Clan Carruthers, Genealogy

Clan Carruthers: In Wikipedia

iu-13.jpegLike any legitimate organisation, we try to ensure that our posts are evidence based and historically accurate. Accepting this, we were pleasantly surprised at the Clan Carruthers page on Wikipedia, which seems to do just that.

Our understanding is that the person/s involved in monitoring the Scottish clan pages are pretty strict that they reflect the facts and have prevented many attempts at dubious alternations by outside forces.

Here is the Clan Carruthers Wikipedia page as it is presented, we are happy with its content and accuracy.

Clan Carruthers

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1A55A002-8C44-4F16-A528-32987C7B91F1_1_105_c.jpegClan Carruthers is a Lowland Scottish clan of the Scottish Borders headed by their Chief, Simon Peter Carruthers of Holmains and is recognised as such by the Lord Lyon King of Arms.

A Clan Chief of Carruthers was confirmed after over 12 years of research and investigation by the official representatives of Carruthers internationally; Clan Carruthers Society International.

The Society, based in Scotland with regional representatives worldwide, took the official and legal route through the auspices of the Lord Lyon King of Arms in Edinburgh. After 20 months of analysis of the petitioned evidence and proofs, on the 19 August 2019, and after over 200 years, a Chief was confirmed by the Lord Lyon.

This takes Clan Carruthers from armigerous status (without Chief) to attaining legal recognition and thus becoming a ‘Noble Incorporation’ in Scots law. Carruthers is now an officially recognised Scottish clan internationally with all that that entails.[4]>

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The surname of Carruthers arose in Dumfriesshire and it appears to allude to the ancient British fort called Caer Rydderch or Rythyr.[3] The historian George Fraser Black asserted that this means fort of Rydderch, with Ryderch appearing to be a form of personal name.[3]

In the thirteenth century the chiefly family of Carruthers of Carruthers rose to become stewards of Annandale under the Clan Bruce.[3] The historian George Fraser Black writes of Nigel de Karruthers, a cleric who was also Rector of Ruthwell in 1380, and rose to become Canon of Glasgow Cathedral in 1351.[3] He was also named as chancellor to Robert, High Steward of Scotland in 1344.[3] At around the same time, 1320 the chiefly family of Carruthers acquired the lands of Musfald (now called Mouswald).[3]

16th century

The Carruthers of Mouswald line came to an end with Sir Simon Carruthers, 10th of Mouswald who was killed in 1548 during a border raid,[3] and his daughters were placed under the guardianship of the Clan Douglas.[2]

The Carruthers of Howmains line, however, continued to prosper and in 1542 their lands were erected into a free barony.[3] John Carruthers of Howmains was indicted, along with Edward Irvine of Bonshaw (chief of Clan Irvine), for an assault on Kirkpatrick of Closeburn (chief of Clan Kirkpatrick) in 1563, as well as for slaying several other persons.[3] In 1587 the Clan Carruthers was included on the roll of “unruly clans” in the West Marches.[3]

18th century to modern period

The Carruthers estate of Howmains was lost in 1772 when a financial disaster overwhelmed the family.[3] However, in the 1500’s a younger son of the family became the proginator of the Dormont cadet line having acquired the estate in Dumfriesshire. Carruthers of Dormont still holds that estate to the present day.[3] However, as proven descendants of Holmains line exist, it is from this line the current chief has been confirmed [5]

A notable member of the clan was Colonel Francis Carruthers who served in Egypt and in the Boer War.[3] From 1915 to 1919 he was assistant director at the War Office.[3] He was also a brigadier in the Royal Company of Archers (the monarch’s body guard in Scotland) as well as being Lord Lieutenant of Dumfries.[3]

The current Chief of Clan Carruthers was confirmed on 19 August 2019 by the Lord Lyon.[5]

Armorial History

440px-Carruthers_Arms_through_the_ages.jpgThe changes to the arms and crest from the first Arms of Mouswald through to Holmains (Howmains) and Dormont to the present day show some important changes.

Ancient Recorded Arms of Carruthers of Carruthers

1) Or (gold), two chevrons engrailed Sable (black),

2) Or (gold) two chevrons engrailed Azure (blue) [6] [7]

Recorded Arms Carruthers of Mouswald

3) Gules (red), a chevron between three fleur de lys Or (gold) and finally,

4) Gules (red), a chevron between three fleur de lys Argent (silver). [8] [9]

The first two (classed as the Ancient Arms) bore a striking resemblance to another family of the time, the McClennans and the latter two the Brownes/Brouns of Carsluith and Coulston. The suspicion is that the second shield (2) was wrongly recorded by the herald William Pont as an error in describing the colour of the chevrons as Azure rather than Sable, as in blazon #1. The Arms of Sir Simon are considered to have been used by the family prior to his blazon being recorded. [10][11]

Recorded Arms of Carruthers of Holmains

The heraldic turmoil of some five centuries was finally brought to order with the passing of what is known as the Lyon Act of 1672 which required that the Scottish King of Arms, the Lord Lyon, and his heralds to keep a permanent ‘Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland’.

