Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Agnes Leslie (1539-1594)William Douglas(1540-1606)

Agnes Leslie (1539-1594)William Douglas(1540-1606)



Agnes Leslie William Douglas

Agnes Leslie was the Countess of Morton. She was born after 1541 and died about 1606. She was the daughter of George Leslie, 4th Earl of Rothes. She was also a direct descendant of King James II through her mother, Mary Crichton. She married William Douglas,
6th Earl of Morton, Laird of Lochleven Castle. He was custodian of Mary Queen of Scots during her captivity, June 1567- 2 May 1568, when she escaped. During the same time Agnes was Queen Mary's companion. While Agnes was recovering from childbirth, Mary escaped, aided by William's younger brother George Douglas and a young orphan named Willy Douglas. When he learned that the queen had escaped he was so distraught that he attempted to stab himself.

She married William Douglas 26 November 1554. He was the son of Sir Robert Douglas and Margaret Erskine.

Sir William and Agnes together had eleven children:[4]

1. Christian Douglas of Morton, married firstly Laurence of Oliphant, by whom she had issue; she married secondly Alexander, 1st Earl of Home.

2. Robert Douglas, Master of Morton (killed by pirates in March 1585), married Jean Lyon of Glamis, by whom he had two sons, including William Douglas, 7th Earl of Morton, who in his turn married Lady Anne Keith, by whom he had issue.

3. James Douglas, Commendator of Melrose, married firstly , by whom he had issue; secondly Helen Scott, by whom he had issue; and thirdly Jean Anstruther, by whom he had issue.

4. Sir Archibald Douglas of Kilmour (died 1649), married Barbara Forbes (born 31 January 1560), by whom he had one son.
5.Sir George Douglas of Kirkness (died December 1609), married Margaret Forrester.

6. Euphemia Douglas of Morton, married Sir Thomas Lyon of Auldbar, Master of Glamis.

7. Lady Agnes Douglas of Morton (1574- 3 May 1607), on 24 July 1592 married as his first wife Archibald Campbell, 7th Earl of Argyll, the son of Colin Campbell, 6th Earl of Argyll and Agnes Keith, by whom she had one son and two daughters.



Portrait of Agnes Douglas, Countess of Argyll. It was painted by Adrian Vanson in 1599

8. Elizabeth Douglas of Morton, married Francis Hay, 9th Earl of Erroll, by whom she had issue.

9.Jean Douglas of Morton

10. Mary Douglas of Morton, married Sir Walter Ogilvy, 1st Lord Ogilvy of Deskford, by whom she had issue.

11.Margaret Douglas of Morton, married Sir John Wemyss of Wemyss.

Agnes and William's daughters were called the pearls of Lochleven because they were all beautiful.

William Douglas, 6th Earl of Morton was born about 1540 and died 1606. He was the son of Sir Robert Douglas of Lochleven and Margaret Erskine. Margaret Erskine was as at one time the mistress of James V of Scotland. She had a son by the king, named James Stewart, Earl of Moray. He was Regent of Scotland from 1567 until he was assassinated in January 1570.

William's father, Robert Douglas was killed at the Battle of Pinkie in September 1547. William's castle was on an island in the middle of Loch Leven, called Lochleven Castle. He and his mother also built Newhouse of Lochleven on the shore of Loch Leven. It replaced the castle eventually.

After the Battle of Carberry Hill, Queen Mary was imprisoned in Lochleven Castle in June 1567. During the time she was there she was forced to sign papers abdicating to her son James VI, who was an infant. William Douglas later drew up a paper stating that he was not present when she signed it and she signed it. But that was apparently under duress too. Because she later referred to him as her enemy and said that he should have been aware that she was abdicating under duress.

William Douglas became Earl of Morton, in 1588, after the title was returned to his family after a period of time when it was lost to them, due to the attainder of the 4th Earl.

William died about 1606 and Agnes died about the same time.


I found the following account of Queen Mary's escape from Lochleven.


The Survival of the Crown: Volume II: The Return to Authority of the Scottish Crown following Mary Queen of Scots' Deposition from the Throne 1567-1603
Robert Stedall
Book Guild Publishing, Feb 27, 2014



“It was Mary's personal charisma that melted the hearts of those around her and led them to organise her escape from her island prison. At the end of September 1567, Drury reported that she had gained weight, and 'instead of choler, makes a show of mirth.' In October, Bedford wrote that 'the Queen is as merry and wanton as at any time since she was detained and had drawn divers to pity her, who before envied her and would her evil.'

On 28 November, Drury reported that she was showing 'a suspicion of over great familiarity' with pretty Geordie, saying 'this is worse spoken of than I write'. She had enticed him into 'a fantasy of love for her'. In December, he sought to marry her, probably encouraged by his mother, who thought that Moray, his half-brother, would support the match and restore Mary as Queen. Moray did nothing of the kind, and was irritated by Geordie's infatuation, claiming that the marriage would be 'overmean; for her. In February 1568, Drury reported that she was suffering from 'a disease in her side and swelling in her arm', most likely a recurrence of her gastric ulcer, perhaps exacerbated by stress, but the rumour-mongers put it down to pregnancy. Sir William Douglas banished Georgdie from Lochleven, and he promptly approached Seton to assist in her escape.

