The Phillips, Weber, Kirk, & Staggs families of the Pacific Northwest

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  • ID: I19400
  • Name: Archibald "Bell the Cat" DOUGLAS , 5th Earl Angus 1 2 3
  • Sex: M
  • ALIA: 21st\5th Earl of /Angus/, Archibald Douglas
  • Birth: ABT 1453 in Kilmaurs, Ayrshire, Scotland 4 5 6
  • Death: BEF 23 NOV 1513 in Tantallon Castle, North Berwick, East Lothian, Scotland 7
  • Death: BEF 31 JAN 1513/14 8 9 10
  • Burial: St. Ninian's Priory, Galloway, Scotland
  • Note:
    Archibald Douglas, 5th Earl of Angus, known as "Bell the Cat" (for his courage in initiating opposition to James III's favourites) or "The Great Earl", Privy Council; Warden of East Marches 1481, High Chancellor of Scotland 1493-98; married 1st 4 March 1467/8 Elizabeth, daughter of 1st Lord Boyd; married 2nd c1498 Janet, daughter of 2nd Lord Kennedy, formerly wife or mistress of Sir Alexander Gordon and certainly former mistress of James IV (who had by her James Stuart, create 1501 Earl of Moray); married 3rd 1 June 1500 Katherine, daughter of Sir William Stirling of Keir, and died between 29 Nov 1513 and 31 Jan 1513/4. [Burke's Peerage]


    Archibald Douglas, "Bell the Cat", b. c 1454, d. bet 29 Nov 1513 & 31 Jan 1513/4, 5th Earl of Douglas, popularly called "The Great Earl", High Chancellor of Scotland 1493-98; m. (1) 4 Mar 1467/8 Elizabeth, d. before 21 Feb 1497, only daughter of Robert Boyd, 1st Lord Boyd, Great Chamberlain of Scotland, and Marlot, daughter of Sir Robert Maxwell of Calderwood. [Magna Charta Sureties]


    EARLDOM of ANGUS (SCT) (XXI, 5) 1462

    Archibald Douglas, Earl of Angus, popularly called "Bell the Cat" and "The Great Earl", Warden of the East Marches 11 April 1481 and was continued in that office by James IV with whom he was in great favour. He was P.C. and was High Chancellor 1493-98, His advice to the King against the fatal engagement at Flodden being insultingly received, he quitted the field shortly before the fight, bidding his two sons remain, both of whom were there slain, with their King.

    He m. 1stly, 4 Mar 1467/8, Elizabeth, 1st daughter of Robert Boyd, 1st Lord Boyd, by Mariot, daughter of Sir Robert Maxwell of Calderwood. She d. before 21 Feb 1497. He m. 2ndly, about 1498, Janet, 1st wife, or possibly mistress, of Sir Alexander Gordon (who was slain at Flodden, 9 Sep 1513), daughter of John Kennedy, 2nd Lord Kennedy, by his 2nd wife Elizabeth, Dowager Countess of Erroll. There are charters by him dated 20 Jul and 25 Sep 1498, of lands granted to her for life, "with remainder to the heirs male procreated or to be procreated betwixt them". She, however, must soon have deserted him, for on 1 Jun 1501, she obtained a charter (under the name "Janet Kennedy, Lady Bothwell") from James IV (by which King she was mother of James Stuart, created (as an infant) Earl of Moray in 1501), on condition of her remaining "absque marito seu alio viro, cum Rege, etc." (c). In 1531 Janet Kennedy founded a prebend in the collegiate church of St. Mary-in-the-Fields, near Edinburgh, for the good of the deceased Archibald, Earl of Angus, formerly her husband. He m. lastly, in 1500, Katherine, daughter of Sir William Stirling, of Keir, by Margaret, daughter of James Crichton, of Ruthvendeny. She signed a discharge as "Katryne Cress of Angus" 10 Aug 1510, but on 14 May 1513, she is designated simply as Katherine Stirling, and she was then probably separated from the Earl, and living with Alexander, Lord Home, by whom she had an illegitimate son about this time. The Earl d. at the Priory of St. Ninian or Whithorn, in Galloway, between 29 Nov 1513 and 31 Jan 1513/4 (x). [Complete Peerage I:156-7, XIV:26-7]

    (c) This lady nowhere appears upon record as Countess of Angus. On 6 and 28 Nov 1505 she is referred to in civil actions as the spouse of Sir John Ramsay of Trarinzean (the forfeited Lord Bothwell), and the fact that she is called Lady Bothwell in the abovementioned charter of 1 Jun 1501 does not point to her having married him before that date, but, as stated in the 'Scots Peerage' that name was applied to her on account of the lands settled on her by Angus having included the Lordship of Bothwell. It is a strange coincidence that she should afterwards have married a man who had been Lord Bothwell, but a lady who was held so lightly by the marriage tie is a cause of trouble to genealogists. Anyhow, she was separated from Ramsay also before Feb 1507/8, when he had another wife. She was still alive as late as Dec 1543.

