Dear Jim and John ~
Since my last posts, I've had a chance to review a few more resources regarding the questioned marriage of Sir Archibald de Douglas, 3rd Earl of Douglas, and his wife, Joan of Moray.
It appears that two reputable Scottish historians, Mr. Bain and Mr. Burnett, as well as Scots Peerage and Complete Peerage, have all taken the position that Sir Archibald de Douglas married Joan de Moray, widow of Sir Thomas de Moray, of Bothwell. This position is based on the 1361 dispensation for this marriage published by Teiner, which dispensation clearly indicates the identity of Sir Archibald's wife.
On the other hand, the unexplained passage of the barony of Bothwell held by Sir Thomas de Moray to the Earls of Douglas has continued to be a bone of contention. Under normal circumstances, the passage of the barony would follow the typical laws of inheritance. As such, two more recent historians, Andrew MacEwen and Bruce McAndrew, have adopted the position that Sir Archibald de Douglas must have married a hitherto unknown person, Joan, alleged daughter and heiress of Sir Thomas de Moray, of Bothwell, not her widowed mother. As heiress to her father's lands, the barony of Bothwell would have passed without contention to the Earls of Douglas.
One argument made against the MacEwen-McAndrew position is that Thomas de Moray is that Sir Thomas de Moray died too young to have had a child by his wife, Joan de Moray (she born 1339-1346). However, given that Thomas de Moray served as a plenipotentiary for King David's ransom in 1358 and that he was a knight at his death in 1361, it seems entirely possible that Sir Thomas de Moray could have been survived by an infant daughter, Joan, at his death.
One argument made for the Bain-Burnett position is that the reason the barony of Bothwell passed to the Douglas family is because the lawful heirs of Sir Thomas de Moray were too distantly related to Sir Thomas and that they were unable to prove their claim to the barony of Bothwell. In the absence of provable heirs, the Douglas family simply acceded to the Moray lands, rather than the Crown. This argument seems to be rather weak to me as there is no evidence that anyone other than the Douglas family ever claimed the barony of Bothwell following the death of Sir Thomas de Moray. Moreover, in the absence of near heirs, the barony of Bothwell should have escheated to the crown.
I haven't read Mr. McAndrew's comments regarding the heraldic evidence of the Douglas-Moray marriage, but my guess is that his comments have possibly overplayed the implications of such evidence.
What is the deciding factor? I suspect chronology might be useful in providing a solution in this case. I typically employ a rule of thumb of 85 years for three generations. Sir Archibald Douglas and his wife, Joan of Moray, had one known grandson, Robert Stewart, of Fife, who was born say 1389. He commenced witnessing charters for his paternal grandfather in 1404. Robert Stewart was dispensed to marry in 1414, but the marriage did not take place. Had the marriage taken place, we might assume that a child of that marriage would have been born c.1420. Subtracting 85 years from 1420 should give is a rough estimate of the birth date of Robert Stewart's grandmother, Joan of Moray, wife of Sir Archibald de Douglas. Making this calculation gives an approximate birthdate of 1335 for Joan de Moray. This date suggests that Joan of Moray was the widow not the daughter of Sir Thomas de Moray.
Comments are invited.
Best always, Douglas Richardson, Salt Lake City, Utah
On Sunday, March 4, 2018 at 6:18:21 AM UTC-7, John P. Ravilious wrote:
< A most interesting discussion. This is undoubtedly one of those
< instances where the evidence provided by a dispensation has led to a logical, < but erroneous, determination that Joan Murray, daughter of the Earl of
< Strathearn and widow of Thomas Murray of Bothwell, was the wife of Archibald
< 'the Grim', 3rd Earl of Douglas.
< The late Andrew MacEwen noted the 1371 charter of King Robert II to Archibald < concerning the destination of the Murray lands in the event his wife Joan died < without issue - " in casu quo Johannam de Moravia, uxorem suam contigerit,
< absque haerede de corporibus eorundem procreato " (RMS I (1814 ed.), pp.87-88, < no. 305). Andrew's interpretation was that there was as yet no issue of the
< marriage; this was part (not all) of his argument that Archibald's wife was
< Joan, daughter and heiress of Thomas Murray of Bothwell by his wife Joan
< Murray (heiress of Drumsargard). A discussion of the elder Joan Murray's lack < of issue in 1371 (she likely being aged about 35, perhaps more, at the time)
< may have taken place before this hypothesis was put forward.
< Also the article published by Dr. Bruce McAndrew on the matter in 2010
< should be consulted by those interested (Heraldic investigations anent early
< Murray genealogy, PSAS 140 (2010), pp. 145-164). McAndrew makes a good case
< from the evidence, especially the heraldic representations created in the
< chapel erected at Bothwell by Archibald the Grim, that support the position
< that Douglas' wife was Joan, daughter (not widow) of Thomas Murray of Bothwell < (cf. pp. 154-159).
< There were many instances which you (Doug) alluded to of dispensations not < matching the actual marriages that took place < in particular John Stewart of < Darnley and his wife Margaret Montgomery (1460, vs. dispensation for her aunt < in 1438) for one, and Colin 'Iongantach' Campbell and his wife Mary or Mariota < Campbell for another (1372, following death of his son John who was dispensed < to marry Mary first) for another. There is certainly no reason to take the
< 1362 dispensation as solid evidence of Joan Murray's identity.
< ~ Note also, as you (Jim) noted, the Douglas website is interesting yet
< loaded with errors. Thomas Murray of Bothwell was not the son of Christian
< Bruce as shown, but rather a full brother of John Murray; and while Thomas
< Murray was undoubtedly a Stewart descendant, it had nothing to do with Neil, \< Earl of Carrick's wife whose name was Isabel and whose parentage is as yet
< unproven. "Margaret Stewart" his wife is from Scots Peerage, and is
< unfortunately without documentary support.
< Cheers, John