King James II of Scotland

Born 16 Oct 1430 and died 03 Aug 1460

James II by Jorg von Ehingen

James II

James II


Known as "Fiery Face" because of a large birthmark

Timeline: of James II

  • 25 March 1437: Crowned in Holyrood Abbey when six years old, ending a tradition that all kings since Kenneth MacAlpin were crowned at Scone. A regency led by the Douglas family ruled during his minority with Archibald, 5th Earl of Douglas as the Regent but with James raised at Edinburgh Castle under William Crichton's control. James reinstated Edinburgh as the capital of Scotland and it has not been challenged since.
  • 1439: Competing Scots Lords tried to hold James but his mother, Queen Joan smuggled him from Lord Chancellor William Crichton to Lord Alexander Livingstone at Stirling but he proved no better so she returned him to Chrichton at Edinburgh. With civil war imminent the bishops reconciled them by directing their hostility to the Douglases, believed to be enemies to the throne and planning a Douglas coup.
  • 1440: the Black Dinner. The 6th Earl of Douglas (a great-grandson of Robert III and Jame's cousin) and his brother were invited by Crichton and Livingstone to a banquet at the Great Hall of Edinburgh and the head of a black bull was brought to the table which under Scottish custom presaged death of the principal guest. James, now 10, had been charmed by the two young men and begged for the lives to be spared but they were beheaded in his presence (and before two younger brothers).
  • 03 July 1449: James marries his kinswoman, Mary of Gelders, and receives some artillery in the dowry. He subsequently acquired more cannon from the Low Countries.
  • 1449: Took over full responsibility as king and imprisons Livingston as punishment for his treatment of Queen Joan, taking his lands.
  • 1450: James II demonstrates his power by executing two members of the Livingston family to make an example of troublemakers and reestablish control over the nobles.
  • 7 January 1451: Glasgow University is founded (with James' support).
  • 22 February 1452: James II invites the dangerously powerful 8th Earl of Douglas to Stirling Castle where he personally initiates his murder by stabbing him in a fit of rage (after he refused to denounce the 4th Earl of Crawford [the Tiger Earl] and the Earl of Ross [4th Lord of the Isles]. Followers of the Earl subsequently sack the town of Stirling and a state of intermittent civil war continued until 1455.
  • May 1455: James defeats Douglases at Arkinholm. Two of the Douglas brothers were slain and Douglas fled to England. The great house of Black Douglas had fallen and this was a turning point in the fortunes of the Scottish Crown. James II completes his subjugation of the Black Douglas family by taking their land and castles in south west Scotland. Having achieved order, James was subsequently able to govern in peace.
  • 1457: In an effort to ensure the population practice military skills, and archery in particular, James II decrees that "futeball and golfe be utterly cried down" and had an Act of Parliament banning "gowf". This was widely ignored and the Act was repealed 40 years later.
  • 1456: an Act authorized the King to request certain great barons each to provide a cart of war carrying two double-barrelled guns and to train gunners.
  • 1450: An act of Parliament guaranteed the position of a tenant whose land passed to another lord, an example of some of the important social legislation James supported, including protection of the poor and improving justice administration.
  • 3 August 1460: James II is killed during his siege of Roxburgh Castle when a cannon he was supervising exploded. He was trying to retrieve Roxburgh and Berwick Castles from the English and was enthusiastic in the use of cannons in battle. His pride in his new purchases was also his doom. A week later his 9 year old son James is crowned James III of Scotland.

Family tree (including parents)

1 James I STEWART, King of Scotland b.Dec1394 Dunfermline Palace, Fife,
  d.21Feb1436/37 (Murdered at Monastry of the Friars Preachers, Perth)
 + Lady Joan BEAUFORT,  b.1400 d.15Jul1445 Dunbar Castle. m.02Feb1422/23
   Priory Ch, St Mary Overy, Southwark. Dau of John DE BEAUFORT, Earl  of Somerset
   and Margaret HOLLAND
   Joan subsequently married Sir James STEWART (the "black knight of Lorne"
   and had three sons [John STEWART, Earl of Atholl, James STEWART, Earl 
   of Buchan and Andrew STEWART, Bishop of Moray ]
  2 Margaret STEWART of Scotland 
   + King Louis XI of France 
  2 Isabel STEWART
  2 Joan STEWART, the "Dumb Lady"
  2 Alexander STEWART, Duke of Rothesay, elder twin of James b16Oct1430 
    Lived long enough to receive a knighthood, but died in infancy.
  2 James II STEWART, King of Scotland b.16Oct1430 Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh
    d.03Aug1460 at seige of Roxburgh Castle, Roxburghshire, Scotland.
    accidentally killed by cannon exploding.
    Buried in Holyrood House, Edinburgh, Mid-Lothian, Scotland. 
   + Marie (Mary) Egmond Von GELDERN (Princess of Gueldres),  b~1432 Of, Grave,
     Noord-Brabant, Netherlands (dau of Arnold, Duke of Geldern/Gueldres
     m.03Jul1449 Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh. d.16Nov1463 (Edinburgh)
    3 unnamed son. Born and died on 19 May 1450
    3 James STEWART, (James III, King of Scotland) b.10Jul1451 d.11Jun1488
     + Margaretof Denmark b.23JUn1456 m.8Aug1503 d<14Jul1486
       dau of Christian I, King of Denmark, Norway & Sweden
    3 Alexander STEWART, Prince Of SCOTLAND, 1st Duke of Albany. 
      b.1454 d.1485 (France)
     + Catherine SINCLAIR (div 1478) dau of William SINCLAIR, 3rd Earl
       of Orkney, Earl of Caithness
    3 David STEWART Prince Of SCOTLAND, Earl of Moray 
      b~1456 d.18Jul1457.
    3 Mary STEWART, Princess of Scotland b<16May1452 Stirling Castle,
      d.1488 Hamilton, Clydesdale, LKS
     +(1)Sir Thomas BOYD, 1st Earl of Arran m.26Apr1467 dsp.1470
     +(2)Sir James HAMILTON, 6th d'Cadzow, Lord Hamilton b~1423 Cadzow, LKS
      d.16Nov1479 Hamilton, Clydesdale, LKS, m.Apr1474 
      Son of James HAMILTON, d'Cadzow, 1st Lord Hamilton (b.1415) and
      Janet LIVINGSTON
      4 Sir James HAMILTON, 2nd Lord Hamilton & Earl of Arran b~1475 d.Mar1529
    3 John STEWART, 1st Earl of Mar (Aberdeenshire). b.1457 d.Apr1479
    3 Margaret (Cecilia) STEWART Princess of SCOTLAND b~1459 (Stirling, Stirlingshire)
     + William Crichton, 3rd Lord Crichton
      4 Margaret CRICHTON
   + unknown mistress
    3 Sir John STEWART of Sticks b~1458 d.1507. Chances are Joseph BLANE 
      descended from this illigitimate liason!
    + Muriel SUTHERLAND


[2] Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: James II of Scotland

[2] A Journey through Scotland's Past: James II (1437 - 1460)