Old Dixon History ( Stories)
Thomas Dicson (Dixon) live in the town of Douglasdale now known just as Douglas. He had a house of modest means. From all accounts Thomas work around the town in many deferent types of jobs one of them was at the Douglas castle when hisfriend William Douglas was away. William Douglas and Richard De Keith (Thomas Father) spent alot of the time in the service of Robert De Bruce in his campaigns against the English for the freedom of Scotland. The Douglas castle was about a 1/4 of a mile away from the town of Douglas. Thomas was also aquatinted with Robert De Bruce only he was not as active in the campaigns as his friend William was, but there was one time he was brought into a fight long before the battle of the Douglas castle.
First let me give you a little back ground on the events that would bring William,James, Thomas, Bruce, and Wallace together.
First Thomas father was a long time friend with Sir William Douglas the fathernof James Douglas. Thomas father Richard De Keith fought with William Douglas, William Wallace, and Androw Moray. Thomas was the long time friend of theDouglas. Although Thomas was years older than James. Douglas and Richard were employed by the English so to speak, but were Scottish and would heed the call for freedom. And this would cause Douglas and the English allot of grief.
Thomas brother was one of the men that brought the heart of Robert De Bruce back to Scotland. James Douglas was to take the heart to the holly lands but James died in an up rising and left dead in the field with the others in the massacre. Robert Keith went to the site and found James and the heart still around his neck in the silver casket, and brought it back Scotland. The body of Douglas was brought to his cousin, SirWilliam Keith, James Douglas was buried in the Kirk of Douglas( Around 1330 ).The Keiths and Douglas clans were related by marriages.
At the time the border barons were required to give their allegiance to the Kingof England and sign the Ragman Roll. The Baron of Symons Town Mistakenly signed the roll and gave allegiance to the King of England. When Scotland subsequently defeated the English about 1300, King Robert De Bruce awarded these conquered lands to a hero of Scottish liberation, Thomas Dicson (i.e. Dickson, Dixon).
Thomas Dicson 1247- march 19, 1307) was the son of Richard (Dick) De Keith who was the son of the Great Marshal Hervey De Keith, who died in 1249. Thomas Dicson mother was Margaret, the daughter of William third Lord of Douglas. Due tothe family connection, Sir William Douglas cousin to Thomas turned to Thomas for help in taking his castle of Sanquhar in 1295. Posing as the fuel man of the castle. When entering the castle Thomas cut the horses loose that where pulling the wagon of fuel. This caused the cart to become lodge in the gates of the castle. Thomas slayed the gatekeeper, and was joined by about 30 Scotsmen that were hidden outside. The men took the castle before the English could even get out of bed. When the English returned with 3000 men to siege the castle, Douglas and Thomas Dicson slipped out through a secret passage on horse to warn Sir William Wallace. Wallace received the message and rescued the castle, with the English losing 500 men. ( based on the History of Henry the Minstrel - written 1381).
Due to the heroic acts, Thomas Dicson was awarded the lands of Hazelside, and about ten years after was appointed Governor of Douglas castle and awarded the Barony of Symington. Thomas was killed a year later.
This all takes place between 1285 and 1306. The King of England at this time was Edward I. In the autumn of 1296 Edward returned to England to deal with the problems of the French war, Disdainfully remarking as he crossed the border that it was a good job to be shot of shit. His satisfaction was premature. The fall of Berwick, thecollapse at Durnbar, the abject figure of John Balliol, the unopposed progress through theburghs of his new conquest had given him and his lieutenants a false impression of the
people they now proposed to govern. ( The Scottish people had been busy at the art of
freedom fighting). The Earl of Surrey was so unconcerned about his duties as Viceroy of Scotland that he retired to his Yorkshire estates leaving the direction of affairs to Hugh de Cressingham. This portly ecclesiastic, sensual and money-loving, concentrated his energies on extracting from the subject Scots, by taxes and sequestration, funds which his master so urgently requires for the war against France. He was ably abetted by William
Ormesby, the Chief Justice, who with a dog - like fidelity hunted out all who had not signed instruments of fealty, proclaimed them outlaws and sized their properties and goods.
