Tuesday, September 27, 2016

STARS: Douglas Arms in France (Updated May 30, 2018)

The Sibiville arms. The timing
makes sense only as influence
from Douglas to Sibiville. Vice 
versa would be of more interest. 
I have been searching for the origins of the stars in the Stars and Stripes. I have gotten as far as the Douglas and Moray coats of arms and Scottish ancestors of George Washington.

George Washington's ancestors got their name from the town of Washington in Durham County in the north of England. Washington is today a suburb of Newcastle in the metropolitan County of Tyne and Wear.

The gules (red) mullets and bars on the Washington arms are, I have asserted, a probable echo of and homage to the Douglas arms, with Scotland's St Andrew's azure (blue) switched by the English knight to England's St George's gules (red).

The first member of the Washington family to take the name Wessyngton/Washington was Sir William de Hertburn. One source says, with little backup, he was of French origin. Another says, with great detail, that he was of Scottish origin.

In late September 2016 I have been in France and have been hunting around among the étoiles in French coats of arms to see if the Douglas or Washington arms are connected with families in France. Heraldry was largely brought over from Normandy by William the Conqueror, and I thought that a search of French heraldry records might produce something useful. The only museum in France devoted exclusively to heraldry (science héraldique) is the Musée des Blasons in Saint Jean Devalériscle near Alès north of Montpelier. Rather than make this trip, I relied heavily on what is available in the Bibliothèque nationale de France and French heraldic websites.

Looking among the arms of the various communes in France, I find that 754 of them have étoiles in them. I have looked at each one of them and have picked out coats of arms that look like the Douglas or Washington arms. I am left with 30 coats of arms in my to-look-at list. I am mainly interested in the older arms of Douglas, i.e., a row of three argent (silver) stars in a row in chief (across the top), without the heart that was added after the death of the Good Sir James Douglas.

The connection could be interesting whichever way the influence goes, assuming there is a connection that is not just accidental:
  1. What would be most interesting would be a French commune that had a knight living in it with stars in his coat of arms. This could be a clue to why the Douglas (and Moray) arms include stars. The five-pointed silver stars are of special interest because these are the stars in the Douglas arms.
  2. Less interesting, the Douglas arms have been used by French communes as the basis for its arms because of some association of descendants of the Good Sir James Douglas. One such descendant – Archibald Douglas, the 4th Earl of Douglas – fought in France and in 1424 was given the title of Duc de Touraine (in the Tours region).
  3. There may be a common thread influencing both the emergence of the Douglas family and the commune.
I end up with three interesting groupings of Douglas-related arms by canton (county):
  • Ardennes (on the border with Belgium, east of Pas de Calais) – Amblimont, Doux and Lametz. 
  • Corrèze (interior southwest France, the Dordogne) – Beaumont (gold stars), Margerides (1986), St Remy and St Fereole.
  • Pas de Calais (northwest France near Belgium; Flanders territory) – Leulinghem (red stars and stripes) and Sibiville (post-Sir James Douglas heart included in the arms, so clearly the link is from Douglas to Sibiville). The Comtes de Douglas apparently had lived for generations as seigneurs of Sibiville in 1747.
Here are members of the Douglas family who have lived in France and whose existence might have been the reason for the Douglas stars in a commune coat of arms:

Archibald Douglas, 4th Earl of Douglas, Duke of Touraine, buried with his son, Sir James Douglas in Saint Gatien's Cathedral, Tours, following the Battle of Verneuil 1424. Archibald was named Duke of Touraine before his death in 1424, in gratitude for the assistance to the future Charles VII of France by the Scottish army led by Archibald, killed at the Battle of Verneuil in August 1424.

Archibald Douglas, Earl of Wigtown (d. 1438), was awarded the title of Comte de Longueville along with his son William Douglas, 6th Earl of Douglas (d. 1440).  Known by French chroniclers as Victon (after Wigton), he also received the honorary title of Seigneurie (Lord) of Dun-le-Roi, a Marshal of France.

Other Douglases in France: 

Adam Douglas, governor of castle and town of Tours, 27 May 1424. He was a cousin of Archibald, 4th Earl of Douglas
Antoine Douglas, chevalier, seigneur de Richagnard en Bugey et de Ployart en Picardie, Governor of Montreal Chateau
Charles Archambault Douglas (Sir), Count of Suze, Captain King's Infantry Regiment
Charles Douglas, Lord of Arrancy–built Ferme du Maipas
Charles Guillaume Douglas (Captain), Drummond regiment 
Charles Joseph Douglas was appointed Governor of Saint-Claude in 1751.
Charles Joseph Douglas, Lord of Mépillat, Chiloup and Hautepierre acquired Montreal for 60,000 pounds 13 Apr 1757 
Charles, Comte de Douglas, syndic of the nobility of Bugey
d'Hortore Douglas (Captain) in the regiment de Languedoc
Francois-Prosper Douglas, Chevalier de Douglas, (21 Feb. 1725-26 April 1781)
Gabriel, Esquire, Lord of Saint-Jacques, c. 1668
Guillaume Douglas (c.1420), 
James Charles Douglas-Whyte, died 3 Apr 1885, Finistère, Bretagne, France
Jean Douglas (c1450), son of Guillaume, and Alain Douglas, son of Jean, Seigneur de Prastulo/Pratulot and Châteauneuf 
John Douglas, Esquire, Lord of Chateauneuf, c.1550
Joseph Hyacinthe Duglas Arrancy admitted knight justice to the priory of France, born Feb. 11, 1664, baptized May 26 1664 in the parish church of the diocese of Laon Arrancy.
Leonel, Esquire, Lord of Ployart, c. 1632.
Louis Douglas, Lord of Ployart, c. 1567.
Marc Douglas - Seigneur de Saint-Jacques, Seigneur de Longueuil, Seigneur d'Arrancy,  Seigneur de La Suze, Vicomte d'Amifontaine 
Oliver Douglas, Esquire, Lord & Ployart Arrancy of Picardy (?Lord of Ployart) c.1550
Olivier Douglas, died 1558, son of Gilles. 
Philippe Douglas, died 1763, 
Valentine Douglas OSB, appointed Bishop of Laon, France, in 1580, in which position he served until his death on 5 Aug 1598; he built the Chateaux d'errancy. 
William Douglas (Sir William) of Drumlanrig and William Douglas of Kinross helped Joan of Arc and were buried with a plaque in their memory in the nave of Orléans Cathedral Sainte-Crois. 

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