James III (10 July 1451/May 1452 – 11 June 1488) was King of Scots 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.
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.
|King of Scots|
|Reign||3 August 1460 – 11 June 1488|
|Coronation||10 August 1460|
|Born||10 July 1451 or May 1452|
Stirling or St Andrews Castles
|Died||11 June 1488 (aged 36)|
Sauchie Burn, Scotland
Margaret of Denmark
(m. 1469; died 1486)
|Issue||James IV of Scotland|
James, Duke of Ross
John, Earl of Mar
|Father||James II of Scotland|
|Mother||Mary of Guelders|
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.
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).
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.
James married the 15 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.
The marriage produced three sons:
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 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.
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.
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. He was eventually freed by late September 1482. 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". 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. Following this, he moved to Scotland again, but was caught and imprisoned in the same castle where James had been incarcerated. However, he managed to escape from the castle after killing his guard and moving down by using a rope made of bedsheets. 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. Certainly his right-hand man, James Liddale of Halkerston, was arrested and executed around that time. At the Battle of Bosworth in August 1485 Albany's last remaining support, Richard III, perished.
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.
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.
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.
James III has been depicted in plays, historical novels and short stories. They include:
James III of ScotlandBorn: 1451/2 Died: 11 June 1488
| King of Scots
3 August 1460 – 11 June 1488
Andrew Stewart (c. 1420 – 1488) was Lord Chancellor of Scotland from 1460 to 1482 and one of the leading servants of King James III of Scotland.Arthur Stewart, Duke of Rothesay
Arthur Stewart, Duke of Rothesay (20 October 1509 – 14 July 1510) was the second son of James IV of Scotland and Margaret Tudor, and had he outlived his father, he would have been King of Scotland.Battle of Lochmaben Fair
The Battle of Lochmaben Fair was an engagement in Lochmaben, Scotland, on 22 July 1484 between Scottish loyalists to James III of Scotland and the rebels Alexander Stewart, Duke of Albany and James Douglas, 9th Earl of Douglas, leading cavalry from England. Both exiles from Scotland, Albany and Douglas invaded with permission but not support of Richard III of England, hoping to encourage rebellion against James. Instead, they were met with armed resistance. The loyalists took the day. Douglas was captured and Albany forced to retreat.Battle of Sauchieburn
The Battle of Sauchieburn was fought on 11 June 1488, at the side of Sauchie Burn, a stream about two miles south of Stirling, Scotland. The battle was fought between the followers of King James III of Scotland and a large group of rebellious Scottish nobles including Alexander Home, 1st Lord Home, nominally led by the king's 15-year-old son, Prince James, Duke of Rothesay.Clan Crichton
Clan Crichton is a Lowland Scottish clan.David Stewart (bishop)
David Stewart (Scottish Gaelic: Dàibhidh Stiùbhart) (died 1476) was a prelate from 15th century Scotland. A member of the Stewart kindred of Lorne, he is known to have held a succession of senior ecclesiastical positions in northern Scotland before eventually succeeding his brother James Stewart as Bishop of Moray.
David was provided to the bishopric before 30 June 1462 by Pope Pius II, and was consecrated sometime after 25 June 1463. David was a frequent attendee at parliament and was in the presence of King James III of Scotland on 5 August 1464, at Inverness. He built the great tower of Spynie Castle known as "David's Tower". He found himself in conflict with the Alexander, Earl of Huntly, who was at one point excommunicated until the differences were overcome by mediators.
Bishop David died in 1476. He was buried in the St Peter and St Paul aisle in the north of Elgin Cathedral, beside his brother. He was succeeded by William Tulloch.Gilbert Kennedy, 1st Lord Kennedy
Gilbert Kennedy of Dunure, 1st Lord Kennedy (22 February 1405 – 27 March 1489) 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.James Chisholm
James Chisholm (died c. 1545), Bishop of Dunblane, was the eldest son of Edmund Chisholm, the first Chisholm to own the estate of Cromlix in Dunblane parish, Strathearn, having moved from the Scottish Borders. In his early years as a clergyman, he was a chaplain to King James III of Scotland; the king apparently sent him to Rome for some time.In 1482, after the resignation of Richard Forbes, James Chisholm became Dean of Aberdeen. From 1482 too, James was claiming to have received papal provision as Dean of Moray, an office he never seems to have gained possession of. He was still claiming the title when he was provided as Bishop of Dunblane on 31 January 1487. Chisholm was consecrated at an unknown date that fell between 11 July 1487 and 28 January 1488.Chisholm's long episcopate saw, among other things, the disastrous Battle of Flodden, a growth in the resources available to the cathedral, the addition of nine new chaplainries to the choir, and the addition of parapets to the tower and choir of the cathedral. In 1526, James partially gave up the bishopric for his half-brother William Chisholm (I); on 6 June 1526, Pope Clement VII provided William to the bishopric. James however retained the fruits of the see - possession and control of its resources - with a right to return if he chose; he bore the style "administrator of Dunblane" for some time after, possibly until his death, though such a style is attested only once, on 26 March 1534).That was James' last appearance in contemporary sources. James Chisholm's death cannot be dated with certainty, but it is likely that he died in the year 1546; he was certainly dead by 20 January 1546.James Stewart, Duke of Ross
James Stewart, Duke of Ross (March 1476 – January 1504) was the second son of King James III of Scotland and Margaret of Denmark.Jamie Sives
Jamie Sives ( SEE-vəs; born 14 August 1973) is a Scottish actor best known for his portrayal of Jory Cassel in the first season of Game of Thrones.
