James V Of Scotland - Encyclopedia

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JAMES V. (1512-1542), king of Scotland, son of James IV., was born at Linlithgow on the 10th of April 1512, and became king when his father was killed at Flodden in 1513. The regency was at first vested in his mother, but after Queen Margaret's second marriage, with Archibald Douglas, 6th earl of Angus, in August 1514, it was transferred by the estates to John Stewart, duke of Albany. Henceforward the minority of James was disturbed by constant quarrels between a faction, generally favourable to England, under Angus, and the partisans of France under Albany; while the queen-mother and the nobles struggled to gain and to regain possession of the king's person. The English had not followed up their victory at Flodden, although there were as usual forays on the borders, but Henry VIII. was watching affairs in Scotland with an observant eye, and other European sovereigns were not indifferent to the possibility of a Scotch alliance. In 1524, when Albany had retired to France, the parliament declared that James was fit to govern, but that he must be advised by his mother and a council. This "erection" of James as king was mainly due to the efforts of Henry VIII. In 1526 Angus obtained control of the king, and kept him in close confinement until 1528, when James, escaping from Edinburgh to Stirling, put vigorous measures in execution against the earl, and compelled him to flee to England. In 1529 and 1530 the king made a strong effort to suppress his turbulent vassals in the south of Scotland; and after several raids and counter-raids negotiations for peace with England were begun, and in May 1534 a treaty was signed. At this time, as on previous occasions, Henry VIII. wished James to marry his daughter Mary, while other ladies had been suggested by the emperor Charles V.; but the Scottish king, preferring a French bride, visited France, and in January 1537 was married at Paris to Madeleine, daughter of King Francis I. Madeleine died soon after her arrival in Scotland, and in 1538 James made a much more important marriage, being united to Mary (1515-1560), daughter of Claude, duke of Guise, and widow of Louis of Orleans, duke of Longueville. It was this connexion, probably, which finally induced James to forsake his vacillating foreign policy, and to :ange himself definitely among the enemies of England. In 1536 he had refused to meet Henry VIII. at York, and in the following year had received the gift of a cap and sword from Pope Paul III., thus renouncing the friendship of his uncle. Two plots to murder the king were now discovered, and James also foiled the attempts of Henry VIII. to kidnap him. Although in 1540 the English king made another attempt to win the support, or at least the neutrality, of James for his religious policy, the relations between the two countries became very unfriendly, and in 1542 Henry sent an army to invade Scotland. James was not slow to make reprisals, but his nobles were angry or indifferent, and on the 25th of November 1542 his forces were easily scattered at the rout of Solway Moss. This blow preyed upon the king's mind, and on the 14th of December he died at Falkland, having just heard of the birth of his daughter. His two sons had died in infancy, and his successor was his only legitimate child, Mary. He left several bastards, among them James Stewart, earl of Murray (the regent Murray), Lord John Stewart (1531-1563) prior of Coldingham, and Lord Robert Stewart, earl of Orkney (d. 1592).

Although possessing a weak constitution, which was further impaired by his irregular manner of life, James showed great vigour and independence as a sovereign, both in withstanding the machinations of his uncle, Henry VIII., and in opposing the influence of the nobles. The persecutions to which heretics were exposed during this reign were due mainly to the excessive influence exercised by the ecclesiastics, especially by David Beaton, archbishop of St Andrews. The king's habit of mingling with the peasantry secured for him a large amount of popularity, and probably led many to ascribe to him the authorship of poems describing scenes in peasant life, Christis Kirk on the Grene, The Gaberlunzie Man and The Jolly Beggar. There is no proof that he was the author of any of these poems, but from expressions in the poems of Sir David Lindsay, who was on terms of intimacy with him, it appears that occasionally he wrote verses.

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