Geordie was not the only person being considered as a husband for Mary. Maitland claimed that Argyll wanted her to be freed from Orkney, so that she could marry his half-brother, Colin Campbell, later 6th Earl of Argyll. He believed that the Confederates wanted her to be returned to the throne, but dared not show leniency, as they feared 'the rage of the people'. There is no other evidence of a scheme for Mary to marry Colin Campbell, but both Maitland and Argyll still hoped for her restoration. Other marriage candidates included Lord John Hamilton and Henry Stewart, 2nd Lord Methven. With his wife insane, even Morton's name was mentioned, although it was recognised that Mary might not easily agree.

Mary had won over a large number of her captors and was able to smuggle letters in and out with the boatmen more or less at will. She was in regular communication with Orkney in Denmark and continued to correspond with Catherine de Medici, Archbishop Bethune, Elizabeth and the Marians, seeking help for her escape. She ended her letter to Elizabeth, 'Ayez pitie' de votre bonne soeur et cousine' [take pity on your good sister and cousin]. On several occasions she was permitted to take boat trips on the lake accompanied by Sir William, and on one of these encouraged her ladies-in-waiting to cause a diversion by pretending, half in jest, that she had escaped. Sir William became rattled and some of the crowd on the shore were wounded in the resulting fracas, needing attention from Mary's surgeons. Moray upbraided her for causing so much trouble, but she was far from penitent and complained at her continuing detention without trial.

In an early attempt to escape, Mary boarded a boat dressed as a laundress, but was recognised by the boatman. Fearful of the risks, he returned her to the island, but never gave her away. Mary now won over Willy Douglas, an orphaned cousin of the family, with her kindness and took him into her confidence. He became her go-between with Geordie and other supporters on shore, but carelessly dropped a message,which was found by Sir William's daughter. She promised not to divulge anything, if Mary would allow her to escape with her, but, sensing a trap, Mary denied having any such plans.

Sir William Douglas's wife, Agnes Leslie, daughter of George, 4th Earl of Rothes, generally slept in the same room as Mary for added security. In April, she retired into confinement for the birth of a child, providing an opportunity for Mary to escape. While everyone was preoccupied with the birth, Mary sent a message to Geordie to act swiftly. He asked to be allowed to visit his mother on the island before leaving for France and, on arrival, gave Mary's maid one of the Queen's earrings, which he claimed to have found. This was a pre-arranged signal that everything was ready on shore. Willy considered various means of helping her; one involved her jumping off a seven foot wal, but when a lady-in-waiting hurt her foot attempting it, this plan was abandoned.

On 2 May, Willy organised a May Day pageant as a diversion, with himself as the Abbot of Unreason, commanding Mary to follow him wherever he went, while he behaved like an idiot. She eventually returned apparently exhausted to her rooms, where she learned that there was a gathering of soldiers on shore reputed to be Seton going to an assize. Yet Seton was involved in the escape plan and had arrived at the appointed time to help her. Still apparently playing the fool, Willy was spotted by Sir William holing every boat on the island except one, but Mary diverted his attention by
calling him to fetch her a glass of wine after she pretended to faint.

Sir William's mother, Margaret Erskine, had seen the gathering on the shore and must have been suspicious. Yet she was ambivalent about Mary escaping, knowing that it offered potential rewards for her son, Geordie, with disaster for his brother, Sir William, at the hands of their half- brother, Moray. She kept quiet, and Mary walked with her before taking her supper, which was served by Sir William. He then went for his own meal privately with his family, where Willy craftily removed the keys to the main gate from his belt as he poured a drink for him. Mary needed to divert the attention of two of Sir William's young daughters (probably Margaret and Christian) aged fourteen and fifteen respectively, who had a habit of following her devotedly, and she made an excuse that she wanted to pray. With one of her femmes de chambre, she donne a mantle with a hood, as worn by the local country-women. Her other ladies, including Mary Seton, Jane Kennedy and Marie de Courcelles, knew of her plan, but did not go with her. Willy now signalled for the two of them to cross the courtyard full of servants at a time when, by chance, the head of the guard had gone off duty to play handball. Willy quickly unlocked the main gate to let her out and locked it again after her. Although she was seen by some washerwomen, he told them to keep quiet, while she lay under the seat in the remaining sound boat to be rowed ashore. On their approach, a stranger appeared, but he turned out to be one of Geordie's servants. She was greeted by Geordie and John Bethune, Master of her Household at Holyrood, and was at liberty again for the first time in ten and a half monthes.