But Scotland had been stunned and not subdued. A growing band of outraged and dispossessed men took refuge in the forests and mountains of their native land. The pent-up resentment of a proud and spirited race, smoldering like a peat fire below the surface, burst into flame and by May 1297 the whole so Scotland, outside Lothian was in revolt led by two outstanding men: Andrew Moray and William Wallace.
Andrew Moray had been captured at Dunbar together with his father, Sir Andrew Moray, and his uncle. Escaping from his prison in Chester, he made his way to the hereditary lands in the Mounth, the great mountainous mass which divides the Spey river
from the Tay. There he raised the standard of rebellion at his father castle at Avoch and
to him rallied not only the warlike men of Moray, but also the burghers of Inverness under Alexander Pilche. Together they so harried and ambuscade the English that anguished cries for help were sent to King Edward.
Down in the Selkirk forest William Wallace, son of a knightly family from the parish of Paisley, was living an outlaw life since neither he nor his eldest brother, Sir Malcolm, had bowed their heads at Berwick. A giant of a man 6foot 6 of with a mane of brown hair and piercing eyes, Wallace had become a magnet for the discontented. He had recently married a young woman who lived in Lanark. Visiting her by stealth as a marked
man, he clashed with an English patrol. Fighting his way clear, he retreated to her house and as his pursuers hammered on the front door he escaped by the back to the rocky Catland Crags. Enraged by the failure to capture him, Sir William Heselrig, Sheriff of Lanark, ordered the house to be burned and all within it, wife and servants, to be put to
the sword. From that day Wallace vowed an undying vengeance against the English.
Gather together a band of desperate men, he fell by night on the sheriff and his guard, hewed the sheriff into small pieces with his own sword and burned the buildings and those within them. For the first time the high officials of the hated conquerors had been slain and a ripple of jubilation spreads through the oppressed. Men flocked to Wallaces banner and with a growing force he turned eastward to where the Chief justice
was holding his courts at Scone. On the way there he was joined by that stormy petrel, Sir William Douglas, late commander of the castle at Berwick, with a body of mounted men. Among them was Richard de Keith father of Thomas Dicson ( Dixon ) and Thomas himself, it was at this time when it is thought that Thomas took a wife, at the age of 17.
Leaving the foot soldiers to follow, Wallace and Sir William, with all the horsemen of the party, galloped ahead in hope of surprising the chief justice at his sessions. But in the nick of time he was warned of their approach and fled in the clothes he stood up in, relinquishing to his attackers a rich haul of spoils.
The gesture of Sir William was typical of the man. Crusader, warrior, egoist, he had gone his own way throughout his life with very little regard for anyone else. He had flouted the guardians of the interregnum and insulted the authority of King Edward by abducting and forcibly marrying Eleanor de Ferrers, an English widow, while she was
staying with relatives in Scotland. Nevertheless, in that heraldic age, the adherence of this great nobleman immediately bestowed on Wallaces band of outlaws the stamp of respectability.
Sir William Douglas kinship to the family Stewart, Wallaces feudal lord, linked the
two areas of insurrection. Behind his move it is reasonable to note the fine hand of Robert Wishart, Bishop of Glasgow. Nobody was more opposed to the domination of England than the Scottish Church, and
this opposition had been intensified since the parliament of Berwick by King Edwards repeated presentations of English priests to Scottish benefices. Nobody had a better
network of communication to direct and coordinate subversive activities. both these aspects were personified in the frail body of the bishop. He had pledged his fealty to King Edward at Berwick, but for him the Church came first and regarded his recurrent pledges as no more than pawns in the struggle, given under duress, discarded without
compunction whenever the defense of his country required it. For he remembered only too well the obvious manner in which the English King had rejected his solemn promises. As news of the spreading revolt reached him on the ecclesiastical grapevine, he turned his attention to his fellow guardian in the days of the interregnum, James Stewart.
This cautious man with his vast possessions in Bute, Kyle Stewart and Renfrew, Teviotdale, Lauderdale and Lothian, his hereditary position as royal stewart, his freedom from any distracting landholdings in England, his overlordship of William Wallace, had for weeks been hovering on the edge of a decision. The example of his neighbor and Sir William Douglas, the return of Wallace to the west where he chased the over-confident Antony Bek, Bishop of Durham, from the Episcopal place in Glasgow and trapped and burned an English garrison in Ayr, together with the urgings of Bishop Wishart, proved decisive. Early in June 1297 at the same time as Macduff of Fife, a son of an Earl of Fife, and his two sons raised their standard of revolt in the east, he summoned his Knights to
take the field against the English and join him at the town of Irvine in the west.
