- King James V (1512 to 1542)
King James V was born at Linlithgow Palace on 10 April 1512, son of King James IV> and Margaret Tudor (daughter of King Henry VII of England). He was only 17 months old when his father, King James IV, was defeated by an English army at Flodden on September 9 1513. This was the heaviest defeat ever experienced by a Scottish army, with the slaughter of the King and the flower of Scottish nobility.
Despite being only an infant, he was crowned at Stirling Castle> on 21 September 1513. So, yet again, Scotland was ruled by various regents and nobles, this time until the king was 15 years old. Initially, his mother acted as Regent, then the Duke of Albany and then a series of other nobles. For two years from 1626 James was a virtual prisoner of Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Douglas, who proceeded to pack all the important government and church posts with his own relations. When James escaped, the Douglases> were outlawed and their lands confiscated.
His education (and distrust of the nobility) led him to have sympathy for the common people and he wandered amongst them as the "Gudeman of Ballengeich". But his treatment of the nobility caused him to be referred to by them as "the Ill-Beloved".
James was also keen to accumulate wealth (the Regents had left Scotland almost bankrupt) and he married twice, obtaining handsome dowries on each occasion. His first wife was Madeleine, daughter of King Francis I of France. They were married on 1 January 1537 but the frail Queen died in July the same year. He married Mary, daughter of the French Duke of Guise. The Queen produced two sons but both died.
This was the age when the Reformation was sweeping Europe (and Henry VIII had created the separate Church of England) but James was committed to the Catholic Church. His enthusiasm was no doubt assisted by obtaining substantial revenues from the churches, sanctioned by a Pope who was keen to avoid Scotland going the same way as the England of Henry VIII. James was also able to obtain lucrative ecclesiastical posts for his seven illegitimate children.
James attempted to subdue the Border families such as the Armstrongs>, Homes and Scotts> as well as the Highland clans and he was successful to a degree. But they were subsequently conspicuous by their lack of support at time of war.
King Henry VIII invited his nephew to a meeting in York to try to convince him to reduce his support for France and the Pope but the Scottish Reformed clergy would not allow the King to attend. King Henry VIII took offence and invaded Scotland. The Scottish army was defeated at the Battle of Solway Moss on November 24 1542, with many of the Borderers surrendering without a fight and even delivering Scottish nobles to the English. James returned to Linlithgow and Falkland Palaces, depressed and defeated. When he heard that his first child was a girl he he said "Adieu, farewell, it came wi' a lass and it will pass with a lass" as he believed the Stewart line, begun with Robert the Bruce's daughter, would cease with this latest child. He died on 14 December 1542 at the age of 30, six days after his daughter, Mary>, was born.
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