Bethune took two of Sir William's best horses from his stables on shore, and Willy accompanied Mary to join Seton with Orkney's cousin, Alexander Hepburn of Ricccarton, who were waiting about two miles away. After crossing the Forth at Queensferry, they reached Seton's palace at Niddry by midnight, cheered on by the people as they went. It was like the old days. Mary was not short of backing. Although Chatelherault and Lord John Hamilton remained in France, Lord Claud Hamilton represented the family in actively supporting Mary's restoration with all the help he could muster, assisted by his illegitimate uncles, Archbishop John Hamilton of St. Andrews, who had been Scotland's senior Catholic prelate prior to the Reformation, and Sir James Hamilton of Finnart. Now that Mary was separated from Orkney, the Hamiltons saw her restoration as the catalyst for an attack on Catholics based in the shires and those to the right of English politics, looking for a means to curb Cecil. She also found particular support in northern Scotland from a group of Catholic earls, of whom Huntly was the most powerful. These also included his cousin, Alexander Gordon, 12th Earl of Sutherland, David Lindsay, 10th Earl of Crawford and George Hay, 7th Earl of Errol. None of them was able to come to her aid after her escape from Lochleven, as Ruthven, acting on Moray's behalf, blockaded the passes of the Tay to prevent them travelling south, and Sutherland was a boy of fifteen, who had only recently inherited his title. Yet other earls did manage to join her, including Argyll, with a significant force of Highlanders, Gilbert Kennedy, 4th Earl of Cassillis, despite recently becoming a Protestant, and Andrew Leslie, 5th Earl of Rothes. Argyll, who was a Protestant, had switched his loyalty on several occasions, causing him to be mistrusted, but with his substantial military presence he took command of Mary's forces at Langside. Although Atholl was always loyal to Mary, he was in feud with Argyll and did not appear after her escape. Mary also had backing from among the barons, including the ever-faithful Seton, Fleming and William, 6th Lord Livingson, despite the latter two being Reformers. Fleming remained at Dumbarton, which he controlled on her behalf. The Catholic James, 4th Lord Ross of Halkhead, Fleming's wife's uncle, arrived from Linlithgow, as did various Protestants—William, 5th Lord Hay of Yester, from Haddington, Herries, with his fifteen-year-old nephew, John, 8th Lord Maxwell, from south-west Scotland, and Boyd from Kilmarnock with two of his sons. Laurence, 4th Lord Oliphant, was also loyal, but probably did not appear. Other supporters included Sir Thomas Kerr of Ferniehirst, who came from the Borders, Alexander Hepburn of Riccarton, who was Orkney's cousin, Robert Melville and John Bethune, Mary's former Master of the Household. Yet Throckmorton was convinced that 'those who provided the means of escape did so with no intention than to seize the government of the realm'.

On the next day, Lord Claud Hamilton escorted her with fifty horse to Cadzow Castle with her auburn hair flowing behind her. Although eleven years the younger, Lord Claud was more able and energetic than his elder brother. In return for their support, the Hamiltons demanded confirmation of their position as heirs to the Crown after Mary and James, but ahead of the Lennox Stuarts. They also claimed the right to the Regency ahead of Moray, 'an bastard gotten in shameful adultery'. Although Mary agreed, she was ambivalent about endorsing their claim in writing. Despite promising to consider marriage to Lord John, Melville reported that 'the queen herself fearit the same'.

Marian support flocked to Cadzow and by 8 May, Mary had six thousand troops provided by nine earls, nine bishops, eighteen barons and one hundred lesser lairds, who all signed the Hamilton bond to restore her to the throne. Although Mary's close confidant, John Leslie, Bishop of Ross, was summoned, he did not arrive before Langside, but would later take control of her defence at the Conferences in York and in London.

Sir William Douglas was warned by his daughters that Mary appeared to be hiding from them, but learned of her escape from a countryman, who rowed from the shore. He was so distressed that he attempted to fall on his dagger. Yet he pulled himself together and gathered troops to chase after her. Despite having been duped, he was never blamed for her escape. He had been vigilant, but had reckoned without her powers of intrigue. Three days later, he sent some clothing to her, careful to hedge his bets lest she should come out on top. Geordie later joined Mary in Carlisle before going on to Paris. She was effusive to Bethune in her praise of him, saying, 'tels services ne se font pas tous les jours' [Such services do not happen every day]. Willy remained in her employment until her execution at Fotheringhay and was mentioned in her will.

Moray learned of Mary's escape while in Glasgow, and in the words of the Diurnal of Occurrents was 'sore amazed'. Yet he moved quickly to counter the threat that she posed....”

Americans of Royal Descent: A Collection of Genealogies of American Families Whose Lineage is Traced to the Legimate Issue of Kings
Porter & Costes, 1891

This book has a pedigree for Agnes Leslie that goes back to William the Conqueror

Letters My Grandfather Wrote Me: Family Origins
Bryan Crawford
AuthorHouse, Nov 23, 2011

The Lochleven branch of the Dalkeith Douglases had in the 15th century produced James Douglas, the tournament champion of Stirling in 1442. William's sister Lady Elizabeth Douglas, tried to save the life of James I of Scotland, using her own arm as a bolt, by thrusting it into the monastery door at Perth. The 5th Earl was succeeded by a cousin, William the 6th Earl of Morton, who was custodian of the young Queen at Loch Leven Castle, and often took her rowing on the Loch. William's brother George and an orphan lad, Willy Douglas became supporters of the Queen; Willy later staying faithfully with her at Fotheringay Castle for many years until on the orders of Elizabeth I, she was executed for treason on 8th February, 1587.

William 6th Earl married Lady Agnes Leslie, daughter of the Earl of Rothes, and had a large family of eleven children. He died in 1606, when his grandson Sir William Douglas of Lochleven (1582-1648) became 7th Earl. He became Lord High Treasurer of Scotland, a royalist who sold his estates to the Duke of Buccleuch to help fight the great rebellion of 1642 which led to the English civil war. He was an ancestor of Diana, Princess of Wales, and therefore of the Princes William and Harry


The Heraldry of the Douglases: With Notes on All the Males of the Family, Descriptions of the Arms, Plates and Pedigrees
George Harvey Johnston
W. & A.K. Johnston, limited, 1907

Sir William Douglas of Lochleven, died 34th September 1606. In 1588 he succeeded his distant kinsman, Archibald, 8th Earl of Angus and sixth Earl of Morton (No. 123), as seventh Earl of Morton. He married, Before 1565, Agnes Leslie, daughter of George, fourth Earl of Rothes, and had:--
(a) Robert (No. 326)
(b) James Douglas, Commendator of Melrose, who married Jean,
daughter of Sir James Anstruther of that Ilk.
  1. Archinbald Douglas, ancestor of the Douglases of Kirkness,
Kinglassie, and Strathendry (No. 343).
  1. Sir George Douglas of Keilor (No. 366).

