James Stewart, Duke of Ross

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Stained glass window with arms of James Stewart, Duke of Ross, Great Hall, Stirling Castle Stained glass window with arms of James Stewart, Duke of Ross, Great Hall, Stirling Castle.jpg
Stained glass window with arms of James Stewart, Duke of Ross, Great Hall, Stirling Castle

James Stewart, Duke of Ross (March 1476 – January 1504) was the second son of King James III of Scotland and Margaret of Denmark.


Titles and offices

He was made Marquess of Ormond at his baptism. He was created Earl of Ross in 1481 after that title was forfeited to the crown by John, Lord of the Isles.

Of his father's three sons, James of Ross was the favourite. James III even tried to marry him to Edward IV's daughter, Catherine of York. This increasing preference shown to James of Ross was a factor in the rebellion of his elder brother (the future James IV) against their father; and later, as king, James IV was suspicious of his brother's loyalty.

Nonetheless, when the elder James succeeded to the crown in 1488, he raised James of Ross's title to Duke of Ross, aged 12.

Around May 1497, his brother the King nominated James of Ross (then 21 years old) to be Archbishop of St Andrews. King James thought that would keep James of Ross from rebelling against him. Also, James of Ross was a minor, and so the revenues of the archbishopric would be controlled by King James. [1]

James of Ross also became Lord Chancellor of Scotland in 1502.


He was one of three brothers, his two brothers being King James IV of Scotland and John Stewart, Earl of Mar. It may seem surprising that there were two brothers both called James. It has been suggested that at the time the younger was born the older was seriously ill and seemed unlikely to survive, but it is unclear whether there is any evidence for this hypothesis. In late mediaeval Scotland it was not uncommon to have two brothers, or occasionally even three, with the same Christian name. [2]


The arms of James of Ross were: Quarterly 1st and 4th: Royal Arms of Scotland, 2nd: Gules, three lions rampant argent (Ross) 3rd: Or, three piles gules (Brechin) [3]


Religious titles
Preceded by
William Scheves
Archbishop of St. Andrews
Succeeded by
Alexander Stewart
Preceded by
George Crichton
Commendator of Dunfermline
Succeeded by
James Beaton *
*His immediate successor may
have been Gilbert Strachan.
Academic offices
Preceded by
William Scheves
Archbishop of St Andrews
Chancellor of the University of St Andrews
Succeeded by
Alexander Stewart
Archbishop of St Andrews
Political offices
Preceded by
2nd Earl of Huntly
Lord Chancellor of Scotland
Succeeded by
in 1510
Alexander Stewart

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  1. Norman Macdougall James IV (Edinburgh, 1989)
  2. Black The Surnames of Scotland
  3. Johnston, George Harvey (1906). The heraldry of the Stewarts, with notes on all the males of the family, descriptions of the arms, plates and pedigrees. Edinburgh W. & A.K. Johnston. p. 27. Retrieved 9 October 2017.