscroft; Register of the Privy Council of Scotland.]

H. P.