Following her surrender at the Battle of Carberry Hill, Sir William Douglas was the jailor when Mary Queen of Scots was a prisoner in the Glassin Tower at Lochleven Castle. William Douglas owned of the island Loch Leven Castle.

On 24 July, 1567 Queen Mary was compelled to sign abdication papers at Lochleven giving the crown to her infant son James VI.

William Douglas didn't want to be held responsible for the imprisonment and forced abdication of Queen Mary. So he had a legal paper drawn up four days later on 28 July 1567, stating that he was not present when the Queen signed her "demission" of the crown and did not know of it, and that he offered to take her to Stirling Castle for her son's coronation which was the following day. Mary refused his offer but she signed the paper. She must have felt she had no choice and resented it. Because later in 1581, she wrote that she considered William to be one of her few remaining enemies in Scotland, and should have witnessed that she was compelled to assent to her resignation. The Scottish government directed by his half-brother paid William Douglas £1,289-12d for keeping the Queen.

To put his involvement in this affair into perspective, his half-brother was also Mary's half-brother, James Stewart, 1st Earl of Moray. William's mother, Margaret Erskine had an affair with Mary's father, James V of Scotland. This is why his brother felt that he had a right to be regent to Mary's son James VI. He was his uncle.

Queen Mary was kept imprisoned for ten and a half months. During that time, William Douglas' wife Agnes Leslie was her main companion. She was with her during the day and often slept with her in her bedchamber. During this time, Agnes gave birth and while she was recovering, Mary took advantage of her greater freedom and with the help of Sir William's brother George Douglas and one of his cousins, she escaped. William was in such a state of distress when he found out that she had escaped that he tried to stab himself with his own dagger.



These are some of the interesting sources of information about this period of history.

Northern Europe: International Dictionary of Historic Places
Trudy Ring, Noelle Watson, Paul Schellinger
Routledge, Oct 28, 2013

“Sir William and Lady Agnes Douglas, along with the Dowager Lady Margaret, were Mary's “hosts” (jailors) from June 17, 1567, until she escaped on May 2, 1568. The Douglas family felt they had as much right to the throne as the Stuarts, making them ideal for the job of keeping Mary a prisoner. She was first imprisoned in the Glassin Tower, a small round tower in the ramparts, with an entrance only from the courtyard. Although Mary was pregnant and very ill, the campaign began to force her to abdicate in favor of her son James. She soon gave birth to still born twins, and continued to be very ill. On July 24, 1567, after great pressure from Sir Robert Melville and several others, Mary finally signed the Deeds of Abdication of the Scottish Throne in favor of her son James, then one year old. She named her half-brother, James Stewart (the Earl of Moray), as regent. “



SOME INFORMATION ON LOCH LEVEN CASTLE



Lochleven Castle from the Curtain Wall

Northern Europe: International Dictionary of Historic Places
Trudy Ring, Noelle Watson, Paul Schellinger
Routledge, Oct 28, 2013


“LochLeven Castle, where Mary was held by the Douglases, is a good example of the type of building called a “Tower Keep”. Which was a style of fortified home common in Scotland in the tumultuous sixteenth century. It is oblong in shape and originally had five stories, including a kind of penthouse under the steep roof, which no longer exists. A circular staircase is in the southeast corner. The upper windows formerly had external shutters. The original doorway was high up in the east wall on the second story, reached by a removable gangway, which made it easier to defend the castle.

The basement was used both as a prison and for storage. The only entrance was through a hatchway from the floor above; ventilation came from narrow openings in the walls. There was also a well in the center of the floor. So that the castle can now be visitedm the south window was enlarged to become the present entrance, and a stone stairway was added up to the kithen.

The dark kitchen with very small windows is above the cellar. Two of the windows have window seats; the one in the south wall has a sink with a runnel to carry dirty water outside. A salt box is the back of the fireplace. A primitive toilet, called a “garderobe” is in a corner.

The huge main hall is above the kitchen. The original entrance was in the east wall of this room. Just inside this entrance is a trap door used to lower provisions to the kitchen and cellar. A large fireplace is in the west wall. The windows are deep-set with window seats, allowing views of the loch and countryside. The floor above the main hall is called the solar, and appears to have been divided into a sitting room and bedrooms.

