The name arises in Dumfriesshire and appears to allude to an ancient British fort called Caer Rydderch or Rhythyr. Black asserts that this means ‘fort of Rydderch’, which appears to be a form of personal name. The family rose in the thirteenth century to be stewards of Annandale under the Bruces. Black narrates the career of Nigel de Karruthers, a cleric who was Rector of Ruthwell in 1380, rose to become Canon of Glasgow Cathedral in 1351, and was named as chancellor to Robert, Steward of Scotland, in 1344. The family around the same time acquired the lands of Musfald (now Mouswald). The Carruthers were included in the roll of unruly clans in the West Marches in 1587. In 1563 John Carruthers of Howmains was indicted, along with Edward Irvine of Bonshaw and several others, for an assault on Kirkpatrick of Closeburn and slaying several other sundry persons. The Mouswald line ended in Simon Carruthers who was killed in a border raid in 1548, and the lands passed to the Douglases of Drumlanrig by marriage to the Mouswald Carruthers heiress. The family of Howmains continued to prosper and their lands were erected into a free barony in 1542. The estate of Howmains was lost when financial disaster overwhelmed the family in 1772, but a younger son of the last laird had acquired the estate of Dormont in Dumfriesshire which the family holds to the present day. Lieutenant Colonel Francis Carruthers served in Egypt and in the Boer War, and was assistant director at the War Office from 1915 to 1919. He was a brigadier in the Royal Company of Archers (the monarch’s bodyguard in Scotland) and Lord Lieutenant of Dumfries.

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