James Stewart, Commendator of Kelso and Melrose

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James Stewart

Birthplace: Scotland
Death: September 25, 1557 (25-28)
Immediate Family:

Son of James V, King of Scots and Elizabeth Schaw of Sauchie
Half brother of James Stewart, 1st Earl of Moray; Dorothea Stewart; Jean Stewart; Adam Stewart; John Stewart, 1st Lord Darnley and 6 others

Occupation: Prior of Kelso
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About James Stewart, Commendator of Kelso and Melrose

James Stewart, 1534-1557. Bastard son of King James V of Scotland. Also commendator of Melrose (1535-1557); not to be confused with his brother and namesake, James Stewart, Earl of Moray.


  • Death seen as September 25, 1557 (25-28) Firth (Orkney), at Rennibister, Orkney, Scotland without citation
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abbot_of_Kelso
  • https://fmg.ac/Projects/MedLands/SCOTLAND.htm#JamesVdied1542B JAMES of Scotland, son of JAMES IV King of Scotland & his wife Margaret Tudor (Linlithgow palace, Fife 15 Apr 1512-Falkland Castle 14 Dec 1542). Duke of Rothesay from birth. He succeeded his father 9 Sep 1513 as JAMES V King of Scotland. Crowned 21 Sep 1513 at the Chapel Royal, Stirling Castle. Mistress (1): ELIZABETH Shaw of Sauchie. King James V had one illegitimate son by Mistress (1): 4. JAMES Stewart ([1529]-1557). Abbot of Kelso and Melrose.
  • http://unusualhistoricals.blogspot.com/2011/08/illegitimate-childre... Five of the illegitimate sons of King James V were named “Priors” as children. This meant they held the five richest livings in the Scottish Church—Holyrood, Kelso, Melrose, Coldingham, and St Andrews. (This did not happen, of course, without the approval of the Pope. James apparently wrote asking his permission for three of his illegitimate sons to receive ecclesiastical positions before 1532, when the boys were still babes.) James Stewart, Abbot of Kelso and Melrose. Perhaps born as early as 1529, when his father was 17, James was the son of Elizabeth Shaw “of Sauchie.” He died before age 30.
  • we find the following entry in the Treasurer's Accounts : ”April 2, 1532. Item, to Henry Kemp, quhilkis he debursit for the King’s sone, gotten upon Elizabeth Schaw, and his nurse’s expense, xx lib.”
  • http://www.venitap.com/Genealogy/WebCards/ps35/ps35_332.html Several illegitimate children of King James V figure in the records of the time. By Elizabeth Shaw, daughter of Shaw of Sauchie, he had a son: 1. James Stewart, ’Senior,’ whom he appointed to the office of Commendator of the Abbeys of Melrose and Kelso. He died without issue 25 Sept. 1557.
  • https://www.stewartsociety.org/history-of-the-stewarts.cfm?section=... 2) James Stewart, Commendator of Melrose and Kelso, son of Elizabeth Shaw. Died without issue, 1557. Arms: on Seal, 1557.-Scotland, with crozier behind shield. Another Seal shows-Scotland, debruised by a baton or ribbon (Macdonald).
  • https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-south-scotland-56347115 A rare 16th Century seal, made for one of King James V's numerous illegitimate children, has been bought by National Museums Scotland. The item, not seen in public since 1901, belonged to James Stewart, half-brother of Mary Queen of Scots and dates back to the 1540s. It showed his position as Commendator of Melrose and Kelso Abbeys, which were bestowed on him by the king. The seal was sold in an online auction for more than £6,000.
  • https://www.scottishbanner.com/2021/04/14/16th-century-seal-matrix-... James Stewart’s position as Commendator of the Abbeys of both Kelso and Melrose in the Scottish Borders during the 1540s and 50s gave him significant status in the Borders region. As commendator, he exerted his authority not only over the lands and income of both these affluent abbeys but was also responsible for local defence. King James, in placing one of his illegitimate sons in this dual role, promoted and financed his son’s life, and protected the King’s interest in the areas under his son’s control. This was crucial given that at this time, the Scottish Borders were particularly vulnerable due to Anglo-Scottish hostilities in the wars of the Rough Wooing, and the minority of the young Mary, Queen of Scots.
  • https://archives.collections.ed.ac.uk/agents/people/11717
  • https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-south-scotland-56347115
  • https://digital.nls.uk/histories-of-scottish-families/archive/95587...
  • https://clankerr.co.uk/a%20visit%20to%20jedburgh/kelso%20abbey.html
  • https://halydean.wixsite.com/halydean/bespoke
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