When the news of Sir William Douglass defection reached King Edward, he was deeply involved in English problems. Knowing of the contrariness of this opinionated Knight, he did not take the matter seriously enough to alert the English forces but sent orders to the Governor of Carlisie, the elder Bruce, to instruct his son to muster the men of Annandale and with them proceed to the Douglas lands and seize the Douglas castle.
William Douglas when he had learned of this sent Thomas Dixon swiftly back to warn the men of the castle, and to look after his wife. In this time Robert Bruce, the young Earl of Carrick, rode from Carlisle to Annan and Lochmaben to sommon his fathers vassals, and when he had gathered a sufficient force together drew up to the Douglas
stronghold. During his journey there he had much to think about. His father had always been a follower of King Edward more, at home with the civilities of the English court and the blander climate of his English estates than with the rougher life of the north. But Robert Bruce was Scottish born and Scottish bred. With his brothers and sisters he had
roamed the Carrick lands of his Celtic mother or ridden beside his tough old grandfather
through the hills and valleys of Annandale. He had played his part indeed on the side of the English and in return had been granted a postponement of his debt repayments to the English coffer. But that was when he was ranged against the Comyns for whom John Balliol had confiscated the Bruce estates in Scotland. Now the Comyns and John Balliol
were captives and the leaders who had taken the field against the English in Ayrshire were The very men who had supported his grandfathers claim to the Scottish throne. That claim Bruce had never forgotten. Brought up in the knowledge that in his veins ran the royal blood of the House of Canmore, convinced of the injustice of the court decision
which had denied his family their regal inheritance, his abiding ambition was to retrieve
the crown his grandfather had struggled for and lost. That purpose dominated his actions. There for it had been served by Edward I promise to Bruces father that the Scottish throne would be his when Balliol was desposed. But Edward had reneged. The Scottish throne had been incorporated in that of England. The single devil of Balliol had been
swept away only to be replaced by the sevenfold devil of the King. By assuming the sovereignty of Scotland, Edward I had become the chief obstacle to Bruces objective and the catalyst to fuse the two elements in Bruces nature, his love of his native land and determination to rule it. So as he rode up the long valley of Annandale this young man of
twenty-two, already admired by men for his skill at arms and by women for his courtesy, took the crucial decision of his life. When he reached the castle, which was held by Sir Williams wife, and Thomas Dicson, he called his followers around him. No man, he said holds his flesh and blood in hatred
and I am no exception. I must join my own people and the nation in which I was born. Choose then whether you go with me or return to your homes.
Many of the Knights who accompanied him were servants of his father, who was still pledged to King Edward, and decided that they must abide by their overloads allegiance and so departed. But with those who left and with the men of Douglas,
Thomas, and the lady Douglas, who had been advised of his decision, he moved northeast ward through his domain of Carrick, gathering recruits as he went, and joined the steward and the bishop at Irvine.
Thomas took the lady Douglas to the house of Stewart where his wife and child tookshelter. Thomas and a few men set out to join James Stewart.
Meanwhile the humiliated Antony Bek had alerted King Edward to the strengthof the insurrection. On June 4 th the King empowered Henry Percy and Robert Cliffordthe two foremost barons in the border shires, to raise levies from Lancaster, Westmorlandand Cumberland to arrest, imprison and try all disturbers of the peace in Scotland, andinstructed all sheriffs and castle governors to give them aid. With commendable speedthe two commanders collected powerful body of armed Knights and, moving fast alongthe Annandale and Nithsdale route, reached towards the end of June the English heldcastle of Ayr, a few miles south of Irvine where the Scottish forces were encamped.No battle ensued. Almost as soon as Percy and Clifford had dismounted, envoysarrived under a flag of truce to ask if they had authority to meet with the Scottish leaders.
