James IV (Scotland)

James IV

b. 17 Mar 1473, Stirling [?], Stirlingshire, Scotland [1]
d. 9 Sep 1513, near Branxton, Northumberland, England [2]

Title: Dei gratia Rex Scotorum = By the grace of God, King of the Scots
Term: 11 Jun 1488 - 9 Sep 1513
Chronology: 11 Jun 1488, succeeded to the throne of Scotland [3]
24 Jun 1488, crowned, Scone Abbey, Perthshire [4]
9 Sep 1513, died (killed in battle)
Names/titles: Private name: James Stewart; Gaelic name: Seumas; Duke of Rothesay [17 Mar 1473 - 11 Jun 1488], Earl of Carrick [17 Mar 1473 - 11 Jun 1488]
Biography:
Eldest son of King James III and Margaret of Denmark, daughter of King Christian 1.; suffering from neglect shown by his father who favoured the second son also named James (made Duke of Ross in 1488), joined a rebellious faction of nobles (1488); participated in the Battle of Sauchieburn (11 Jun 1488) between the king's army and insurgents which resulted in defeat of the royal party and the murder of his father whom he succeeded; secured his position by defeating the rebellion led by Alexander Lord Forbes (1489); vigorously asserted royal authority and proved to be an energetic and well-educated ruler; summoned Parliament (1490), which enacted legislation for reconciliation between the king and rebellious nobility; suppressed the attempts of the northwest Highlands and the Islands to retain its semi-independent status (1493); encouraged major expansion of navy, founding two dockyards and clearing Scottish waters of the pirates; contributed to development of culture and science in Scotland; launched raids into England (1496-1497) in support of Perkin Warbeck, an impostor pretending to be the younger son of King Edward IV of England; issued a revocation (1498), retaking all royal lands granted out since 1488; accumulated considerable wealth and achieved financial stability of the treasury by introducing new forms of taxation for nobility, clergy and tenants on royal lands; signed the Treaty of Perpetual Peace (1502) with England aimed at ending the state of war which had existed between the two countries for more than two hundred years; married Margaret Tudor, eldest daughter of King Henry VII and sister of Henry VIII (8 Aug 1503); bound to support France as a partner in the Auld Alliance, invaded England in response to English invasion of Flanders (1513), defying the threat of papal excommunication for violating the treaty; was utterly defeated and killed in the Battle of Flodden Field (9 Sep 1513), although his body was never brought home, giving rise to rumours that the king survived (a body thought to be his was found by Lord Dacre and taken to England for burial).
Biographical sources: "James IV", by Norman Macdougall (East Linton: Tuckwell Press, 1997)

[1] Treasurer's Accounts, 1:xlv (note). The date of the birth is inferred from the date of James IV's general revocation on reaching the age of 25. See "James III: A Political Study", by Norman Macdougall (Edinburgh: John Donald Publishers, 1982), 110, 112.
[2] Facsimiles of National Manuscripts of England, 2, nos. ii-vi, account of the Battle of Flodden; Exchequer Rolls of Scotland, 13, preface, p. 188; "The Secret of Flodden", by W. Mackay Mackenzie, (Edinburgh, 1931).
[3] The first charter in the name of James IV was issued 12 Jun 1488. See "James IV", op. cit., 42-44.
[4] "James IV", op. cit., 51, footnote: National Library of Scotland. Adv. MS. 34.7.3 (Gray MS.), f. 21 r.
Image: painting by Daniel Mytens the Elder after earlier work, in or before 1513.
Last updated on: 14 Mar 2010 03:58:20