The heralds were given a year to record in the new register all arms of those entitled to bear arms and to grant or matriculate new arms to those found “virtuous and well deserving”. The then Chief of the clan, John Carruthers 9th of Holmains rationalised and merged the Carruthers arms in 1672 and finalised the colours on the Chiefs arms to (Gules) red and (Or) gold. These combined the ancient arms of Carruthers and the arms of the last Mouswald Chief, Simon Carruthers, to reflect those that are recognisable as the arms of the Carruthers Chief today.

The Holmains Arms recorded in the Register, are therefore the principal and chiefly arms of the name Carruthers, currently borne by Dr Simon Carruthers of Holmains, Chief of the Name and Arms of Carruthers:

They are blazoned; Gules (red), two chevrons engrailed between three fleur de lys Or (gold),

They remain the personal and visual signature of the Chief and cannot be used without his permission. [12] [13]

Matriculation of Arms

As is the case of all petitions for arms from whatever family/clan, any subsequent arms granted to a Carruthers after Holmains require two distinct differences on the shield from that of the arms of the chief.

This is reflected by Carruthers of Dormont who, on registering their own arms in 1913, added a gold border around the Holmains arms. As the second difference they also used chevronels engrailed rather than the larger chevrons, while keeping the Seraphim volant proper as their crest and the clan chiefs motto of Prompts et Fidelis – Ready and Faithful.

The penultimate Carruthers Armiger granted Arms was those of the Carruthers Society Convenor registered in 2017. They followed the differences of Dormont to chevronels rather than chevrons but replaced the Fleur d-lis in the bass with a pheon (to represent the lang spear used by the Reivers), as their second difference.

The crest of these arms continues with angelic theme; the Archangel Michael pinning the beast proper with the motto individualised as; Non Sto Solus – I do not stand alone.

These arms are Blazoned: Gules, two chevronels engrailed between in chief two fleurs-de-lys and in base a pheon Or.[14] [15]

Carruthers Crests

To date all registered Carruthers arms have maintained an angelic figure as their crest. When reproducing the seraphim from the Chiefs crest, a face is always depicted on the seraphim along with the six wings. This mirrors the pictorial reproductions by both religious and heraldic artists through the ages when depicting a Seraphim Proper . [16] [17]

Chief of Carruthers

The House of Mouswald and their chiefship ceased in 1548 with the death of the then Chief, Sir Simon Carruthers 10th of Mouswald, 6th Baron. The chiefship was then passed to the House of Holmains also a Barony. The last recorded Carruthers Chief was John Carruthers, 12th of Holmains and 8th Baron, who passed in 1809.

The line of Holmains has continued as the Chiefly line of Carruthers to the present day and it is from this House that a Chief of the Name and Arms of Carruthers was confirmed.

On the 19 August 2019, after full analysis of the evidence presented and deliberation of the same, the Lord Lyon confirmed Dr Simon Peter Carruthers of Holmains, Chief of the Name and Arms of Carruthers.

On the 26th November 2020, the Lord Lyon granted additaments to the Arms of the Chief of Carruthers to include two fallow deer bucks Rampant as supporters on a compartment of heathland, on which is strewn gorse in flower. [18]

Carruthers Chief, Armigers and Clansmen/women

CHIEF (3 feathers in bonnet)

•The Chief wears three feathers on his crest sitting within a circlet on which is inscribed his motto.

ARMIGERS (1 feather in bonnet)

(Clan Armigers are those that have matriculated arms from the Lord Lyon whose arms show two differences from those of the Chief)

An Armiger, and the heir to the chiefship will wear one feather on his crest, sitting within a circlet on which is inscribed their personal motto or that of the Chief. All Armigers below are living.

1) Nigel and Cecilia Mitchell-Carruthers (1876). (Holmains – Chief’s first Cousins)

Blazon: 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) .

Crest: 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.

Motto/s: Promptus et Fidelis (Ready and Faithful – Carruthers) / Virtute Cresco (Growth through Virtue -Mitchell).

2) James Andrew Carruthers of Dormont (1993). (Cadet line of Holmains)

Blazon: Gules, two chevronelles engrailed between three fleur d-lis bordered Or.

Crest: Seraphim Volant Proper.

Motto: Promptus et Fidelis (Ready and Faithful).

3) Dr George Carruthers FSA Scot (2017).

Blazon: Gules, two chevronelles engrailed, between two fleur d-lis in chief and a pheon in base Or.

Crest: St Michael pinning the Beast Proper.

Motto: Non Sto Solus (I do not stand alone).

4) Mr Gary John Carruthers of Australia (2019).