There were various other buildings on the site. The most importand was named the Presence Chamber, which is more than thirty feet long, eighteen feet wide and fifteen feet high. This was probably built for the use of Queen Mary. In her time it contained a crimson and gold-covered throne and, gold and silver silk curtains.”

http://www.thehazeltree.co.uk/2014/11/16/loch-leven-castle/

History of Lochleven Castle: With Details of the Imprisonment and Escape of Mary Queen of Scots
Robert Burns-Begg
G. Barnet, 1887

On Tuesday, the 17th day of June, 1567, Queen Mary found herself once more, and for the last time, journeying towards Lochleven Castle; but on this occasion it was under circumstances widely and painfully differing from those which had characterized her previous visits. Hitherto it had been to her a place of pleasant and welcome retreat, where, in her favourite pastime of hawking, and surrounded by her gay Court, she could for a time lay aside the harassing cares of State and forget the still more depressing personal anxieties and sorrows which were gathering so thickly around her. Now it formed the “prison house” specially assigned to her by the Secret Council of the confederate Lords as “ane rowme maist convenient” for her detention, beyond the risk alike of rescue or escape. The warrant for her committal, which was signed in Edinburgh late in the evening of Monday, 16th June, by the Earls of Morton, Athol, Glencairn, and Mar, and by Lords Sempil, Ochiltree, and Graham, was in the following terms:--

“Ordanis, commandis, and chargeis Patrick Lord Lindsay of the Byers, William Lord Ruthven, and Sir William Douglas of Lochleven, to pass and convov Her Majesty to the said place of Lochleven, and the said laird to ressaive her thairin and thair thay and every ane of them to keep Her Majesty surelie within the said place,”

“She was in the hands of Lord Lindsay and Lord Ruthven, both of them rude, unscrupulous and intensely practical men, to whom it had become a matter not merely of duty, but of direct personal safety, to see that their captive was securely immured within the sturdy keep which stood out before them in all its strength and isolation. Both of them had taken a prominent part in “the troubles” of the period, and both had a few months before actively aided in the cowardly assassination of Rizzio—Ruthven's father, indeed, with characteristic inpetuosity having in the very presence of the Queen herself struck with his dagger the first blow at the doomed Secretary. Lord Lindsay, too, could scarcely fail to remember the bitter personal threat which the Queen in her frenzy had permitted herself to use towards him on Carberry Hill, only two days previously, when, in presence of the other confederate Lords, she laid her hand in his and uttered these pregnant words, “by the hand which is now in yours, I'll have your head forr this.” Certainly the Secret Council could not have selected men better suited for conducting the Queen to her place of imprisonment; and, with such extreme zeal did they discharge that undignified duty, that they barely extended towards her the ordinary consideration and courtesy which common humanity required. On the contrary they, under a fear that a rescue might be attempted in the course of the journey, urged their horses to their utmost speed, regardless of the fact that the Queen was so wretchedly mounted, that one of their number had continually to prick up her jaded steed in order to compel it to keep pace with the rest of the band.”

“On reaching the Castle Island, accompanied by Lindsay and Ruthven, the Queen was received by Sir William Douglas, who had preceded her on her journey, in order to make the requisite preparations for her arrival. Sir William was accompanied by his brother Robert, to who reference has already been made, and by George, his youngest brother, a young man of about twenty-two or twenty-four years of age, whose subsequent association with the Queen was fated to influence powerfully the future lives of both.”

“the rooms to which she was conducted were situated on the ground floor—probably either the principal rooms in the range of the gateway, or more probably still, those in the little round tower already referred to; and, instead of these being specially prepared for her use, they were furnished simply with furniture belonging to the Laird of Lochleven, and little or no effort had been made to lessen their repulsiveness and discomfort.

...on her arrival at the Castle she was thoroughly prostrated by a serious and allarming illness, and that for upwards of a fortnight she was obliged to be kept in strict and entire seclusion, unable to take any nourishment, and seeing no one but her own immediate personal attendants.

The illness of the Queen on her first arrival seems to have been of a very serious character, and for some time it was feared that it might even terminate fatally, but her wonderful energy of spirit, combined with the natural vigour of her constitution, carried her through this crisis of her life, as it carried her through many a past and many a future trial.

Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage
Burke's Peerage Limited., 1885

George, 4th earl, an extraordinary lord of Session, and sheriff of Fife, ambassador to the court of Denmark, 1550. On the attainder of his son, the Master of Rothes, he had a charter of the forfeited lands of Ballinbreich, which he alienated to his third son Andrew. He m. 1st, 1517, Margaret, illegitimate dau. Of William, 3rd Lord Crichton, by Margaret, dau. Of James III(a union dissolved by divorce, 27 Dec 1520), by whom he had,

Norman, Master of Rothes, made Fiar of the earldom 1540, and had charter of Ballinbreich. He was the principal actor in the murder of Cardinal Beaton, 29 May 1546, for which he was attainted. He afterwards distinguished himself in the French service, and d. of wounds received at the battle of Renti, 1554, having m. Isabel, dau. Of John, 5th Lord Lindsay of the Byres. s.p.

William, implicated in the murder of Cardinal Beaton (for which he obtained a remission 1548) and passed over in his father's settlement of the earldom.

Elizabeth.

Earl George m. 2ndly, Elizabeth, dau. Of Andrew, 2nd Lord Grey, relict of John, 4th Lord Glammis, and of Alexander 3rd Earl of Huntly, s.p. He m. 3rdly, Agnes, dau. Of Sir John Somerville, of Cambushnethan, and widow of John, 2nd Lord Fleming, by whom he had,

Andrew, 5th earl
James, from whom the Leslies of  Bally?? in Ireland
Helen, m. 1st, Gilbert Seton, of Parbreath; 2ndly, Mark Ker, abbot of Newbottle, by whom she was mother of the 1st Earl of Lothian.

