A PARLIAMENT held at Edinburgh [on] the 20th of March, 1437; and on the 26th day, was Prince James crowned King, with all requisite solemnity, in presence of his estates, being a child of 6 years of [age], James Kennedy, Bishop of St. Andrews, his father’s nephew, with the joyful acclamations of his people.
Sir Alexander Livingston of Callendar [Justiciar of Scotland] chosen Governor to the young King, the day after the rising of the parliament, this same year.
27th of March, this year, the estates makes choice of these counsellors to assist the Governor in matters of government, and ordains him to follow their advice. The counsellors elected were,
Sir William Crichton, Lord Chancellor;
Archibald, Earl of Douglas;
William, Lord Hay, [Lord High] Constable;
James, Lord Lindsay;
Walter Haliburton, [Lord High] Treasurer;
James Kennedy, Bishop of St. Andrews;
Henry [de] Lichton, Bishop of Moray;
Mr William Turnbull, Keeper of the Privy Seal, Archdea[co]n of Lothian.
These were ordained at all times, upon the Governor’s advertisement, to attend the affairs of the realm, and any 4 of the number, with the Governor, providing there be one at least of each estate, to be the [company].
This year, 1438, menaces the kingdom with civil war, in respect of the loose behaviour of Archibald, [5th] Earl of Douglas, in countenancing these of Annandale, Liddesdale, and Eskdale, to oppress the neighbouring shires, and instead of repressing their insolencies, [supports] them.
The 13th day of March, this same year, the Governor calls a parliament at Stirling, in which it was enacted, that the lieutenant of the shire should raise the country, and pass to the castles and houses of such rebels as interrupted the public peace, and [either] cause them find [surety] for their good carriage in time coming, [otherwise] to seize upon their persons and houses, and present them to justice.
New [wars] this year between the Governor and Chancellor. The Queen mother [Joan Beaufort] steals the young King out of Edinburgh castle, and brings him to Stirling castle to the Governor, and so is the wise Lord Chancellor [circumvented] by a woman.
This year, also, immediately after the Governor had possessed himself of the infant King, [he levies] an army, and besieges the Chancellor in Edinburgh castle; but in the end they are, by the mediation of some lovers of the public peace, reconciled on these terms, that the Chancellor should retain his office, and the keeping of Edinburgh castle.
In August this year, Sir Thomas Boyd kills Sir Alan Stewart of Darnley at the Thorn of Polmaise; and in revenge of this slaughter, Alexander Stewart, Darnley’s brother, killed Sir Thomas Boyd, with 20 of his followers [at the Battle of Craignaught Hill], which kindled such a flame of civil discord in Kyle, [Renfrew], Carrick, and Cunningham, that had not the death of the Earl of Douglas quenched it, it had consumed a great part of the west of Scotland.
The 9th day of May, this year, dies Archibald, Earl of Douglas, as Restalrig, near Edinburgh, of a burning fever; and to him succeeded his son, William, a youth of 14 years of age.
This year, also, Sir James Stewart of Lorn, (called the Black Knight) marries the Queen mother, and is, with his brother, imprisoned by the Governor, but shortly released by the mediation of the Lord Chancellor and Sir Alexander Seton of Gordon.
God’s two mighty roads of indignation scourged this country extremely this year; for whom famine did spare, the pestilence cut off.
This year, also, the Chancellor, assisted by some of the nobility that did malign the Governor’s greatness, with a cunning [scheme], takes the King from him, being at hunting in the Torwood. At which, the Governor extremely stormed, but was forced to [give up his] custody of the King, to keep the government and the castle of Stirling.
The Governor and Chancellor consult how to entrap the author of all the mischiefs of the kingdom, [16 year old William Douglas,] the Duke of Touraine, Earl of Douglas; whom they cunningly invite to a meeting in Edinburgh castle, accompanied with his brother [12 year old] David, and Malcolm, Lord Fleming, his most inward counsellor, the 17th day of July, off whose bodies they chopped of the heads on a beam in the great hall of the castle. This same year the young King, with tears, begged their lives from the Governor and Chancellor, who told him roundly, he was but a child, and did not know what he demanded, for the sparing of them would be the ruin of him and his whole kingdom. To this William, Duke of Touraine, in the earldom of Douglas, succeeded James Douglas, Lord of Abercorn, as nearest in blood.
