Scotland's History Articles James V, King of Scots 1513 – 1542

James V, King of Scots 1513 – 1542

James V

After the death of James IV at the disastrous Battle of Flodden in 1513 Scotland once again had an infant Stewart king on the throne. And once again the regency years provided factional unrest and political manoeuvrings as the nobility vied for control of the kingdom.

The role of regent principally passed into the hands of three people – James' mother, Margaret Tudor, Archibald Douglas (6th Earl of Angus and second husband of Margaret), and John Stewart (2nd Duke of Albany). After a souring of relations with his wife, Margaret, Douglas kidnapped his stepson, the young king, and kept him hostage for three years.

James finally escaped his captivity in 1528. His first action as king in his own right was to exile his stepfather and confiscate the lands of the Douglases. James also acted to pacify other troublesome factions of his kingdom such as Border rebellions and strife in the Western Isles.

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Protestant preacher Patrick Hamilton is burned at the stake at St Andrews. From The Sword and the Cross: The Great Breaking, 2003.

Another notable example of James' kingship also occurred in 1528. With Martin Luther's Protestant movement spreading across Europe, James acted on what he saw as heresy and ordered the execution of a key Scottish Protestant reformer. Patrick Hamilton was executed at St Andrews and became known as Scotland's first Protestant martyr.

In 1537 James married Madeleine de Valois, daughter of the King of France, Francis I. Madeleine died shortly after the wedding and the following year James married again to Mary of Guise, the widowed daughter of a powerful French Duke. The strengthening of the ties to France came at the expense of the fragile relationship with England.

England under Henry VIII had undergone a Protestant reformation and the English king wanted his Scottish counterpart to follow suit in order to secure his boundaries. However, James had promised support to the Pope in order to secure church funds. With Scotland virtually bankrupt, James could not afford to change his allegiance. In 1542 war between the two countries broke after James snubbed the English king by refusing to meet Henry in person at York. Henry invaded Scotland.

A series of military defeats at the hands of the English invaders culminated at the Battle of Solway Moss. James, already in ill health, retreated to Falkland Palace. On the 8th December 1542, Mary of Guise gave birth to their daughter, Mary. On the 14th December James died.

Once again Scotland had to survive another traumatic period of Stewart regency.

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