Clan Carruthers, False Claims

Clan Carruthers: Nobility or Not? The Facts.

Is Carothers/Carrothers listed on the ‘Nobility Roll’ of the United Kingdom?

Crowns used by British Nobility

Carruthers Nobility, or not?

We received some very exciting news a few weeks ago, that Carruthers or rather Carrothers/Carothers, a derivation of our Scottish name, had been added to the Nobility Roll or British Nobility List of the United Kingdom. The statement posted on a website covered some facts about the Roll of the Peerage (this being the correct title of the list), and went on to show the inclusion of Carrothers/Carothers on a list of names of ‘British Nobility’.

Interestingly, this would be the first time ever ‘Carrothers/Carothers’ had appeared listed in the Roll of the British Peerage, but if true, this would be great news for the family as a whole,  but if false, not so much.

What is interesting is that by far the normal spelling of our name in the UK is the root ‘Carruthers‘, therefore the use of the name Carrothers/Carothers would be exceptionally unusual and highly unlikely, which was our first clue.

(Again, any listing of British Nobility on the Roll of the Peerage in the same vein as coats of arms, will be designated to an individual and not to an LLC,  a company nor in fact an organisation and would have to be sanctioned by the British Monarch or her Heraldic Advisors, of which the Lord Lyon, if a hereditary title, would be consulted.)

The ‘Nobility List’ 

On another site, the Nobility List is an appendage to information on the British Peerage, suggesting one was related to the other. The Roll of the Peerage itself covers the whole of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which includes all listed Nobility in Scotland.

The College of Arms has the full Roll on their website and is definitive in its selection (see below: No 4). To be included on the Roll, one would have to be either a hereditary peer (passed down the family line), or a life peer (appointed by the British Monarch).

Simply adding a name to a list does not cut it, and in fact is definitely unlawful. After researching this ‘great news’ and on further investigation, neither Carruthers nor in fact the derivative Carrothers/Carothers are actually currently listed as is summarised at the end of this piece.

 *Evidence to support our comments.

The Roll is available in its entirety on the official website of the College of Arms and all recognised British Noble families are listed. This can easily be checked via an on-line search.

Roll of the Peerage (taken directly from their own website):

Latest version 22nd November 2019

On 1 June 2004 a Royal Warrant required the creation and maintenance of a new Roll of the Peerage by the then Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs. The responsibility for this now rests with the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice. The need for this arose out of the changes to the composition of the House of Lords as a result of the House of Lords Act 1999. Up to that time, all Peers who proved succession, with the exception of Irish creations, received a Writ of Summons to Parliament. These successions were recorded in a register of The Lords Spiritual and Temporal, maintained by the Clerk of the Parliaments. Since the implementation of the House of Lords Act a list of members of the House of Lords including the 92 excepted hereditary peers, and a register of hereditary peers who wish to stand in any by-election, have been maintained by the Clerk of the Parliaments; peers not falling into any of these categories cannot be entered into it. The present Roll was therefore instituted to record the names of all those holding peerages, whether or not also enrolled in the register of the Clerk of the Parliaments.

Under the terms of the Royal Warrant of 1 June 2004 any person who succeeds to a Peerage must prove his or her succession and be placed on the Roll, otherwise that person may not be legally recognised as a Peer in official documents.

Follow the links below for further information on what the Roll of the Peerage records, and on the requirements for proving succession to a peerage, and to view the latest edition of the Roll itself.

The roll of British Nobility below numbered 4, is a link to the full list and as can be clearly seen: between Carbury, a hereditary Baron in the Peerage of Ireland and Carter of Hasslemere, a life Baron in the Peerage, which would include all names beginning with ‘C’ and incorporating names with two R’s, there is unfortunately no mention of Carruthers or any derivation of our name.

  1. The Royal Warrant of 1 June 2004 
  2. What is recorded in the Roll of the Peerage
  3. Proving succession to a peerage
  4. The Roll of the Peerage

Clicking on the first and last links will open documents in secure pdf form. In order to read these, you must have a pdf reading program such as Adobe Reader, a free program that you may have on your computer already (or can easily be downloaded).

The College of Arms –  who are they?

