Clan Carruthers

Clan Carruthers: The Lands and Barony of Holmains – Chiefs of Carruthers

Gary Carruthers and tartan.jpeg
Arms of Gary John Carruthers on Carruthers tartan

This article has been compiled by Mr Gary J Carruthers, FSA Scot, our Regional Clan Commissioner for Australasia and Oceania. 

Gary is also, along with Dana Caruthers Norton and Laurie Carruthers Pasher, one of our most senior Clan Genealogists, as well as being a Carruthers armiger. His arms were granted through matriculation, by the Lord Lyon in 2019.

This well-researched blog post, reflects just how large the Barony held by our Chiefs; Carruthers of Holmains was and as we can see, the lands were extensive. Sadly the lands of Mouswald, the only other Carruthers Barony, were lost to the Douglas’s after the killing of Sir Simon 10th of Mouswald in 1548.

The lands making up the Barony of Holmains, were also lost but this time through a financial disaster, during the time of the current chief’s 4x great grandfather; John Carruthers 12th of Holmains, 8th Baron and 18th Chief,  who died in 1809.

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Dormont

Interestingly, Carruthers still own lands in our ancestral home, and although greatly diminished compared to our heyday, a large estate still exists there. These lands are held by James Andrew Carruthers, 13th of Dormont, lairds to that estate and considered Chieftains by our Society. As a Cadet line, Dormont came off William, the younger son of John 5th of Holmains and it is from this line, through the Dormont cadet line of Carruthers of Brydegill; Carruthers of Guileburn, that Gary himself is descended. His line and evidenced genealogy in turn is reflected in the makeup of his arms.


The Barony of Carruthers of Holmains

by Gary J Carruthers

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Arms of the Chief ‘Carruthers of Holmains’

Some of our society members and supporters may wonder what were the extent of the lands which made up the Barony of Holmains, held by the Chiefly line of the Carruthers family. Here is the information below: 

George Carruthers 6th Baron, 10th of Holmains received a Charter from his father John 5th, on 30th May 1699 which was ratified by Scottish Parliament. This document lists the lands making up the Barony – a translated version follows.

The Records of the Parliaments of Scotland to 1707, K.M. Brown et al eds (St Andrews, 2007-2018), date accessed: 7 March 2018

• >William II: Translation

• > 1700, 29 October, Edinburgh, Parliament

• > Parliamentary Register

• > Friday 31 January 1701

• > Charters: ratifications [1700/10/258](1)

Ratification in favour of George Carruthers.

