IV. Queen Margaret Logie; and Lady Margaret Drummond, pp.75-104.

[Heroines of Scotland Contents]

“In Inchemortho the King Davy 

Weddit Dame Mergret off Logy.” 

                                                                              – Wyntoun’s Cronykil

“More glorious now to trace the ancient date, 

When gallant Robert held the reins of State. 

Then Drummond’s daughter as his consort shone, 

And added lustre to the Scottish throne; 

From whom, as from the fountain of their race, 

A crowd of Kings their origin may trace.” 

                                                                                                   – Alves’ Drummond Castle

                               “O beauteous witch! 

Hadst thou been less alluring, or had I 

Forgot to love, thou hadst not met this fate.” 

                                                                                      – Hull’s Henry II

ERTHSHIRE has the honour of having given two queens to the Scottish throne – Margaret Logie and Annabella Drummond, both daughters of the same noble house, and who stood to each other in the relation of aunt and niece. Only recently, however, has the parentage of the first-named royal lady been satisfactorily ascertained. Bower, the continuator of Fordun, called her the daughter of Sir John Logie. By other authorities she was rightly styled as the wife and widow of Sir John Logie of Logie (the lands now known as Logiealmond), the son of the knight of the same name who, along with Sir David de Brechin (nephew of King Robert Bruce), Sir Gilbert de Malherbe, and Richard Brown, an esquire, was beheaded, in 1320, by sentence of the “Black Parliament” of Scone, for being implicated in a conspiracy against Bruce’s life; but of Margaret’s own parentage or maiden surname not a word was said: she was Margaret Logie, and nothing more. In 1344, John, the traitor’s son and the husband of Margaret, was restored, by favour of David II., to a portion of his father’s lands which had been forfeited for the treason; but he died about 1356, leaving his widow with an only son, John. The enemies of the family took advantage of Sir John’s death to dispossess the son of his patrimony by poisoning the royal ear against him. On the 5th April, 1357, the fickle-minded King David executed a charter which proceeded upon the narrative that he had infeft “the deceased John of Logie” in the lands of Strongartnay, in Perthshire, but that being afterwards informed by his Council that his father, Robert the Bruce, had formerly granted these lands, which had fallen to the Crown “from the forfeiture of the deceased Sir John of Logie, Knight, father of the same deceased John of Logie,” to the late Sir John of Meneteth, Knight, and Ellen of Mar, his spouse; he now, therefore, recalled his grant, and restored the said lands to Sir John de Meneteth, son of the last-named parents, from whom the lands, by the suggestion of certain persons, had been previously taken. For about seven years Margaret lived in widowhood; but a great future was in store for her. Though her son was despoiled, the day was coming when she should have lands and honours at her disposal. She was endowed with the dangerous gift of beauty: she was artful and full of ambition: and as she courted not retirement, but shone in the circles befitting her rank, her charms attracted the eye, and captivated the heart of her sovereign, even during the lifetime of Joanna, his consort. The queen soon ceased to be a barrier in Margaret’s way, as her death took place near London, on the 14th August, 1362, while she was on a visit to the Court of her brother, Edward III. of England. David’s grief for his loss was but fleeting. His affections were otherwise enthralled. On the 20th of the following January, his fond regard for the beautiful widow of Logie was evinced by a charter granting an annuity of £5, from the barony of Banchory Devenick, to the Dominican Friars of Aberdeen, for the souls of himself and Margaret Logie. Speedily his love moved him to lead the fair lady to the altar, and thereby raise her to the throne. The nuptials were celebrated in the month of April, 1363, according to Wyntoun – 

“A thousand three hunder sixty and three 

Years after the Nativity, 

In Inchemortho the King Davy 

Wedded Dame Margaret of Logy 

In the month of April.” 

At anyrate, they were not later than within a year of Joanna’s decease: and Margaret was Queen of Scotland. “That marriage,” observes the writer of the Scalachronica, “was made solely by the power of love, which conquers all.” For a season it conquered David. But his weak heart, swayed by ignoble caprices, peculiarly susceptible of new impressions, and ever unstable – himself an unworthy son of the Bruce, devoid of patriotic feeling, careless of his duties to his country, and with proclivities and aims altogether out of unison with those of his high-spirited people – his inconstant heart, we say, took no long time to cool in the fervour of its love: and he came to hate Margaret exceedingly, “so that the hatred wherewith he hated her was greater than the love wherewith he had loved her:” and the hand which had raised her to the throne thrust her down from it. 