    (x) [Added by XIV:26-7] A letter dated 23 Nov 1513, from Thomas, Lord Darcy, to Wolsey, announces, though possibly in error, the death of the Earl at St. Ninian's.


    Archibald "Bell the Cat", 5th Earl of Angus

    Archibald succeeded as the 5th Earl of Angus in 1463 and was married to Elizabeth, daughter of Lord Boyd in 1468. The 5th Earl received his unique bye-name at a meeting of Scots nobles gathered to plan the removal of the Kings "low born" favorites. The analogy was given by Lord Gray that they were like mice planning to hang a bell around a cat's neck, "but who is to attach the instrument of warning?", "I will bell the cat!", cried Angus; thus acquiring his moniker. "Bell the Cat" led the nobles rebellion against James III and was present at the Battle of Sauchieburn, 1488, where James III fell. He became Guardian of the Realm and Lord Chancellor under James IV. In that time the 5th Earl regained the Bothwell Barony, restoring the ancient Douglas holding to the family possessions. His primary residence was said to have been Tantallon Castle. "Bell the Cat" took the field, at 63 years of age, with James IV at Flodden, but on the eve of battle he argued with his sovereign against the acceptance of the English challenge to fight. King James, in a moment of temper, called the Earl's courage into question. Wounded and embittered, Angus quit the field in tears. He left behind his two eldest sons; George, Master of Angus, and Sir William of Glenbervie & Braidwood, along with two hundred gentlemen of the Douglas name, who fell at Flodden with their King. The Earl, shamed to his soul, never recovered from the insult and loss. He died in the year after the battle, 1514. The Earl was the father of Gawin Douglas, Bishop of Dunkeld, who is known for his Scots translation of "Aeneid". Another of the Earl's sons was Sir Archibald of Kilspindie, James V's "Grey Steil", who was Treasurer of Scotland.

    Click here for Photo of Tantallon Castle (use browser back arrow to return)

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    Copied from "Douglas Family" by Mark Freeman,
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    5th Earl of Angus; Lord of Liddesdale thru 1491
    "... fifth Earl of Angus, became the most powerful nobleman in the kingdom, and was commonly called the Great Earl. He was only fourteen years of age when he succeeded his father. On attaining the maturity the young Earl did not prove more loyal than his kinsmen of the elder branch. When the Duke of Albany quarrelled with his brother, King James III, and fled into England, Angus became a party to the treasonable treaty which Albany concluded with the English King for the acknowledgement of his sovereignty, and ceding to him Eskdale, Annandale, and Liddesdale, on condition of being made King of Scotland. The young Earl (in his twenty-eighth year) was the leader of the discontented nobles who were indignant at the preference which the King showed for architects, musicians, and painters, and determined to seize the person of their sovereign and to wreak their vengeance on his favourites. The muster of their feudal array for the purpose of invading England, in retaliation for the ravages which an English army had made in Scotland, afforded them a favourable opportunity for carrying their nefarious schemes into effect. On their march to the Border the army halted for the first night at Lauder, and next morning the principal conspirators held a secret council in the church to arrange for the immediate execution of their designs. They were all agreed as to what should be done, and they hesitated as to the best mode of proceeding. Lord Gray, as Godscroft relates the occurrence, 'craved audience, and told them the apologue of the mice, who consulting in a public meeting how to be sure from the cat's surprising them, found out a very good way, which was to hang a bell about her neck, that would ring as she stepped, and so give them warning of her approach, that they might save themselves by flight. But when it came to be questioned who would undertake to tie the bell around the cat's neck, there was never a mouse durst cheep to undertake it.' Angus started up when Gray had done speaking, and exclaimed, 'I will bell the cat,' a saying which procured for him the cognomen of 'Archibald Bell-the-Cat,' by which he was ever afterwards familiarly designated. Cochrane and the other royal favourites were immediately seized, and in the most brutal manner hanged over the bridge at Lauder. After these cruel and foul murders, the conspirators returned to the capital, carrying with them their unfortunate sovereign, and committed him a close prisoner to the Castle of Edinburgh.
    "A temporary reconciliation followed between the King and his brother, on whom offices and grants were liberally bestowed; but this did not prevent Albany from renewing his treasonable intrigues with the English king. The Earl of Angus and other two of his accomplices, Lord Gray and Sir James Liddal, were despatched to England to negotiate a secret treaty with the Commissioners of Edward IV, in which it was stipulated that on certain specified conditions he should assist Albany in the conquest of the Crown of Scotland 'to his proper use.' Angus and his associates promised that in the event of Albany dying without heirs, they would maintain their castles against James, now King of Scots, and 'live under the sole allegiance of the good and gracious prince the King of England.'

