With all the pollution against our name, sometimes Clan Carruthers (International) feels a wee bit like eco warriors. Not trying to save the planet per se, but closer to home and working hard to save the factual history and heritage of our ancient family.
We have always believed and still believe that the first paternal chiefly line of Mouswald died out in 1548 on the death of Sir Simon Carruthers, 10th of Mouswald 5th Baron. This hasn’t changed, what has changed is a line we believed to possibly be extinct or unproven as a branch of Mouswald, may not be.
We have been aware of individuals in the past claiming to come directly from the Mouswald line, and rather than ignoring it and based on the calibre of those making the claims, we have been working quietly and diligently in the background to investigate the truth of the matter
There are a of course a number of ways of checking this out, firstly through documented evidence from genealogy supported by Scottish records which we had asked for, and secondly here is the background on our ongoing y-DNA research programme.
Official Clan Carruthers y-DNA Research Programme
Accepting, and at the behest of our chief, we remain keepers of the truth, seeking facts not fiction, our DNA Research Director was adamant from the onset that when we began our investigations into Clan and Family DNA, the process would be based on the best testing available to us i.e. y-DNA testing.
As this is an ongoing process, we welcome all Carruthers’ males to send their y-DNA tests into the official Clan Carruthers DNA Research programme here to add to our existing research map.
Our involvement with this level of evidence building and thus the respect it carries, allows us access to many other y-DNA research programs. These sites also interconnect and ‘talk’ to each other leading to some surprising results. This process has ensured that the snp we have discovered relating to our family and its origins, is cross referenced and more importantly accurate.
As such we have located the specific marker of William de CARRUTHERS, the first of our line to use our name and through him, we can trace his paternal line back to a male from Sweden, who appeared in Annandale in 900 AD.
It is obvious that this man had a relationship with a member of the local indigenous inhabitants of the area, thus starting the Carruthers chiefly line. This snp has allowed us to accurately check and correlate his descendants going forwards and ancestors gpoing back into the past and it is this evidence that also underpins our clan and family’s robust genealogy research. With this in mind:-
NB: There is absolutely no evidence, based on our clan and family y-DNA research programme, that:
- Carruthers originated from Ireland – We did not.
- Carruthers were ever related to Irish royalty – We are not.
- Nor for accuracy, that Carruthers were ‘Vikings’ – There is no evidence to support this, in fact our y-DNA research would suggest otherwise.
However, we do have a Scandinavian root, and there is a huge difference, which for those well educated in the meaning, process and history of ‘Vikings’, will fully understand. Most Vikings were Scandinavian, but not all Scandinavians were Vikings.
DNA doesn’t lie, but as we can see through some inaccurate postings, it can be and is abused and misinterpreted. As such and unless the test being used ensures the highest level of specificity, which y-DNA does, mistakes deliberate or otherwise can be made.
Using weak DNA research or misinterpretation of the same, can only lead to weak claims especially when trying to connect lines that are now proven to have no real direct relationships with us as CARRUTHERS ie Rydderch Hael, Caratacus and Kenneth McAlpin to name but a few, irrelevant what others may tell you.
Carruthers of Mouswald
So this blog is about the Mouswald line and is based on our y-DNA findings, which has led us to some interesting findings?
Carruthers of Mouswald were the first recognised chiefly line, albeit themselves descended from William de Carruthers, the first of our name born in the 1100’s. The House of Mouswald therefore, as a territorial designation began in the early 1300’s and lasted over 200 years through 10 chiefs of that line.
Further it is believed we have been on the land through both our maternal and paternal lines for a 1000 years or so before that.
Thomas (the Clerk) the first of Mouswald, was the great grandson of William de Carruthers (1188-1245) whose family lived on the ancestral land. William was recorded as making a donation to Newbattle Abbey in Midlothian during the reign of Alexander II (1198-1249).
He used the territorial designation/name as the owner ‘of‘ the lands of Carruthers, which as we know were taken from the area around the Caer (fort) of Rydderch (Ruthers). From here it progressively began being used simply as a surname by those owning the lands and then by those living on them.
Thomas, son of John Carruthers, grandson of William, received a Charter of Lands from King Robert the Bruce in 1320 for services to his family. He married Joan, a daughter of Applynden, but he fell out of favour in 1344 when he swore fealty to Edward III of England (1312-1377).