   As already remarked, until of recent years, Queen Margaret Logie’s parentage was unknown, although her Drummond lineage was suspected. A seal of hers in the Record Office in London bears her fiigure as Queen, with three shields armorial – one displaying the arms of Scotland; another so defaced as to be undecipherable; and the third charged with the arms of the Drummonds; the discovery of which seal led Mr. George Burnett (Lyon King of Arms) to suggest her Drummond connection, in an article which appeared in Macmillan’s Magazine, for June, 1867. But more and fuller light had since been obtained; and the new facts shew that Margaret Logie was a daughter of the house of Drummond, and the aunt of Annabella Drummond who subsequently became Queen of Scotland. 

   The Liber Pluscardensis, or Book of Pluscarden, a Chronicle of the fifteenth century, which had long lain in manuscript and neglect, was first printed as a whole, in the series of “The Historians of Scotland,” in 1876, being edited by Mr. Felix J. H. Skene, who added a translation of the Latin original. The Chronicle is mainly founded on Bower, but contains numerous passages which must have been written by an eye-witness of the incidents which he describes. The author or compiler is conjectured to have been a learned cleric, named Maurice de Buchanan, the second son of Sir Walter de Buchanan, and the grand-nephew, through marriage, of Sir John Stewart of Derneley. Maurice was appointed Treasurer to the Princess Margaret of Scotland, who became Dauphiness of France, and he accompanied her, in 1436, to that country, where he remained with her until her death in 1445. The Chronicle seems to have been compiled by him, in the Cistercian Priory of Pluscarden, in the year 1461. It speaks positively as to Margaret Logie’s parentage. “King David,” says the writer, “set about espousing Margaret Logie, daughter of Sir Malcolm Drummond, a noble and most beautiful lady, at Inchmurthow; and he raised her to the throne with great magnificence as Queen. He did not, however, stay very long with her before again getting a divorce.” Margaret’s father, therefore, was Sir Malcolm Drummond, Lord of that ilk, and tenth Thane of Lennox, who died about 1346, and who had three sons, John, Maurice, and Walter. 

   The new Queen, strong in the influence which her seductive charms and winning arts had acquired over the facile mind of the King, was able to sway him at her will. Nothing was denier her. She grasped at wealth and power: and her kindred shared fully in her good fortune. The King, says Fordun, “endowed her with many lands and possessions:” and the second volume of The Exchequer Rolls of Scotland, show many grants which she obtained for herself and for the aggrandisement of her friends. Little wonder that murmurs began to arise against her, chiefly, as would seem, from political motives based on fears of her ultimate designs in the State. She found cause to view with a jealous eye the Stewart of Scotland, who, failing issue of King David – and he had none – would heir the Scottish crown: and she took pains to form a party around her, adverse to the Steward’s interests. But she still indulged her wasteful love of display. Like her predecessor, Joanna, she undertook frequent pilgrimages alone, or in company with the King, to the shrine of St. Thomas a Becket at Canterbury; which expeditions added to the inordinate expenditure of the Court, causing dissatisfaction in a poor country, which was already heavily burdened. But amidst her pomp and prodigality, graver thoughts would obtrude themselves, not unmingled with a touch of feminine pride and vanity. In accordance with the taste of the age, she procured from London two tombs of alabaster, for herself and consort, and caused both to be erected in Dunfermline Abbey, – where they were destined to remain empty. 