Our sovereign lord, with the advice and consent of the estates of parliament of this his majesty’s ancient kingdom of Scotland, has ratified, approved and confirmed and, by these words, ratify, approve and confirm the charter made and granted by his majesty under his great seal of this kingdom, of the date at Kensington, 30 May 1699, to and in favour of his majesty’s loved George Carruthers, eldest lawful son of the deceased John Carruthers of Holmains, and his male heirs, which failing to his heirs and assignees whosoever, heritably and irredeemably, of all and sundry the lands and others underwritten, namely the twenty pound land of old extent of Holmains, Little Dalton, Daltonhook and Blackberry ward, commonly called Bengal Hill, and the isle lying within the water of Annan, and all and entire the lands of Kirkhill and Butterwhat, with the mill of Little Dalton, parts, pendicles, tofts, crofts, lands, cottages, outsets, tenants, tenantries and service of free tenants, with the advocation, donation and right of patronage of the kirk of Little Dalton, with the pertinents; and all and entire the ten pound land of Ecclefechan of old extent, with the mill, outsets, tofts, crofts, parts, pendicles, tenants, tenantries and service of free tenants, with the advocation, donation and right of patronage of the kirk of Ecclefechan; and all and entire the five merk land of old extent of Kirkmuir, lying within the parish of Cummertrees, with mills, multures, tofts, crofts, parts, pendicles and pertinents; all and entire the two merk, six shillings and eight penny land of old extent, lying within the parish of Ruthwell, called Rivelton, with salt coat, salt floor and sea of the same; all and entire the three merk land of old extent of Rossal and Robbiewhat, with the pertinents; all and entire the forty penny land of old extent of the four pound land of Over Denbie, with mills, multures, parts, pendicles and pertinents of the same; all and entire the two merk land of old extent of Howthat, with the pertinents of the same; all and entire the forty shilling land of old extent called Fourteen acres, with mills, multures, parts, pendicles and pertinents of the same; all and entire the three pound land of old extent of Bengalhill, alias Bengall and Copewood, with mills, multures, parts, pendicles and pertinents of the same, tenants, tenantries and service of free tenants of the said lands; all and entire the eight merk land of Alton and Archbank and two parts of one merk land of old extent of Moffat and Mote, with mills, tofts, crofts, parts, pendicles and pertinents of the same; all and entire the ten pound land of old extent of Newlands and Persbiehall, with the two merk land of Crieve and one merk land of Glaisters, with mills, multures, parts, pendicles and pertinents of the same, tofts, crofts and outsets thereof; all and entire the five mark land of Over Warmanbie, alias Heughheads, with parts, pendicles and pertinents of the same; all and entire the forty shilling land of old extent of Rammerscales and Greenlands, with parts, pendicles and pertinents; all and entire the seven merk land of Hartwood, with tenants, tenantries and service of free tenants, with the pertinents belonging to the same, with the lands of Cockethill, being parts and pendicles of the same lands, lying within the parish of Lochmaben, all united and incorporated in one free barony called the barony of Holmains, lying within the stewartry of Annandale and sheriffdom of Dumfries. All and entire the twenty pound land of old extent of Meikle Dalton, with mills, multures, sucken, sequels, with the pertinents, with the advocation, donation and right of patronage of the kirk of Meikle Dalton and parsonage of the same, lying within the said parish, stewartry of Annandale and sheriffdom of Dumfries foresaid; all and entire the three merk land of Almagill and two merk land of Hallidayhill; all and entire the three merk and ten shilling land of Murthat and the ten shilling land of Hemplands; all and entire the twenty shilling land of Brydegill, with the pertinents, lying within the parish of Dalton, stewartry of Annandale and sheriffdom of Dumfries, with the whole woods, fishings, parts, pendicles, mills, multures and pertinents of the whole foresaid lands, lying in manner respectively above-specified. And all and entire the two merk land of Brocklerigg; all and entire the two mark land of Sonsie (2); all and entire the two merk land of Nutholm; all and entire the three mark land of Tenebrist; all and entire the merk land of Middlebrow; all and entire the three merk land in Castellan (3), with the half of the merk land in Broathill; all and entire the ten acres of land in Northernmost; all and entire the two acres and half of an acre in Gableholme (4); all and entire these five ruids of land in Johniesholme; all and entire the three acres of land in the foot of Rewcroft, with three dargs of hay in Castlemilk of the dominical lands of the same, extending to a two merk land, extending all the said lands to a sixteen and a half merk land with the third part of the mill and wood of Castlemilk, with all parts, pendicles and pertinents of the said lands, lying within the parish of St Mungo, stewartry and sheriffdom foresaid.

And which entire lands and others above-written were all erected in a free barony called the barony of Holmains, conforming to a charter under the great seal granted thereupon to the said deceased John Carruthers of Holmains, dated the last day of February 1673; together with all right, title, interest, claim of right, property and possession, as well petitor as possessor, which his majesty and his predecessors and successors had, have or in any way might have, claim or pretend to the said lands and others above, or to the mails and duties of the same, at any time bygone or to come, by reason of recognition, reduction or any other manner of way, right or title whatsoever.

And which lands, barony and others above-written pertained of before to his majesty and have fallen and become in his majesty’s hands as immediate lawful superior of the same, by the privilege and casualty of superiority, municipal laws and practice of this said kingdom, through alienation and disposition of the said lands, barony and others above-specified, or the greatest part of the same or of yearly annual rents and other services furth thereof, exceeding the greater part of the rental of the same, made and granted by the said deceased John Carruthers or his predecessors, assignors and authors to and in favour of several persons, upon which private or base infeftments followed without his majesty’s consent or confirmation, or any other manner of way, notwithstanding that the said lands, barony and others foresaid were then immediately held of his majesty by the said deceased John Carruthers as his majesty’s immediate tenant and vassal, by service of ward and relief, so that, by the same or one or other of the deeds above-mentioned, the said lands, baronies and others above-mentioned are reassessed and fallen and become in his majesty’s hands, as said is.

