James Douglas, 9th Earl of Douglas

James Douglas, 9th Earl of Douglas

James Douglas
Earl of Douglas
Quartered arms of Sir James Douglas,
9th Earl of Douglas, KG
Predecessor William Douglas, 8th Earl of Douglas
Successor forfeit
Spouse(s) Margaret Douglas, Fair Maid of Galloway
Anne Holland
Father James Douglas, 7th Earl of Douglas
Mother Beatrice Sinclair
Born 1426
Died 1488
Lindores Abbey
Buried Lindores Abbey

James Douglas, 9th Earl of Douglas, 3rd Earl of Avondale KG (1426–1488) was a Scottish nobleman, last of the 'Black' earls of Douglas.


The son of James the Gross, 7th Earl of Douglas, by his wife Lady Beatrice Sinclair, daughter to Henry II Sinclair, Earl of Orkney; Douglas was a twin, the older by a few minutes, the younger being Archibald Douglas, Earl of Moray.

He succeeded to the earldom on the murder of his brother William Douglas, 8th Earl of Douglas by King James II and his entourage. He denounced his brother's murderers and took up arms against the king, and he and his brothers attacked Stirling, driving a horse through the town with the safe conduct given to William attached to its tail. He was forced to back down when some allies deserted him.

He obtained a papal dispensation to marry his brother's widow, Margaret Douglas, Fair Maid of Galloway, in order to keep the family estates together. (It is not entirely clear that this marriage ever took place, but it was certainly planned.) He was involved in intrigues with the English court, and in 1455 rebelled against James II once more.

Meanwhile another branch of the Douglas family, known as the first earl of Douglas, took sides with the king against the Earl of Douglas. Douglas, again deserted by his chief allies, fled to England, and his three younger brothers, Hugh Douglas, Earl of Ormonde, Archibald Douglas, Earl of Moray, and John Douglas, Lord of Balvenie, were defeated at the Battle of Arkinholm, near Langholm on the Esk, possibly by Angus. Moray was killed, Ormonde taken prisoner and executed, and Balvenie escaped to England. Their last stronghold, Threave Castle in Galloway, fell. James Douglas was attainted in 1455, and his lands and estates were forfeit to the crown. The