Dissension had broken out in the Irvine camp between those who supported Balliol andthose who supported Bruce. Andrew Moray and William Wallace were fighting in thename of John Balliol whom they still regarded as King, and may well have been skepticalof young Bruces sudden conversion to the Scottish cause. Bishop Wishart, James
Stewart, his brother John and Alexander Lindsay considered that, by his abdication, John
Balliol had renounced his rights and that Robert Bruces father was the natural successor
to the Scottish Crown and the true focus for the upsurge for the independence. Sir
William Douglas agreed with nobody.
Moray and Wallace preferred to fight on their own terms and in their own centers of
resistance and departed forthwith. Without their support the forces of Stewart and Bruce
were in no position to make headway against the English invasion. Their men were
mainly foot soldiers those of the English were armed Knights. The contest would be
glaringly unequal and a defeat damaging to the growing confidence of the Scottish
people. News had reached Scotland of a clash between King Edward, his Church and his
barons. The Archbishop of Canterbury had instructed his clergy to pay no taxes of
excommunication, and the two great magnates in England, Roger Bigod, Earl of Norfolk,
the Earl Marshall, and Humphrey Bohun, Earl of Hereford, the constable, had refused to
serve overseas, retiring to their domain and calling up their vassals. Many other of the
barons had followed their example. There was the possibility of civil war in England.
The forces of Percy and Clifford were the only English armed troops in the field. It was
time to keep them engaged in negotiations so that Moray and Wallace could pursue their
activities undisturbed by attack. Such must have been the reasoning which led the subtle
bishop and canny steward to ask for parley.
Percy and Clifford in their turn, were aware of the uncertain situation in England
and had no desire to unnecessarily hazard forces, reluctantly conscripted, which they
might desire at home. So talks began. After days of discussion the English made certain
promises, and on 9 July 1297 the Scottish leaders agreed to surrender to King Edwards
pleasure and produce hostages as pledges of good faith. Bruce, in particular, was required
to hand over his infant daughter, marjorie, but it is clear that he was unwilling to do this;
the bishop, the steward and Sir Alexander Lindsey took it upon to act as collateral on his
behalf. In the upshot, Sir William Douglas failed to produce his hostages on the
appointed day and was imprisoned in berwick castle, where, wrote Henry Percy, he was
very savagely and very abusive. A year later he died, leaving behind a son James
Douglas, who was to become the most famous and devoted of all the followers of Robert
Bruce, the future King, and friend of Thomas.
Sir Alexander Lindsay made his own peace. The bishop was held prisoner. Robert
Bruce and James Stewart neither surrendered nor produced hostages, and remained at
large deprived of their lands. Bruces father was relieved of his post as Governor of
Carlisle and retired to his English estates, where he remained until his death in 1304.
After the surrender of the nobles at Irvine, the leadership of resistance remained entirely
in the hands of Moray and Wallace and their efforts were attended with such success that
on 10 July Hugh de Cressingham wrote to the deputy treasurer in London that not one of
the Sheriffs, bailiffs or the officials of the lord King can at this time raise a penny of the
revenues in their territory on account of the multitude of different perils which daily and
continually threaten them. With many of his barons hostile, King Edward was desperately
trying to raise an army to cross to Flanders in support of the Count of that country, with
whom he had formed an alliance against France. When he received Cressinghams
request he had no English to spare for Scotland. He therefore released a number of the
Scottish nobles, among them The Earl of Buchan and Alexander Comyn, whom he had
captured at Dunbar on condition that they returned to their domain to quell the
disturbances and then followed him overseas with their feudal levies. But when the
noblemen arrived in Scotland they found the disturbances very much more serious than
they had expected. They sent various messages to King Edward expressing their loyalty
and hopes of success, but in practice they remained inactive, waiting to see how matters
would evolve and taking no steps to prevent their retainers drifting away to join the
insurgents. Hugh de Cressingham had no doubt that they were playing a double game and
warned the King to give no credence to their protest. As an English chronicler shrewdly
remarks, even when the Lords were present with the King in body, at heart they were on
the opposite side. By early August Moray had broken out of the Mounth and sized all
the English held castle in the north, including Inverness, Elgin and Banff. Sir Henry
Lathom, Sheriff of Aberdeenshire, had joined in the revolt and handed over the castle at
Aberdeen. Wallace, having built up his forces in the forest of Selkirk, moved northeast
after the surrender of Irvine, cleared Perthshire and Fife and, after making contact with
Moray on the Tay, settled down to besiege the castle of Dundee. The whole area north of
Firtf of Forth, with few exceptions was in Scottish hands.
