James III of Scotland

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James III
James III of Scotland.jpg
King of Scotland
Reign3 August 1460 – 11 June 1488
Coronation 10 August 1460 [1]
Predecessor James II
Successor James IV
Regents
Born10 July 1451 or May 1452
Stirling or St Andrews Castles
Died(1488-06-11)11 June 1488 (aged 36)
Sauchie Burn, Scotland
Burial
Spouse
Margaret of Denmark
(m. 1469;died 1486)
Issue James IV of Scotland
James, Duke of Ross
John, Earl of Mar
House Stewart
Father James II of Scotland
Mother Mary of Guelders
Religion Roman Catholic

James III (10 July 1451/May 1452 – 11 June 1488) was King of Scotland from 1460 to 1488. James was an unpopular and ineffective monarch owing to an unwillingness to administer justice fairly, a policy of pursuing alliance with the Kingdom of England, and a disastrous relationship with nearly all his extended family. However, it was through his marriage to Margaret of Denmark that the Orkney and Shetland islands became Scottish.

A monarch is a sovereign head of state in a monarchy. A monarch may exercise the highest authority and power in the state, or others may wield that power on behalf of the monarch. Typically a monarch either personally inherits the lawful right to exercise the state's sovereign rights or is selected by an established process from a family or cohort eligible to provide the nation's monarch. Alternatively, an individual may become monarch by conquest, acclamation or a combination of means. A monarch usually reigns for life or until abdication.

Kingdom of England Historic sovereign kingdom on the British Isles (927–1649; 1660–1707)

The Kingdom of England was a sovereign state on the island of Great Britain from 927, when it emerged from various Anglo-Saxon kingdoms until 1707, when it united with Scotland to form the Kingdom of Great Britain.

Margaret of Denmark, Queen of Scotland Queen consort of Scotland

Margaret of Denmark, also referred to as Margaret of Norway, was Queen of Scotland from 1469 to 1486 by marriage to King James III. She was the daughter of Christian I, King of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, and Dorothea of Brandenburg.

Contents

His reputation as the first Renaissance monarch in Scotland has sometimes been exaggerated, based on attacks on him in later chronicles for being more interested in such unmanly pursuits as music than hunting, riding and leading his kingdom into war. In fact, the artistic legacy of his reign is slight, especially when compared to that of his successors, James IV and James V. Such evidence as there is consists of portrait coins produced during his reign that display the king in three-quarter profile wearing an imperial crown, the Trinity Altarpiece by Hugo van der Goes, which was probably not commissioned by the king, and an unusual hexagonal chapel at Restalrig near Edinburgh, perhaps inspired by the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.

Renaissance European cultural period, 14th to 17th century

The Renaissance is a period in European history, covering the span between the 14th and 17th centuries and marking the transition from the Middle Ages to modernity. The traditional view focuses more on the early modern aspects of the Renaissance and argues that it was a break from the past, but many historians today focus more on its medieval aspects and argue that it was an extension of the middle ages.

Music form of art using sound

Music is an art form and cultural activity whose medium is sound organized in time. General definitions of music include common elements such as pitch, rhythm, dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture. Different styles or types of music may emphasize, de-emphasize or omit some of these elements. Music is performed with a vast range of instruments and vocal techniques ranging from singing to rapping; there are solely instrumental pieces, solely vocal pieces and pieces that combine singing and instruments. The word derives from Greek μουσική . See glossary of musical terminology.

Kingdom of Scotland Historic sovereign kingdom in the British Isles from the 9th century to 1707

The Kingdom of Scotland was a sovereign state in northwest Europe traditionally said to have been founded in 843. Its territories expanded and shrank, but it came to occupy the northern third of the island of Great Britain, sharing a land border to the south with the Kingdom of England. It suffered many invasions by the English, but under Robert I it fought a successful War of Independence and remained an independent state throughout the late Middle Ages. In 1603, James VI of Scotland became King of England, joining Scotland with England in a personal union. In 1707, the two kingdoms were united to form the Kingdom of Great Britain under the terms of the Acts of Union. Following the annexation of the Northern Isles from the Kingdom of Norway in 1472 and final capture of the Royal Burgh of Berwick by the Kingdom of England in 1482, the territory of the Kingdom of Scotland corresponded to that of modern-day Scotland, bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the southwest.

Early life

James was born to James II of Scotland and Mary of Guelders. His exact date and place of birth have been a matter of debate. Claims were made that he was born in May 1452, or 10 or 20 July 1451. The place of birth was either Stirling Castle or the St Andrews Castle, depending on the year. His most recent biographer, the historian Norman Macdougall, argued strongly for late May 1452 at St Andrews, Fife. He succeeded his father James II on 3 August 1460 and was crowned at Kelso Abbey, Roxburghshire, a week later.

