James I. (1424-1437), King of Scotland, Updated, pp.153-166.


The 21st of May, 1424, King James the First, with his Queen, Jean, were solemnly crowned at Scone.

The 26th of this same month, King James I. called a parliament of his estates at Perth; and on the 9th day of the said parliament, he caused [the] arrest [of] Murdoch [Stewart], Duke of Albany, Earl of Fife and Menteith, with his 2nd son, Sir Alexander Stewart, whom he had knighted the day of his coronation at Scone, and with them 26 others, viz.

Archibald [Douglas], Earl of Douglas,

William Douglas, Earl of Angus,

George Dunbar, Earl of March,

Sir Adam Hepburn of Hailes,

Sir Thomas Hay of Yester,

Walter [de] Haliburton [of Dirleton],

Walter Ogilvy [of Lintrathen],

David Stewart of Rosyth,

Alexander [de] Seton of Gordon,

William Erskine of Kinnoul,

Alexander [Lindsay], Earl of Crawford,

Patrick Ogilvy of Auchterhouse,

John Stewart of Dundonald,

David [de Moravia] of Gask,

John Stewart of Kincardine,

William [Hay], Lord Hay, [Lord High] Constable,

John Scrymgeour of Dudhope,

Alexander [de] Irwyn of Drum,

Herbert Maxwell of Carlaverock,

Herbert Harries of Terregles,

Andrew Gray of Foulis,

Robert Cunningham of Kilmaurs,

William [de] Crichton of the same,

Alexander Ramsay of Dalhousie.

This same day he arrest[s], likewise, Sir John [de] Montgomery of the same, and Alan [of] Otterburn, secretary to [Murdoch Stewart] the Duke of Albany; and they two were released within three days.

This same year, James [Mor] Stewart, the Duke of Albany’s youngest son, who had escaped the King’s hands unapprehended, raises such forces as he could, burns the town of Dumbarton, kills John Stewart, (called the Red) of Dundonald, and 32 more, and then, with his father’s old secretary, Fionnlagh [MacCailein], Bishop of Argyll, flees to Ireland.



This year, 1425, the Lords of Montgomery and Kilmaurs, with Sir Humphrey Cunningham [Laird of Glengarnock], are sent by the King with an army to besiege the castle of [Inchmurrin], now Loch Lomond, kept against authority by the party of James Stewart, the youngest son of Murdoch, Duke of Albany.

This same year, in the month of June, the Lady Margaret [Stewart], the King’s eldest daughter, was born.



The 18th of May, this year, 1426, the King adjourned his parliament to Stirling from Perth, until the 24th day of the said month; before whom was accused Walter Stewart, eldest son to Murdoch, Duke of Albany, who received sentence of death, and lost his head this same day, before the castle, on a little rock; and on the morrow, likewise, Murdoch, Duke of Albany, with his 2nd son, Alexander Stewart, and his father-in-law, Duncan, Earl of Lennox, being accused, were all 4 forfeited, and condemned to lose their heads, by an assize of their peers. The assizers were:-

Walter [Stewart], Earl of Atholl,

Archibald, 3rd of that name, Earl of Douglas,

Alexander [of Islay], Earl of Ross, Lord of the Isles,

Alexander Stewart, Earl of Mar,

William Douglas, Earl of Angus,

William Sinclair, Earl of Orkney,

George Dunbar, Earl of March,

James Douglas, Lord Balveny,

Gilbert Hay, Lord of Errol, [Lord High] Constable,

Robert Stewart, Lord Lorne,

Sir John Montgomery of the same,

Sir Thomas Somerville of the same,

Sir Herbert Harries of Terregles,

James Douglas, Lord Dalkeith,

Robert Cunningham, Lord of Kilmaurs,

Sir Alexander Livingstone of Callendar,

Sir Thomas Hay of Locharret,

Sir William Borthwick of the same,

Sir Patrick Ogilvy, Sheriff of Angus,

Sir John Forrester of Corstorphin,

Sir Walter Ogilvy of Lintrathen.