The College of Arms, also called Heralds’ College, is the corporation of the royal heralds of England and Wales. After the Court of Lord Lyon (the heraldic corporation of Scotland), it is the oldest active heraldic institution in Europe. The college investigates, records, and advises on the use of coats of arms (armorial bearings), royal grants, and pedigrees. It also undertakes the planning of state ceremonies such as coronations and the first sitting of Parliament. Some other nations of the Commonwealth (e.g., Australia and New Zealand) consult with the College of Arms on heraldic matters such as the design of government flags. It is headquartered on Queen Victoria Street, City of London.

The function of the College of Arms (taken directly from their own website):

240px-Coat_of_Arms_of_the_College_of_Arms.svgThe College of Arms, also known as Heralds’ College, is situated in the City of London. It consists of thirteen officers: three Kings of Arms, six Heralds of Arms and four Pursuivants of Arms, who are appointed directly by the Sovereign. Although it is not part of a Government Department, nor are the Officers of Arms civil servants, they are members of the Royal Household and are subject to the general supervision of the Duke of Norfolk, in his capacity of Earl Marshal. The College of Arms is thus one of the few official heraldic authorities left in the world.

Since the fifteenth century at least, the English Kings of Arms have been responsible, under authority vested in them by the Crown, for controlling, confirming and granting Arms. The College of Arms is still the only official English authority for confirming the correctness of armorial ensigns — Arms, Crests, Supporters and Badges — claimed by descent from an armigerous ancestor, or for granting new ones to those who qualify for them. In Scotland, these functions are discharged by the Court of the Lord Lyon in Edinburgh, and in the Republic of Ireland by the Chief Herald of Ireland at Dublin Castle.

The three senior heralds, the Kings of Arms, are individually authorised by the Sovereign to grant arms to ’eminent men’ (a phrase which includes women and corporate bodies as well), subject to the approval of the Earl Marshal first obtained. Their work covers England and Wales, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, Northern Ireland, and the countries and colonies of the British Commonwealth. By a convention going back very many years, American citizens who can prove a direct male line descent from an ancestor who was formerly a subject of the English or British Crown, may be granted honorary armorial bearings. This also applies to American cities and corporate bodies, only in such cases the grant is termed a devisal, and the Governor of the State in which the body is situated must signify his consent and approval.

Earl Marshall

Edward William Fitzalan-Howard, 18th duke of Norfolk

The Earl Marshal (Duke of Norfolk) has the final decision as to the degree of eminence which is acceptable for a Grant of Arms, but, broadly speaking, it is much the same as it has always been. Those whom the Sovereign has created peers or knights and companions of Orders of Chivalry would automatically qualify, as would those holders of eminent offices under the Crown. Commissioned rank in the Armed Services, or equivalent rank in the Civil Service would be a qualification, as would academic or scientific eminence, or eminence in the law or the professions, in the Arts or in national or local government, or in the world generally. For obvious reasons it would be undesirable to lay down too narrow and precise a table of qualifications, as all the circumstances of a petitioner must be taken into consideration. Humble origins are no handicap; it is the degree of eminence which has been achieved that matters. The same considerations apply to corporate bodies.

Again regarding the Roll, the following information comes directly from the College’s website:

Of course, to double check the name against the records held by the College, one could always use the search engine on the site as we did:

However, sadly once again, there is no mention of the name Carruthers or any derivation of the same, but we do not claim to be International Lawyers,  so maybe we missed something. In order to lift all stones, we looked further and investigated the Standing Council of the Baronetage, another roll specifically for the title Baronet, in the sincere hope that we would find something.

The Roll of the Baronetage

baronetage2The Official Roll of the Baronetage was established in 1910 by a Royal Warrant of King Edward VII. A further Royal Warrant of King George V in 1922 amended certain of the original provisions. The purpose of the Warrant is to safeguard the status of holders of baronetcies and to prevent abuse. The Warrant requires the Lord Chancellor to appoint a senior official as Registrar of the Baronetage charged with the duty of keeping the Official Roll and making all necessary entries and deletions.

The evidence of a person’s right to succeed to a baronetcy is first considered by Garter Principal King of Arms, who reports on it to the Lord Chancellor.

Proving succession to a Baronetcy

Once a claim is made out the claimant’s name will be entered on the Official Roll of the Baronetage. The Roll is maintained by the Registrar of the Baronetage, and is published by the Standing Council of Baronetage here

Again, no listing can be found and within the category ‘C’ and between Carden of Molesey and Cary of Whittington and incorporating names with two R’s. Again, there is no mention of Carruthers or any derivation of our name.