   Margaret’s day of pomp and power, however, drew suddenly to a close: and when she least suspected that her fall was near, she discovered that the affection which had moved David to raise her to the throne was grown cold. What precise cause of offence she had given him in unknown; but at the last his love became swallowed up of hatred. The inveterate fickleness and weakness of David’s mind may have mainly caused the change. It has been supposed that he was smitten by the charms of a young lady, namely Agnes of Dunbar, daughter of the Earl of March, who afterwards wedded Sir James Douglas of Dalkeith. But, apparently, it was Margaret’s greatest misfortune that she bore no child to David: and the Book of Pluscarden asserts that, in default of issue, she intended to impose a false child upon him. However this may be, an irreparable rupture broke out betwixt the royal pair; and the King applied to the ecclesiastical courts for a divorce, which was speedily obtained, though upon what specific grounds is unknown, as the documents have never yet been discovered. The first notice of Margaret’s disgrace appears in the Chamberlain’s Accounts audited on 19th January, 1369-70, in which an entry occurs styling her “Margarete de Logy, quondam regine” – the late queen; and a subsequent entry in the same Accounts seems to point to the 20th March, 1368-69 as the date of the divorce. Margaret, however, was not inclined to bow to the sentence, which, for ought we can tell, may have been obtained on weak and frivolous allegations, but probably on the assumption that she and the King were related by the ties of consanguinity within the forbidden degrees. Mr. Burnett, in his Preface to the second volume of The Exchequer Rolls, is of opinion that there is “no particular reason for supposing that Margaret was divorced on other than the then usual ground of divorce – consanguinity or affinity within the forbidden degrees:” and he adds – “We do not know enough of the ancestors on all sides of either Drummonds or Logies to be able to explain the relationship; but it is worth noting that in a Charter [of date 12th May, 1365] granted to John of Logie by the Steward, whose maternal relations were the same as those of David, and also in a Precept [of date 22nd March, 1390] by Robert, Earl of Fife and Menteith, he is called ‘dilectus consanguineus nostro.’ ” At the same time, there is reason to believe that the main-spring of the matter was a political movement on the part of the queen’s enemies. 

   As if to reconcile Margaret to her fallen state, the king settled on her an annuity of £100; but her proud spirit, perhaps smarting under a sense of injustice and oppression, refused to submit to the sentence which took the crown from her head. She determined to appeal at once to the Papal Court. Collecting what money and jewels she could, she secretly took ship at a port on the Firth of Forth, and sailed for France. On landing in that country, she set her face towards Avignon, where she laid her appeal at the feet of Pope Gregory XI. Through the countenance of Edward III. of England (who naturally supported whatever was likely to breed turmoil in the sister kingdom), Margaret was enabled to borrow 500 marks from three English merchants settled in Avignon, one of whom was named William of Walworth, perhaps the same who afterwards was Lord-Mayor of London, and slew Wat Tyler. The appeal alarmed the Scottish Government, and the defence cost the impoverished exchequer a large amount of money. An able churchman, John of Peebles, the future Bishop of Dunkeld and Chancellor of Scotland, was despatched in haste to counteract the fair appellant’s representations: the sum of £40 being paid him on this service, and again a farther sum of £75 13s. The affair proving too weighty for the shoulders of one man, several envoys were sent in company. In 1370, there was an embassy from Scotland to the French and Papal Courts, and a sum of £1840 was paid to the ambassadors. Every resource of legal learning and acumen was brought to bear against Margaret; yet her suit prospered before the Papal tribunal, and Gregory became so prepossessed in her favour that he threatened to lay the realm of Scotland under an interdict. She “troubled the whole kingdom of Scotland with her suit,” says the Book of Pluscarden. “For the Queen’s case recommended itself so much to the Supreme Pontiff and the Cardinals that, had she lived, the whole kingdom would have been put under an Interdict, and a marriage would have been celebrated betwixt her and the King of England, who had then no wife.” Such a marriage could only have come to pass in the event of the decree of divorce being found good in law; but death stepped in with his arrest of judgment. It was necessary that Margaret should go to Rome; but on the journey thither she took suddenly ill and died. Where her body was interred is not recorded. But the stately alabaster tomb, which she had provided at Dunfermline, remained an empty memorial of fallen greatness and the vanity of human wishes. 

   Soon after the tidings of her decease reached Scotland, somewhat of remorse for his misspent life seems to have seized on David: he mused on the expiation which he should make; and then he began maundering about taking the cross as a Crusader and fighting in the Holy Land. Whilst this folly occupied his brain, he was struck with a mortal disorder. “Before he had fulfilled his promised undertaking,” says the Book of Pluscarden, “the Supreme Artificer and Almighty Lord, who directs and orders all things by His nod, made that King pay the debt of nature at the will of his Creator.” David died in the Castle of Edinburgh, on the 22nd of February, 1370-71, in the forty-seventh year of his age, and the forty-first of his reign, – for his father’s crown had come to him while he was but a child. He was buried – not in the tomb of alabaster under the roof of Dunfermline Abbey, but within the walls of the Abbey of Holyrood. He was succeeded on the throne by his nephew, the High Steward, as Robert II. 

