Douglas George, fourth Earl of Angus and Lord of Douglas 1412?-1462, was younger son of William, second earl, and Margaret Hay, daughter of Sir W. Hay of Yester. On his accession to the earldom in 1452, by the death of his brother James, the third earl, without issue, he received a charter from the king of the royal castle of Tantallon and the customs of North Berwick, then a considerable port. When the Douglases rose against James II, he took the king's side, and is said to have commanded the royal forces at the battle of Arkinholm on 1 May 1455, which completed their overthrow by the death of the Earl of Moray and the capture of the Earl of Ormonde, a younger brother of the Earl of Douglas. Lord Hamilton, his cousin by the maternal line, after deserting the Earl of Douglas, entered into a bond to Angus in 1457 to be his man of special service and retinue all the days of his life.
In 1458 Angus defeated the Earl of Douglas and Henry Percy, earl of Northumberland, in a severe engagement on the east border, of which he was warden. He was rewarded by a grant of the lordship of Douglas on the forfeiture of the earl. He was in attendance on the king at the siege of Roxburgh in 1460, and was wounded by a splinter from the cannon which caused the untimely death of James II. When Henry VI and his queen took refuge in Scotland in the following year, they entered into an agreement with Angus, by which, in return for his aid in effecting their restoration, Angus was to receive lands between Trent and Humber of the value of two thousand merks a year, with the title of duke, and without relinquishing his Scottish allegiance in case of war. The indenture of this agreement, which Hume of Godscroft had seen, was signed, he says, with a Henry as long as the whole sheet of parchment, the worst shaped letters and worst put together that I ever saw. About the same time the exiled Earl of Douglas and his old allies, the Earl of Ross and Donald Balloch, formed a league to support the Yorkist king, Edward IV, by which Douglas was to be restored to his estates, and the whole country north of the Forth partitioned between the two highland chiefs; so natural had it became that the two heads of the Douglases should take opposite sides. This agreement came to nothing. Angus succeeded in relieving the French garrison of Alnwick, which was besieged by Edward IV. In the contention which arose after the death of James II as to the regency and custody of the young king between the young and the old lords, Angus led the latter party, in opposition to the queen dowager, who aimed at securing the regency for herself. A compromise was effected, by which the queen named two regents, William, lord Graham, and Robert, lord Boyd, the chancellor; and the other party, Robert, earl of Orkney, and Lord Kennedy. As there is no mention of Angus in the council of regency or afterwards, it is probable he died before the close of 1462. He was married to Isabel, daughter of Sir John Sibbald of Balgony in Fifeshire, and was succeeded by his son Archibald (Bell-the-Cat), fifth earl of Angus [qv.]. It was this earl who transferred the power of the Angus Douglases from Forfarshire to the borders. With this view he feued the estates of his family in that shire to vassals, of whom as many as twenty-four are said to have held of him as their superior, and used the means he thus acquired to add to his possessions in the south, where, in addition to the large estates he already held in Liddesdale and Roxburgh, the royal castle of Tantallon, of which he was keeper, and his own castle of the Hermitage, he acquired the lordship of Douglas by the forfeiture of the earl and lands in Eskdale by purchase. He may be regarded as the founder of the position of the earls of Angus as border chiefs, and there seems no reason to doubt the description Hume of Godscroft has given of him: He was a man very well accomplished, of personage tall, strong, and comely, of great wisdom and judgment. He is also said to have been eloquent. He was valiant and hardy in a high degree. His wife survived him, and married Robert Douglas of Lochleven. Besides his heir, Archibald, he had by her seven daughters and a son John, who probably died young. The eldest daughter, Annie, married William, lord Graham.
Douglas's Peerage of Scotland
the family histories of Hume of Godscroft and Sir W. Fraser.
Contributor: Æ. M. [Aeneas James George Mackay]