Carmichael, John (d.1600) (DNB00)

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CARMICHAEL, Sir JOHN (d. 1600), of Carmichael, a powerful border chief, was the eldest son of Sir John Carmichael and Elizabeth, third daughter of the fifth lord of Somerville. He married Margaret, daughter of Sir George Douglas of Pittendreich, sister of the regent Morton, and in 1581 he and his son Hugh were found guilty of a treasonable conspiracy in assembling two hundred men at the rocks of Braid, with the view of rescuing Morton from the Castle of Edinburgh. They, however, escaped punishment by fleeing the kingdom, and having afterwards returned were attained in 1584 for being concerned in the raid of Ruthven, when they again fled the kingdom. In August 1588 Carmichael was appointed captain-general of the troops of light horse raised to assist in resisting the threatened invasion by the Spaniards (Register of the Privy Council, iv. 315); and when his services were not found necessary, he was appointed warden of the west marshes. He was one of the ambassadors sent to Denmark to negotiate the marriage between James VI and the Princess Anne of Denmark. In 1590 he was despatched on an important mission to Queen Elizabeth, with a result entirely satisfactory. In 1592 he resigned the warden-ship in favour of the Earl of Angus; but on that nobleman resigning it in 1598, he was restored to the office. While on his way to Lochmaben, to hold a warden's court for the punishment of offences committed on the borders, he was attacked (16 June 1600) by a body of the Armstrongs and shot dead with a hacbut. For this murder Thomas Armstrong, nephew of Kinmont Willie [see Armstrong, William, fl. 1596], was executed in the following November, and Alexander Armstrong of Rowanburne in February 1606. According to Sir Walter Scott, tradition affirms the well-known ballad, 'Armstrong's Good Night,' to have been composed by Thomas Armstrong previous to his execution.

[Crawford's Scottish Peerage; Douglas's Scottish Peerage, ii. 752; Acts of the Parliament of Scotland, vols. iii. iv. and v.; Irving's Upper Ward of Lanarkshire, i. 13-16.]

T. F. H.