   “What became of the process” of Margaret’s appeal before the Papal Court, “or what judgment was ultimately pronounced cannot now be discovered,” says Tytler. But in 1373 another mission was sent from Scotland to Avignon, at the cost of £466 13s. 4d.; and “so late as the year 1374, Robert the Second considered the cause of such moment that he despatched an embassy to Charles the Fifth of France, soliciting that Prince to use his influence with the Pope and Cardinals to obtain a judgment.” 

   The High Steward, who ascended the throne as Robert II., was twice married – first, to Elizabeth Mure of Rowallan, by whom he had sons and daughters, the eldest son being John, who was created Earl of Carrick, and the third son, Robert, earl of Fife and Menteith; and, secondly, to Euphemia Ross, Countess of Moray, who bore him two sons and several daughters. Only about seven years after the divorce of Margaret Logie, a matrimonial alliance was contracted betwixt the Earl of Carrick, the heir to the Crown, and a lady of the House of Drummond – a sufficient proof that the ill-feeling of Margaret’s time had left no permanent impression upon either of the families. Margaret’s father, Sir Malcolm Drummond, had three sons – John, who succeeded him about 1346; Maurice, the founder of the house of Concraig; and Walter, who seems to have left no issue. Sir John Drummond gained the hand of Mary, the eldest of the three daughters and co-heiresses of Sir William Montifex or Montfitchet, Justiciar of Scotland. These heiresses had King David as their guardian, and he gave to Mary, on her marriage, the largest share of her father’s lands, including the baronies of Kincardine and Auchterarder. Mary bore four sons and four daughters to her husband; the daughters being Annabella; Margaret, who married Sir Colin Campbell of Lochow; Jean, who married the Knight of Dowally; and Mary, who married the Lord of the Isles. But Annabella’s fortune was the greatest, as her beauty was excelling, rendering her the cynosure of all eyes. Indeed, it seemed that grace and loveliness were hereditary qualities of the ladies of the Drummond name: for Camden, in his time, recorded that “the women of the House of Drummond, for charming beauty and complexion, are beyond all others, insomuch that they have been most delighted in by the kings.” Perchance the fair Annabella had shone as a peerless star in the galaxy of her royal aunt’s court, and so had enslaved the affections of the Steward’s heir, before enmity sprung between the Queen and his father – the ties of love surviving the strain of family jealousies. But tradition tells that the Earl was first smitten with Annabella’s charms whilst he was hunting, as an unknown knight, in the woods of Strathearn. It matters not, however, when or in what way their attachment rose – whether before Queen Margaret’s fall or after: enough that, in 1377, John of Carrick, with the full consent and approbation of his royal father, wedded Annabella, who was thus brought within a single step of the throne from which her aunt had been driven. Doubtless it was with secret misgivings that the bride entered upon a path beset with troubles and perils. But she had none of Margaret’s follies. She possessed capacities of mind enabling her to fill worthily the loftiest station, and to prove a true and able helpmate to her husband when he came to rule. Like his father, the Earl of Carrick was a quiet-living man, of indolent disposition, and fond of retirement from the crowd, a lover of peace and virtue, but unadapted from his gentle homely habits, and his weakness of health, for the cares of State in a turbulent age. He and his Countess had a family of four children: two sons, David, born in 1378, and James born in 1394 (afterwards King) and two daughters, Margaret and Mary. 

   King Robert II., died on the 13th May, 1390, in his castle of Dundonald, in Ayrshire, at the age of 84. For years he had withdrawn himself in a manner from the conduct of affairs, having committed the government to his third son, the Earl of Fife and Menteith, who was consequently named Guardian or Governor of the kingdom. The Earl seemed to concentre in himself all the energy of which his father and eldest brother were devoid. He was haughty, implacable, the salve of power, greedy of wealth, and not in good favour with the nation, yet his artfulness and audacity, and the circumstances of the time, combined to maintain and strengthen him in his eminent position. It would have been no surprise, nothing out of keeping with his ambitious character, though, on his father’s death, he had snatched the crown and set it on his own head. But worldly wisdom withheld him from that treason by opening up an alluring prospect in the future: and the Earl of Carrick succeeded to the crown without a murmur. The dead King lay unburied till Saturday, the 13th August, being the day preceding that appointed for his son’s coronation, when his remains were pompously interred in the Abbey of Scone. Next day, John, Earl of Carrick, was crowned King of Scotland, under that hallowed roof: and on Monday, the 15th, which was the day of the Assumption of the Holy Virgin – Annabella was solemnly crowned as Queen, under the happiest auspices. She was beloved by the people: her praise was on every lip: and the old Scottish historians exhaust the language of panegyric in her honour. Wyntoun thus writes:- 