It is possible that this pledge of allegiance to the English King was carried out under duress but never-the-less it was done. His brothers, of which he had 3, remained loyal to the Bruce. These were named and are listed by seniority L-R:
1William Carruthers, 2John Carruthers, 3Sir Nigel Carruthers.
Thomas may have died without issue or his disloyalty may have played a role in his losing the rights to the Mouswald lands and title. Either way his younger brother, William Carruthers became 2nd of Mouswald. Thomas’s line, if he had one, ceased to play a part in the Mouswald genealogical chart going forward.
So what of the other two Brothers?
Well John Carruthers, Kings Chancellor of Annandale, became the progenitor of the Holmains line based on a Charter of lands in 1361 recieved from the Bruces’s son, King David II. This takes it directly from the Mouswald root and also as the great grandson of William, as close as one can get to the ‘source’.
Sir Nigel Carruthers was Chamberlain to the Regent and the youngest brother of the four. He was sadly killed, fighting for his country at the battle of Durham in 1346.
However as of 1548, and the death of the last Chief of the Mouswald line, it has been and still remains considered an extinct line.
In history and heraldry, a cadet branch consists of the male-line descendants, ie those not being the eldest son and heir and consisting therefore of the younger sons (cadets). On their Shield, see above, the heir wears a cadency mark showing he is the heir, and the younger son has a bordure/border designating he is not the heir.
This is the case with Holmains being a cadet line of Mouswald who conjoined the ancient arms with those of Simon 10th, last of Mouswald to form the Holmains arms. These arms registered in 1672 after the Lord Lyons Act, were by then the arms of the Chiefs of Carruthers.
Further, Isle, Rammerscales, Dormont etc are cadet lines of Holmains, and Breckonhill, Whitecroft and Brydegill etc, are cadets of Dormont. Each individual family line retains its own identity yet contains the same ancestral roots.
Throughout Europe, and most certainly in Scotland, the family’s major assets such as land, fiefs, titles, property and income will have historically been passed from a father to his firstborn son. This is called a primogeniture (right, by law or custom, of the firstborn legitimate child to inherit the parent’s entire or main estate).
All younger sons ie cadets would have inherited less wealth and authority to pass to future generations of descendants. As such the Cadet lines, exist in their own right but as a distinct part of, in this case the Border family of Carruthers but cannot claim to be Carruthers of Mouswald or Holmains or Dormont if they are not of that House but can claim descendancy.
The families of Woodfoot and Milne
There are three main lines who can claim as being directly from the House of Mouswald: Holmains, Milne and Woodfoot although one could argue Woodhead, a cadet of Woodfoot, could be included.
Both Woodfoot and Milne, maintained a strong pedigree directly from the main line through a brother of Sir Simon 8th of Mouswald and therefore the second son of Archibald, 7th of Mouswald ie William Carruthers who died in 1548.
As such there has to be a serious consideration that the descendents of this are a strong line in the Carruthers family charts accepting that the Mouswald line has been considered extinct for nearly 500 years.
According to the documents available, the Milne family was ‘of’ the land and was found to be extinct through the male line in 1899. The line of Woodhead came from the son of John of Milne, where his son James (1725-1822) is listed as ‘in’ Woodhead and as far as we are aware. The sister of John of Milne, last of that male line of Milne, sold the lands after his death
Therefore the lines of Milne, but not as owners of the lands continued through William Carruthers of Stenrieshill b. 1777 (‘of’ being owners of the land) and James Carruthers ‘in’ Woodhead and David Carruthers ‘in’ Kingwell, Breconside and Leithenhall although thre lsatter male line is listed as extinct (‘in’ being living on the land not owning it).
A Woodfoot farm, as the name suggests, is an area largely forested to this day, where the old catagory C farmhouse still stands, it is situated in the parish of Lochmaben in Annadale north, adjacent to Holmains Wood.
However the area of the Woodfoot itself, owned by this line of Carruthers is situated near to the village of Beattock and the town of Moffat, which would correspond with the following from one of our senior genealogists, Gary Carruthers FSAScot:
It is interesting to note that Drumlanrig had a large interest in the lands of Moffat in the 15th Century (Inventory of the Drumlanrig Charter Chest).