Sives was born in Lochend, Edinburgh. He studied at Leith Academy and worked as a scaffolder, as a postman and as a club doorman in Edinburgh before turning to acting full-time. In 2014 he played the lead role of King James III of Scotland in the National Theatre of Scotland's production of James III, which was also part of the Edinburgh International Festival.John Herspolz
John Herspolz or John Hepburn (died 1486) was Bishop of Dunblane. On the day of the resignation of the bishopric of Dunblane by Robert Lauder at the papal curia - 12 September 1466 - Pope Paul II provided Herspolz/Hepburn as Lauder's successor.There remains a dispute as to who this person was. Balfour Paul, Lord Lyon King of Arms, who had full access to the national archives (where his office and court were located) stated categorically that his name was John Hepburn and that he was a son of Sir Adam Hepburn of Hailes, Knt., (d.1446) by his wife Janet, daughter of Sir William Borthwick of that Ilk, Knt (died before March 1450).Cockburn's 1959 work engages in some guess-work, saying his name was Herpolz and suggests that he was not Scottish, perhaps being a papal courtier opportunistically rewarded after Lauder's resignation. Certainly there is no mention whatsoever in Scottish Supplications to Rome of either surname between 1433 and 1471 which could be regarded as odd. King James III of Scotland, presumably unaware of the Pope's actions, selected and nominated the Dean of Brechin, John Spalding, as the new bishop sometime in late 1466 or in 1467; this certainly occurred before 19 November 1467. Herspolz/Hepburn was nevertheless consecrated as bishop sometime between 22 June and 28 September 1467. It seems possible that the transcription of the old script here could be wanting.
Herspolz/Hepburn held the bishopric for two decades, dying sometime between his last occurrence in the sources on 3 February 1485 and the first mention of his successor's provision on 31 January 1487; it is extremely likely that he died in 1486.John Stewart, Earl of Mar (died 1503)
John Stewart, Earl of Mar (December 1479 – 11 March 1503) was the youngest son of James III of Scotland and Margaret of Denmark.John of Islay, Earl of Ross
This article refers to John II, Lord of the Isles; for John I, see John of Islay, Lord of the IslesJohn of Islay (or John MacDonald) (1434–1503), Earl of Ross, fourth (and last) Lord of the Isles, and Mac Domhnaill (chief of Clan Donald), was a pivotal figure in late medieval Scotland: specifically in the struggle for power with James Stewart, James III of Scotland, in the remoter formerly Norse-dominated regions of the kingdom. His defeat in this conflict led to rebellion against John by his illegitimate son Angus Óg, resulting in the defeat of John’s fleet at the Battle of Bloody Bay in the early 1480s. Thereafter and until his death in 1503 John remained an inconsequential figure while, until his murder in 1490, Angus continued to dominate the affairs of Clan Donald. In 1493 James IV brought the Lordship of the Isles to an end.Norman Macdougall
Norman Macdougall is a Scottish historian who is known for writing about Scottish crown politics. He was a senior lecturer in Scottish history at the University of St Andrews.
Macdougall has written biographies of the kings James III of Scotland and James IV of Scotland. He was also responsible for editing a biography of James V of Scotland. Other publications include a work on the Auld Alliance, and editing Scotland and War, to which he also contributed an article on James IV's Great Michael.Ormond Pursuivant
Ormond Pursuivant of Arms in Ordinary (also spelt Ormonde) is a current Scottish pursuivant of arms in Ordinary of the Court of the Lord Lyon.The office was probably instituted around the same time as the creation of James Stewart, second son of James III of Scotland, as Marquess of Ormonde in 1476. There is a mention of Ormond being sent with letters to the Earl of Angus in 1488.
The badge of office is A mullet gyronny of ten Or and Gules five fleur-de-lys Gules in the angles between the points surmounted of a coronet of four fleur de-lys (two visible) and four crosses pattée (one and two halves visible) Or.The office was held by Mark Dennis from 2009 to 2017, when he was appointed as Ross Herald in Extraordinary.Port of Menteith
Port of Menteith (Scottish Gaelic: Port Loch Innis Mo Cholmaig) is a village and civil parish in the Stirling district of Scotland, the only significant settlement on the Lake of Menteith. It was established as a burgh of barony, then named simply Port (Scottish Gaelic: Am Port), in 1457 by King James III of Scotland. It lay in the former county of Perthshire.