“The Queen Annabel of Scotland, 

A lady good and a pleasand, 

And excellent of beauty, 

By the Bishop of Dunkeld’s See, 

John of Peebles called by name, 

A great lord of commended fame, 

Took her Coronation 

In that Feast of the Assumption.” 

   After the nobles and prelates had given their oaths of allegiance, they suggested a change of the King’s Christian name of John, which seemed ominous of evil, as recalling the memory of John Baliol and the degradation of the kingdom. The Kind consented, adopting the name of his father and great-grandfather, and was henceforth styled Robert III. 

   The regal duties devolving on Robert III. failed to stir him to exertion, and for the sake of ease he permitted his brother, the Earl of Fife, still to exercise the office of Guardian of the realm. But the Earl’s power was considerably shared by Queen Annabella, whose chosen counsellor was Walter Trail, Bishop of St. Andrews, a wise and patriotic churchman. The King’s affection for his consort, and his confidence in her prudence, continued unabated: and well worthy was Annabella of her husband’s regard. She maintained her exalted position with suave dignity and an earnest desire for the welfare of the kingdom. In room of her consort, whose frail health precluded his appearing on special state occasions as well as his taking an active part in the government, she received Ambassadors with generous hospitality and noble display befitting the Scottish Court. A double task was thus imposed on the Queen, who had to watch over and soothe a sickly husband, and also devote much of her attention to public duties and national affairs. Supported by the Bishop of St. Andrews and the Earl of Douglas, she tempered the policy and measures of the Guardian, strove to compose the quarrels and feuds of the barons, and won golden opinions from all classes. 

   The first year of the fifteenth century saw the pestilence raging in Scotland. A comet also appeared in the night-heavens – “a fair bright star and a clear,” as Wyntoun calls it, the coming of which, he says, foreboded the spread of plague and the death of princes. The augury of this fiery messenger was fulfilled. The Angel of Death passed through the royal household, and struck down the Queen. In the Autumn of 1401, Annabella sickened and died – not, however, of the Plague, though it was then prevalent. Wyntoun, in mentioning the sad event, again lauds her many estimable qualities:- 

“In harvest of this ilk year, 

Our good Lady was laid on bier, 

Dame Annabel, Queen of Scotland, 

Fair, honourable, and pleasand, 

Cunning, courteous in her affairs, 

Loving, and large to strangers; 

They she treated honourably, 

And them rewarded largely. 

With Jesus Christ her soul mot be.” 

Not long after her demise, the Bishop of St. Andrews and the Earl of Douglas, her fast friends, both went the way of all living: and it was then said commonly through the land, as Fordun tells us, that the glory and the honesty of Scotland were buried with these three noble persons. “For,” says Buchanan, “as the military splendour of the country was supported by Douglas, the ecclesiastical authority and some shadow of ancient discipline maintained by Trail, so the Queen preserved unstained the dignity of the Court, as was evident by what followed upon her death.” 

   Lamentable was the loss of Annabella in its immediate consequences to her husband and family, – letting loose elements of hatred, discord, and fell ambition, which she alone had repressed. Her death was speedily followed by the starvation of her eldest son, David, Duke of Rothesay, in the Falkland dungeon. In the Spring of 1406, her widowed consort was residing in the Castle of Rothesay, when one evening, as he had just sat down to supper, news came that his young son, James, who had embarked for France, was taken at sea by the English. This new calamity smote the aged monarch to the dust. 

   Pass we now over the reigns of the first three Jameses, and come to the time of James IV., when there occurred a mysterious tragedy, which was apparently caused by the probability that the house of Drummond would give a third queen to the throne of Scotland. 

