Clan Carruthers is a Scottish Border Clan and Family of the West March of the Anglo – Scottish Borders, originating in Annandale, Dumfriesshire in the south west of Scotland. The clan is now officially recognized by the Lord Lyon King of Arms, in Edinburgh, as a ‘Noble Incorporation’, having had a Chief confirmed on the 19th August 2019.
The name Carruthers is therefore topographical, meaning we take our name from a place in southern Annandale in Dumfriesshire. According to many researchers and as surnames came into vogue due to a large part through Norman influence, our name came from the place in which the family lived. It was called ‘Carruthers’ after an old Brythonic fort from around 500 AD. The fort or Caer was built by king ‘Ruther’ and became known as Caer-Ruther. Our ancestors therefore became ‘de’ or ‘of’ Carruthers.
To this day there is the remains of an encampment on a hill, to the west of ‘Carruthers Farm. Traditionally we have always believed we are of good Celtic stock, and although robust and decisive proof is currently lacking, we continue to research our historical documents, our genealogy and our genetic genealogy, the latter being through yDNA testing for clarification.
What the yDNA does show is that there is a Carruthers Swedish marker dating back to 900AD in our ancestry. In order for the line to continue the interbreeding with the indigenous population would have occurred.
What we can say with great certainty is that as surnames came into gradual use in Scotland in and around the 12th and 13th centuries, our family took on Carruthers as their own. As a clan our main strongholds were originally Mouswald and Holmains, the latter house from which our chiefly line currently comes from. The area in which we lived, loved and died, was the West March of the Anglo Scottish border, an area which was to become known for over 300 years as the lawless lands of the Border Reivers.
The Reivers themselves are dealt with on another page so we will continue with a brief history of our clan. The first mention of ‘Carruthers’ in a name was from William ‘de/of’ Carruthers who lived during the reign of Alexander II (1215-45) and donated to the Abbey at Newbattle along with Simon ‘of’ Carruthers, parson of Middlebie who was mentioned in the records of 1296. If we consider William Carruthers 1st of Carruthers, we know that there were at least three generations of this line, culminating in John of Carruthers, William’s grandson and father of Thomas Carruthers 1st of Mouswald.
Thomas received a charter of lands from Robert the Bruce in 1320, for services rendered. The House of Mouswald were recognised as the chiefly line until 1548, when Sir Simon Carruthers 10th of Mouswald was killed in 1548 on a border raid.
The Chiefship was then passed to the next senior house, that of Holmains, who were descended from John (Kings Chancellor of Annandale), Thomas 1st of Mouswald’s younger brother. It was John Carruthers, 5th of Holmains who took on the mantle of Chief. This continued until John the 12th who died in 1809, have taken the family into financial disaster.
The Chiefship went into abeyance until 2019. The search for a new Chief was initiated in 2007 by Dr George Carruthers FSA Scot from Fife, a clan armiger. Dr Carruthers began looking into the revival of the chiefly line, by gathering support through social media. After much research, investigation and networking and using the Records of the Carruthers Family by A S Carruthers FSA Scot and R C Reid as a base, the senior member of Holmains was located in 2017.
It took a further 20 months to go through the rigorous process of checks and balances, before the Lord Lyon made a decision. The Lord Lyon King of Arms is the only legal authority in the world who can confirm a Scottish Clan Chief by permitting them to bear the Arms of the Chief. These ancestral Arms, in our case dating back to 1672, are the Arms of Carruthers of Holmains and become his personal heraldic signature. Therefore on the 19th of August 2019, Dr Simon Peter Carruthers of Holmains was confirmed Chief of the Name and Arms of Carruthers.
The Carruthers Chiefly Arms, registered to John, 9th of Holmains (1672), to be used legally, only by the Chief of the Clan. Supporters were granted on the 26 November 2019 by the Lord lyon.
Chief: Simon Peter Carruthers of Holmains.
Blazon: Two gold (Or) chevrons engrailed between three gold (Or) fleur-de-lis on a red (Gules) shield.
Motto: (Holmains): Promptus Et Fidelis (Ready and Faithful).
Tartan: Carruthers Red.
Clan Plant Badge: Yellow Gorse (ulex europaeus).
Clan Society: Clan Carruthers Society International (CCSI).
Septs: Carruthers has no septs.
Kindred: All derivatives of the name Carruthers to include:
Carrutherses, Caruthers, Carothers, Carrothers, Carrithers, Carithers, Corruthers, Corrithers, Cruthers, Carothers, Crouthers, Carruther, Creuder, Cardus, Carother, Carouthers, Carradice, Carrauthers, Carrederys, Carrodus, Carrotheris, Carrothorys, Carrothis, Carutherys, Caruthris Carrothyris, Carruderes, Carruderis, Carruthirs, Carruthoris, Caruderis, Caruyeris, Cerrothers, Corithers, Crathers, Cridders, Curthers, Cruthers, Crowthers, Karruthers, Karruther amongst others.
This is in the classic style based on the Chief’s crest first recorded by John Carruthers 9th of Holmains, 5th Baron after the Lyons Act in 1672. As arms are issued through the auspices of the monarch, at the behest of King James VI, the Scottish Parliament decided to prevent those not deemed worthy of them of bearing Scottish arms. Records show however, that our family carried arms going back to at least the 1300’s.
A Scottish crest badge is made up of the crest, chosen by the Chief and is depicted on the top of their arms, in this case a Seraphim Volant Proper. This is enclosed within a belt and buckle on which is inscribed the Chief’s motto, Promptus et Fidelis (ready and faithful).
The Carruthers crest, as chosen by the Chief, is always depicted as having six wings, the upper and lower most crossed in saltire, the middle ones spread in flight and in the centre the head of an angel. This follows both heraldic and religious depictions of the same
This is the official Carruthers clan/family tartan, registered with the Scottish Register of Tartans and woven by the House of Edgar, in Perth, Scotland. The meaning of the colours is as follows:
- The green, purple and lilac represents our ancestral lands in Annandale, Dumfriesshire, Southwest Scotland.
- The red represents the blood spilt by Carruthers in defence of our family, lands and country.
- The subtle white stripe is in recognition of our family’s historic support for the Jacobite cause and the Royal House of Stuart.
A Society was set up officially in 2017, although it had been functioning as such for many years previously, to support the confirmation of a Chief, as well as promote and accurately inform the Clan on their history, heritage and culture from wherever they hail.
The Society recognised by our chief as representing all Carruthers world wide, is
Clan Carruthers Society – International
We hope you have enjoyed this brief introduction as all of our name and any derivation of the same, are welcome here.