As we cover the evidenced history of our family and now that we have our hereditary Chief in place, we thought it would be interesting to further introduce some close members of the Chiefs line.
According to our research and the evidence available to us, we currently have two major lines in existence with living descendants of the same. But of course we could take the cadet line of Dormont which is Guileburn into account, as we are aware of a petition for arms from a descendent of the same. This is currently awaiting a warrant after the evidenced proofs are accepted and is sitting with the Lord Lyon in Edinburgh.
The most senior lines existing are Holmains and Dormont, the latter being a cadet of the former;
Holmains, inherited the chiefship after the demise of the House of the Carruthers of Mouswald in 1548 and it is from this House that our current chief is descended. The Arms of the chiefly line therefore are borne by him.
We have the cadet line of Dormont, who matriculated off the Holmains line in 1913, and again, through the current recipient in 1993. In both cases they were granted with chevronelles and a border to indicate a cadet or junior branch of Holmains. During the initial stages of our research for a Chief, we assumed this line of the family was the senior, however this was to be proved incorrect as our findings were to show.
Therefore, moving on from Dormont, our research led us back to the House of Holmains and to the Mitchell-Carruthers who are directly from that line. What is interesting about the Mitchell-Carruthers, is that when registering their arms they did not take the full arms of Holmains, which was their right, but chose to incorporate them Holmains, albeit in the senior position, on their quartered arms. Those arms show Holmains without difference in the first and fourth quarter. This indicates two things; Carruthers shows seniority over the Mitchells in their arms e.g. the dominant family, and also that they are of direct lineage from the Chiefly line of Holmains and not a cadet line e.g. ‘of’ the House of Holmains.
Evidence also showed that the Mitchell-Carruthers are the first cousins of our hereditary Chief, Dr Peter Carruthers of Holmains and share the same grand father. During our investigations into this branch of the family, and thinking at the time we had found our Chief incumbent, they kindly gave us further information, which in turn led us to their first cousin and the living senior descendant of the chiefly line.
As the Mitchell-Carruthers are off a junior son, they would only have inherited and been confirmed as Chief if their cousin’s line had been extinct. As it stands, they remain a close relation and in fact an integral part of the Holmains line. To the point that the Chief’s immediate family and that of the Mitchell-Carruthers, are all that remains of the Carruthers of Holmains line.
Moving forward, it was through those 12 years of research and investigation that we knew early on that the simple election of a chief was never going to fly if we genuinely wished the clan to have any credibility both at home and abroad.
We therefore also knew that, although time consuming and arduous, we had to follow the genealogy and evidence it to its sensible ond proven conclusion. With the help of others to include Mr Antony Maxwell, thankfully this was achieved.
This led us to the successful confirmation of a chief and official status in Scots laws of Carruthers as a clan in August 2019. However for the record, during the time that no chief was named and as the line continued, the chiefly arms of Carruthers would be retainined by the Hoise of Holmains and only have sat dormant until claimed. This still means that its use remains the property of Holmains or those at its head. The Carruthers Chiefs arms can therefore can only be legally used by a hereditary Chief of the Name and Arms of the line or with his permission. The current Chief is Dr Peter Carruthers of Holmains, Chief of Clan Carruthers and the Carruthers arms remain his property.
Returning to the Mitchell-Carruthers, their arms were first registered in the late 1800’s by the Reverend William Mitchell Carruthers MA (Cantab), who was Rector of Holbrook, Ipswitch, England at the time. William was born on September 12th 1853, being the elder son of the late Major General W. St Leger Mitchell by his wife Margaret, daughter of Patrick Agnew of Larne, County Antrim, Ireland (Partition in Ireland did not occur until 1921, this was written before that). William assumed in 1873, the surname of his paternal grandmother nee Carruthers of Holmains, Dumfriesshire. The Reverend could have simply chosen to retain the Carruthers arms and confirm his line chief, but chose to incorporate the Mitchell into his name. As it happens, if they had have matriculated the full Holmains Arms, because of the line of inheritable titles, Dr Carruthers would still, as the senior descendant of the line, be our recognised as our Chief.
The Reverend’s listings in Burkes Peerage state that he was married on October 3rd, 1878 to Antonia, youngest daughter of the late Reverand A. A. Holden of Nuttall Temple, Nottinghamshire; and has issue – (1) Alexander Douglas Mitchell-Carruthers, (Gentleman), born October 4th 1882; (2) Malcolm William Mitchell-Carruthers, (Gentleman), born September 21st 1884; (3) Nigel Laurie Mitchell-Carruthers, (Gentleman), born November 12th 1888 (Gentleman); John Erskine Mitchell-Carruthers, (Gentleman), born January 15th 1891; Margaret Antonia; Emma Mary; and Winifred.
Alexander Douglas was an author and explorer of some renown, dying without issue in 1962, aged 79, his brother Malcolm also died without issue leaving the line of Nigel as senior in line. Nigel became a Colonel in the British Indian Army and was the grandfather of our Chief; Peter Carruthers of Holmains.
As the official society, we have been given access to documentation never seen before outside the Chiefs family, and as such we are privileged to have been given copies of Colonel Carruthers’ diary during his time in India. This makes for a fascinating read as it reflects the daily life of not only a Carruthers in India, but a member of the British forces at the time. The contents will be published, in series at a future date.
The Mitchell-Carruthers Armorial bearings, as stated previously were registered with the Lord Lyon in Edinburgh as all Arms of confirmed Scottish descent must be. The blazon is described as – Quarterly 1 and 4, Gules two chevrons engrailed between three fleur-de-lis Or (Carruthers); 2 and 3 Sable, a fess counter-embattled Argent, between three mascles Or (Mitchell) .
Crests are recorded as ; Dexter – on a wreath of the liveries, a cherubs head proper. Sinister – on a wreath of the liveries, St Michael in armour holding a spear in his dexter hand, the face neck, arms and legs bare, all Proper, the wings Argent and the hair auburn.
Mottos; Promptus et Fidelis (Carruthers) / Virtute Cresco (Mitchell).
This Mitchell-Carruthers name is contined through Col. Mitchell-Carruthers’ younger son, Nigel Paul Mitchell-Carruthers, who married Sybil Sholto Douglas, grandaughter of the Marquis of Queensbury famous for writing the first rules of boxing after which they were named. Nigel had issue (1) Bruce Nigel Mitchell-Carruthers, who resides in France and (2) Cecilia Mitchell-Carruthers, who also lives in France and is the Clan Commissioner for Europe.
Cecilia is an active member of our Society and has been since the early beginnings. Her function, like that of our other regional heads in Canada, Australia and the US, is to coordinate and act as commissioner to all of our family living and working in the European region.