The village lies at the north-eastern edge of the Lake, at the junction of the A81 road with the B8034 road, which runs south, just to the west of Flanders Moss, to meet the A811 road at Arnprior. The elevation is around 25 m above sea level. The country around is generally low-lying, except to the north where the Menteith Hills rise, including Beinn Dearg (426 m), with the Trossachs and the southern Highlands beyond. The Parish includes the outlying settlements of Cobleland, Dykehead, Gartmore and Ruskie.
The parish of Port of Menteith, area 7226 hectares, had a resident population of 768 in the United Kingdom Census 2001, down from 884 in 1991.
In the summer months a ferry runs from Port of Menteith to the island of Inchmahome, site of the Historic Scotland-maintained Inchmahome Priory. The village is home to a fishing club and is the starting point for anglers on the Lake of Menteith. Nick Nairn's cookery school is based at Loch End, just south of Port of Menteith at the south-east corner of the Lake.
Nearby Rednock House, the home of retired IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti, is a historic Laird’s House remodelled by the architect Robert Brown of Edinburgh in 1827. Its grounds include a walled garden, ice house and ornamental water garden.
The Port of Menteith Village Hall is a popular venue for events, including birthday parties, wedding receptions, MP surgeries, indoor markets, dance and fitness classes, training events, group accommodation and community gatherings.Sheriff of Orkney and Shetland
The Sheriff of Orkney and Shetland, also known as the Sheriff of Orkney and Zetland, was historically the royal official responsible for enforcing law and order in Orkney and Shetland, Scotland.
The sheriffdom of Orkney and Shetland was created in the 16th century upon the ceding of the islands to Scotland for non-payment of the dowry of Margaret's marriage to King James III of Scotland by King Christian I, King of Denmark, Norway and Sweden. Prior to 1748 most sheriffdoms were held on a hereditary basis. From that date, following the Jacobite uprising of 1745, the hereditary sheriffs were replaced by salaried sheriff-deputes, qualified advocates who were members of the Scottish Bar
The position was merged in 1870 with that of the Sheriff of Caithness to create the new position of Sheriff of Caithness, Orkney & Shetland.Thomas Hay (bishop)
Thomas Hay was a 15th-century Scottish prelate. A canon of the diocese and cathedral of Aberdeen, on the translation of William Elphinstone from Bishop of Ross to Bishop of Aberdeen, Hay was provided as Elphinstone's successor in Ross, this occurring on 16 May 1483. He was probably the Thomas Hay who held the Aberdeen prebend of Turriff.It was Bishop Hay who, on 12 September 1487, with the consent of the cathedral chapter of Fortrose and at the request of King James III of Scotland, erected the church of St Duthac at Tain into a collegiate church, "for the increase of the divine worship of the chapel or collegiate church of the blessed confessor Duthac of Tain".The new church consisted of and was to support one provost, two deacons or sub-deacons, a sacrist, an assistant sacrist, and three child choristers; the five prebendary canonries where to be Cambuscurry, Dunskeath, Morangie, Newmore and Tarlogie. The erection was confirmed under the Great Seal of Scotland on 3 December, and was confirmed by Pope Innocent VIII in 1492.Bishop Hay was at parliament on 11 January 1488, his last appearance in any contemporary sources. Hay's episcopate therefore lasted until at least 1488; it did not last beyond early 1492, the latest possible date for the appearance of John Guthrie as his successor; it is unclear if Bishop Hay died, or if he resigned, or if got demoted, though death is the most likely.William Tulloch
William de Tulloch (died 1482) was a 15th-century Scottish prelate. A native of Angus, he became a canon of Orkney, almost certainly brought there by his relative Thomas de Tulloch, Bishop of Orkney. He was provided to the bishopric upon the resignation of his cousin by Pope Pius II at the Apostolic see on 11 December 1461. He had been consecrated by 21 July 1462, when he rendered an oath of fealty at Copenhagen to Christian I, King of Denmark, Norway and Sweden.
In 1468 he was one of the ambassadors responsible for organising the marriage between King James III of Scotland and Margaret of Denmark, the daughter of King Christian. The marriage resulted in the formal transfer of Orkney and Shetland to the sovereignty of the Scottish crown. He was Keeper of the Privy Seal of Scotland from 25 June 1470 onwards. He was sent to England in 1471 as an ambassador. He became tacksman, i.e. held the administration of, Orkney and Shetland from 27 August 1472 until 28 July 1478, continuing the role entrusted to him earlier by King Christian.
On 12 February 1477, following the death of David Stewart, he was rewarded for his extensive services by attaining translation to the Bishopric of Moray. On 21 March, his proctors at Rome, William and John of Paris, paid 642 gold florins and 43 shillings, presumably as payment for the new bishopric. He retained his position as Keeper of the Privy Seal until at least 1481. Tulloch remained Bishop of Moray until his death on 14 April 1482.
|Ancestors of James III of Scotland|
|Monarchs of the Picts |
|Monarchs of the Scots|