Blazon: Gules two chevronels engrailed between two fleur d-lis in chief and a bell Or in base, all within a bordure quarterly of the Second and First charged in 1 and 4 with a crescent and 2 and 3 with a mullet counter-changed.

Crest: Seraphim Volant Proper.

Motto: Promptus et Fidelis (Ready and Faithful).

This list will be updated as new armigers matriculate arms. Armigers are entitled to wear their own crest in a circlet, rather than belt and buckle, upon which their motto is engraved).

The arms of an individual remain the visual signature and property of that person in law or his proven descendants. They cannot be used without permission. Carruthers like all Scottish clans and families do not have ‘family’ arms.


Members of the clan who do not have their own arms will wear the Chief’s crest encircled by a belt and buckle on which is inscribed the motto of the Chief – Promptus et Fidelis. In the case of Carruthers; The crest in the badge is a seraphim volent Proper. Carruthers chiefs crest depicts the seraph/seraphim as a face within six wings, this follows both heraldic and religious traditions.


Carruthers Tartan

Historically recognised as a clan in their own right, albeit armigerous from 1809 until 2019, Carruthers are mentioned as one of the 17 lowland ‘clannis’ in the 1587 Act of the Scottish Parliament of Unruly Clans. Since the demise of their last Chief in the 1890s, Carruthers have been considered as a sept of the family Bruce. As such they have been permitted to use their tartan. The Bruce tartan however, irrelevant of description eg modern, ancient, hunting or otherwise are registered and patented to that family and as such the rights of ownership belong solely to them.[19]

As a Border Reiver (Riding Family), Carruthers never wore kilts but trews, which were far more conducive to riding on fast, sturdy horses. There was never any tartan officially registered to the name Carruthers until 2017.

With a move towards Carruthers Clan status through the confirmation of a Chief and in order to differentiate and individualise the name, Dr George Carruthers FSA Scot from Fife had a tartan designed based on the Bruce sett and thread count.

he design was made to reflect and respect the close links with the family Bruce, the blood spilt by their Reiver ancestors in defence of family and country, with the white stripe to reflect the Jacobite sympathies the family held and also to distinguish Carruthers as a distinct border reiver clan in their own right.

The tartan was registered with the Scottish Tartan Register STR 11700, for the use by all named Carruthers or its derivatives and has since been designated by the Chief as the official Carruthers Tartan.

In January 2020, the designated category of the tartan was officially recognised and registered by the Scottish Register of Tartans as the Clan/Family tartan of Carruthers.[20]

The Carruthers red tartan is currently woven by the House of Edgar in Perth, Scotland and is the official Tartan of Clan Carruthers,[21]. It is also available in Canada and the US through McPhail Kiltmakers in British Columbia.[22]

The Carruthers red tartan is currently woven by the House of Edgar in Perth, Scotland and is the official Tartan of Clan Carruthers,[21]. It is also available in Canada and the US through McPhail Kiltmakers in British Columbia.[22]

Clan Carruthers Society-International

The Clan Carruthers Society International (CCSI) was founded in January 2017 and is officially recognised by the Chief of Carruthers as the only society authorised to represent the worldwide Carruthers family. It is non-commercial, apolitical and non-partisan and is open to any member of the international Carruthers family and derivatives of that name. The Society is based in the United Kingdom, but is represented by an international Executive Council. 

The Society, headquartered in Scotland, has representatives in Australia (CCS-Australia), Canada (CCS-Canada) not for profit organisation, Europe (CCS-Europe) and the United States of America (CCS-USA), the latter being a registered 501(c)3 organisation.

It can be found [23]

Clan Society Badge

The Clan Society’s badge is the Seraphim Volant, being the crest of the chief, encircled by a belt and buckle on which is inscribed the motto of the Chief: Promptus et Fidelis. The Seraphim, as is the case in heraldic and religious depictions, has a face. The wearing of a Chief’s crest as a badge shows a declaration of fealty and support for the Chief of Carruthers.

Society Function

The Society is non-commercial, apolitical and non-partisan and is open to any member of the international Carruthers family and derivatives of that name. The society, based in the United Kingdom is represented by an international Executive Council.

After more than 12 years, the Society were successful in their efforts to have Carruthers accepted as an official clan in their own right. This was achieved by supporting a petitioner to the Lyon Court in Edinburgh and led to the confirmation of a Dr Simon Peter Carruthers of Holmains, 23rd Chief of the Name and Arms of Carruthers, on 19 Aug 2019. [24]


  1. a b Clan Carruthers Profile Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  2. a b c Coventry, Martin (2008). Castles of the Clans: The Strongholds and Seats of 750 Scottish Families and ClansMusselburgh: Goblinshead. pp. 92–93. ISBN 978-1-899874-36-1.
  3. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Way, George of PleanSquire, Romilly of Rubislaw(1994). Collins Scottish Clan & Family EncyclopediaGlasgowHarperCollins (for the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs). pp. 370–371. ISBN 0-00-470547-5.
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