Clan Carruthers

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Clan Carruthers
File:Clan Carruthers Crest.png
Crest: A seraphim volant Proper[1]
Motto Promptus Et Fidelis (Ready and faithful)[1]
Region Scottish Borders
District Dumfriesshire
Plant badge Fleur-de-lis
File:Carruthers Clan Shield.png
Clan Carruthers has no chief, and is an armigerous clan
Historic seat Mouswald Tower[2]
Holmains Castle (Howmains)[2]
Dormont House[2]
Last Chief Simon Carruthers[3]
Died 1548[3]

Clan Carruthers is a Lowland Scottish clan of the Scottish Borders. The clan is officially recognized by the Lord Lyon King of Arms; however, as the clan does not currently have a clan chief that is recognized by the Lord Lyon King of Arms it is considered an armigerous clan.[3]


Origins of the clan

The surname of Carruthers has arisen in Dumfriesshire and it appears to allude to the ancient British fort called Caer Rydderch or Rythyr.[3] The historian George Fraser Black asserted that this means fort of Rydderch, with Ryderch appearing to be a form of personal name.[3]

In the thirteenth century the chiefly family of Carruthers rose to become stewards of Annandale under the Clan Bruce.[3] The historian George Fraser Black writes of Nigel de Karruthers, a cleric who was also Rector of Ruthwell in 1380, and rose to become Canon of Glasgow Cathedral in 1351.[3] He was also named as chancellor to Robert, High Steward of Scotland in 1344.[3] At around the same time the chiefly family of Carruthers acquired the lands of Musfald (now called Mouswald).[3]

16th century

The Carruthers of Mouswald line came to an end with Simon Carruthers who was killed in 1548 during a border raid,[3] and his daughters were placed under the guardianship of the Clan Douglas.[2] The Carruthers of Howmains line, however, continued to prosper and in 1542 their lands were erected into a free barony.[3] John Carruthers of Howmains was indicted, along with Edward Irvine of Bonshaw (chief of Clan Irvine), for an assault on Kirkpatrick of Closeburn (chief of Clan Kirkpatrick) in 1563, as well as for slaying several other persons.[3] In 1587 the Clan Carruthers was included on the roll of "unruly clans" in the West Marches.[3]

18th century to modern period

The Carruther's estate of Howmains was lost in 1772 when a financial disaster overwhelmed the family.[3] However, a younger son of the family acquired the estate of Dormont in Dumfrieshsire, and the family still holds it to the present day.[3]

A notable member of the clan was Colonel Francis Carruthers who served in Egypt and in the Boer War.[3] From 1915 to 1919 he was assistant director at the War Office.[3] He was also a brigadier in the Royal Company of Archers (the monarch's body guard in Scotland) as well as being Lord Lieutenant of Dumfries.[3]

Clan Castles

Castles that have been owned by the Clan Carruthers have included amongst others:

  • Mouswald Tower, nine miles north of Annan, Dumfries and Galloway, it was held by the Carruthers from 1320 after being given to them by Robert the Bruce.[2]
  • Doromont House, four and a half miles south east of Lockerbie, Dumfries and Galloway, was held by the Carruthers from the middle of the sixteenth century, although the current house was built in 1823, replacing an older castle.[2]
  • Holmains Castle (Howmains), near Lochmaben, Dumfries and Galloway was held by the Carruthers.[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Clan Carruthers Profile Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Coventry, Martin. (2008). Castles of the Clans: The Strongholds and Seats of 750 Scottish Families and Clans. pp. 92 - 93. ISBN 978-1-899874-36-1.
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 3.18 3.19 3.20 Way, George and Squire, Romily. (1994). Collins Scottish Clan & Family Encyclopedia. (Foreword by The Rt Hon. The Earl of Elgin KT, Convenor, The Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs). pp. 370 - 371.

See also