Clan Carruthers

CLAN CARRUTHERS: R.C. Reid, co-author of the ‘Records of the Carruthers Family’, but who was he?

Most Carruthers will be aware of the family tome; ‘The Records of the Carruthers Family’ written by A Stanley Carruthers FSA Scot and R. C. Reid and although other books have been published relating to the family this still remains the go to reference for Carruthers history to this day.

Rev Arthur Stanley Carruthers FSA Scot

Registered 1965

We know that the Rev Arthur Stanley Carruthers, FSA Scot, was descended from the second son of John Carruthers, 5th of Holmains who died in 1580. This second son, William received a charter of lands from his father in 1552, which started the House of Dormont. James Andrew Carruthers, 13th of Dormont still remains on the ancestral lands as laird of the estates. His son Kip is the owner of the Ninefold Distillery which produces rum on the estate and is noted for the use of the seraphim from their arms on their bottles.

We know through his matriculation for Arms with the Lord Lyon of November 1965, that the branch of A Stanley Carruthers family were descended from Dormont but through their cadet branch Brydegill and Guileburn. We also know that he was only 22 when he wrote the precursor to the ‘Records’. His arms are inherited by Mr Iain Arthur Stewart Carruthers, a London Lawyer and one of our living armigers.

But very little is known of the co-author to this book R.C Reid himself?

Dr Robert Cosane Reid (1882-1963)

We know he was the second son of John J Reid who published the; The Barony of Mouswald and its Barons ; a Border History, published in the Proceedings of the Society of Scotland 23, 24-79. This formed the foundations for both the precursor booklet to the ‘Records’ as a 30 copy print covering the Houses of Mouswald, Holmains, Dormont, Over Denbie, Braes, Langholm and Carlisle assisted greatly by access to the Holmains charter chest via the Rev. W. Mitchell Carruthers, an ancestor of the current chief.

Ruins of Old Mouswald Tower (GC2019)

We are awarehat like his father Robert, he was born in Dumfriesshire, was a prolific editor and author and historian and his work on the history of Dumfries and surrounding areas is well known. He was a collaborator on many other important historical research and in fact these are considered some of the most in-depth publications of the area, setting the standard for historical research going forward.

According to future museum; Robert Corsane Reid was educated at Cheltenham and Trinity College, Cambridge, and then joined the legal profession.  A promising career was cut short because of a youthful injury to one leg and the onset of eyesight problems.

In 1920 he inherited the family estate at Mouswald Place, including the farms of Mouswald Banks and Cleughbrae, and he and his wife returned to live at Cleughbrae. (Interestingly the last Carruthers born in Mouswald, albeit not of the extinct Mouswald line but as a tenant farmer was the son of Charles Carruthers in 1834. This was prior to it being owned by the Reids)

Robert became county councillor for Mouswald and Torthorwald in 1929, a role he held until 1958. (Being an avid historical researcher and appreciating his father’s previous publications while also living on the former lands of Carruthers of Mouswald, his interest and curiosity would have been piqued, leading to the co-authorship of our well reserched family history ed)

R.C. had a passion for archaeology, archival research, history and genealogy.  He  recommended the young Alfred Truckell as curator for Dumfries Museum, who was one of the founders of Gracefield Arts Centre in Dumfries.  He set up the Mouswald Trust, which continues to give grants for archaeological work today.

His personal interests lay in the preservation and publication of charters and local records, including genealogical studies while his contribution to Dumfries and Galloway Natural History and Antiquarian Society was also invaluable. He served as Secretary and Editor of the Transactions, to which he contributed 140 papers in all.  He was President between 1933 and 1944.

Perhaps his greatest legacy (excluding the Records of the Carruthers Family ed), is the body of research that came as a result of the encouragement he gave to experts to study St. Ninian and Whithorn.  He also brought Scottish universities together to sponsor a scheme to enable students to gain experience in excavation at John Clark’s excavation at Milton Roman fort, and later at Birrens (Birrens hill is now considered the site of Caer Rydderrch, pronounced Ruthers in old Cumbric, the area which is deemed to be the origin of our name ed), ensuring that many skilled students received a good grounding in the field.

We therefore have a great deal to thank Robert’s tenacity and obsession for detail for, and it is worth remembering that our history would not have been as robust or as accessable without his involvment with the Rev, Arthur Stanley Carruthers on one of the family’s greatest historical assets; The Records of the Carruthers Family.

Many legitimate reserchers to this day continue to use this book as a baseline and cross-reference for their work, which in itself has aided their ability to offer evidenced and more in-depth pieces on our family and its rich history.


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