James II of Scotland Scottish king

James II was a member of the House of Stewart who reigned as King of Scotland from 1437 until his death.

Mary of Guelders queen consort of Scotland

Mary of Guelders was the queen consort of Scotland by marriage to King James II of Scotland. She served as regent of Scotland from 1460 to 1463.

Stirling Castle castle in Scotland

Stirling Castle, located in Stirling, is one of the largest and most important castles in Scotland, both historically and architecturally. The castle sits atop Castle Hill, an intrusive crag, which forms part of the Stirling Sill geological formation. It is surrounded on three sides by steep cliffs, giving it a strong defensive position. Its strategic location, guarding what was, until the 1890s, the farthest downstream crossing of the River Forth, has made it an important fortification in the region from the earliest times.

During his childhood, the government was led by three successive factions, first the King's mother, Mary of Guelders (1460–1463) (who secured the return of the burgh of Berwick to Scotland), then James Kennedy, Bishop of St Andrews, and Gilbert, Lord Kennedy (1463–1466), then Robert, Lord Boyd (1466–1469).

James Kennedy (bishop) 15th-century bishop of Dunkeld and of St. Andrews

James Kennedy was a 15th-century Bishop of Dunkeld and Bishop of St. Andrews, who participated in the Council of Florence and was the last man to govern the diocese of St. Andrews purely as bishop. One of the Gaelic clan of Carrick he became an important figure in the government of the minority of King James II of Scotland as well as founder of St Salvator's College, St Andrews.

Gilbert Kennedy of Dunure, 1st Lord Kennedy was a Scottish lord, a son of Sir James Kennedy, Younger of Dunure, and Lady Mary Stewart, daughter of Robert III, King of the Scots. He served as one of six Regents during the early reign of James III of Scotland, after the 1460 death of James II.

Robert Boyd, 1st Lord Boyd was a Scottish statesman, Lord Chamberlain of Scotland from 1467.

Relation to the Boyd faction

The Boyd faction made itself unpopular, especially with the king, through self-aggrandisement. Lord Boyd's son Thomas was made Earl of Arran and married to the king's sister Mary. However, the family successfully negotiated the king's marriage to Margaret of Denmark, daughter of Christian I of Denmark in 1469 as a part of ending the annual fee owed to Norway for the Western Isles (agreed in the Treaty of Perth in 1266), and receiving Orkney and Shetland (theoretically only as a temporary measure to cover Margaret's dowry). When James permanently annexed the islands to the crown in 1472, Scotland reached its greatest ever territorial extent. [2]

Earl of Arran

Earl of Arran is a title in both the Peerage of Scotland and the Peerage of Ireland. The two titles refer to different places: the Isle of Arran in Scotland, and the Aran Islands in Ireland. The Scottish earldom is a subsidiary title of the Duke of Hamilton, whereas the Irish earldom is a separate title held by the Gore family.

Mary Stewart, Countess of Arran was the eldest daughter of King James II of Scotland and Mary of Guelders. Her brother was King James III of Scotland. She married twice: firstly, to Thomas Boyd, 1st Earl of Arran; secondly, to James Hamilton, 1st Lord Hamilton. It was through her children by her second husband that the Hamilton Earls of Arran and the Stewart Earls of Lennox derived their claim to the Kingdom of Scotland.

Christian I of Denmark King of Denmark, Norway and Sweden

Christian I was a Scandinavian monarch under the Kalmar Union. He was king of Denmark (1448–1481), Norway (1450–1481) and Sweden (1457–1464). From 1460 to 1481, he was also duke of Schleswig and count of Holstein. He was the first king of the House of Oldenburg.

Marriage

James III and Margaret James III and Margaret of Denmark.jpg
James III and Margaret

James married the 13 year old Margaret of Denmark in July 1469 at Holyrood Abbey, Edinburgh. Christian I of Denmark gave the Orkney and Shetland Islands to Scotland as a dowry. The service was overseen by Abbot Archibald Crawford.

Holyrood Abbey

Holyrood Abbey is a ruined abbey of the Canons Regular in Edinburgh, Scotland. The abbey was founded in 1128 by King David I. During the 15th century, the abbey guesthouse was developed into a royal residence, and after the Scottish Reformation the Palace of Holyroodhouse was expanded further. The abbey church was used as a parish church until the 17th century, and has been ruined since the 18th century. The remaining walls of the abbey lie adjacent to the palace, at the eastern end of Edinburgh's Royal Mile. The site of the abbey is protected as a scheduled monument.