    "As soon as this infamous transaction transpired, the great body of the barons, who had hitherto been unfriendly to the King, rallied round the throne, and enabled James to defeat the plots of the conspirators against the independence of the kingdom. Angus was compelled to resign his office of Lord Justiciar on the south side of the Forth, his Stewardry of Kirkcudbright, his Sheriffdom of Lanark, and his command of the strong castle of Thrieve. His principal accomplices were at the same time deprived of their dignities and offices. In no long time, the conspiracy against the royal authority was renewed, and the Earl of Angus and Lord Gray were the principal instigators of the new rebellion, which led to the overthrow and death of their unfortunate sovereign. Angus was one of the commanders of the insurgent forces at the battle of Saunchieburn, in which the royal army was defeated, and James was murdered in his flight from the field.

    "King James IV, at that time a youth of sixteen years of age, had been induced to take part in the rebellion against his father, but as he grew older he felt deep remorse for having allowed himself to be made the tool of a selfish and unprincipled faction, and gradually withdrew his countenance from its leaders. It was probably the coldness with which he was now treated that induced Angus, the old intriguer and traitor to his country, to enter into a plot with Henry VII of England against his youthful sovereign, and ultimately to withdraw for a season in England. Some knowledge of his treason had probably reached the King, for on the return of the Earl to Scotland he was committed a prisoner in his own castle of Tantallon, and, as the price of his pardon, was compelled to exchange the lordship of Liddesdale and the strong fortress of Hermitage, in the first instance, for the lordship of Kilmarnock; but a few months later, Liddesdale and its stronghold were bestowed in fee and heritage on the Earl of Bothwell, and Bothwell Castle, resigned by that nobleman, was given to Angus in exchange for Kilmarnock. This transference was a considerable diminution of the greatness and power of the Douglas family.

    "The displeasure of the King was increased by the slaughter of Spens of Kilspindie, a favourite courtier, who about this time was killed in a casual encounter with Angus. The incident, which is thus related by Godscroft, illustrates both the character of the fierce and stalwart noble and of the stormy and violent times: --

    "The King on a time was discoursing at table of the personages of men, and by all men's confession the prerogative was adjudgeed to the Earl of Angus. A courtier that was by, one Spens of Kilspindie, ... cast in a word of doubting and disparaging: 'It is true,' said he, 'if all be good that is up-come,' meaning, if his action and valour were answerable to his personage. This spoken openly, and coming to the Earl's ears, offended him highly. It fell out after this, as the Earl was riding from Douglas to Tantallon, that he sent all his company the nearest way, and he himself was the only of his sevants, having each of them a hawk on his fist, in hope of better sport, took the way of Borthwick towards Fala, where lighting at the brook at the west end of the town, they bathed their hawks. In the meantime this Spens happened to come that way, whom the Earl espying said 'Is not this such a one, that made question of my manhood? I will go to him and give him a trial of it, that we may know which of us is the better man.' 'No, my lord,' said his servant, 'it is a disparagement for you to meddle with him.' ... 'I see,' said the Earl, 'he hath one with im; it shall be thy part to grapple with him, whilst I deal with his master.' So fastening their hawks they rode after him. 'What reason had you,' said the Earl to him, 'to speak contemptously of me at such a time?' When the other would have excused the matter, he told him that he would not serve the turn. 'Thou art a big fellow and so am I; one of us must pay for it.' The other answered, 'If it may be, no matter; there is never an earl in Scotland but I will defend myself from him as well as I can.' ... So, alighting from their horses, they fought a certain space; but at last the Earl of Angus cut Spens' thighbone asunder, so that he fell to the ground and died soon after.

    "Advancing years seem to have moderated the fiery and fierce temper of Bell-the-Cat, and from this time onward he appears to have acted the part of a dutiful and peaceful subject. James, with whom he now stood in high favour, conferred on him the office of Chancellor in 1493, which he held for five years. He accompanied the King to his unjustifiable and disastrous invasion of England in 1513, and earnestly remonstrated against the rash and imprudent resolution of James to wait the attack of the English at Flodden. The King was so enraged at the remonstrance of the old warrior that he scornfully replied, 'Angus, if you are afraid you may go hom.' The Earl burst into tears at this insult and hastened to depart, saying mournfully, 'If my past life does not free me from any suspicion of cowardice, I do not knw what can ; as long as my body was capable of exertion, I never spared it in defence of my country or my sovereign's honour. But now, since my age renders my body of no use in battle, and my counsel is despised, I leave my two sons and the vassals of Douglas in the field; may Angus's forebodings be unfounded.' The earl quitted the camp that night; but his two sons, George, Master of Angus, and Sir William Douglas of Glenbervie, with two hundred gentlemen of the name of Douglas, remained, and fell in battle.