   The head of the Drummonds, in the reign of James IV., was Sir John, first Lord Drummond, a noble of eminent abilities, holding high office in the State, and a favourite at Court. He was the builder of Drummond Castle in Strathearn, which became the seat of the family, instead of Stobhall. His lady was Elizabeth Lindsay, daughter of David, Earl of Crawford, by whom he had three sons and five daughters. The eldest daughter was Margaret, upon whose strangely-tangled fortunes our story turns. With her Drummond blood she inherited no ordinary share of the personal beauty of face and form which had hitherto generally distinguished the ladies of her lineage; and she was trained in all the feminine accomplishments of the age. The unknown bard of “Tayis Bank” lauds her as the loveliest lady, with the most graceful figure, that ever he beheld. 

“This mild, meek, mensuet Margaret, 

This pearl polish’d most white, 

Dame Nature’s dear dochter discreet, 

The diamond of delight; 

Never formed was to found on feit 

Ane figure more perfyte, 

Nor none on mold that did her meet 

Might mend her worth a mite.” 

A blythe blink of her eye, he says, would banish all bale: and thus she walked “in maiden meditation” under the green shades of Stobschaw, while flowers bloomed, and the merle sang sweetly, and the Tay ran down with its clear streams, on a bright morning of May. It was this fair creature’s destiny to attract a royal lover. King James was smitten with her charms, and became so enamoured that he is said to have designed making her his Queen. Various alliances were recommended to him: he was urged especially to wed the Princess Margaret of England; but for several years he would give no decision. It must here be noted, however, that Mr. Tytler, and other writers following in his wake, have mistakenly antedated the period at which the King’s attachment to Margaret Drummond seems to have begun. Mr. Tytler says it began about 1488, – in the very opening of James’ reign, and when he was only a lad of sixteen: and this is supposed to be proved by entries in the Lord High Treasurer’s Accounts for that year, shewing payments for dresses to “my Lady Margaret,” who is assumed to have been Margaret Drummond. But this assumption meets with thorough refutation in the first volume of The Accounts of the Lord High Treasurer of Scotland, published in 1877, from which record we find that “the Lady Margaret,” whom Mr. Tytler takes to have been Margaret Drummond, was Lady Margaret Stewart, the second daughter of James II., and aunt of James IV. Her name appears frequently in the Treasurer’s books, always as “The Lady Margaret,” while Margaret Drummond is entered by her name and surname, and only twice as Lady Margaret Drummond. A daughter born by the King’s aunt to Lord Crichton is mentioned as “Lady Margaret’s dochter”: and about Martinmas, 1489, the lady herself withdrew to the Nunnery of Elcho, with an annuity of 100 marks, and abode there till 1503, when she removed to Hamilton, after which her name disappears from the records. Her age was then about fifty. 

   The misapprehension about “Lady Margaret” being thus cleared away, the first notice of Margaret Drummond occurs in the month of June, 1496, when she went, by the King’s desire to reside in Stirling Castle, under the care of Lady Lundy, the wife of the Governor, Sir John Lundy of that Ilk. About this time, Don Pedro de Ayala, the Ambassador from Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, visited Scotland; and he wrote to his Sovereigns a graphic sketch of what he saw and heard at the Scottish Court. He says – “When I arrived, he [King James] was keeping a lady with great state in a castle. He visited her from time to time. Afterwards he sent her to the house of her father, who is a knight, and married her.” The marriage, if there was a marriage at all, is said to have been a private one; but the proof altogether of such ceremony having taken place is by no means explicit. When Drummond of Hawthornden was writing his History of the Five Jameses, he could only say that Margaret “had been contracted to the King”: and Lord Strathallan, in his History of the House of Drummond, which was compiled in 1681, goes no farther than to say that the King had made an “engagement” of marriage with her: while Dr. Malcolm, whose Memoir of the same noble house was published in 1808, speaks of a “promise of marriage.” Now, this contract, engagement, or promise, or whatever it was, must have taken place in 1496, according to all reasonable conjecture, shortly before Margaret went to Stirling. The King was there, along with her, in the beginning of June, when we find him “playing at the cards,” and at “the cach” (the game of tennis); a boy got 2s. for balls to the King: “the fellow that fand the hurd” (found the hoard, or buried treasure), got 24s. by the King’s command, “to buy him a cow:” and “the boy that brought the tows [ropes] to climb the hawk nest in the Abbot’s Crag,” got 2. For Margaret Drummond’s expenses, during her abode in Stirling Castle, various sums were paid by the Treasurer:- 