By their assizers they were [forfeited], and sentenced to lose their heads; which was put to execution on a little rock [to the] east [of] Stirling castle, this same month. After which forfeit, the King seized their whole estates in his hands, and caused, in this same parliament, [the] annex [of] the earldom of Fife to the crown.

About the latter end of this year, John Stewart, [Count] of [Évreux], and Lord Concressault, Constable of France, with the Archbishop of Rheims, came [as] ambassadors from the French King to King James, to renew the ancient league between both crowns, [and] also to desire the King’s eldest daughter, the Lady Margaret, to [marry] the French King’s son, Louis [XI] the Dauphin.

This year, also, King James sent Henry [de] Lichton, Bishop of Aberdeen, Sir Patrick Ogilvy, Great Justiciar of Scotland, and Sheriff of Angus, his ambassadors to France; and with them in commission, Edward [de] Lauder, Archdea[co]n of Lothian, a man both wise and learned.



In January, this year, 1427, King James goes to Inverness, to suppress the rebellion of John Campbell, John MacArthur, and Alexander Macrory, who had villainously killed John, Lord of the Isles. These 3, the King caused [to be] hange[d] on a tall oak.

This year, also, the King causes [the] apprehen[sion of] Alexander [MacDonald], Earl of Ross and Lord of the Isles, the [inciter] and foster father of the northern rebellions; and with him his [greyhounds], Aonghas Dubh [MacAoidh (MacKay)], Kenneth [Mór MacKenzie], John [de Ross], [Alasdair MacMhathain] and [Alasdair Mac Ruaidhrí]; these 5, the King, to terrify others, caused to be hanged, but Alexander, Earl of Ross, does the King lead prisoner with him to Perth.

Parliament held at Perth, the first of March, this year; wherein, in presence of his whole estates, the King chides Alexander, Earl of Ross and Lord of the Isles, for his lewdness and disloyalty; but on promise of amendment dismisse[s] him, and shows him great favour; but no sooner at liberty and home, but anew leaps out in open rebellion.

This year, Alexander, Earl of Ross, falls prostrated before the King for mercy, with a rope about his neck; he is sent to close prison in Tantallon castle, in Lothian, and his mother [Mariota]*, the daughter and heir of Walter Leslie, Earl of Ross, with her youngest son [Angus MacDonald], in a cell in St. Columban’s abbey, in the Isle of [Inchcolm].

Domhnall Ballach, this year, uncle to Alexander, Lord of the Isles, raises [up] in arms, and destroys the country with fire and sword; and in a great battle at Inverlochy, overthrows Alexander [Stewart], Earl of Mar, and kills Alan Stewart, Earl of Caithness, and routs their whole army.



This year, 1428, the King goes to Dunstaffnage castle, where he calls to him the chiefs of clans of the Highlands and Isles, and keeps them by him until their friends should bring him Domhnall Ballach, whom they caused [to] flee to Ireland; but 300 of his men they brought to the King, who caused all [to] be hanged by half [dozens] on gibbets, after arraignment and sentence pronounced against them.

This year, also, Aonghas Dubh [MacAoidh] of Strathnaver, with [Rorie], his brother, (both of them the King had lately pardoned,) enters Moray with an army of 3000 men, and destroys it with fire and sword; but they were [engaged in battle] by Angus Moray, a bird of that same feather, between whom there was one of the cruellest battles fought that ever was heard of, that of both armies there were only twelve persons left alive, and these sore wounded.



In February, 1429, the King causes [to be] apprehended MacDonald Roos, (called the Blacksmith,) a notorious thief and murderer; him the King caused to be shoed with horseshoes of burning hot iron, at Perth, and so in a halter to be led about the town, (for that he had so used a poor widow that complained [about] his oppression and villainy to the King,) and then, with 12 of his companions, all hanged on a gallows.

A parliament [was] held at Perth, the 6th of March this year.

This year, [Aodh], Prince of Connaught, in Ireland, sends Donald Ballach’s head to the King, with his own ambassador, [Roland] the Abbot of Crossraguel.