And likewise, his majesty has, by the foresaid charter, of new given, granted and conveyed to and in favour of the said George Carruthers and his male heirs foresaid, which failing to his heirs and assignees whosoever, heritably and irredeemably, all and entire the said lands and barony of Holmains, comprehending the whole particular lands, mills, teinds, patronages and others particularly above-written, lying as said is, and erected in a free barony in manner foresaid, with all right, title and interest which his majesty, his predecessors or successors had, have or in any way might have, claim or pretend to the same, or any part thereof or to the mails, farms, profits and duties of the same, for whatsoever cause or occasion bygone, preceding the date of the said charter by reason of any manner of right or title, or by virtue of whatsoever acts of parliament or other laws, acts, statutes or constitutions of the said kingdom made or to be made in the contrary, all which his majesty has thereby renounced, transferred and made over in favour of the said George Carruthers and his foresaids for ever.

And his majesty has, by the foresaid charter, made, constituted, created and erected the town of Meikle Dalton, with all and sundry houses, biggings, lands, cottages, yards, tofts, crofts, acres, with the pertinents, within the territory of the same, in a free burgh of barony, to be called in all time coming the burgh of barony of Meikle Dalton. To the inhabitants whereof, who shall be received burgesses by the said George and his foresaids, his majesty, by the said charter, has given liberty of trading in manner therein mentioned, and also has given to the said George and his foresaids the power of choosing yearly bailies, treasurers, clerks, serjeants and other officers necessary for the government of the said burgh, with the privilege of keeping a weekly market and five yearly fairs thereat, and all and sundry other liberties and privileges, such as and as freely in all respects as is given and granted to any other burgh of barony within the said kingdom of Scotland.

And in like manner have, by the said charter, united, erected and annexed all and sundry the said lands of Holmains, Meikle and Little Dalton, Ecclefechan, Sorrysike, Tundergarth, Castlemilk, Almagill and all the rest of the lands, mills and others above-written, with the rights of patronage of the kirks above-mentioned, together with the said burgh of barony, liberties and privileges of the same, in an entire and free barony, to be called now and in all time coming the barony of Holmains; and a sasine to be taken by the said George Carruthers and his foresaids at the manor place of Holmains is, by the foresaid charter, declared sufficient for the whole foresaid lands, towns, rights of patronage, burgh of barony, mills and others above-written, with the pertinents in all time coming, to be held all and whole the said lands, barony and others above-written, and rights of patronage of the said churches, with houses, biggings, yards, mills, mill lands, multures, parts, pendicles and pertinents of the same, all united, erected and lying in manner above-mentioned, to the said George Carruthers and his foresaids of his majesty and his successors in fee heritage, free barony and free burgh of barony forever, giving therefore yearly the said George Carruthers and his foresaids, to his majesty and his successors, the rights, duties and services used and wont to be paid furth of the said lands, burgh, mills, barony and others above, with a provision that whenever the said lands, burgh, mills, barony and others foresaid, should happen to fall in his majesty’s hands or in the hands of his successors by reason of ward, non-entry, relief and marriage, or either of them, yet the said George Carruthers and his foresaids shall peaceably enjoy and possess the same for payment of the sums of money after-mentioned namely, for the yearly payment of the sum of 260 merks Scots money during the whole time of the said ward and non-entry or either of them, and of the like sum for the relief; as also of the sum of 520 merks money foresaid for the marriage of the heir when the same shall happen, to which sums his majesty has, by the said charter, taxed the foresaid ward, non-entry, relief and marriage and assigned and conveyed the same to the said George Carruthers and his foresaids forever for payment of the taxed duties above-written.

And it is thereby further declared that it shall be rightful to the heirs and assignees foresaid of the said George Carruthers succeeding in the right of the said lands, burgh, mills, barony and others above-written, in all time coming, to enter thereto and obtain themselves served and retoured in the same by brieves furth of the chancellery and thereupon to procure themselves infeft therein, notwithstanding the same hold ward and they be minors for the time, whereupon his majesty has by the foresaid charter dispensed for ever, as the same of the date foresaid more fully purports; together with the precept of sasine contained in the said charter and instrument of sasine following or to follow upon the same, in all and sundry heads, articles, clauses, conditions, provisions and circumstances thereof and after the forms and tenors of the same in all points.