    "Earl Archibald, broken-hearted by the calamities of his house and his country, retired into the Abbey of St. Mains in Galloway, where he died twelve months after the battle of Flodden, in the sixty-first year of his age. The historian of the family bestows the most glowing eulogiums on the 'Great Earl,' as a man every way accomplished both for mind and body. 'He was of stature tall, and strong made,' he says; 'his countenance was full of majesty; wise and eloquent of speech; upright and square in his actions; sober and moderate in his desires; valiant and courageous; a man of action and understanding; liberal also, loving and kind to his friends, which made him to be beloved, reverenced, and respected of all men.' Master David, however, is obliged to admit that 'One fault he had, that he was too much given to women; otherwise there was little or nothing amiss.'
    The Great Historic Families of Scotland, James Taylor

    Father: George DOUGLAS , 4th Earl of Angus b: ABT 1425 in Tantallon Castle, North Berwick, East Lothian, Scotland
    Mother: Isabel SIBBALD b: ABT 1430 in Balgonie Castle, Markinch, Fifeshire, Scotland

    Marriage 1 Elizabeth BOYD b: ABT 1454 in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, Scotland
    • Married: 4 MAR 1467/68 in 1st wife 1 2 3
    1. Has Children George DOUGLAS , Master of Angus b: ABT 1469 in Tantallon Castle, North Berwick, East Lothian, Scotland
    2. Has Children Elizabeth DOUGLAS b: ABT 1474 in Tantallon Castle, North Berwick, East Lothian, Scotland

    Marriage 2 Janet KENNEDY b: 1476 in Dunure, Aryshire, Scotland
    • Married: ABT 1498 in 2nd/3rd husband 2nd wife - divorced by 1 June 1500 11

    Marriage 3 Katherine STIRLING b: ABT 1455 in Keir, Perthshire, Scotland
    • Married: 1 JUN 1500 in 3rd wife - separated by 4 May 1413 11 3

    1. Title: Burke's Peerage & Baronetage, 106th Edition, Charles Mosley Editor-in-Chief, 1999
      Page: 1281
    2. Title: Magna Charta Sureties 1215, Frederick Lewis Weis, additions by Walter Lee Sheppard Jr, 5th Edition, 1999
      Page: 41e-12
    3. Title: Complete Peerage of England Scotland Ireland Great Britain and the United Kingdom, by G. E Cokayne, Sutton Publishing Ltd, 2000
      Page: I:156-7
    4. Title: Burke's Peerage & Baronetage, 106th Edition, Charles Mosley Editor-in-Chief, 1999
      Page: 1281
      Text: c 1453
    5. Title: Magna Charta Sureties 1215, Frederick Lewis Weis, additions by Walter Lee Sheppard Jr, 5th Edition, 1999
      Page: 41e-12
      Text: c 1454
    6. Title: Complete Peerage of England Scotland Ireland Great Britain and the United Kingdom, by G. E Cokayne, Sutton Publishing Ltd, 2000
      Page: I:156-7
      Text: c 1453
    7. Title: Complete Peerage of England Scotland Ireland Great Britain and the United Kingdom, by G. E Cokayne, Sutton Publishing Ltd, 2000
      Page: XIV:26-27
    8. Title: Burke's Peerage & Baronetage, 106th Edition, Charles Mosley Editor-in-Chief, 1999
      Page: 1283
      Text: bet 29 Nov 1513 and 31 Jan 1513/4
    9. Title: Magna Charta Sureties 1215, Frederick Lewis Weis, additions by Walter Lee Sheppard Jr, 5th Edition, 1999
      Page: 41e-12
      Text: bet 19 Nov 1513 & 31 Jan 1513/4
    10. Title: Complete Peerage of England Scotland Ireland Great Britain and the United Kingdom, by G. E Cokayne, Sutton Publishing Ltd, 2000
      Page: I:156-7
      Text: bet 29 Nov 1513 and 31 Jan 1513/4
    11. Title: Burke's Peerage & Baronetage, 106th Edition, Charles Mosley Editor-in-Chief, 1999
      Page: 1283
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