This year, also, Archibald, Earl of Douglas, for some inconsiderate speeches against the King’s government is committed prisoner to Lochleven castle, in Fife; and Sir John Kennedy, the King’s nephew, for the same cause, committed [as] prisoner to Stirling castle, in July, 1430.



In the beginning of autumn, this year, the Queen is brought to bed [to have] 2 sons, the elder christened Alexander, and the 2nd James; at who’s christening the Earl of Douglas and Sir John Kennedy were both released from prison.

This year, King James caused [to be] cast in Flanders, a great cannon, weighing 3000 weight, which he brought home to Scotland, of brass, with this inscription moulded on her:

Distinguished James the worthy of Scotland,
Magnificent reign, lightning bolt of an army’s reduction,
I was made in order to announce the Lion.

This was the first cannon or bombard of any strength or [size], that ever was in Scotland.



The 15th of October, King James calls a parliament at Perth, in the year 1431.

Henry VI., the young King of England, passes the seas this year to France, well accompanied. First he goes to Rouen; then to Paris, wherein he was solemnly crowned King of France, by his own [great] uncle, [Henry Beaufort] the Cardinal of St. Eusebius, Bishop of Winchester, receiving the oaths of such of the French nobility as were there present; and so without more, returns for England, 12th [of] March, 1431.



In August, 1432, from Bohemia, sent by [Jan Hus, Czech ecclesiastical reformer]**, came [Pavel Kravař], who first displayed the bright beams of the Gospel in St. Andrews, and detected the fopperies and idolatries of the Romish hour [Horae Ecclesiasticae].

This year, King Henry VI, of England, offered to King James the Scottish counties, (of old so-called,) viz. Northumberland, Cumbrae, and Westmoreland, by his ambassador, the Lord [John le] Scrope, providing the King would quit his league with France, and contract one with him, offensive and defensive; but the King did altogether refuse it; and so the English ambassador, from Stirling, returned home without life-taking.



The year 1433, the King, at the earnest solicitation of the clergy, but especially of Henry Wardlaw, Bishop of St. Andrews, bestowed the abbey of Melrose upon a [lazy] monk of the Cistercian order, who had written a blasphemous pamphlet against [Pavel Kravař]‘s heresy, named John [de] Fogo.



In January this year, 1434, the 10th of the month, in a parliament held at Perth, by the King and his estates, George Dunbar, Earl of March, is [forfeited], and his whole possessions held [by] the King adjudged, [by inferred right], to the crown forever, for the crimes of lèse-majesté [offending the Monarch] and high treason, committed by George Dunbar, Earl of March, his father, in contracting with the English, under his hand and seal, to deliver and betray his native country in their hands during the old and decaying age of King Robert III.



This year, 1435, Alexander [Stewart], Earl of Mar, [bastard] son to Alexander Stewart, Earl of Buchan, 3rd son to King Robert II., departs this life, and was interred in the cathedral church of Dunkeld, 27th of May; after whose death the earldom of Mar fell to the crown, in respect he died illegitimate.

This same year, also, the King, out of pity and commiseration, bestows on George [de Dunbar], the late Earl of March, and on his son Patrick, the earldom of Buchan, immediately but fallen to the crown, by the death of Alexander Stewart, Earl thereof, with an annuity of 400 merks out of his exchequer, yearly, to be paid to him at two terms.

In May this same year, comes [Archibald Douglas] the [Count] of Longueville and Marquis of Saluzzo, ambassadors from Charles VII,, of France, to demand the Lady Margaret, (now of age,) the King’s eldest daughter, to be sent over to her husband Louis [XI], the Dauphin, as also to renew the ancient amity between the two crowns. Immediately the King commands all to be in readiness; so that [by] the 20th of June***, William Sinclair, Earl of Orkney, Lord Admiral of Scotland, had 46 good ships in readiness to transport Lady Margaret and her train, which consisted of