To join the Council of the Baronetage these requirements have to be fulfilled:


Full membership of the Standing Council of the Baronetage is limited to:

(a)  Baronets who have proved their succession and whose names are on the Official Roll;

(b)  Heirs Apparent;

(c)  Second-generation Heirs Apparent.

The application of every baronet or heir apparent for admission to the Council shall be submitted to the Executive Committee for approval. 

A baronetcy becomes Extinct when heirs cannot be traced and are believed not to exist. In this case it would no longer be listed, but would be re-activated should an heir subsequently emerge.

The Royal Warrant of Edward VII of 8th February 1910 states “no person whose name is not entered on the Official Roll shall be received as a Baronet, or shall be addressed or mentioned by that title in any civil or military Commission, Letters Patent or other official document”.  Persons wishing to prove succession should read the information given in the Succession Section.

Holders of Baronetcies listed in the attached document (Unclaimed 31 Dec 17) have died, but in each case, up to 31st December 2017, no person has proved succession and thus the Baronetcies are either “Dormant” (Baronet died in 2011 or earlier) or “Vacant” (Baronet died in 2012 or later).

History of Baronets

Collarette of a Scottish Baronet

The Baronetage is of far more ancient origin than many people may think. The term baronet is believed to have been first applied to nobility who for one reason or another had lost the right of summons to Parliament. The earliest mention of baronets was in the Battle of Barrenberg in 1321. There is a further mention of them in 1328 when Edward III is known to have created eight baronets. Further creations were made in 1340, 1446 and 1551.

At least one of these, Sir William de la Pole in 1340, was created for payment of money, presumably expended by the King to help maintain his army. It is not known if these early creations were hereditary but all seem to have died out.

The present hereditary Order of Baronets in England dates from 22nd May 1611 when it was erected by James I who granted the first Letters Patent to 200 gentlemen of good birth with an income of at least £1000 a year. His intention was twofold. Firstly, he wanted to fill the gap between peers of the realm and knights so he decided that the baronets were to form the sixth division of the aristocracy following the five degrees of the peerage. Secondly, and probably more importantly, he needed money to pay for soldiers to carry out the pacification of Ireland.

Therefore, those of the first creation, in return for the honour, were each required to pay for the upkeep of thirty soldiers for three years amounting to £1095, in those days a very large sum.

james_1In 1619 James I erected the Baronetage of Ireland and laid plans for a further new Baronetage with the object of assisting the colonisation of Nova Scotia. However, in 1624 he died before this could be implemented. In 1625 Charles I took up the previous plans and erected the Baronetage of Scotland and Nova Scotia. The new baronets were each required to pay 2000 marks or to support six settlers for two years. Over a hundred of these baronetcies, now known as Scottish baronetcies, have survived to this day. The Duke of Roxburghe is the Premier Baronet of Scotland by his Baronetcy of Innes-Ker of Innes created in 1625.

As a result of the union of England and Scotland in 1707 all future creations were styled Baronets of Great Britain. With the union of Great Britain and Ireland in 1801 new creations were styled as Baronets of the United Kingdom. The position at 31st December 2016, including baronetcies where succession was dormant or unproven, was that there were a total of 1,251 baronetcies divided into five classes of creation included on the Official Roll. Of these there were:

  • 141 of England,
  • 60 of Ireland,
  • 115 of Scotland,
  • 126 of Great Britain
  • 809 of the United Kingdom.

The Premier Baronet is Sir Nicholas Bacon, 14th Baronet of Redgrave created in 1611. .

Under the two Royal Warrants of 1612 and 1613 issued by James I certain privileges were accorded to baronets of England.

Firstly, no person or persons should have place between baronets and the younger sons of peers. Secondly, the right of knighthood was established for the eldest sons of baronets, although this was to be revoked by George IV in 1827, and thirdly baronets were allowed to add the Arms of Ulster as an inescutcheon to their armorial bearings. This last consisted of “in a field Argent, a hand Geules, or a bloudy hand”.

These privileges were extended to baronets of Ireland and, less the Arms of Ulster, to baronets of Scotland. They continue to this day for all baronets of Great Britain and the United Kingdom created subsequently.