The Governor calls a parliament to be held at Stirling, the 2nd day of August, 1440; in which parliament were enacted many good laws for keeping the public peace, and suppressing of theft, robbery, and murder.
In this parliament, justice [hearings] and courts of regality are ordained to be held at least twice every year.
Also, that rebellions, thefts, murders, oppressions, and such like, be punished by the Sheriff, within his jurisdiction; and the barons and country to aid him; and if he should omit the taking severe order with such, then he to be punished by the King and his council, according to his [will].
The year 1441 was very memorable for [omens] and wonders. In March, the 17th day, appeared 3 suns in the firmament, at [noon] of the day; and in August, a fearful comet, having a crowned sword hanging from it. After which ensued a great [grumbling] of all kinds of beasts, and famine of corn and [food].
The year 1442, Sir William Ruthven, Sheriff of Perth, killed Gormac, a notable sorner and rebel in Atholl, with thirty of his followers, who destroyed much of that shire, and pretended himself a revenger of the Earl of Douglas’ death.
This year, 1443, passed away without any matter worthy of commemoration, save that the Governor called a parliament to be held at Stirling, the 4th of November; wherein the troublers and molesters of churchmen, in the peaceable enjoying of their goods, are ordained to be punished by all judges, as persons excommunicated, until either by restitution they make their peace, or obtain absolution, in form of law, from their curse.
This year, 1444, the young King takes the government of the nation upon his own shoulders, in a convention of the estates at Stirling.
The Legate of Pope Eugenius the 4, [Baptista de Padua,] comes this year to Scotland, in great pomp and bravery, and exacts a solemn oath of this church’s obedience to the Roman sea, which was done in the King’s presence, on the holy Evangel; after which the Legate returns through England to Rome.
This year, Patrick Galbraith, a follower of the Earl of Douglas, kills Robert Semple; their quarrel was for the custody of Dumbarton castle, whereof Patrick, on Robert’s death, does possess himself of, and mans it with a strong garrison.
The Earl of Douglas [William], this year, comes to Stirling, where the King was, falls prostrate at his feet, and with tears craves pardon for his bygone escapades, and solemnly vows and swears amendment. The gracious King freely pardons all bypast faults, and not only receives the said Earl to his favour, but admits him to be one of his privy council.
The Earl of Douglas, this year, possesses himself wholly of the King’s care, causes [to be summoned] the Governor and Chancellor to [appear in court] before the King and his council, to answer to such points as was libelled against them; and on their refusal, causes them to be openly declared rebels and traitors; and so with arms spoils and [drives off the cattle from] their whole lands. They pay him home in his own coin [treated him as he would treat others], and so the land is destroyed by these firebrands.
The Earl of Douglas’ credit this year was so great with the young King, that he procures the ward and marriage of the young Countess of Moray, [Elizabeth] Dunbar, for his 2nd brother Archibald, with the title of Earl of Moray; and to his third brother Hugh, he procures the title of Earl of Ormond.
This year, 1445, the Earl of Douglas lays the certain foundation of his own destruction; which was in solemnly swearing an offensive and defensive league and combination against all, none excepted, (not the King himself) with [Alexander Lindsay] the Earl of Crawford, and [John Mc]Donald, [Earl of Ross and] Lord of the Isles; which was mutually sealed and subscribed by [those] three, the 7th day of March.
The [Ex]Chancellor [William Crichton], this year, to be revenged on John Forrester of Corstorphine, who, in the preceding year had spoiled his lands, as one of the Earl of Douglas’ emissaries, issues out of Edinburgh castle, and by the secret help of [James Kennedy] the [Arch]Bishop of St. Andrews, and of the Earls of Angus and Morton, his most assured friends, with fire and sword destroys all Corstorphine’s lands, with Abercorn, Strathbrock and Blackness; burning their corn and villages: and so with much spoil returns to Edinburgh castle.
This year [William] the Earl of Douglas causes [David Lindsay] the Earl of Crawford, and Alexander Ogilvey of Inverquharity, [to] spoil all [James Kennedy] the [Arch]Bishop of St. Andrews, both in Fife and Angus, his lands.