After the death of his 3rd wife the earl was remarried to his divorced first wife, Margaret Crichton, by whom he had,

Robert, first of the family of Findrassie
Agnes, m. William 8th Earl of Morton.
Margaret, m. Archibald, 8th Earl of Angus

George, Earl of Rothes, m. 5thly, Margaret Lundy, widow of David, 8th Earl of Crawford, s.p. He d. at Dieppe, 28 Nov. 1558, on his way home from attending as representative of the Scottish estates at the marriage of Queen Mary with the Dauphin. He was s. by his 3rd son, 
Andrew, 5th ear., whose right was disputed by his elder brother William, but in terms of a decreet arbitral of Queen Mary of 2 May 1566, William on receiving certain compensation, renounced all title to the earldom. 


Dictionary of National Biography, Volume 33
Sir Leslie Stephen
Macmillan, 1893


Agnes Leslie William Douglas

Agnes Leslie was the Countess of Morton. She was born after 1541 and died about 1606. She was the daughter of George Leslie, 4th Earl of Rothes. She was also a direct descendant of King James II through her mother, Mary Crichton. She married William Douglas, 
6th Earl of Morton, Laird of Lochleven Castle. He was custodian of Mary Queen of Scots during her captivity, June 1567- 2 May 1568, when she escaped. During the same time Agnes was Queen Mary's companion. While Agnes was recovering from childbirth, Mary escaped, aided by William's younger brother George Douglas and a young orphan named Willy Douglas. When he learned that the queen had escaped he was so distraught that he attempted to stab himself.

She married William Douglas 26 November 1554. He was the son of Sir Robert Douglas and Margaret Erskine. 

Sir William and Agnes together had eleven children:[4]

Christian Douglas of Morton, married firstly Laurence of Oliphant, by whom she had issue; she married secondly Alexander, 1st Earl of Home.
Robert Douglas, Master of Morton (killed by pirates in March 1585), married Jean Lyon of Glamis, by whom he had two sons, including William Douglas, 7th Earl of Morton, who in his turn married Lady Anne Keith, by whom he had issue.
James Douglas, Commendator of Melrose, married firstly Mary Kerr, by whom he had issue; secondly Helen Scott, by whom he had issue; and thirdly Jean Anstruther, by whom he had issue.
Sir Archibald Douglas of Kilmour (died 1649), married Barbara Forbes (born 31 January 1560), by whom he had one son.
Sir George Douglas of Kirkness (died December 1609), married Margaret Forrester.
Euphemia Douglas of Morton, married Sir Thomas Lyon of Auldbar, Master of Glamis.
Lady Agnes Douglas of Morton (1574- 3 May 1607), on 24 July 1592 married as his first wife Archibald Campbell, 7th Earl of Argyll, the son of Colin Campbell, 6th Earl of Argyll and Agnes Keith, by whom she had one son and two daughters.
Elizabeth Douglas of Morton, married Francis Hay, 9th Earl of Erroll, by whom she had issue.
Jean Douglas of Morton
Mary Douglas of Morton, married Sir Walter Ogilvy, 1st Lord Ogilvy of Deskford, by whom she had issue.
Margaret Douglas of Morton, married Sir John Wemyss of Wemyss.

Agnes and William's daughters were called the pearls of Lochleven because they were all beautiful.

William Douglas, 6th Earl of Morton was born about 1540 and died 1606. He was the son of Sir Robert Douglas of Lochleven and Margaret Erskine. Margaret Erskine was as at one time the mistress of James V of Scotland. She had a son by the king, named James Stewart, Earl of Moray. He was Regent of Scotland from 1567 until he was assassinated in January 1570. 

William's father, Robert Douglas was killed at the Battle of Pinkie in September 1547. William's castle was on an island in the middle of Loch Leven, called Lochleven Castle. He and his mother also built Newhouse of Lochleven on the shore of Loch Leven. It replaced the castle eventually.

After the Battle of Carberry Hill, Queen Mary was imprisoned in Lochleven Castle in June 1567. During the time she was there she was forced to sign papers abdicating to her son James VI, who was an infant. William Douglas later drew up a paper stating that he was not present when she signed it and she signed it. But that was apparently under duress too. Because she later referred to him as her enemy and said that he should have been aware that she was abdicating under duress.

William Douglas became Earl of Morton, in 1588,  after the title was returned to his family after a period of time when it was lost to them, due to the attainder of the 4th Earl. 

William died about 1606 and Agnes died about the same time.


I found the following account of Queen Mary's escape from Lochleven.


The Survival of the Crown: Volume II: The Return to Authority of the Scottish Crown following Mary Queen of Scots' Deposition from the Throne 1567-1603
Robert Stedall
Book Guild Publishing, Feb 27, 2014



“It was Mary's personal charisma that melted the hearts of those around her and led them to organise her escape from her island prison. At the end of September 1567, Drury reported that she had gained weight, and 'instead of choler, makes a show of mirth.' In October, Bedford wrote that 'the Queen is as merry and wanton as at any time since she was detained and had drawn divers to pity her, who before envied her and would her evil.' 

On 28 November, Drury reported that she was showing 'a suspicion of over great familiarity' with pretty Geordie, saying 'this is worse spoken of than I write'. She had enticed him into 'a fantasy of love for her'. In December, he sought to marry her, probably encouraged by his mother, who thought that Moray, his half-brother, would support the match and restore Mary as Queen. Moray did nothing of the kind, and was irritated by Geordie's infatuation, claiming that the marriage would be 'overmean; for her. In February 1568, Drury reported that she was suffering from 'a disease in her side and swelling in her arm', most likely a recurrence of her gastric ulcer, perhaps exacerbated by stress, but the rumour-mongers put it down to pregnancy. Sir William Douglas banished Georgdie from Lochleven, and he promptly approached Seton to assist in her escape.

