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James V
Anonymous portrait of James V, probably contemporary
King of Scots
Reign 9 September 1513 – 14 December 1542
Coronation 21 September 1513
Predecessor James IV
Successor Mary I
Regent Margaret Tudor (1513–14)
John, Duke of Albany (1515–24)
Archibald, Earl of Angus (1525–28)
Spouse Madeleine of Valois (1537)
Mary of Guise (1538—)
Issue
James Stewart, Duke of Rothesay
Mary I of Scotland
House House of Stewart
Father James IV of Scotland
Mother Margaret Tudor
Born 10 April 1512(1512-04-10)
Linlithgow Palace, West Lothian
Died 14 December 1542 (aged 30)
Falkland Palace, Fife
Burial Holyrood Abbey, Edinburgh

James V (10 April 1512 – 14 December 1542) was King of Scots from 9 September 1513 until his premature death at the age of 30, which followed the Scottish defeat at the Battle of Solway Moss. His only surviving legitimate child, Mary I, Queen of Scots, who succeeded him to the throne was just six or seven days old at the time.

Contents

Early life

The son of King James IV of Scotland, and princess Margaret Tudor of England, he was born on 10 April 1512, at Linlithgow Palace, West Lothian, and was just seventeen months old when his father was killed at the Battle of Flodden Field on 9 September 1513.

He was crowned in the Chapel Royal at Stirling Castle on 21 September 1513. During his childhood, the country was ruled by regents, first by his mother, Margaret Tudor (sister of King Henry VIII of England), until she remarried the following year, and thereafter by John Stewart, 2nd Duke of Albany, who was himself next in line for the throne after James and his younger brother, the posthumously-born Alexander Stewart, Duke of Ross. In 1525, Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus, the young king's stepfather, took custody of James and held him as a virtual prisoner for three years, exercising power on his behalf. James finally escaped in 1528 and assumed the reins of government himself.

Reign

His first action as king was to remove Angus from the scene, and he then subdued the Border rebels and the chiefs of the Western Isles. James increased his income by tightening control over royal estates and from the profits of justice, customs and feudal rights. He also gave his illegitimate sons lucrative benefices, diverting substantial church wealth into his coffers. James spent a large amount of his wealth on building work at Stirling, Falkland, Linlithgow and Holyrood.

James V did not tolerate heresy and during his reign, a number of outspoken supporters of church reform were executed. The most famous of these was Patrick Hamilton who was burned at the stake as a heretic at St Andrews in 1528.

Illegitimate children

James V had nine[1] known illegitimate children, at least three of whom were fathered before the age of 20. Many of the sons were first put to ecclesiastical career, as monks and sworn to celibacy, holding wealthy monastic positions and having illegitimate children of their own (but in about 1560, the Protestant Reformation changed things, some of these kept their eccelesiastical lands - as commendators - but renounced celibacy and married formally).

And two by unknown mothers:

  • Robert Stewart (d. 1581) Held the office of Prior of Whithorn
  • Margaret Stewart

Marriages

Portrait of James V, c. 1536, by Corneille de Lyon.

James renewed the Auld Alliance with France, and on 1 January 1537, he married Madeleine of Valois, daughter of Francis I of France.

Following her death in July 1537, he proceeded to marry, on 12 June 1538, Mary of Guise, daughter of Claude, Duke of Guise and widow of Louis of Orleans, Duke of Longueville. Mary already had two sons from her first marriage, and the union produced two sons, James Stewart, Duke of Rothesay (b. 22 May 1540), and Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany (b. 1541). However, both died in April 1541, just eight days after baby Robert was baptised. In 1542, their daughter Mary, later Queen of Scots, was born.

War with England

The death of his mother in 1541 removed any incentive for peace with England, and war broke out. Initially the Scots won a victory at the Battle of Haddon Rig in 1542, but later that year, they suffered a serious defeat at the Battle of Solway Moss. He took ill shortly after this, by some accounts this was a nervous collapse caused by the defeat, although some historians consider that it may just have been an ordinary fever. Whatever the reason, he was on his deathbed at Falkland Palace when his only surviving legitimate child, a girl, was born.

Before he died, he is reported to have said, "it came wi a lass, it'll gang wi a lass" ("It began with a girl and it will end with a girl"). This was a reference to the Stewart dynasty, and how it came to the throne through Marjorie, daughter of Robert the Bruce. As it happened, his words came true, although not with his daughter Mary I but with the last monarch of the House of Stewart, Queen Anne, who was James V's great-great-great-granddaughter.

Outside interests

Groat of James V, minted at Edinburgh 1526x1539

According to legend, James would sometimes travel around Scotland, disguised as a common man, describing himself as the Gudeman of Ballengeich ('Gudeman' means 'landlord' or 'farmer', and 'Ballengeich' was the nickname of a road next to Stirling Castle - meaning 'windy pass' in Gaelic[2]), and sometimes even seducing women. However, it has been suggested that, if he did do this, many people may have recognised him because of his red hair.

James V so liked red clothing that, during the festivities in Paris in 1537, he upset the city dignitaries who had sole right to wear that colour in processions. They noted he could not speak a word of French.[3]

Later life

James was succeeded by his infant daughter, Mary, Queen of Scots. He was buried at Holyrood Abbey alongside Madeleine and his sons by Mary of Guise.

Titles, styles, honours, and arms

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Titles and styles

Royal styles of
James VI, King of Scots

Royal coat of arms of Scotland.svg

Reference style His Grace
Spoken style Your Grace
Alternative style Sire
Full achievement of Arms as King of Scots
  • 10 April 1512–9 September 1513: The Duke of Rothesay
  • 9 September 1513–14 December 1542: His Grace The King

James's full style prior to acceding the throne was Prince James Stewart, Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick, Lord Renfrew, Prince and Great Steward of Scotland

Ancestors

References

Further reading

  • Cameron, Jamie (1998), Macdougall, Norman, ed., James V: The Personal Rule, 1528–1542, The Stewart Dynasty in Scotland, East Linton: Tuckwell Press, ISBN 1-86232-015-4  
  • Dawson, Jane (2007), Scotland Reformed 1488–1587, The New Edinburgh History of Scotland, 6, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, ISBN 0-7486-1455-4  
  • Donaldson, Gordon (1965), Scotland: James V to James VII, The Edinburgh History of Scotland, III, Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd, ISBN 0-901824-851  
  • Thomas, Andrea (2005), Princelie Majestie: The Court of James V of Scotland, Edinburgh: John Donald, ISBN 0-85976-611-X  
  • Wormald, Jenny (1981), Court, Kirk, and Community: Scotland 1470–1625, The New History of Scotland, 4, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, ISBN 0-7486-0276-3  
James V of Scotland
Born: 10 April 1512 Died: 14 December 1542
Regnal titles
Preceded by
James IV
King of Scots
9 September 1513–14 December 1542
Succeeded by
Mary I
Scottish royalty
Preceded by
John Stewart, Duke of Albany
Heir of Scotland
as heir apparent
10 April 1512–9 September 1513
Succeeded by
John Stewart, Duke of Albany

This article incorporates text from the public domain 1907 edition of The Nuttall Encyclopædia.


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