James I (Scotland)

James I

b. end of Jul 1394, Dunfermline, Fife [1]
d. c. 20 Feb 1437, Perth, Perthshire [2]

Title: Dei gratia Rex Scottorum = By the grace of God, King of the Scots
Term: 4 Apr 1406 - c. 20 Feb 1437
Chronology: 4 Apr 1406, succeeded to the throne of Scotland (in absentia)
c. 5 Apr 1424, commenced the exercise of royal authority upon entering the territory of Scotland after his release from captivity in England [3]
21 May 1424, crowned, Scone Abbey, Perthshire [4]
c. 20 Feb 1437, died (assassination)
Names/titles: Private name: James Stewart; Gaelic name: Seumas; Earl of Carrick [25 Dec 1404 - 4 Apr 1406]
Third son of Robert III and Annabella Drummond; was recognised as heir apparent after the death of his elder brother, David Duke of Rothesay (1402); created Earl of Carrick and given the Barony of Renfrew and other lands (25 Dec 1404); captured by English pirates off Flamborough Head (22 Mar 1406) while voyaging from Scotland to the French court and then handed over to King Henry IV of England; nominally succeeded his father (4 Apr 1406) under the Act of 1373 and was recognized as king by a General Council at Perth (June 1406), which also appointed Robert Stewart, 1st Duke of Albany as regni Scotiæ gubernator (Jun 1406 - 3 Sep 1420) for the absent king; was held in captivity in the Tower of London and other places; received good education and was believed to be the author of The Kingis Quair, a poem; married Joan Beaufort (London, 13? Feb 1424), a cousin of King Henry VI; after agreeing upon the payment of £40,000 (allegedly expended for his maintenance), returned to Scotland (c. 5 Apr 1424) governed at that time by the son and successor of Robert Stewart - Murdoch Stewart, 2nd Duke of Albany (regni Scotiæ gubernator Sep 1420 - af. 5 Apr 1424); took decisive action to secure his accession by having Parliament attainted and forfeited the Murdoch family (1425); introduced a series of political and financial reforms and renewed the Auld Alliance with France (1428); promoted expansion of royal authority, alienating a considerable part of the Scottish nobility not favouring strong kingship; was murdered by a group of nobles, who had personal grievances against the king, as they broke into royal lodging in the Blackfriars of Perth in the night.
Biographical sources: "James I, King of Scots" by E. W. M. Balfour-Melville (London: Methuen, 1936).

[1] The date of the birth of James I is incurred from the letter written by his mother, Queen Annabella, to Richard II of England in which she excused herself for the delay in replying to his dispatches received on July 31. The delay is attributed to a sickness of infant James ('quar nous estiemez gisant malade d'enfant masquil a non Jamez'), who was probably born on St. James' Day, July 25. Although the year is omitted from the letter, it might be dated by references to negotiations of truce between Scotland and England. See "The Date of the Birth of James I of Scotland" by E. W. M. Balfour-Melville in The English Historical Review, vol. L (1935), pp. 490-492.
[2] It is difficult to reconcile contradicting evidence found in primary sources, but it is obvious that James I was murdered either in the night of 20-21 Feb 1437 or in the night of 21-22 Feb 1437; Registrum Episcopatus Glasguensis, 2:614-615: "Exſcripta ex martyrologio metropolis Glaſgueñ · <...> Obitus Jacobi primi Regis Scotorum vigeſimo die Februarij anno Domini milleſimo quadringenteſimo triceſimo ſexto · " (February 20); Extracta E Variis Cronicis Scocie, 236: "... xxi. d. of Fabruer..." (February 21); Exchequer Rolls of Scotland, 20: February 20; a MS calendar in the British Museum (Add. MSS. 33,992) has the obit written against February 21-22.
[3] Extracta E Variis Cronicis Scocie, 226: "Jacobus, filius Roberti tercii et heres, de captiuitate Anglorum liberatur, datis obsidibus, secundum conuencionem, pro centum millibus marcarum Striuelingorum, remissa dimedietate pro dote Johanne vxoris sue quam secum in Scociam duxit predie ante dominicam in Passione, anno Domini M°iiiicxxiii."; Scotichronicon, 9, Book XVI: c. 2; Book of Pluscarden, Book XI, c. 1.
[4] Rotuli Scotiae, 2:474; Extracta E Variis Cronicis Scocie, 227: "Et sequenti xxi. Maii coronatur rex et regina in Scona per Henricum Wardelau episcopum Sanctiandree ..."; Scotichronicon, 9, Book XVI, c. 2; Book of Pluscarden, Book XI, c. 1.
Last updated on: 14 Mar 2010 03:58:16