Gavin Douglas died in exile in England after his nephew the Earl of Angus left him out to dry when Angus withdrew his support—after having requested Gavin to act as emissary to Henry VIII— and divorced Henry's sister Margaret Tudor. Thus abandoning the Tudor alliance and leaving Gavin in the clutch branded as a traitor. Gavin died the following year in exile and was buried with his old drinking buddy Thomas Halsey. The bronze plaque on the tomb reads as follows:

Hic iacet Thomas Halsey Leglinensis Episcopus in Basilica Sancti Petri Roma nationis Anglicorum penitenciarius summæ probitatis vir qui hoe solum post se reliquit, vivit dum vivit benne. Cui lævus conditur Gavan Dowglas natione Scotis Dunkellensis Præsul patria sua exul. Anno Xti mdxxii.


Here lies Thomas Halsey of Leighlinn , Bishop of the Church of St Peters in Rome (The Vatican) to the English nation; a true believer that the highest virtue of a man is that while he lived, he lived well. To the left is buried Doctor (of Letters) Gavin Douglas, a Scotsman from Dunkeld exiled from his home. Year of our Lord 1522

Note: the term Penitencarius was a title sometimes used in the Catholic church to distinguish a “true believer” which at one point during the Spanish Inquisition was an actual official rank—a type of political commissar within the church who could be priest or a layperson—that had the power to overrule or report anyone, including Bishops, suspected of having lax faith. By the time of the Reformation it had become a term of derision used to describe someone who is over zealous, hence it has a somewhat subtle yet derisive tone in Halsey’s epitaph.