1496.  
June 9. Item, that same day given to the Lady Margaret of Drummond, £20. -. 12d. 
June 26. Item, given to the Laird of Lundy for the Lady Margaret Drummond’s costs, £20. 
August 1. Item, to the Laird of Lundy for the Lady’s costs, jc marks. 
Septr. 10. Item, the x day of September, given to the Lady of Lundy, for Margaret Drummond’s cost, £40. 
Octr. 28. Item, to the Lady of Lundy, for Margaret Drummond’s costs, £13 6s. 8. 

   Margaret resided in the Castle till the 30th October that year; but the above payments did not meet all her expenses. On the 30th she went to Linlithgow, under care of Sir David Kinghorn, and remained with him till the end of March, 1497, when she went back to Stirling, and thence passed to her father’s castle. From 30th October, the following sums were paid on her account:- 

1496.  
October 30. Item, given to Sir David Kinghorn, to furnish Margaret Drummond’s costs in Linlithgow, £22 4s. 6. 
Novr. 19. Item, given to Thomas Lech, to give to Sir David Kinghorn, to Margaret Drummond’s costs, 20 marks. 
Decr. 6. Item, the sext day of Decemberr, given to Margaret Drummond, at the King’s command, £10 0s. 9d. 
—– Item, the same day, given to Sir David Kinghorn, for Margaret Drummond’s expense, £40. 
     “     12. Item, given for clothes to Margaret Drummond, by the King’s command, £91 13s. 
—– Item, for a horse to turs it [to carry the package of clothes] to Linlithgow, 6s. 
1496-97.  
January 9. Item, the ix day of January, given to the Laird of Lundy, for Margaret Drummond’s costs, of the taxed silver of Fife, £5. 
     “     13. Item, given to Sir David Kinghorn, for Margaret Drummond’s  expense, £40. 
     “     19. Item, given to the Laird of Lundy, of the rest [the balance] of the haill payment for Margaret Drummond’s costs, £28 13s. 4d. 
February 3. Item, the third day of February, given to Sir David Kinghorn, to furnish M. D. expense in Linlithgow, £20. 
March 2. Item, the second day of March, given to Sir David Kinghorn, for to furnish M. D. expense, on John of Linlithgow’s stair, £18. 
     “     12. Item, that same day, given to Sir David Kinghorn, for part payment of M. D. expense in Linlithgow, £6. 
1497.  
March 30. Given to the Lady of Lundy for M. D. expense, xi days she was in Stirling, when she passed hame, £10. 

   Sometime in 1497, Margaret Drummond bore a daughter to the King, and the child was christened by its mother’s name. In the month of May, 1498, the Treasurer’s Account contains the following entries:-  

   Item, given for ix ell of purpur wellus [purple velvet] to M. D., for ilk ell 45s., summa £20 5s. 

   Item, for vij ell of black wellus [black velvet] to her; for ilk ell 36s., summa £12 12s. 

   Item, for vj ell of tanne damas [tawny or reddish brown damask] to her, to be ane kirtill [kirtle, a close-fitting garmet covering the whole person, over which the gown was worn] for ilk ell 15s.; summa £4 10s. 

   Item, for iij ell and ane half of French black to her; for ilk ell 28s.; summa £4 18s. 

   Item, for xxiiij ell of kyrsp [fine lawn] to her; for ilk ell 3s. 4d; summa £4. 

   Item, for xij ell of Halland cloth to her sarks; for ilk ell 5s.; summa £3. 

   Item, for viij ell of chamlot to her; for ilk ell 6s.; summa 48s. 

   Three years sufficed to being about the startling climax of Margaret Drummond’s destiny – an atrocious crime which seemed to indicate that the dark and insidious arts of Italian poisoners, of the Borgias themselves, had been transferred, for the nonce, to Scotland. 

