James I, King of Scots

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James Stewart, I

Also Known As: "James l King of Scotland", "Seumas I Stiùbhairt", "Seumas I mac Roibairt", "Ard Righ Albainn", "Jacobus [Primus]", "Rex Scotiae", "Jacobum regem", "Rey James I de Escocia", "James I of Scotland", ""Black Knight of Lorn"", "King James I of Scotland", "The Black Knight"
Birthplace: Dunfermline Palace, Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland (United Kingdom)
Death: February 21, 1437 (42)
Monastery of the Friars Preachers, Perth, Perthshire, Scotland (United Kingdom) (Assassinated )
Place of Burial: Perth Abbey, Perth, Perth and Kinross, Scotland
Immediate Family:

Son of Robert III, King of Scots and Annabella, Queen consort of Scots
Husband of Joan Beaufort, Queen of Scots
Father of Margaret of Scotland, Dauphine de France; Isabella of Scotland, Duchess of Brittany; Eleanor Stewart; Joan of Scotland, Countess of Morton; Mary Stewart, Countess of Buchan and 3 others
Brother of Margaret Stewart, Lady of Galloway; David Stewart, Duke of Rothesay; Elizabeth Stewart, Princess of Scotland; Mary of Scotland, Countess of Angus; Robert Stewart, Prince of Scotland and 1 other
Half brother of Sir John Stewart, of Blackhall & Ardgowan and James Stewart of Killbride

Occupation: King of Scots, 35th King of Scots, King of Scotland
Managed by: Anne Brannen
Last Updated:

About James I, King of Scots

other possible birth dates;

10 December 1394

30 December 1394


"James I, King of Scots (25 July 1394 – 21 February 1437), was the youngest of three sons of King Robert III and Annabella Drummond and was born probably in late July 1394 in Dunfermline Palace. By the time he was eight years old, both of his elder brothers were dead—Robert had died in infancy, and David Stewart, Duke of Rothesay, died suspiciously in Falkland Castle while being detained by his uncle, Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany. Although parliament exonerated Albany, fears for James's safety grew during the winter of 1405–6 and plans were made to send him to France. In February 1406, James and nobles close to his father clashed with supporters of Archibald, 4th Earl of Douglas, forcing the prince to take refuge on the Bass Rock in the Firth of Forth. He remained there until mid-March, when he boarded a vessel bound for France, but while off the English coast, pirates captured the ship on 22 March and delivered James to Henry IV of England. A few days later, on 4 April Robert III died, and the 12-year-old uncrowned King of Scots began his 18-year detention.

James was given a good education at the English court, where he developed respect for English methods of governance and for Henry V to the extent that he served in the English army against the French during 1420–1. Murdoch Stewart, James's cousin and Albany's son, a captive in England since 1402 was traded for Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland in 1416. Eight more years passed before James was ransomed by which time Murdoch had succeeded his father to the dukedom and the governorship of Scotland. James married Joan Beaufort, daughter of the Earl of Somerset in February 1424 shortly before his release in April when they journeyed to Scotland. It was not altogether a popular re-entry to Scottish affairs, since James had fought on behalf of Henry V and at times against Scottish forces in France. Additionally, his £40,000 ransom meant increased taxes to cover the repayments and the detention of Scottish nobles as collateral. Despite this, James also held qualities that were admired. The contemporary Scotichronicon by Walter Bower described James as excelling at sport and appreciative of literature and music. Unlike his father and grandfather he did not take mistresses, but had many children by his consort, Queen Joan. The king had a strong desire to impose law and order on his subjects, but applied it selectively at times.

To bolster his authority and secure the position of the crown, James launched pre-emptive attacks on some of his nobles beginning in 1425 with his close relatives the Albany Stewarts that resulted in the execution of Duke Murdoch. In 1428 James detained Alexander, Lord of the Isles, while attending a parliament in Inverness. Archibald, 5th Earl of Douglas, was arrested in 1431, followed by George, Earl of March, in 1434. The plight of the ransom hostages held in England was ignored and the repayment money was diverted into the construction of Linlithgow Palace and other grandiose schemes.

In August 1436, James failed humiliatingly in his siege of Roxburgh Castle and then faced an ineffective attempt by Sir Robert Graham to arrest him at a general council. James was murdered at Perth on the night of 20–1 February 1437 in a failed coup by his uncle and former ally Walter Stewart, Earl of Atholl. Queen Joan, although wounded, escaped to the safety of Edinburgh Castle, where she was reunited with her son James II."


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Citations / Sources:

[S6] G.E. Cokayne; with Vicary Gibbs, H.A. Doubleday, Geoffrey H. White, Duncan Warrand and Lord Howard de Walden, editors, The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant, new ed., 13 volumes in 14 (1910-1959; reprint in 6 volumes, Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing, 2000), volume II, pages 238, 378. Hereinafter cited as The Complete Peerage.

[S11] Alison Weir, Britain's Royal Families: The Complete Genealogy (London, U.K.: The Bodley Head, 1999), pages 230, 232. Hereinafter cited as Britain's Royal Families.

[S20] Magna Carta Ancestry: A study in Colonial and Medieval Families, Richardson, Douglas, (Kimball G. Everingham, editor. 2nd edition, 2011), vol. 3 p. 568, 577.

[S21] #226 The Peerage of Scotland: Containing an Historical and Genealogical Account of the Nobility of That Kingdom, from Their Origin to the Present Generation (2nd edition, 1813), Douglas, Sir Robert, (2nd edition. 2 volumes. Edinburgh: A. Constable, 1813 NOTE: Caution should be taken with this peerage, and compared with other peerages to obtain accurate information about the families. Some of the lineages are confused, but can be used for supplemental information.), FHL book Q 941 D22d; FHL microfilm 1,440,956 items., vol. 1 p. 50.

[S22] #374 The Lineage and Ancestry of H. R. H. Prince Charles, Prince of Wales (1977), Paget, Gerald, (2 volumes. Baltimore: Geneal. Pub., 1977), FHL book Q 942 D22pg., vol. 1 p. 23.

[S323] Sir James Balfour Paul, The Scots Peerage: founded on Wood's edition of Sir Robert Douglas's The Peerage of Scotland (Edinburgh, Scotland: David Douglas, 1904), volume I, pages 18-19. Hereinafter cited as The Scots Peerage.


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James I, King of Scots's Timeline

July 25, 1394
Dunfermline Palace, Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland (United Kingdom)
Perth, Perthshire, Scotland
October 26, 1427
Perth, Perthshire, Scotland
Perth, Perthshire, Scotland (United Kingdom)
Perth, Perthshire, Scotland
October 16, 1430
Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh, Scotland (United Kingdom)
October 16, 1430
Perth, Perthshire, , Scotland
Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland (United Kingdom)