Often called James ‘the Black’ Douglas or ‘the Good Sir James,” he joined Robert the Bruce’s struggle for an independent Scotland before he was 20. His father Sir William Douglas was killed by the English in the Tower of London, and forfeited Douglas lands were awarded to Sir Robert Clifford, an English lord.
Sir James Douglas’ intense hatred for the English expressed itself in his merciless actions against the English. After active participation in many skirmishes against the English, Sir James commanded a detachment of cavalry at the Battle of Bannockburn. After the death of Robert the Bruce in 1329, a heart was added to the Douglas heraldry. Sir James promised King Robert the Bruce that his heart would be carried in battle against the Saracens. The promise was kept, carrying the Bruce’s heart into battle in Spain against the Moors. James Douglas and several of his contingent did not survive the conflict with the Moors. The heart was subsequently retrieved and returned to Scotland.
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