At last the Earl of Surrey whom King Edward had appointed his viceroy in
Scotland, bestirred himself. He was now an elderly man whose long military experience
had taught him that foot soldiers in their hundreds could be scattered like chaff by a
handful of armed Knights. He had little doubt that with the Scottish lords, the core of
their Calvary, sitting on the sidelines in prison or in the company of his master, he would
brush aside the common folk of Moray and Wallace like a fly from his face. Marshalling
at Berwick a formidable host of heavy cavalry and footmen, he marched towards Stirling
where the crossing of the Forth was the key to the north.
On hearing news of his approach, Moray and Wallace joined forces and moved
south to defend this vital position. You can only admire the courage and determination of
these two men that were pitting their men with inferior forces against a the armed might
of a rich and powerful Kingdom. The posture they took up had all the marked of brilliant
leadership. Overlooking a loop of the Forth river which was crossed by a single bridge
was a rock, the Abbey Crag, from which a neck of ground led back to the nearby Ochil
Hills, giving a safe retreat in the event of failure. Below the northern exit of the bridge
and the forbidding site that prolonged it, was an area of boggy ground almost entirely
encircled Fife the Forth. On That crig the Scottish commanders deployed their men.
The English forces spent the nights of the 9th and 10th of September on the south
side of the river. They were supremely self confident. Hugh de Cressingham had already
advised Percy and Clifford that there was no need for their additional support. James
Stewart and the Earl of Lennox, who had been hovering on the outskirts with a troop of
cavalry, uncertain whether to join Moray and Wallace, rated equally low the chances the
Scottish forces. After William Douglas death Thomas had vowed to avenge his death,
But he was under the leadership of Stewart at the time, and would do his best. To avoid a
butchery of their countrymen they approached the Earl of Surrey with the suggestion that
they should inaugurate a parley. The earl agreed, but Stewart and Lennox returned from
the Scottish leaders with a blank refusal. Two Dominican friars were then dispatched to
Moray and Wallace with offers of generous treatment if they would yield. Tell your
commander was their reply that we are not here to make peace but to do battle to defend
ourselves and liberate our Kingdom. Let them come and we shall prove this in their very
Sir Richard Lundin a Scottish knight who had gone over to the English from Irvine in
disgust at the dissension in the Scottish camp, asked the Earl of Surrey to send him up
river with a detachment to a ford where he could cross with sixty men abreast and take
the Scotsmen in the rear, but his suggestion was ignored and the earl retired to bed.
At dawn on the 11th day of September a party of English infantry were sent over
the narrow bridge but were recalled because the earl had overslept. Hugh de
Cressingham, fuming with impatience, urged that no more time should be wasted and the
earl gave him orders to cross. Riding arrogantly two by two the cavalry were led by him
over the bridge. From early morning until eleven clock the column moved forward
until Moray and Wallace decided that the time had come to split the English army. The
main force of the Scots fell upon the leading ranks on the causeway while a picked body
of men seized the bridgehead and began to cat away its timbers. Jostled from the
causeway, the heavy horse of the armed knights plunged and wallowed in the deep mire
on either side, unable to maneuver or charge, tumbling their riders to the ground. Behind
them their comrades on the south side were powerless to help them for the bridge was
destroyed. A bloody massacre took place. Hugh de Cressingham met his fate at the hands
of the Scottish spearmen. His body was flayed and his skin in small pieces was sent
throughout the country as tokens of liberation from the accursed regime of which he was
the symbol. Only Sir Marmaduk Tweng manage to hew his way through his opponents
and take refuge in the castle of Stirling.
