Useful Notes / Black Douglas

Good Sir James

"Hush ye, hush ye, little pet ye,
Hush ye, hush ye, do not fret ye,
The Black Douglas shall not get ye.
Nursery rhyme from Black Douglas' time

James Douglas, Lord of Douglas, better known as Black Douglas or "Good Sir James" was a Scottish war hero of the First Scottish War of Independance, and Number Two to Robert The Bruce in military affairs.

Not much is known about his early life, but it is known that he was the heir to clan Douglas, sent to Paris in the early days of the war against the English, there he was educated and there he served as The Squire for William Lamberton. When he came back to Scotland, he found out his family had lost all of his lands due his father's defiance against the English. He pledged for King Edward The First to return his lands. He didn't.

This proved to be unwise. James Douglas joined with Robert The Bruce, claimant to Scotland's throne, and served as one of his main lieutenants. He lead battalions, delivering the English some of its most dramatic defeats in the entire war and striking terror in the hearts. Soon the English dubbed him Black Douglas.

Alongside Robert he triumphed over the English at Bannockburn and stood alongside him when he became King and lived in his royal court as a prestigious lord.

Black Douglas' last adventure came with his King's death. Robert's Last Request was for his heart to be carried in a Crusade, and Douglas was placed with the task. Carrying his King's heart in a casket, Douglas rode to several battles against the Muslims. Sadly, Black Douglas perished in the Crusade, and his body, alongside his King's heart, was carried back to Scotland.

Shout-outs and references:

  • Frequent appearance in Historical Fiction that deals about the Scottish War of Independence.
  • Several beer brands are named after him.
  • Scottish folk band The Corries have a song about him.
  • Joe Abercrombie's First Law trilogy, a Low Fantasy work, has a character named Black Dow who's a clear shout-out to Douglas, or at least, to his legend in England.