Clan Carruthers

CLAN CARRUTHERS: A portait of Lady Nicole Jardine Carruthers, or not?

This is part of a post relating to our Carruthers ancestry, which was sent to us by some of our members who asked if it was accurate.

It claims, as the caption says, that this is a painting of: Lady Nichole Jardine Carruthers, born 1552 in Applegarth Dumfries-shire, Scotland, father, John, was 29 and her mother Margaret was 41. She married John Carruthers 7th Laird of Holmain, 3rd Baron Carruthers in 1572. She died in 1631 in Scotland.

So what a great find if this is actually a portrait of John Carruthers, 7th of Holmains’ wife ‘Nicole’. But is it accurate or just simply another wild claim to misrepresent our family?

  • The first clue is the dress. Although of the period, this amount of lace in the ruff and the expensive styling of the dress for instance would only be worn by the richest of families. In the day these were visual leads to the position of the individual in society. Therefore the size and intricacy of the collar was an indicator of wealth, prestige, and social status and although Holmains was not poor, this would have been considered for many reasons, out of place for the wife of a border laird.
  • Secondly, the painting itself was known to us.

John Carruthers 7th of Holmains.

John Carruthers 7th of Holmains, formally called ‘of Harthwat’ having received from his grandfather John 5th of Holmains, first of that line to be called chief in 1548, the lands of `Rammerscales and Hartwart in 1563. (infelt means the titles/deeds are registered on the Register of Sasines, which was feudal in nature).

He then inherited from his father, George 6th of Holmains the title and lands of his family in 1597 ie Holmains. George 6th eldest brother John and heir was killed at the battle of Solway Moss, leaving the estates to the next in line.

John 7th did however, marry Nicholas Jardin, (not ‘Nicole’ Jardin), the sister of Alexander Jardine of Applegirth before then, but in 1575 not 1572.

John and Nicholas had 4 children. They are listed here eldest to youngest:

  • John who was to become 8th of Holmains and married twice: Agnes daughter of George Douglas of Parkhead in 1600, who died. Then in 1616 he married Janet, the sister of the first Earl of Queensbury, William Douglas of Drumlanrig.
  • George of Over Denbie, infelt the lands by his brother, John 8th of Holmains
  • William of Knox, recieved the lands from his father in 1624
  • Thomas, mentioned as a witness in 1604
  • Charles,mentioned as a witness in 1604

However, the painting they attribute to Nicholas Carruthers is in fact not of her.

It has of course been nicely photoshopped, possibly in an attempt to enhance the credibility of both the post and the research behind it, but neverheless the information and portrait do not go together.

One has to say that although a picture paints a thousand words, sometimes it is better to publish less that is honest, than more that is not.

So if not a portrait Nicolas Carruthers, then who?

Mary Queen of Scots

The full painting can be found here and here as you can see it is quite a famous study called “PORTRAIT OF A LADY, SAID TO BE MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS, HALF LENGTH, WEARING A GOLD EMBROIDERED DRESS, AND LACE-EDGE RUFF”. Having not only followed our own research, but according to, printed vertically on the side of the portrait the work is attributed to William Segar.

Sadly, there seems to be not a shred of evidence to consider the above portrait is in fact the wife of John Carruthers, 7th of Holmains, so why claim it as such?

William Segar

Willianm Segar

Sir William Segar (c.1554–1633) was a known portrait painter, Herald (Somerset Herald-1589) and officer of arms (Norroy King of Arms-1593) to the court of Elizabeth I of England; he became Garter King of Arms- 1604 under James VI of Scotland/James I of England who was the son of Mary Queen of Scots.

Here is a lesson to us all: In December 1616 one of Segar’s rivals, York Herald, Ralph Brooke, tricked him into confirming foreign royal arms to Gregory Brandon, a common hangman of London who was masquerading as a gentleman. Brooke then reported him to James I, who imprisoned both Brooke and Segar in Marshalsea.

They were released a few days later and the Lord Chamberlain hoped that the experience would make Brooke more honest and Segar more wise.

Although we will always try to remain vigilant, sadly we cannot get them all. But surely it doesnt take much to realise that one false claim can easily be a mistake, a continual flow has to be considered no accident.

So is it time to ask, and to quote at least two of the people who sent the above to us:

When will this embarrassing nonsense from the LLC stop?”

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.