The Earl of Surrey had not crossed the bridge. Aghast at the slaughter beyond it,
he lost his nerve and galloped in such haste to the border that his horse had nothing to eat
between Stirling and Berwick and foundered on arrival. The rank and file and the
baggage trains of the English were less fortunate than their commander. As they retreated
down the road to Falkirk, James Stewart and the Earl of Lennox, who were lurking in the
woods on either side until the issue had been decided, poured out with their men to kill
the fleeing groups and seize the laden wagons of booty. James Stewart took the first
wagons and as the English were taken by surprise, The Earl of Lennox captured the last
wagons. Thomas was faced with a dilemma and that was he and five other men on foot
were to take the middle wagons. Unknown to them was that two of the wagons had
English men under cover, Two of the Scots men where cut down by sword, Thomas
noticed what happened and as the two men fell to the ground he too dropped as if struck
by the blade, and rolled under the wagon. As the English made their way off the wagons
he removed their legs and feet.
The repercussion of the English defeat were immense. For the First time an army
of professional Knights had been overcome by the common folk. The dissenting barons
in England were so shocked that they patched up an agreement with the regency who
were ruling in the absence of the King abroad, and all talk of civil war was suspended. In
the northeast of Scotland, the Earl of Strathearn, the Earl of Buchan and the Comyns and
other noblemen in that area, who had been making face saving gestures to suppress the
patriots, threw off their allegiance to the English Crown. In the southwest, Robert Bruce,
who had gone to ground after the surrender of Irvine, emerged to rouse the men of
Carrick and Galloway to such effect that Sir Robert Clifford made two punitive
expeditions, before and after Christmas 1297, from Carlisle to Annandale to try to check
his activities. Outside the strongest castles all English resistance ceased. Moray and
Wallace were masters of the realm. But Moray had been severely wounded at Stirling
Bridge. He survived long enough to send a letter in his name and that of Wallace on
October 1297, to the mayors of the communes of Lubeck and Hamburg, that the
Kingdom of Scotland had, by Gods grace, recovered by battle from the power of the
English and that, in consequence, The ports of Scotland were once open to their
merchants, but soon afterwards he succumbed to his wounds. Thomas shortly after the
battle returned to castle Douglas only to find that the English had taken over. For when
he had left it was in the hands of the Scots. Perceiving that the English at the castle
would not know of him put him to work there, uninformed of the trouble that he would
A famous hero, William Wallace, was how to take upon his shoulders the sole
government of the realm. Behind him was the Church, manning the chancellery, the civil
service of that time, which had been displaced by King Edward but now returned to its
administrative duties. The common folk of the land followed him as their leader and
ruler, but the most striking tribute to his personality and pre-eminence was the drawing
together of the feuding magnates under his leadership in a common front against the
English. In March 1298 in the forest of Selkirk, which Wallace had made the base of his
armed forces, the earls, barons and Knights, the bishops, abbots and friars who then in
Scotland met to resolve the future of the realm. in the presence of them all, William
Wallace was dubbed Knight by Robert Bruce, Earl of Carrick, and by the general voice
of those assembled proclaimed guardian of the Kingdom. From that date proclamations
were issued in the name of Walliam, Knight, Guardian of the Kingdom of Scotland and
Commander of its armies in the name of the famous prince Lord John, by Gods grace,
illustrious King of Scotland, by consent of the Community of that realm.
Not much is known about Thomas after his return but it is said that he and others
that were loyal to the Scottish realm caused allot of trouble for the English for the next
few years, before James Douglas found him and asked for his help in taking back his
hereditary home Castle Douglas.
NOTE: I have no way of knowing if any of this is true. And I DO NOT CLAIM that it is. This was for entertainment.the stories of Thomas Dicson. The one about the battle of Sterling bridge was told to me
and pieced together from notes I collected from other people. I have no way of
confirming its authenticity. In the books I have found on the battle of Sterling
bridge I have not found any mention of Thomas Dicson to date.
I doubt that half is correct, but never the less it is interesting. If any one has information on this or any subject I have posted please give me your input on themessage board All Things Scottish.
The book Robert the Bruce King of Scotland by Ronald McNair Scott.
The surnames of Scotland their Origin, Meaning, and History by George F. Black
The great Historic Families of Scotland by James Taylor.
Castle Dangerous by Sir Walter Scott.
Clan Keith Compiled by Alan McNie. Cascade publishing Company, Jedburgh, Scotland.
Form more on the Dixons go to.
Dixon of yorkshire
For topics on Dixon go to the Dixon message board. On the home page. The contact page.