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The Carruthers Family History & Ancestry

Family Crest Motto: PROMPTUS ET FIDELIS (Ready and faithful)

Let me share with you the historical background of your family name, Carruthers, as it has been passed down through the generations. Your family’s story begins in Dumfriesshire, where the name originated from the ancient British fort known as Caer Rydderch or Rhythyr, belonging to the Britons of the kingdom of Strathclyde. Over time, the name underwent some corruption and came to be locally pronounced as ‘Cridders’. Originally, it likely meant ‘Fort of Rydderch’, with several kings bearing this name. Your family, who adopted the name of this ancient place as their surname, were knightly landowners who gained prominence in the thirteenth century as stewards of Annandale under the influential Anglo-Norman Bruce family.

One notable figure from your family’s history is Nigel de Karruthers, who served as a cleric and was the Rector of the parish of Ruthwell in 1380. He ascended to the position of Canon of Glasgow Cathedral by 1351 and was appointed as the chancellor to Robert, Steward of Scotland, in 1344. Around the same period, your family acquired the lands of Musfald, now known as Mouswald. Thanks to their close connections with the Bruce and later the Stewart families, the Carruthers enjoyed prosperity and influence.

However, as the centuries passed, the Carruthers became estranged from their royal patrons. In 1587, they were listed among the unruly clans in the West Marches. In 1563, John Carruthers of Howmains, along with Edward Irvine of Bonshaw and others, faced indictments for assaulting Kirkpatrick of Closeburn and causing the deaths of several individuals. The Mouswald line came to an end with the death of Simon Carruthers, who was killed in a border raid in 1548. The lands then passed to the Douglases of Drumlanrig through marriage with the Mouswald Carruthers heiress.

Despite these setbacks, the family of Howmains continued to thrive, and their lands were established as a free barony in 1542. Unfortunately, financial difficulties led to the loss of the Howmains estate in 1772. However, a younger son of the last laird had acquired the estate of Dormont in Dumfriesshire. Your family has seen various members venture beyond Scotland as well. In 1733, James Carruthers of Edinburgh is recorded as having emigrated to Boston, New England. Robert Carruthers, a journalist and literary figure from Dumfriesshire who passed away in 1878, gained recognition as an editor who contributed to the compilation of Chamber’s Encyclopedia of English Literature.

The Carruthers name also carries a military legacy. Lieutenant Colonel Francis Carruthers served in Egypt and in the Boer War. From 1915 to 1919, he held the position of assistant director at the War Office. Additionally, he was a brigadier in the Royal Company of Archers, which serves as the monarch’s bodyguard in Scotland, and held the title of Lord Lieutenant of Dumfries. While your family name was once prevalent in Dumfriesshire, it is now primarily found in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Your family’s history is filled with notable individuals and a diverse range of experiences, from their early stewardship under influential families to their subsequent trials and triumphs.

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Family Crest Motto: PROMPTUS ET FIDELIS (ready and faithful)

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