Edinburgh Capital city in Scotland

Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland and one of its 32 council areas. Historically part of the county of Midlothian, it is located in Lothian on the Firth of Forth's southern shore.

The marriage produced three sons:

Break with the Boyds

Conflict broke out between James and the Boyd family following the marriage to Princess Mary. Robert and Thomas Boyd (with Princess Mary) were out of the country involved in diplomacy when their regime was overthrown. Mary's marriage was later declared void in 1473. The family of Sir Alexander Boyd was executed by James in 1469.

James and the Lords of the Isles

James became powerful enough to attempt to manage the Lord of the Isles who ruled over the Western Isles and Highlands of Scotland in 1475. The treaty made by the Lords with England at Ardtornish in 1462 was used as evidence of their usurpation of royal power. John of Islay, Earl of Ross, Lord of the Isles was censured for making his son Angus his lieutenant and for besieging Rothesay Castle in the Isle of Bute. John, Lord of the Isles was ordered to appear for trial in Edinburgh on 1 December and when he did not attend, he was declared forfeit. The Earls of Lennox, Argyll, Atholl and Huntly were ordered to put the forfeiture in practice. John, Lord of the Isles, came to Edinburgh in July 1476 and the forfeiture was rescinded, but he resigned to the crown the Earldom of Ross, lands in Kintyre and Knapdale, and the offices of Sheriff of Inverness and Nairn. James then made John a Lord of Parliament as Lord of the Isles. In April 1478 Parliament required John to answer for his assistance to rebels who held Castle Sween against the crown. In December John received confirmation of his 1476 charters. [3]

First alliance and then war with England

James's policies during the 1470s revolved primarily around ambitious continental schemes for territorial expansion and alliance with England. Between 1471 and 1473 he suggested annexations or invasions of Brittany, Saintonge and Guelders. These unrealistic aims resulted in parliamentary criticism, especially since the king was reluctant to deal with the more humdrum business of administering justice at home.

In 1474 a marriage alliance was agreed to with Edward IV of England by which the future James IV of Scotland was to marry Princess Cecily of York, daughter of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville. It might have been a sensible move for Scotland, but it went against the traditional enmity of the two countries dating back to the reign of Robert I and the Wars of Independence, not to mention the vested interests of the border nobility. The alliance, therefore (and the taxes raised to pay for the marriage) was at least one of the reasons why the king was unpopular by 1479.

Also during the 1470s conflict developed between the king and his two brothers, Alexander, Duke of Albany, and John, Earl of Mar. Mar died suspiciously in Edinburgh in 1480 and his estates were forfeited, possibly given to a royal favourite, Robert Cochrane. Albany fled to France in 1479, accused of treason and breaking the alliance with England.

But by 1479 the alliance was collapsing and war with England existed on an intermittent level in 1480–1482. In 1482 Edward IV launched a full-scale invasion led by the Duke of Gloucester, the future Richard III, including the Duke of Albany, styled "Alexander IV", as part of the invasion party. James, in attempting to lead his subjects against the invasion, was arrested by a group of disaffected nobles at Lauder Bridge in July 1482. It has been suggested that the nobles were already in league with Albany. The king was imprisoned in Edinburgh Castle and a new regime, led by "lieutenant-general" Albany, became established during the autumn of 1482. Meanwhile, the English army, unable to take Edinburgh Castle, ran out of money and returned to England, having taken Berwick-upon-Tweed for the last time.

Restoration to power

While James remained imprisoned in Edinburgh Castle, and as a result of that was politically sidelined in 1482-83, his two half-uncles (including Andrew Stewart) managed to form a new government. [4] He was eventually freed by late September 1482. [4] After having been freed, James was able to regain power by buying off members of Albany's government, such that by December 1482 Albany's government was collapsing. From 1483, he was able to "steadily reduce any remaining support for Albany". [4] In particular his attempt to claim the vacant earldom of Mar led to the intervention of the powerful George Gordon, 2nd Earl of Huntly, on the king's side.