In January, this year, the battle of Arbroath was fought between the Lindsays and the Ogilvys, for the Baillie of the Regality of Arbroath; in which battle there were slain on the Ogilvy’s side,
John Forbes of Pitsligo,
Alexander Barclay of Gartley,
James Maxwell of Telinge,
Duncan Campbell of Calder,
William Gordon of Borrowfield,
Alexander Ogilvy of Inverquharity died the next day at Finhaven;
and about 200 common soldiers.
None of note died this day on the Lindsay’s side, but Alexander, Earl of Crawford, and 100 of the common sort.
About this same time, Robert Boyd of Duchal, treacherously killed James Stewart of [Ardgowan], near Kirkpatrick, and took his wife prisoner to Dumbarton castle, where she was brought to bed of a dead child: and within two days herself also dies.
This year, 1446, the Earl of Douglas causes the King [to] besiege the Chancellor in Edinburgh castle, which was rendered to him after 9 months continual siege, on honourable conditions.
This year, Sir James Stewart of Lorne, that married the Queen mother, for speaking some rash words against the present government, by the overruling power of the Earl of Douglas, was banished to France; and in his voyage there by sea, departs this life in Flanders, being taken by pirates, whether of grief or hard usage, it is not certain.
This year, also, the Queen mother, hearing the hard fortune of her husband, dies through extreme grief [on] the 15th of July; and was royally interred [next to] her first husband, amongst the Carthusians, in the suburbs of Perth, leaving behind, by her second husband, 3 sons.
John, thereafter Earl of Atholl;
James, thereafter Earl of Buchan;
Andrew, thereafter Bishop of Moray.
This year, 1447, produced no matter worthy of commemoration, but only consultations about the King’s marriage, and [forming] of traps to catch the Governor.
This year, 1448, William, Lord Crichton, lately creat[ed] a baron of parliament, with John [de Ralston], Bishop of Dunkeld, and Nicholas Otterburn, a canon of Glasgow, by the procurement of Charles VII., the French King, are sent ambassadors to Arnold, Duke of Guelders, with special instructions of procuring the Lady Mary, the Duke’s daughter, in marriage to the King; she was niece to Philip, Duke of Burgundy. The marriage being concluded by the King’s ambassadors, was shortly thereafter consummated by the Lady herself, who, nobly attended by the Prince of Rauenstein, the Marquis of Berge, [John II] the [Count] of Nassau, and [Wolfert VI van Borselen] Lord of [Veere], with the Bishops of Cambrai[, John of Burgundy,] and Liege, [John of Heinsberg,] with a great train of knights and ladies, safely arrived at Leith, and from thence to Edinburgh, where she was married to the King in abbey church of the Holy Cross, with great solemnity.
The 8th of December, this same year, the prisoners, viz. Sir Alexander Livingstone, once Governor of Scotland, Sir James Dundas, and Sir Robert Bruce of Clackmannan, are put to great fines, and condemned to perpetual prison, in the castle of Dumbarton; but Sir James Livingstone, the Governor’s eldest son, with his two cousins, Sir Robert Livingstone and Sir David, had sentence of death pronounced against them, and lost their heads on a scaffold at Edinburgh cross. For this tragedy, the commons exclaimed against the King and Earl of Douglas, with open mouth.
The King, at the earnest solicitation of [Charles VII.] the French King, levies an army, and enters England, with fire and sword, this year, but returns home with [7 years] peace.
This year, 1449, begins with the Queen bring[ing] forth a child, 2 months before her time, living when it was born, but expired within 2 hours.
Notwithstanding the [7 years] peace, the Scottish borders infests England, and [Richard Neville] the Earl of [Salisbury], Warden of the West Marches, burns the town of Dumfries, this same year; and [Henry Percy] the Earl of Northumberland, at this same time, makes an incursion on the east border, and spoils the town of Dunbar.
The 20th of January the King calls a parliament at Edinburgh. In this parliament, Alexander Seton, Lord Gordon, was creat[ed] Earl of Huntly, and George, Lord Leslie or Lewin, was creat[ed] Earl of Rothes.
In the beginning of this year, 1450, happened the fearful death of that wicked and godless prelate, John Cameron, BIshop of Glasgow.