Moreover, our said sovereign lord, with consent foresaid of the said estates of parliament, wills, grants, discerns and ordains that this present ratification is and shall be as valid, effectual and sufficient to the said George Carruthers and his foresaids as if the same had been granted before the taking of sasine upon the foresaid charter, and as if the same charter and sasine following or to follow upon the same had been word for word engrossed and inserted hereunto, whereupon, and with all defects and imperfections that may be moved or objected against, or this present ratification of the same, our said sovereign lord and the said estates of parliament have dispensed and hereby dispense forever

  1. NAS. PA2/38, f.10-12
  2. Perhaps ‘Sorrysike’.
  3. Perhaps sic. ‘Christielands’.
  4. Not identified. Perhaps sic. ‘Glenholm’. 30th May 1699 – Ratification in favour of George Carruthers
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Ancient Map of Annandale, ancestral home of Carruthers

The following lands in the parish of Dumfries-shire were included in the Barony of Holmains (1699):
*Almagill & Hallidayhill – all and entire the three merk land of Almagill and the two merk land of Hallidayhill,
*Alton & Archbank – all and entire the eight merk land of Alton & Archbank and two parts of one merk land of old extent – part of Holmains,
*Bengalhill – all and entire the three pound land of old extent of Bengalhill, alias Bengall and Copewood, with mills, multures, parts, pendicles and pertinents of the same, tenants, tenantries and service of free tenants of the said lands,
*Blackberry ward (Bengal Hill),
*Braidgill / Brydegill – all and entire the twenty shilling land of Brydegill, with the pertinents, lying within the parish of Dalton, stewartry of Annandale and sheriffdom of Dumfries with the whole woods, fishings, parts, pendicles, mills, multures and pertinents of the whole foresaid lands, lying in manner respectively above specified,
*Broathill – the half merk land of Broathill,
*Brocklerigg – all and entire the two merk land of Brocklerigg,
*Butterqhat / Butterwhat,
*Castellan (Christieland?) – all and entire the three merk land of Castellan,
*Castlemilk – three dargs of hay in Castlemilk of the dominical lands of the same, extending to a two merk land, extending all the said lands to a sixteen and a half merk land with the third part of the mill and wood of Castlemilk, with all parts, pendicles, and pertinents of the said lands lying within the parish of Saint Mungo, stewartry and sheriffdom foresaid.
*Cockethill – with the lands of Cockethill, being parts and pendicles of the same land, lying within the parish of Lochmaben,
*Crieve & Glaisters – the two merk land of Crieve and one merk land of Glaisters, with mills, multures, parts, pendicles, and pertinents of the same, tofts, crofts, and outsets, thereof,
*Daltonhook,
*Ecclefechan – of old extent, the entire ten pound land with the mill, outsets, tofts, crofts, parts pendicles, tenants, tenantries and service of free tenants, with the advocation, donation and right of patronage of the kirk of Ecclefechan,
*Fourteen Acres – all and entire the forty shilling land of old extent with mills, multures, parts, pendicles and pertinents of the same,
*Gableholme (Glenholm?) – all and entire the two acres and half of an acre in Gableholme,
*Hartwood – all and entire the seven merk land of Hartwood, with tenants, tenantries, and service of free tenants with the pertinents belonging to the same,
*Hemplands – all and entire the ten shilling land of Hemplands*Holmains – 20 pound land of old extent including Little Dalton, Daltonhook, Blackberry ward (commonly known as Bengal Hill, and the Isle lying within the waters of the Annan and all and entire the lands of Kirkhill and Butterquat, with the mill at Little Dalton, parts, pendicles, tofts, crofts, lands, cottages, outsets, tenants, tenantries, and service of free tenants, with the advocation, donation and right of patronage of the kirk of Little Dalton etc etc
Howthat – all and entire the two merk land of old extent with the pertinents of the same
*Isle – lying within the waters of the Annan
*Johniesholme – all and entire the five ruids of land in Johniesholme
*Kirkhill -all and entire the lands of Kirkhill
*Kirkmuir – all the entire 5 merk land of old extent of Kirkmuir, lying within the parish of Cummertrees, with mills, multures, tofts, crofts, parts, pendicles and pertinents
*Little Dalton – with the Mill, parts, pendicles, tofts, crofts, lands, cottages, outsets, tenants, tenantries, and service of free tenants, with the advocation, donation, and right of patronage of the kirk of Little Dalton
*Meikle Dalton – all and entire the twenty pound land of old extent of Meikle Dalton mills, multures, sucken, sequels, with the pertinents, with the advocation, donation and right of patronage of the kirk of Meikle Dalton and parsonage of the same, lying within the said parish, stewartry of Annandale and sheriffdom of Dumfries foresaid
*Middlebrow – all and entire the merk land of Middlebrow
*Moffat & Mote – two parts of the one merk land of old extent of Moffat & Mote, with mills, tofts, crofts, parts, pendicles and pertinents of the same.
*Murthat – all and entire the three merk and ten shilling land of Murthat.
*Newlands & Persbiehall – all and entire the ten pound land of old extent of Newlands & Persbiehall
*Northernmost – all and entire the ten acre land in Northernmost
*Nutholm – all and entire the two merk land of Nutholm
*Over Denbie – the four pound land, with mills, multures, parts, pendicles and pertinents of the same
*Over Warmanbie (Heughheads) – the five mark land of Over Warmanbie, alias Heughheads, with parts, pendicles, and pertinents of the same
*Rammerscales & Greenlands – all and entire the forty shilling land of old extent of Rammerscales and Greenlands, with parts, pendicles and pertinents.
*Rewcroft – all and entire the three acres of land in the foot of Rewcroft
*Rivelton – all and entire the two merk, six shilling and eight penny land of old extent lying within Ruthwell with salt coat, salt floor and sea of the same
*Robbiequat (Robbiewhat) – with the pertinents, all and entire, the forty penny land of old extent
Rossal
*Sorrysyke / Sorrysike – all and entire the two mark land of Sonsie
*Tenebrist – all and entire the three merk land of Tenebrist.


