Carruthers is a place name in Dumfriesshires which is said to derive from the Brittonic word “caer” meaning “fort” (as in Caerlaverock castle, not far away) and the personal name Ruther (originally Rhythr or Rydderch). It has been suggested that this comes from King Roderc mentioned by St Adamnan. Locally, the name was pronounced “Cridders”.
In the 13th century, the family rose to be the hereditary stewards of Annandale under the Bruce’s. Nigel de Karruthers became Rector at nearby Ruthwell (see Ruthwell Cross ) and rose to become Canon of Glasgow Cathedral in 1351 and was chancellor to Robert, Steward of Scotland (progenitor of the Stewart monarchs).
A John Carruthers was keeper of Lochmaben Castle (pictured here) in 1446. This castle was at one time owned by the Bruce’s and may be where Robert the Bruce was born.
In the 16th century, the Carruthers were included in the list of unruly clans in the West Marches in 1587 by King James VI. Lands were acquired in Mouswald but this line ended when Simon Carruthers was killed in a border raid and the lands passed to the Douglases of Drumlanrig with the marriage of the Carruthers heiress.
The Carruthers of Howmains continued however, until the estate was lost in 1772 when financial disaster struck. But a younger son of the last laird acquired the estate of Dormont in Dumfriesshires which is still held by his descendants.
The surname is now mainly found in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Carruthers is a member of the Armigerous Clans and Families of Scotland as it has a recognized coat of arms.
The Carruthers clan motto is “Promptus et fidelis” which means “Ready and faithful”.
The name is from the lands of Carruthers in Middlebie parish in Dumfriesshires’.
In the 13th century the Carruthers were stewards of Annandale under the Bruce’s.
Simon Carruthers who was parson of Middlebie swore fealty to Edward I and in 1320, Thomas Carutherys received a charter of the lands of Musfald and Appiltretwayt with pertinent.
Sir Nigel de Karrutheris was a cleric who obtained the rectory of Ruthwell in 1330 is mentioned again in 1337 and 1351 as Nigel de Carrothorys, canon of Glasgow.
In 1344 Sir Nigel de Carother is recorded as chancellor of Robert Steward of Scotland.
A charter was granted at Moysfald in 1361 in favor of John de Carotheris, Simon de Carrutheris witnessed a deed in 1394, and John of Carrutheris was among the ‘borowis’ for the Earl of Douglas’s bounds of the West March in 1398.
John Carruthers was keeper of Louchmabane Castle in 1446 and William de Carrutheris was presbyter of Glasgow in 1460.
The Carruthers have owned the estate of Dormont since 1452 when it was granted to the family by Robert the Bruce.
Robert I, (Roibert a Briuis in mediaeval Gaelic, Raibeart Bruis in modern Scottish Gaelic and Robert de Brus or Robert de Bruys in Norman French), usually known in modern English today as Robert the Bruce, was King of Scotland (1306 – 1329).
Although his paternal ancestors were of Scoto-Norman heritage, his maternal ancestors were Gaelic, and he became one of Scotland’s greatest kings, as well as one of the most famous warriors of his generation, eventually leading Scotland during the Wars of Scottish Independence against England. He claimed the Scottish throne as a great-great-great-great grandson of David I of Scotland. His body is buried in Dunfermline Abbey, while his heart is buried in Melrose Abbey. His heart was to be taken on crusade to the Holy Land but only made it as far as Spain.
Septs – Carlyle, Carruthers, Crosbie, Randolph and Stenhouse.
Arms – Or, a saltire and chief Gules, on a canton Argent a lion rampant Azure armed and langued of the Second
Crest – A lion statant Azure armed and langued Gules
Motto – Fuimus (We have been)
Supporters – Two savages wreathed about the head and middle with laurel all Proper
Standard – The Arms of the Earl of Elgin and Kincardine in the hoist and of two tracts Gules and Or, upon which is depicted the Crest twice along with the Motto ‘Fuimus’ in letters Or upon a transverse band Sable
Plant – Badge Rosemary
Branches – Airth, Clackmannan, Kennet, Kinnaird Gaelic Name – Brus
Robert the Bruce 1274-1329
Robert Bruce of Annandale had two sons, Robert and Edward. Although his father was pro-English to protect his wealth, Robert junior had moved to back Wallace and independence for a time, telling his father, “I must be with my own”, but only until 1302 however when he made a truce with Edward. The Bruce’s had been within reach of the Scottish crown for a third generation competing for it against other family claims from the Balliol’s, Comyns, Frasers and others. For years he juggled his various interests and sat on Edward’s “Scottish Council”
When he stabbed John Comyn to death in a church in 1306 he had not only made himself an enemy of the mighty Comyns, but committed sacrilege, invoking instant excommunication by the church. He moved for open rebellion against Edward and his supporters, crowning himself King of Scots at Scone. Despite widespread support, an English army under Aymer de Valence stopped the rebellion in its tracks at Methven on 26th June. Once the richest man in the country, Bruce was hiding in caves. His allies and family were rounded up an executed; Simon Fraser’s head was made spiked company for William Wallace’s on London Bridge
Yet on Palm Sunday the following year, Bruce and his remaining support began a guerrilla war which brought them success after success. The Black Douglas was emerging as England’s terror. Angus OG, whose descendants would be the MacDonald’s brought his forces from the Isles. The Earls of Atholl and Lennoxcame into the war against Edward, the Comyns and the MacDougall’s.
By the summer of 1308 Bruce was in control of almost all of Scotland above the Forth and in March of 1309 Parliament was held in St Andrews.
Edward I was now dead, ordering his son to have his bones present in a bag at the front of the army that destroys Bruce. It was not until June 1314 that Edward II assembled his army to retake Scotland. When his highly equipped army, three times the size of Bruce’s reached Bannockburn Bruce was waiting for him.
Edward did not try again till 1322 when he found himself having to abandon his belongings and keep running till he reached Yorkshire. The Declaration of Arbroath was written in 1320 when the leaders of Scotland signed a letter to the Pope declaring their Scottish Independence and Robert I their King, and explaining that they would fight anyone who was against their freedom. In response Pope John Paul XXII annulled Robert’s excommunication.
In 1328 peace was sued for with Scotland. Bruce’s son David was married to Edward III’s sister though both were infants. The King died of leprosy the following year and the in-fighting and English coercion would soon begin again.
It was Bruce’s wish that his heart be taken to be buried in the Holy Land. His friend James Douglas died in the attempt while fighting the Moors in Spain. With his body buried in Dunfermline his heart came back to Melrose.
Photographed at St Conan’s Kirk, Lochawe. A fragment of bone is located in the Bruce Chapel at St Conan’s Kirk, transferred from Dunfermline Abbey.