The battle of Sark, fought this year between the Scots, commanded by Hugh [Douglas], Earl of Ormond, and the English, commanded by [Henry Percy] the Earl of Northumberland, wherein the English were overthrown, their lieutenant general, Magnus [Reidman], killed, with 3000 of his army, and many prisoners taken. The Scots lost no man of note in this battle, but only 600 common soldiers, save that Sir William Wallace of Cragie, shortly after his return home, died of his wounds received there.
Hot wars this year between King Henry [VI.], of England, and the Duke of York, which moved King Henry to beg peace on any terms by his ambassadors; so that a [3 year] peace was concluded, and the articles sworn and signed by the King, at Edinburgh, the 19th day of September.
This year, also, Sir Richard Colville of Ochiltree, having sustained diverse wrongs and injuries [from] John Auchinleck of the same, one of the Earl of Douglas’ familiars, who, riding on his journey to Douglas castle, was killed by Ochiltree; whereat the Earl took such indignation, that he came with a great company and besieged Sir Richard in his castle of Ochiltree; and at the second assault took it, and kills him and all that was in it, sparing neither sex nor age, and thereafter, to close up the tragedy with a horrible scene of fire and sword, he spoils Sir Richard’s whole lands and houses, and kills his tenants.
In the beginning of this year, 1451, the French King having recovered from the English most of Normandy and Aquitaine, sends his ambassadors to Scotland to demand aid, which was granted, so that Charles [VII.’s] ambassadors returned well satisfied.
William Sinclair, Earl of Orkney [& Caithness], is sent this year to uplift the Earl of Douglas’ rents in Galloway and Annandale; and although he was Lord Chancellor of Scotland, and had a reasonable army, yet he returned without effectuating his design, being opposed by the Earl of Douglas’ friends and followers, (the Earl himself being in Italy,) whereat the King storms extremely, and forthwith levies an army, passes to Annandale, takes Lochmaben castle, and puts a garrison in it, razes the castle of Douglas, and severely punishes all such delinquents as had not conformed themselves to the laws of the country; and with their goods satisfied such as they had wronged.
[On] the 5th day of October, this year, the King calls a parliament to be held at Stirling, before which was the Earl of Douglas cited to [appear in court], by a herald, [in] 60 days, and his 3 brothers and friends [in] 15 days. They being often called, and none of them [appearing in court], they were, by the Estates, all [forfeited], and condemned as persons guilty of high treason, and their whole lands and moveables confiscat[ed] to the King’s use, and all his majesties good subjects commanded to proceed against them as against traitors.
In this parliament the King [raised] his money from 5 shillings the once, which he did fund it at, to 8 shillings the once; and his gold from 3 [pounds] to 4 [pounds] 19 shillings the once.
About the latter end of this same year, the Earl of Douglas returns home, and is received to the King’s favour on promise of amending his former errors; his [forfeiture] is repealed, the King’s garrison recalled from his castles, and he so [winds] himself in the King’s bosom, that again he becomes sole director of his councils, and is made lieutenant general of the whole realm; which place he did not long enjoy.
About the latter end of this same year, also, the Earl of Douglas commits two shameful crimes; the first whereof was the hanging of Sir William Harries of Terregles, as a thief, he being a man of honour, and the King’s faithful subject. The 2nd was the striking the head off [Patrick Maclellan,] the Tutor of Bombie, nephew to Sir [Andrew] Gray, [cousin to Patrick Gray,] (one in high esteem with the King) whom for the King had particularly written for to be sent to him; yet after the receipt of the King’s letter, he villainously chops his head off.
The 20th day of February, 1452, the King stabs [William] the Earl of Douglas in his closet window, in Edinburgh castle; thus ended the father of all the insolencies and mischiefs of these times: and to him succeeded his brother James, formerly provided to the succession (by the King’s grant and confirmation) in case of his brother’s decease without heirs male of his own body.
James, Earl of Douglas, hearing how his brother was killed, rages like a mad man; and, amongst many of his mad tricks, spoils and destroys all the crown lands.
The battle of Brechin, fought on the day of Ascension [18th of May]*, between Alexander [Gordon], Earl of Huntly, the King’s lieutenant, and [Alexander Lindsay,] the Earl of Crawford, in assistance of the Earl of Douglas, in the year 1453. In this battle was Crawford overthrown, his brother James killed, with many of his men also, and the rest routed.