Geordie was not the only person being considered as a husband for Mary. Maitland claimed that Argyll wanted her to be freed from Orkney, so that she could marry his half-brother, Colin Campbell, later 6th Earl of Argyll. He believed that the Confederates wanted her to be returned to the throne, but dared not show leniency, as they feared 'the rage of the people'. There is no other evidence of a scheme for Mary to marry Colin Campbell, but both Maitland and Argyll still hoped for her restoration. Other marriage candidates included Lord John Hamilton and Henry Stewart, 2nd Lord Methven. With his wife insane, even Morton's name was mentioned, although it was recognised that Mary might not easily agree.

Mary had won over a large number of her captors and was able to smuggle letters in and out with the boatmen more or less at will. She was in regular communication with Orkney in Denmark and continued to correspond with Catherine de Medici, Archbishop Bethune, Elizabeth and the Marians, seeking help for her escape. She ended her letter to Elizabeth, 'Ayez pitie' de votre bonne soeur et cousine' [take pity on your good sister and cousin]. On several occasions she was permitted to take boat trips on the lake accompanied by Sir William, and on one of these encouraged her ladies-in-waiting to cause a diversion by pretending, half in jest, that she had escaped. Sir William became rattled and some of the crowd on the shore were wounded in the resulting fracas, needing attention from Mary's surgeons. Moray upbraided her for causing so much trouble, but she was far from penitent and complained at her continuing detention without trial.

In an early attempt to escape, Mary boarded a boat dressed as a laundress, but was recognised by the boatman. Fearful of the risks, he returned her to the island, but never gave her away. Mary now won over Willy Douglas, an orphaned cousin of the family, with her kindness and took him into her confidence. He became her go-between with Geordie and other supporters on shore, but carelessly dropped a message,which was found by Sir William's daughter. She promised not to divulge anything, if Mary would allow her to escape with her, but, sensing a trap, Mary denied having any such plans.

Sir William Douglas's wife, Agnes Leslie, daughter of George, 4th Earl of Rothes, generally slept in the same room as Mary for added security. In April, she retired into confinement for the birth of a child, providing an opportunity for Mary to escape. While everyone was preoccupied with the birth, Mary sent a message to Geordie to act swiftly. He asked to be allowed to visit his mother on the island before leaving for France and, on arrival, gave Mary's maid one of the Queen's earrings, which he claimed to have found. This was a pre-arranged signal that everything was ready on shore. Willy considered various means of helping her; one involved her jumping off a seven foot wal, but when a lady-in-waiting hurt her foot attempting it, this plan was abandoned.

On 2 May, Willy organised a May Day pageant as a diversion, with himself as the Abbot of Unreason, commanding Mary to follow him wherever he went, while he behaved like an idiot. She eventually returned apparently exhausted to her rooms, where she learned that there was a gathering of soldiers on shore reputed to be Seton going to an assize. Yet Seton was involved in the escape plan and had arrived at the appointed time to help her. Still apparently playing the fool, Willy was spotted by Sir William holing every boat on the island except one, but Mary diverted his attention by 
calling him to fetch her a glass of wine after she pretended to faint. 

Sir William's mother, Margaret Erskine, had seen the gathering on the shore and must have been suspicious. Yet she was ambivalent about Mary escaping, knowing that it offered potential rewards for her son, Geordie, with disaster for his brother, Sir William, at the hands of their half- brother, Moray. She kept quiet, and Mary walked with her before taking her supper, which was served by Sir William. He then went for his own meal privately with his family, where Willy craftily removed the keys to the main gate from his belt as he poured a drink for him. Mary needed to divert the attention of two of Sir William's young daughters (probably Margaret and Christian) aged fourteen and fifteen respectively, who had a habit of following her devotedly, and she made an excuse that she wanted to pray. With one of her femmes de chambre, she donne a mantle with a hood, as worn by the local country-women. Her other ladies, including Mary Seton, Jane Kennedy and Marie de Courcelles, knew of her plan, but did not go with her. Willy now signalled for the two of them to cross the courtyard full of servants at a time when, by chance, the head of the guard had gone off duty to play handball. Willy quickly unlocked the main gate to let her out and locked it again after her. Although she was seen by some washerwomen, he told them to keep quiet, while she lay under the seat in the remaining sound boat to be rowed ashore. On their approach, a stranger appeared, but he turned out to be one of Geordie's servants. She was greeted by Geordie and John Bethune, Master of her Household at Holyrood, and was at liberty again for the first time in ten and a half monthes.