Again, we came up with blank as no listing of Carrothers/Carothers could be found in the listing of Baronetages, neither in the UK in general nor in Scotland in particular. So where did this rather exciting information stem from – and was it again a false claim, or simply misconstrued by the uneducated amongst us?

In conclusion

After some easy investigations, the conclusion becomes very simple to answer on a number of levels.

  1. The manner in which the information is conveyed on the LLC site along with the included information on the British Peerage, implies a relationship between the name ‘Carruthers‘ albeit listed as ‘Carothers or Carrothers’, and the British Nobility.
  2. The use of the term ‘British Nobility List’ suggested the same, when in fact again it wasn’t. The ‘List’ was comprised of all those who had arms granted to them and listed in Burkes General Armorial of 1884, and was compiled by the EIJ (Norman) Project Group, what seems to be a joined with the FTDNA Group out of the US, headed by David Langton and his team. It did not reflect nor suggest any place in the British Peerage, and I’m sure that was not the intent.
  3. The information, which was misused, came as stated previously from Burkes General Armory. This tome is a very different animal to Burkes Peerage and more importantly from the British Peerage itself. Burkes Armorial is, as it states on the box: an Armorial, e.g. it covers all those who had Arms in 1884, and in fact many such as Carruthers of Holmains retain them to this day.
  4. The name that would be listed in any Armorial, simply because of the existence of the only two Baronies we have had: Carruthers of Mouswald (first Chiefs) and Carruthers of Holmains (Current Chiefs), as ‘Carruthers’ and definitely not ‘Carothers nor Carrothers’, as they try to imply.
  5. In fact, simple research shows that on page 172 of ‘Burkes General Armorial’ dated 1884 and Published in Pall Mall, London by Harrisons, there are only two entries for ‘Carruthers‘ and one for Carruthers-Wade, but none for Carothers or Carrothers. It states:

IMG_0354Carruthers (Howmains, Scotland) Gu.two chev. engr. betw, three fleurs-de-lis or. Crest-A seraphim volent ppr. Motto –Promptus et fidelis. (the first part describes the blazon on the shield of our chief ; Gules, two chevrons engrailed between three fleurs-de-lis or, which are the arms of our current Chief : Simon Peter Carruthers of Holmains).

IMG_0353Carruthers (Steward depute of Annandale 1672) the same arms within a bordure Ar (Argent), Crest– a seraphim standing, vested ppr (proper). Motto – Paratus et Fidelis (James Carruthers of Isle)

IMG_0362Carruthers-Wade. See WADE

Link to the page in Burkes General Armorial below:


generalarmoryofe00burk.jpegSo sadly, there are no ‘Carrothers/Carothers’ or any other derivation of our name listed on any ‘British Nobility Roll’ and more importantly the Roll of the Peerage, which is recognised by the College of Arms, the Lyon Court nor the British Monarchy. If it’s not recognised by them, it does not exist.

There are however Carruthers as stated above, listed in the Burkes General Armorial and therefore are on an ‘Armorial Roll’ rather than a “Nobility Roll”, dated 1884. These are all from the Chiefly line of Carruthers of Holmains.

The Arms of Howmains/Holmains still exist and are currently borne by Dr Peter Carruthers of Holmains, the Chief of Carruthers.  The Arms of James Carruthers of Isle are extinct, as is Carruthers-Wade. However, the arms of Mitchell-Carruthers, James Andrew Carruthers of Dormont, George Carruthers and Gary Carruthers are listed in more modern texts and are all registered with the Lord Lyon in Edinburgh, as of course is Holmains.

The question remains: Is this another false alarm or just another false claim meant to impress the impressionable? That is for the reader to decide.  But which ever it is, it is not substantiated by any current evidence and for that reason has been brought to the fore to prevent further embarrassment to the good name of Carruthers.

*What is important is that WE do NOT allow the unscrupulous to misuse or misrepresent OUR history for their own ends. OUR history as a Scottish clan and family has been at least 1500 years in the making and belongs to us ALL. It is not simply the property of the few, to be used to fit some bizarre agenda. For this reason we feel it is appropriate to challenge those claims that cause embarrassment to the name of Carruthers and thus us all. We apologise if you disagree.

Addendum: We have were informed that Carrothers/Carothers has been removed from the EIJ Project List and more accurately replaced by the root name: Carruthers to reflect what is listed in Burkes General Armorial, 1884.

Clan Carruthers Society WP footnote grey

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