The Earl of Huntly, immediately after the battle of Brechin, marches north to oppose the proceedings of Archibald Douglas, Earl of Moray, who had invaded his lands, and burnt the castle of [Huntly in] Strathbogie; him he chases out of Moray, and burns the town of Elgin,and he again defeats his army at Dunkinty bog.
The King calls a parliament of his estates at Edinburgh, this year, in the beginning of August, in which was [forfeited]:
James, Earl of Douglas,
Archibald, Earl of Moray,
Hugh, Earl of Ormond,
John, Lord of Balvenie,
Beatrice, the [widow] of William, Earl of Douglas,
Alexander Lindsay, Earl of Crawford,
James, Lord Hamilton.
And that the number of the nobility should not seem to be diminished, as also to grace this parliament, the King created William, Lord Hay, [Lord High] Constable of Scotland, Earl of Errol; and George Crichton, who was eldest son to James, sometime Earl of Moray, Earl of Caithness.
James, Earl of Douglas, marries the Lady Beatrice Douglas, the widow and relict** of his deceased brother William.
Alexander Lindsay, Earl of Crawford, this year, seeing the imminent ruin of the Earl of Douglas, by his obstinacy, casts himself prostrat[ed] at the King’s feet for mercy, and obtains the same, with a repeal of his [forfeiture], but the loss of his place of precedency, and his heritable office of Sheriff of Aberdeen; which were given to the Earl of Huntly, with 200 [pounds worth of] lands of [the] Crawfords, and that in recompense of these lands given by Huntly to the Forbeses, Irwins and Ogilvys, before the battle of Brechin. The lands taken from Crawford were Badenoch and Lochaber.
This year, 1454, was fatal to many great men in this kingdom, for in February dies William, the first Earl of Errol, Lord [High] Constable of Scotland; and in March following, George Crichton, Earl of Caithness, [childless]; so that by his death that earldom returned to the crown.
William Lord Crichton, sometime Chancellor of Scotland, died this year in March also; and in the end of November, Alexander Lindsay, Earl of Crawford, not fully 6 months reconciled to the King’s favour, pays nature her due, likewise, and departs this life at his castle of Finhaven, in Angus shire, of a burning fever, and was interred in the [Greyfriars] church at Dundee.
The King, this year, besieges the castle of Abercorn, the strongest hold belonging to the Earl of Douglas, with an army of 60 thousand men, and takes it, and hangs the captain thereof. The with his army proceeds against the rebellious Earl, whom he defeats without blood, by the Lord Hamilton’s [desertion] of him, which moved others to do the like, till he was left like a goose without feathers; the Lord Hamilton was first committed to the custody of the Earl of Orkney, in Rosslyn castle; but shortly, by the mediation of Bishop James Kennedy, of St. Andrews, he was set at liberty, and restored to dignity and lands.
The 16th of July, this year, the King calls a parliament of his estates to meet at Edinburgh, wherein the inbringers of [food] were ordained to be cherished, and to be free of custom; for the famine was great this year, and diverse years before.
The university of Glasgow founded this year, by William Turnbull, Bishop of that city, a learned and religious prelate.
This year, the Earl of Douglas, with his brother John, Lord Balvenie, flees to England, where he acquires some forces, and with them, and all the power he could make, enters Annandale, where he was [engaged in battle] by the King’s general and cousin, George Douglas, Earl of Angus, near the little river Sark, by whom he was quite overthrown, and his whole army either routed, killed or taken; the traitor himself narrowly escaped through a wood, with his brother the Lord Balvenie: but in this battle was killed Archibald Douglas, Earl of Moray, and Hugh, Earl of Ormond, (was taken prisoner by [John,] the Lord Carlyle, and the laird of Johnstone,) and was beheaded at Edinburgh cross, shortly thereafter.
The King calls a parliament at Edinburgh, [on] the 4th day of August, 1455, wherein, amongst other business of importance, the [forfeitures] of James, sometime Earl of Douglas, Beatrice, his wife, and of John, Lord Balvenie, are again ratified, and the Lordship of Galloway annexed to the crown; with an act, declaring all the receivers, and relievers with any necessaries of the persons [forfeited], to be traitors, and guilty of the crime of Lèse-majesté.
