Introduction --- Kings of Alba --- Macbeth --- David I --- Robert --- Stewarts
The Stewart Scottish kings started with Robert II, who was the grandson of Robert I, otherwise known as Robert the Bruce.
Robert I (1306-1329) | ---------------------- | | David II (1329-1371) Marjorie Bruce | Robert II (1371-1390) | Robert III (1390-1406) | James I (1406-1437) | James II (1437-1460) | James III (1460-1488) | James IV (1488-1513) | James V (1513-1542) | Mary I (1542-1567) | James VI (1567-1625)
|Married||End of reign|
|Robert II||1371-1390||19||55||Elizabeth Mure|
Euphemia de Ross
|Robert III||1390-1406||16||50||Annabella Drummond||natural death|
|James I||1406-1437||31||12||Joan Beaufort||assassinated by Scots|
|James II||1437-1460||23||7||Mary of Gueldres||killed besieging Roxburgh Castle|
|James III||1460-1488||28||9||Margaret of Denmark||killed at Sauchieburn|
|James IV||1488-1513||25||15||Margaret Tudor||killed at Flodden Field|
|James V||1513-1542||29||1||Madeleine de Valois|
Mary of Guise
|Mary I||1542-1567||25||0||Francis II of France|
Henry Stuart (Lord Darnley)
James Hepburn (4th Earl of Bothwell)
|executed by Elizabeth I of England|
|James VI||1567-1625||58||1||Anne of Denmark||natural death|
As the previous page describes, David II had no children, so his nephew Robert II became king. Robert had already been Steward of Scotland, and regent during the time that David was in France. Robert was the first Stewart to become King of Scotland.
Robert III was the son of Robert II. He seems to have been in poor health. His eldest son, David Duke of Rothesay, became lieutenant of the kingdom, but died in mysterious circumstances. Robert III began to fear for the fate of his only surviving son, young James. He tried to transport him to France, via the Bass Rock (see left) but James was captured by the English. It is said that Robert died from grief when he heard of this. The kings of Scotland had natural deaths since before David I, but that changed from now on.
James I spent the first 18 years of his reign imprisoned by the English, who demanded a ransom. James' uncle was regent, and the ransom was not paid until after his death. James married Joan Beaufort, a cousin of King Henry VI of England. He brought in financial and legal reforms and tried to remodel the Parliament of Scotland along English lines. The University of St Andrews was founded in 1413. James became unpopular, and eventually was assassinated by a group of Scots led by Sir Robert Graham.
James II became king aged 7. Even when he became an adult, he struggled with powerful Scottish lords to take power, and it was not until 1455 that he defeated the Douglases at the Battle of Arkinholm. The University of Glasgow was founded in 1451. James died while besieging Roxburgh Castle, one of the last Scottish castles still held by the English after the Wars of Independence. One of his cannon exploded, killing the King. The Scots carried on with the siege and took the castle.
James III married Margaret of Denmark, receiving Orkney and Shetland as her dowry (see right). He became unpopular, and died at the Battle of Sauchieburn, fighting disaffected nobles, many former councillors and his own son, who became the next king.
James IV was an effective king. He granted the Edinburgh College of Surgeons a royal charter in 1506, turned Edinburgh Castle into one of Britain's foremost gun foundries, and welcomed the establishment of Scotland's first printing press in 1505. The University of Aberdeen was founded in 1495.James IV was the last King of Scots who is known to have spoken Scottish Gaelic. He established good diplomatic relations with England, marrying Margaret Tudor, daughter of Henry VII of England. However, he tried to invade England, supported France as part of the Auld Alliance (originally signed by John of Balliol and renewed by several kings after). James was killed at the Battle of Flodden Field. He was the last British king to be killed in battle.
James V was a baby when he became king and so had regents for the first 15 years of his reign. He opposed the early Protestant reformers. He renewed the Auld Alliance and both his wives were French. He died a few weeks after the defeat of the Scots at the Battle of Solway Moss.
James' only child was Mary. She became queen at only a week old. She was the first monarch to spell her family name as Stuart (the French spelling) rather than Stewart. She spent her childhood in France and married the son of the French King Henry II, who later became Francis II of France. But he died young, and Mary returned to Scotland. She was a devote Roman Catholic, and met the disapproval of John Knox, the Protestant reformer. Mary's relative Elizabeth I was by this time ruling a Protestant England. Mary married twice more, to Scottish nobles. The Scottish nobility turned against Mary and Bothwell, her second husband, and she fled to England. Mary was an embarrassment to Elizabeth. Roman Catholics thought that Elizabeth was the illegitimate daughter of Henry VIII of England as when he married her mother, his first wife was still alive. So they considered that Mary had a better claim to the English throne. Mary was imprisoned for eighteen years, and eventually executed for treason, accused of plotting about Elizabeth.
James VI became king of Scotland when his mother, Mary, abdicated in 1567. He was Protestant. Elizabeth I of England was unmarried, and made James her heir. When she died, he became James I of England. At this point, Scotland still had its own Parliament, so James was king of two separate countries. This situation continued until Queen Anne, when England and Scotland were united into one country, Great Britain, to be governed by one Parliament, at Westminster in London. In 1999, the new Scottish Parliament was elected. This shares power with Westminster. However, this history is concentrating on the (mostly) Kings of Scotland, and from the time of James VI (of Scotland) and I (of England), there has been one monarch of the two countries.
The University of Edinburgh was founded in 1582. It has been said that from this time until the nineteenth century, Scotland had four universities while England only had two, Oxford and Cambridge. This is rather unfair. Aberdeen was two separate universities at this time, and St Andrews had three colleges (later reduced to two). Edinburgh and Glasgow also seemed to be fairly small at this time. However, there are sixteen colleges in Cambridge and eighteen colleges in Oxford which were founded before 1600, and the oldest of these were founded in the thirteenth century. A University of Northampton was founded in 1261, only to be closed a few years later, as it was perceived to be a threat to Oxford. England kept its higher education in two cities, rather than spreading them around.
© Jo Edkins 2008 - return to index