Bethune took two of Sir William's best horses from his stables on shore, and Willy accompanied Mary to join Seton with Orkney's cousin, Alexander Hepburn of Ricccarton, who were waiting about two miles away. After crossing the Forth at Queensferry, they reached Seton's palace at Niddry by midnight, cheered on by the people as they went. It was like the old days. Mary was not short of backing. Although Chatelherault and Lord John Hamilton remained in France, Lord Claud Hamilton represented the family in actively supporting Mary's restoration with all the help he could muster, assisted by his illegitimate uncles, Archbishop John Hamilton of St. Andrews, who had been Scotland's senior Catholic prelate prior to the Reformation, and Sir James Hamilton of Finnart. Now that Mary was separated from Orkney, the Hamiltons saw her restoration as the catalyst for an attack on Catholics based in the shires and those to the right of English politics, looking for a means to curb Cecil. She also found particular support in northern Scotland from a group of Catholic earls, of whom Huntly was the most powerful. These also included his cousin, Alexander Gordon, 12th Earl of Sutherland, David Lindsay, 10th Earl of Crawford and George Hay, 7th Earl of Errol. None of them was able to come to her aid after her escape from Lochleven, as Ruthven, acting on Moray's behalf, blockaded the passes of the Tay to prevent them travelling south, and Sutherland was a boy of fifteen, who had only recently inherited his title. Yet other earls did manage to join her, including Argyll, with a significant force of Highlanders, Gilbert Kennedy, 4th Earl of Cassillis, despite recently becoming a Protestant, and Andrew Leslie, 5th Earl of Rothes.  Argyll, who was a Protestant, had switched his loyalty on several occasions, causing him to be mistrusted, but with his substantial military presence he took command of Mary's forces at Langside. Although Atholl was always loyal to Mary, he was in feud with Argyll and did not appear after her escape. Mary also had backing from among the barons, including the ever-faithful Seton, Fleming and William, 6th Lord Livingson, despite the latter two being Reformers. Fleming remained at Dumbarton, which he controlled on her behalf. The Catholic James, 4th Lord Ross of Halkhead, Fleming's wife's uncle, arrived from Linlithgow, as did various Protestants—William, 5th Lord Hay of Yester, from Haddington, Herries, with his fifteen-year-old nephew, John, 8th Lord Maxwell, from south-west Scotland, and Boyd from Kilmarnock with two of his sons. Laurence, 4th Lord Oliphant, was also loyal, but probably did not appear. Other supporters included Sir Thomas Kerr of Ferniehirst, who came from the Borders, Alexander Hepburn of Riccarton, who was Orkney's cousin, Robert Melville and John Bethune, Mary's former Master of the Household. Yet Throckmorton was convinced that 'those who provided the means of escape did so with no intention than to seize the government of the realm'.

On the next day, Lord Claud Hamilton escorted her with fifty horse to Cadzow Castle with her auburn hair flowing behind her. Although eleven years the younger, Lord Claud was more able and energetic than his elder brother. In return for their support, the Hamiltons demanded confirmation of their position as heirs to the Crown after Mary and James, but ahead of the Lennox Stuarts. They also claimed the right to the Regency ahead of Moray, 'an bastard gotten in shameful adultery'. Although Mary agreed, she was ambivalent about endorsing their claim in writing. Despite promising to consider  marriage to Lord John, Melville reported that 'the queen herself fearit the same'. 

Marian support flocked to Cadzow and by 8 May, Mary had six thousand troops provided by nine earls, nine bishops, eighteen barons and one hundred lesser lairds, who all signed the Hamilton bond to restore her to the throne. Although Mary's close confidant, John Leslie, Bishop of Ross, was summoned, he did not arrive before Langside, but would later take control of her defence at the Conferences in York and in London.

Sir William Douglas was warned by his daughters that Mary appeared to be hiding from them, but learned of her escape from a countryman, who rowed from the shore. He was so distressed that he attempted to fall on his dagger. Yet he pulled himself together and gathered troops to chase after her. Despite having been duped, he was never blamed for her escape. He had been vigilant, but had reckoned without her powers of intrigue. Three days later, he sent some clothing to her, careful to hedge his bets lest she should come out on top. Geordie later joined Mary in Carlisle before going on to Paris. She was effusive to Bethune in her praise of him, saying, 'tels services ne se font pas tous les jours' [Such services do not happen every day]. Willy remained in her employment until her execution at Fotheringhay and was mentioned in her will.

Moray learned of Mary's escape while in Glasgow, and in the words of the Diurnal of Occurrents was 'sore amazed'. Yet he moved quickly to counter the threat that she posed....”

Americans of Royal Descent: A Collection of Genealogies of American Families Whose Lineage is Traced to the Legimate Issue of Kings
Porter & Costes, 1891

This book has a pedigree for Agnes Leslie that goes back to William the Conqueror

Letters My Grandfather Wrote Me: Family Origins
Bryan Crawford
AuthorHouse, Nov 23, 2011

The Lochleven branch of the Dalkeith Douglases had in the 15th century produced James Douglas, the tournament champion of Stirling in 1442. William's sister Lady Elizabeth Douglas, tried to save the life of James I of Scotland, using her own arm as a bolt, by thrusting it into the monastery door at Perth. The 5th Earl was succeeded by a cousin, William the 6th Earl of Morton, who was custodian of the young Queen at Loch Leven Castle, and often took her rowing on the Loch. William's brother George and an orphan lad, Willy Douglas became supporters of the Queen; Willy later staying faithfully with her at Fotheringay Castle for many years until on the orders of Elizabeth I, she was executed for treason on 8th February, 1587.


William 6th Earl married Lady Agnes Leslie, daughter of the Earl of Rothes, and had a large family of eleven children. He died in 1606, when his grandson Sir William Douglas of Lochleven (1582-1648) became 7th Earl. He became Lord High Treasurer of Scotland, a royalist who sold his estates to the Duke of Buccleuch to help fight the great rebellion of 1642 which led to the English civil war. He was an ancestor of Diana, Princess of Wales, and therefore of the Princes William and Harry
Post a Comment
 
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.