And King James II, on January 20 1446/47, granted a licence to “Elizabeth of Dunwedy” to infeft her eldest son, John Carruthers, in her lands of Houthwate, Stranrase and Wamfra. On 6 April 1449 John Carruthers of Mouswald had a precept from the King to infeft him in these lands on the resignation of his mother and sasine was given on the 30th of the same month.
(In Scottish feudal conveyancing, a person is infeft if his title is registered in the register of sasines- itself a register of titles rather than an actual land register ed.)
Wamphray is mentioned when it became a holding of the grandson of John of Milne, George born 1823. I guess that Wamphray would have been part of Mouswalds holdings, through Woodfoot and Milne since 1449.
In 1492 Simon Carruthers obtained a sasine of Mouswald, Logan renements, Raffles, Hetland Hill, Middleby, Dornock, Hoddam, Dunnabie Kirtlehouse and Westwood. According to Dr Carruthers Logan Tenement consisted of the farms of Craigbeck, Breckonsyde, Logan WOODHEAD, LOGAN WOODFOOT and Crofthead. The estate was called the Procornal or Logan and on it are still the remains of a small keep called the Cornal Tower.
In 1560 Janet Carruthers, one of Mouswalds joint heiresses, daughter of Sir Simon Carruthers 10th and last of Mouswald made over to Sir James Douglas of Drumlanrig, her 1/2 of be Mouswald Barony (including Logan Tenement .. ie Woodfoot etc).
Therefore Carruthers in Woodhead, as a cadet of Woodfoot is also a line we are advised still exists. As a place it is a location (Logan) Woodhead, lying above Woodfoot just south of Moffat.
So what does this mean, well our y-DNA research has shown that there are descendants of what we believe are the Woodfoot and Woodhead lines being very much alive today. As such, and as a family we are excited that we now have two living branches that our reserch is now showing as being off the Mouswald line. These are of course Holmains, the chiefly line which is ell evidenced and now it seems that of Woodfoot, and through them Woodhead.
The hope of course is that one of the males in this line can either prove ancestry back to the ‘colonies’ prior to the end of the Revolutionary War in 1783, allowing them to petition for Scottish Arms.
Or alternatively it seems and if they choose to, they can approach the Lord Lyon with robust documented evidence, and again attempt to petition for Scottish arms. If accepted, these would be matriculated from a grant of the first Scot of their line to arrive in the US. Both would only be considered if there was a strong enough case, with evidenced documented proofs.
NB : Any Carruthers Arms would be differenced from the Chief’s arms of Holmains at least twice.
However, to add another living armiger to our armorial list would of course meet with great celebration.
We already have an individual over the pond, which we believe is still being researched as we speak, and although they had hit a wall this seems to have been resolved. We remain hopeful of the outcome.
Chiefly line: Woodfoot or Holmains
Having had discussions during the route to have chief confirmed by the Lord Lyon regarding Mouswald, its barony and territorial designation, it seems that Mouswald in the eyes of both the Lyon Court and the Scottish legal system remains extinct as of 1548. This will not change as far as we are aware, but the lineage would remain (see chart above).
Holmains: It was the brother of the 1st and 2nd Carruthers of Mouswald that began the Holmains line and from here the line remains strong through our current chief, 22nd of his line.
Woodfoot and Milne: It was the brother of the 8th of Mouswald and second son of the 7th of Mouswald, who was the progenitor of the Woodfoot and Milne lines.
As Mouswald is no more, the ancestry of Holmains remains the senior line, not only as a brother of the early heads of the family but also the fact that John was, like his brothers, a great grandson of William de Carruthers, first recorded of our name.
So why the excitement?
Well for us and accepting the false claims that currently abound, this clarification through the efforts and specificity of our y-DNA research, backed up by good genealogy means we can support the claims of another branch linked directly to Mouswald, is still in existence and Clan Carruthers (International) truly welcomes the fact.
The more we can prove what relates to our family’s lineage as being factual and with evidence, the more our historical picture is filled out accurately for many generations to come.
Please get involved in the Clan Carruthers y-DNA Research programme on ‘familytreedna’ site here to assist us and the family by adding to our existing research and clan DNA mapping.