This same year, immediately after the parliament, Beatrice, the [widow] of William, Earl of Douglas, whom James the rebel had kept, [sought] the King’s mercy on her bare knees, showing how she was constrained to do as she did, sore against her heart; her the merciful King pardoned, and together with the Lordship of Balvenie, bestowed her in marriage on his brother by their mother, John [Stewart, Earl of Atholl], who had by her issue 2 daughters: Jean [Stewart], the eldest, was married to Alexander [Gordon], 3rd Earl of Huntly; and [Catherine Stewart], the 2nd, was married to [John,] the Lord Forbes.
About the end of the year, Donald, Earl of Ross, raises and army, wastes the Isle of Arran, and burns the town of Inverness; and by a herald of his own making, causes [a proclamation of] himself [as] King of the Isles.
In the beginning of this year, 1456, the wife of Donald, Earl of Ross, hearing that the Countess of Douglas had [fared] so well, casts herself likewise at the King’s feet. She was the daughter of Sir James Livingstone, married to him at the King’s earnest desire, (by that way thinking to continue him the better in his duty); for her maintenance, the King allowed a certain competency of estate.
About this same time, Patrick Thornton (a courtier, and secret favourer of the rebels,) kills John Sandilands of Calder, and Allan Stewart, the King’s favourite and cousin. Him the King causes with great diligence to be apprehended, and publicly executed.
The King, to be revenged on England, who, with the [forfeited] Earl of Douglas, and Percy of Northumberland, had spoiled his borders, calls a parliament of his estates at Edinburgh, the 19th of October this year.
With the beginning of the spring, 1457, the King, making preparations for [the] levying of an army to invade England, at which time there arrives ambassadors at his court from [Richard] the Duke of York and [Richard Neville] Earl of Warwick, who had risen in open rebellion against their sovereign King Henry [VI.], offering, if that the King will assist them, that he shall have whatsoever lands he or his predecessors had possessed in England, with restitution of his town of Berwick, and a league of perpetual amity between the kingdoms; which offer the King accepts, and promises to aid York, Warwick, Salisbury, and their adherents. So all conditions being mutually subscribed, they return home for England with great joy.
With the first of the spring this year, the King levies a great army and marches towards England; but the Duke of York’s army, conducted by the Earl of Warwick, (without any intelligence of the approach of the Scottish army,) [engages in battle] their Kings near Northampton, overthrows it, and takes King Henry prisoner, and kills Humphrey [Stafford], Duke of Buckingham, John Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, John, Viscount Beaumont, and Thomas [Percy], Lord Egremont, and above ten thousand gentlemen and commons, on both sides. The Queen and Prince escapes, while the captive King is, by Warwick, led prisoner to the Tower of London; so that now the King with his army spoils all the favourers of King Henry.
This year, 1459, the King having spoiled all the north of England that favoured King Henry [VI.], and greatly enriched his army; but in his return home he resolves to besiege the town and castle of Roxburgh, which he does with a great army; and at that time comes to his aid, according to his promise, Donald, Earl of Ross, at whose coming the King was exceeding[ly] glad, so that in 20 days, by strength and valor, he gains the town, and resolves not to assault the castle till the coming of Alexander, Earl of Huntly, who came within 3 days, with 6000 gallant men. Now before the King would give an assault, he commands the cannoniers to open a larger breach; but while the King, more curious than befitted the majesty of a King, did stand too near the gunners while the artillery [was] discharging, his thigh bone was broken in two with a piece of a gun that burst in pieces in discharging, wherewith being struck to the ground, he died some few hours thereafter, in the 25th year of his reign, and 30th of his age, and of our redemption the 1460th.
Nevertheless of the King’s death, at the animation of the widow Queen, they gave a general assault to the castle, and took it, the 20th day of August this same year; which the nobility caused to be razed to the ground, lest hereafter it should become a cage for such ravenous birds.
Then did the whole army dislodge the 26th of August, conducting the body of the deceased King to the monastery of the Holy Cross, near Edinburgh, where they royally interred the same, with the tears of his people and whole army.