In January 1483 Albany fled to his estates at Dunbar. The death of his patron, Edward IV, on 9 April, left Albany in a weak position. Following the Battle of Lochmaben Fair, he was forced to flee back to England, where was condemned, and he never engaged James III again. [4] Following this, he moved to Scotland again, but was caught and imprisoned in the same castle where James had been incarcerated. [4] However, he managed to escape from the castle after killing his guard and moving down by using a rope made of bedsheets. [4] In 1483, he sailed back for France; however, he was killed there in Paris (1485) in a duel with the duke of Orleans, by a splinter from his lance. [5] Certainly his right-hand man, James Liddale of Halkerston, was arrested and executed around that time.[ citation needed ] At the Battle of Bosworth in August 1485 Albany's last remaining support, Richard III, perished. [4]

On Laetare Sunday, 5 March 1486, Pope Innocent VIII blessed a Golden Rose and sent it to James III. It was an annual custom to send the rose to a deserving prince. Giacomo Passarelli, Bishop of Imola, brought the rose to Scotland, and returned to London to complete the dispensation for the marriage of Henry VII of England. [6]

Death in battle

The grave of King James III and Queen Margaret, Cambuskenneth Abbey The grave of King James III and Queen Margaret, Cambuskenneth Abbey.jpg
The grave of King James III and Queen Margaret, Cambuskenneth Abbey

Despite a lucky escape in 1482, when he easily could have been murdered or executed in an attempt to bring his son to the throne, James did not reform his behaviour during the 1480s. Obsessive attempts to secure alliance with England continued, although they made little sense given the prevailing politics. He continued to favour a group of "familiars" unpopular with the more powerful magnates. He refused to travel for the implementation of justice and remained invariably resident in Edinburgh. He was also estranged from his wife, Margaret of Denmark, who lived in Stirling, and increasingly his eldest son. He favoured his second son instead.

In January 1488, in Parliament, James tried to gain supporters by making his second son Duke of Ross and four Lairds full Lords of Parliament. These allies were John Drummond of Cargill, made Lord Drummond; Robert Crichton of Sanquhar, made Lord Sanquhar; John Hay of Yester, made Lord Hay of Yester; and the Knight William Ruthven, made Lord Ruthven. But opposition to James was led by the Earls of Angus and Argyll, and the Home and Hepburn families. James's eldest son and heir, the future James IV, was delivered into the hands of the rebels by Schaw of Sauchie on 2 February 1488. The Prince became the figurehead of the opposition party, perhaps reluctantly, or perhaps provoked by the favouritism given to his younger brother. Matters came to a head on 11 June 1488, when the king faced the army raised by the disaffected nobles and many former councillors near Stirling, at the Battle of Sauchieburn, and was defeated and killed. [7]

It is unknown whether James III was killed in the battle or whilst fleeing. He is buried at Cambuskenneth Abbey. [8] The grave was restored at Queen Victoria's expense in 1865. [9]

Accounts of 16th-century chroniclers such as Adam Abell, Robert Lindsay of Pitscottie, John Leslie and George Buchanan alleged that the king was assassinated near Bannockburn, soon after the battle, at Milltown. [10]

Fictional portrayals

James III has been depicted in plays, historical novels and short stories. They include:

Ancestors

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References

  1. The Peerage — James III. Thepeerage.com. Retrieved on 2011-10-02.
  2. Lynch, Michael (1991). Scotland A New History. 155-56: Pimlico. ISBN   0-7126-9893-0.
  3. J. & R. Munro ed., Acts of the Lords of the Isles, (SHS, Edinburgh 1986), pp. lxx-lxxii
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Stevenson 2014, p. 84.
  5. Stevenson 2014, p. 81.
  6. Calendar State Papers Milan, vol.1 (1912), 247: Burns, Charles, 'Papal Gifts' in Innes Review, 20 (1969), pp.150–194: Chrimes, Stanley, Henry VII, Yale (1999), 66, 330–1
  7. Mackie, R.L., James IV, (1958), 36–44.
  8. Macdougall, Norman. "James III". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/14589.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  9. Grave of James III inscription
  10. Recent archaeological survey of Milton, alleged site of assassination Archived 3 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine . Scotlandsplaces.gov.uk. Retrieved on 2011-10-02.
  11. 1 2 "Nigel Tranter Historical Novels", listed by chronological order. Cunninghamh.tripod.com. Retrieved on 2011-10-02.
  12. "Nigel Tranter Historical Novels", listed by chronological order of events. Cunninghamh.tripod.com. Retrieved on 2011-10-02.
  13. "Tranter First edition books, Publication timeline", Part IV covers books published from 1991 to 2005. Cunninghamh.tripod.com (2003-03-03). Retrieved on 2011-10-02.
  14. "Edinburgh International Festival 2014"
  15. "The Unicorn Hunt by Dorothy Dunnett | PenguinRandomHouse.com" . Retrieved 11 January 2017.

Sources

James III of Scotland
Born: 1451/2 Died: 11 June 1488
Regnal titles
Preceded by
James II
King of Scots
3 August 1460 – 11 June 1488
Succeeded by
James IV