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Carruthers is a Scottish family or kin group which does not have a recognised chief, and is therefore considered an armigerous clan.


This name is associated with a location near Ecclefechan in Dumfriesshire. <ref>George Way of Plean and Romilly Squire, Scottish Clan and Family Encyclopedia, 370</ref><ref>David Dorward, Dictionary of Scottish Surnames, 41</ref>

It is derived from the Brittonic word “caer” meaning ‘fort’ and the personal name Ruther, which was possibly the royal version of Rydderch. <ref>David Dorward, Dictionary of Scottish Surnames, 41</ref>

The name was locally pronounced ‘Cridders’ <ref>Dorward, Surnames, 41</ref>

Middle Ages

During the thirteenth century the family were clients of the Bruces and held the hereditary stewardship of Annandale. <ref>Dorward, Surnames, 41</ref>

Nigel de Karruthers was a clergyman who became Canon of Glasgow Cathedral in 1351 and later chancellor to Robert, Steward of Scotland, in 1344. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 370</ref>

During the fourteenth century the family gained the lands of Musfald, now Mouswald. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 370</ref>

Sixteenth Century

The family lands became a free barony in 1542, <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 370</ref> meaning that the family controlled the legal system there on behalf of the crown.

In 1548 the Mouswald line ended when Simnon Carruthers was killed in a border raid and the lands passed to the Douglasses through an heiress.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 370</ref>

In 1587 the family were included on a list of unruly clans. <ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 370</ref> In 1563 John Carruthers of Howmains was convicted of assaulting another landowner, Kirkpatrick of Closeburn.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 370</ref>

Eighteenth Century

In common with many other gentry families, the ancestral lands were lost in a financial disaster during the eighteenth century. However a younger son had property in Dormont in Dumfriesshire.<ref>Plean, Squire, Encyclopedia, 370</ref>

Twentieth Century

Lieutenant Colonel Francis Carruthers was a veteran of the Boer War and a senior figure in the British War Office as well as a member of various ceremonial bodies.


The surname is now mostly found in Glasgow and Edinburgh. <ref>Dorward, Surnames, 41</ref>