John [de Crannach], Bishop of Brechin,

Sir Walter Ogilvy, the King’s Treasurer,

Henry, Lord Graham,

Alexander Seton, younger of Gordon,

Sir Herbert Herries,

Sir John Maxwell of Calderwood,

Sir John Campbell of Loudon,

Sir Thomas Colville,

Sir John Wishart,

Master John Stewart, Provost of Methven,

Maurice Buchanan, Treasurer to the Dauphinese,

Henry Wardlaw of Torrie,

Andrew Gray of Foulis,

William Carlisle,

David Kennedy,

David Ogilvy;

with a 140 ladies and young gentlewomen. They take ships at Dumbarton, and arrive [on] the 20th of June, and had a very prosperous passage to France; where she was welcomed with all her train by King Charles VII., and with great solemnity and triumph [was] married to his son, the Dauphin, in the cathedral church at Tours, 6th of July, 1435.****



William Douglas, Earl of Angus, Sir Adam Hepburn of Hailes, Alexander Ramsay of Dalhousie, and Alexander Elphinstone, with 4000 men, defeats the English, led by Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland, in a battle fought at a place called Piperdean, in 1436. This year, also, a fearful comet like to a fiery sword, hung, as seemed, over Edinburgh and Perth.

About the end of this same year arrives here in Scotland, the Pope’s Legate, Æneas Silvius [Bartholomeus], who was thereafter Pope, by the name of Pius the Second; a man very learned according to these times. In Perth, this year, a sow brought forth a dog.



On the 21st of February, in the year 1437, was the noble King James I. killed at the abbey of the Dominicans, in the town of Perth, by Robert Stewart and Robert Graham, at the instigation of Walter Stewart, Earl of Atholl, his uncle, in the 13th year of his reign. His corpse was solemnly interred in a magnificent monument erected by himself, (while he lived,) in his late founded monastery of the Carthusians [Perth Charterhouse], in the suburbs of Perth.

This year are the [regicidal] traitors led like dogs, in halters, to Edinburgh, where Walter, Earl of Atholl, the chief actor of this woeful tragedy, was tortured on an engine made for the purpose; and with a crown of hot burning iron, was crowned at the cross of Edinburgh; and thereafter his heart was pulled out of his breast, and roasted in a fire before his eyes, by the executioner, then cast to the dogs to eat; then was his head cut off, and his body divided in 4 quarters, and sent to the 4 quarters of the realm, and there hung up on iron gibbets.

Robert Stewart was [torn] asunder between four horses, and his head sent to Perth, and fixed on an iron pin above the town gate.

Robert Graham was tied with ropes in a cart, wherein was a high log of wood, whereon was nailed that hand that struck the King, with a nail of burning hot iron; the whole muscles of his body being cut in long slits, was fristed with flaming hot iron pincers, by two executioners; and after the life was quite out of him, his body was divided in 4 quarters, and erected on gibbets at the end of the 4 most public ways of the kingdom; and his head was set over the west port of Edinburgh.


*  Euphemia was the daughter of Alexander Leslie but wasn’t the mother of Alexander MacDonald.
**  “sent by [the Hussites]” as Jan Hus was burned at the stake in 1415.
***  Barbe, in his ‘Margaret of Scotland and the Dauphin Louis,..’ (1917), suggests they left for France on the 27th of March, 1436. arriving towards the end of April.
****  The generally accepted date for the marriage of Princess Margaret to Louis XI is 25th of June, 1436.


17 thoughts on “James I. (1424-1437), King of Scotland, Updated, pp.153-166.

  1. Hello, I had a quick question about the individuals arrested with the MacDonalds. I read in a book by Neil Oliver, that a William Leslie was arrested with the MacDonald. My assumption is that he was with them due to Mariota being a Leslie herself. However, I have not been able to find a record of this. I hope you can help. Thanks

    1. Cannae trust anything historically-based from that specific archaelolgist. I think I’ve included what I could find out about the situation with the Macdonalds in the purple additions and footnotes but if I can discover anything in particular about Mariota I’ll get back to you.

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