George Douglas, 1st Earl of Angus

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George Douglas
Earl of Angus
Predecessor New Creation
Successor William Douglas, 2nd Earl of Angus
Spouse(s) Mary of Scotland, Countess of Angus
Father William Douglas, 1st Earl of Douglas
Mother Margaret Stewart, 4th Countess of Angus
Born 1380
Tantallon Castle
Died 1403
England from Plague

George Douglas, 1st Earl of Angus (1380–1403) was a mediaeval Scottish nobleman.


He was born at Tantallon Castle, East Lothian, Scotland. The bastard son of William, 1st Earl of Douglas and Margaret Stewart, Dowager Countess of Mar & Countess of Angus and Lady Abernethy in her own right.

He was seen as the product of incest as his mother was the widow of Earl William's wife's brother, Thomas, 13th Earl of Mar.

Earl William's wife Margaret of Mar had already produced an heir for her Lord in 1358, James, 2nd Earl of Douglas and Mar inherited upon his father's death in 1384.

In 1389, Margaret of Angus relinquished her title in favour of her son, but he did not assume it until his betrothal in 1397 to the princess Mary, daughter of King Robert III. Margaret of Angus' influence must have been considerable - in addition to obtaining a royal bride for her illegitimate son, she persuaded King Robert to confirm him in his style of Earl of Angus, and also to bestow upon him the lordships of Abernethy, (Perthshire) and Bonkill, (Berwickshire); and "to endow him and his spouse with the justiciary fees of the County of Forfar, to ratify all gifts, entails, and leases made or to be made by Isabel, Countess of Mar, to the said Jorge her brothir" -(Maxwell).

James 2nd Earl of Douglas, was killed without issue in 1388, at the Battle of Otterburn, and the Earldom of Mar, and all non-entailed Douglas possessions passed to his sister Isabel. The earldom of Douglas passed to a cousin, a bastard son of The Good Sir James Douglas, the aptly named Archibald the Grim.

The descendants of Archibald formed the famed Black line, and those of George the equally famed and longer lived Red Line.

Angus does not appear to have taken much interest in Public life, although his name appears on various minor charters. In 1402 however, he was dispatched under orders of the Duke of Albany, Regent of Scotland to accompany Murdoch, Earl of Fife and the Earl of Moray to assist the Earl of Douglas during his invasion of Northumberland. That incursion ended at the disastrous field of Homildon Hill, where the Scots were routed and all of the above taken prisoner. Both Moray and Angus died of the Plague whilst captive.


By his wife, Mary of Scotland, Countess of Angus, a daughter of King Robert III of Scotland, Angus had two children:

  1. William Douglas, 2nd Earl of Angus(1398–1437)
  2. Elizabeth Douglas; m1 Sir Alexander Forbes, later 1st Lord Forbes; m2 Sir David Hay of Yester

Princess Mary was to marry a further four times and bear seven more children by three of these husbands. The issue by her second husband, Sir James Kennedy younger of Dunure, were the ancestors of the Marquesses of Ailsa; The product of her fourth marriage to William, 1st Lord Graham were the ancestors of the Viscounts Dundee and the Dukes of Montrose.


  • Maxwell, Sir Herbert.A History of the House of Douglas. Freemantle, London 1902
  • Godscroft, David Hume of. Ane Historie of the House and Race of Douglas and Angus. Edinburgh 1646
  • Brown, Michael. The Black Douglases. Tuckwell press, East Linton, East Lothian 1998
  • From the Bloody Heart, Oliver Thomson. Sutton, Stroud, Gloucs. 2003
Peerage of Scotland
Preceded by
New Creation
Earl of Angus
Succeeded by
William Douglas