   King James was still more pressingly counselled in favour of a matrimonial alliance with the English Princess. She was quite young – not having yet reached the age of twelve, while he was approaching thirty; but her nonage was no obstacle to the arrangement of a contract of marriage. All the political advantages which this union would confer on the kingdom of Scotland were pointed out to him with wearisome iteration. He listened to the tale, but with a careless ear, and gave no sign that he was impressed. Indeed, he continued to evade every match proposed for him: and this reluctance, for which his engagement with Margaret Drummond would appear to have been the only reason, confirmed the apprehensions of that body of the nobles who were averse to such an aggrandisement of the Drummond family as would arise through Margaret’s elevation to the throne. The King, says Lord Strathallan, “was so much touched in conscience for the engagement that he had made to the young lady, that, notwithstanding the weakness of the Royal Family, he rejected all propositions of marriage so long as she lived.” Every means were put in motion to thwart and foil his implied intentions. The clergy were instigated to declare that there was a bar to such a marriage from the consanguinity of the parties within the forbidden degrees, though the affinity was rather remote. Some writers state that the King applied for and obtained a dispensation from the Pope. In Morei’s Dictionary it is said that “the dispensation having arrived, the King determined to celebrate his nuptials publicly; but the jealousy of some of the nobles against the house of Drummond suggested to them the cruel project of taking off Margaret by poison.” No such dispensation has ever been found, and there is no evidence that it ever arrived in Scotland, nor did the King make any public avowal of his determination to marry Margaret; but that he was strongly suspected, and probably upon good grounds, of the wish to do so, seems to have been the true motive of the guilty deed which followed. “She was greatly beloved by King James IV., who was contracted to her, and would have married her,” says Sir Robert Douglas, “had not his counsellors, and the great men of the State, interposed, and taken her away, to make room for a daughter of England. 

   One morning, in Drummond Castle, the new seat of her father, Margaret sat down to table with two of her sisters – Euphemia, wife of Lord Fleming, and Sybilla, the youngest, who was still unwed. Breakfast was served, and the sisters partook of the meal. But within short space after they rose, they were all seized with sudden and strange illness, the symptoms of which abundantly testified that poison had been administered to them, – though by whose hand the fatal drug had been mixed in the food was never known. In the bosom of their own household, surrounded by their own servants, secure as they might deem from the very shadow of peril, they were ruthlessly sacrificed. Despite what skill could accomplish, they all died that day. Such was the tragedy of the Drummond sisters. It was a deed worthy of the Borgias. The three ladies were interred, side by side, in the Cathedral of Dunblane, the Dean of which was their paternal uncle. Their burial-place was a vault covered with three “fair blue marble stones joined closely together, about the middle of the choir of the Cathedral Church of Dunblane,” says Lord Strathallan: “for about this time the burial-place for the family of Drummond at Innerpeffray was not yet built.” The three marble slabs still remain within the ancient walls, but were removed from their original position about the year 1817, in consequence of some alterations on the cathedral. 

   The fate of fair Margaret allayed all the apprehensions of her enemies that a third Drummond Queen would ascend the throne in their time. The King – we know not how cruelly his heart was torn; but he never ceased to cherish her memory. Submitting to the inevitable, he consented to the conclusion of a treaty of marriage with the English Princess, which was signed at Norwich on 24th January, 1502-3: the affianced girl to be sent to Scotland next September, when she should have completed her twelfth year, and the nuptials to take place within fifteen days after her arrival. This was contracted in January: and the King, in February, ordered soul masses to be sung for Margaret Drummond in Edinburgh and Dunblane, as the Treasurer’s books bear witness:- 

1502-3.  
February 1. Item, to the priests of Edinburgh for to do dirge and soul mass for Margaret Drummond, £5. 
February 10. Item, to the priests that sing in Dunblane for Margaret Drummond, their quarter’s fee, £5. 

The masses were sung as long as the King lived. And long has Margaret’s only requiem been the hollow sigh of the night-wind along the wooded banks of the Allan, and the brawl of the river as it passes the place of sepulture. 

   Margaret’s little daughter was affectionately cared for by her royal father. He had her removed from Drummond Castle to the Palace of Stirling – the Treasurer, on 18th June, 1503, thus noting:- “Item, to the nurse that brocht the King’s dochter from Drummyne to Stirling, £3 10s.” The little lady lived to be thrice married: first, to John, Lord Gordon, eldest son of the Earl of Huntly; secondly, to the Duke of Albany, who was Regent during the minority of James V.; and thirdly, to her cousin, Sir John Drummond of Innerpeffray. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s