The following are some of the lands which were also owned but by other cadet branches of the family. These were not included within the Barony of Holmains itself.

The Chiefly House Holmains were themselves the senior cadets of the House of Mouswald from which all existing Houses derive: 

*Albie Chapel (Cadet of Holmains)
*Braes (Cadet of Over Denbie)
*Breconsyde (Caset of Holmains)
*Breckonhill (Cadet of Dormont)
*Broomhills (Cadet of Holmains)
*Copewood (Caset of Dormont)
*Dormont (Cadet of Holmains)
*Dyke (Caset of Holmains)
*Gayleburn / Guileburn (Cadet of Brydegill)
*Hardriggs (Cadet of Whitecroft)
*Kinnell Hall (Cadet of Holmains)
*Langholm (Cadet of Over Denbie)
*Macmaw (Cadet of Holmains)
*Milne (Cadet of Mouswald line- extinct) 
*Mouswald (First Chiefs, Holmains, senior Cadet and since 1548, Chiefs of Carruthers)
*Nether Wormanbie (Cadet of Holmains)
*Nether Denbie (Cadet of Dormont)
*Portrack (Cadet of Holmains) 
*Woodfoot (Cadet of Mouswald line- extinct)
*Woodhead (Cadet of Holmains)
*Whitecroft (Caset of Dormont)


Carruthers are an ancient and proud Scottish Border family name who, as can be seen, owned vast swathes of land in Dumfriesshire and were and still are, highly respected in the area. All living lines that we are aware of, are believed to derive from the senior House of Holmains and their subsequent cadet lines.

The name Carruthers is therefore etched into the region’s history and beyond and resonates whenever the heritage of the Scottish Borders is discussed. Mentioned in the historical book, the Steel Bonnets by George MacDonald Fraser, they were listed as being unruly in the 1587 Act of Parliament of that name. As large a riding family, if not larger than some of their well-known neighbours, they were great supporters of Bruce and Maxwell over the many troubled years in the area, as well as being in the main, supporters of the Scottish crown.  As such they played their part in the history of both the West March of the Anglo-Scottish Border specifically and Scotland as in general.

12.pngProud of our heritage, proud of our Name, proud of our Future, we welcome members to our ranks : Membership

Promptus et Fidelis


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