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The Scottish Nation

BOTHWELL, lord of, a title anciently possessed by the De Moravia or Moray family, descendants of Freskin, a person of Flemish origin, who came to Scotland in the reign of David the First, and in return for assistance rendered that monarch in suppressing a rebellion of the inhabitants, obtained a grant of extensive lands in the province of Moray. See MORAVIA DE, MORAY, or MURRAY, surname of.

BOTHWELL, lord, a title conferred by King James the Third on an unworthy favourite, John, created by him Sir John Ramsay, son of John Ramsay of Corstoun, (descended from the house of Carnock in Fife, one of the most ancient families of the name). He was the only one of the favourites who escaped being put to death when they were hanged over Lauder bridge by the insurgent nobles, in July 1482. He owed his safety to his clinging closely to the person of the king, and to James himself earnestly pleading for him, on account of his youth, he being then only eighteen years of age. In the following year, on the forfeiture of Lord Crichton, grandson and successor of the famous Lord-chancellor Crichton, for taking part in the conspiracy of the duke of Albany against his brother, King James, his majesty bestowed on Sir John Ramsay his forfeited estates, including Crichton castle, and the lands, barony and lordship of Bothwell in Lanarkshire, with forty merks of land in the barony of Moneypenny. He also raised him to the peerage by the title of Lord Bothwell; all which was confirmed by parliament, as appears from its records, 16th February 1483-4. He sat as Lord Bothwell in several parliaments. These honours heaped upon a youth of nineteen years of age, who had rendered no service to the country, may well have disgusted the nobility. In 1486, when he was little more than twenty-two, he was sent to England, to negotiate a truce for three years, and in the following year he was appointed, with the bishop of Aberdeen, to meet with the ambassadors of Henry the Seventh, who had arrived at Edinburgh to arrange as to a lasting peace. On this occasion a marriage was proposed between various members of the two royal houses, which was of course never carried into effect, the death of James soon after putting an end to the project. After the murder of James the Third, Lord Bothwell, as a minion of that weak monarch, was forfeited, 8th October 1488, and the lordship of Bothwell, so imprudently bestowed upon him, was conferred on Patrick Hepburn, Lord Hales, who was created earl of Bothwell, on the 17th of the same month. [See following article.] The forfeited lord fled to England, where with Sir Thomas Todd of Shereshaws, another banished favourite of the late king, he concocted the following scheme for raising money. Having obtained access to Henry the Seventh, they proposed, by the assistance of their friends in Scotland, with whom they kept up a private correspondence, to deliver the king of Scots and his brother into his hands, and desired only some pecuniary aid. On April 17, 1491, indentures were entered into at Greenwich between King Henry and ‘John Lord Bothwell and Sir Thomas Thodde [Todd] knight, of the realm of Scotland, as well for and in name of theimselves as also of dyvers others named in the said indentures,’ declaring that ‘they shall take, bringe, and delyver into the said king of Englandis handes the king of Scottes now reynyng and his brother the duke of Roos (Ross), or at the leste the said king of Scotland,’ In expectation of this service King Henry lent Sir Thomas Todd the sum of £266 13s. 4d. sterling, for the repayment of which at the following Michaelmas, he stipulated that Sir Thomas should leave his son and heir in pledge. [Rymer’s Faedera, vol. xii. page 440.] The transaction appears to have terminated with the pecuniary advance, and this singular agreement was never known until Rymer published the document in 1711.

      Lord Bothwell received a pardon from King James, and returned to Scotland, but was only acknowledged as Sir John Ramsay. Two letters from him to the English monarch, the first dated 8th September 1496, giving a minute account of the support afforded by King James to Perkin Warbeck, are quoted by Mr. Pinkerton; from which it has been inferred that Ramsay acted as a spy for Henry the Seventh at the court of his own sovereign. In both letters he subscribes himself ‘Jhone L. Bothvalle.’ He seems, notwithstanding his acting the spy upon him, to have become a favourite of James the Fourth, for, on 18th April 1497, he obtained a formal remission and letters of rehabilitation under the great seal. He was not. however, restored to his title and estates, these being in other hands, but he received from the king, instead, charters of the lands of Tealing and Polgavy in Forfarshire, Tarrinzeane in Ayrshire, and others, 27th April 1497, and 13th Sept. 1498; of a house and garden in Edinburgh, 30th May 1498, and of another house there, 6th November 1500; also, under the designation of Sir John Ramsay of Tarrinzean, knight, he had a charter, to himself and his heirs, dated 13th May 1510, of the lands of Balmain, Fasque, and others, in the county of Kincardine, which were erected into a free barony, to be called the barony of Balmain. In the beginning of 1513 King James proposed to send him on an embassy to Henry the Eighth; but although a safe conduct was got it never took effect. Sir John Ramsay died soon after, leaving a son, William Ramsay, who succeeded him. He was the lineal ancestor of Sir Alexander Ramsay of Balmain, baronet, M.P. for the county of Kincardine, who died without issue, at his seat of Harlsey, near Northallerton, in Yorkshire, 12th February 1806, in his ninetieth year, and who was succeeded in his estates by his nephew Alexander Burnett of Strachan, second son of his sister Catherine, the wife of Sir Thomas Burnett of Leys, baronet. On succeeding to his uncle’s estates, Alexander Burnett took the name and arms of Ramsay, and was created a baronet of Great Britain 13th May 1806. Dying in 1810, he was succeeded by his son Sir Alexander Ramsay of Balmain, baronet, See RAMSAY, surname of.

BOTHWELL, earl of, a title in the peerage of Scotland, formerly possessed by the family of Hepburn, and rendered remarkable in Scottish history by the marriage of its possessor, the fourth earl, with the unfortunate Mary, queen of Scots. [For the origin of the name of Hepburn, and the different branches of the family, see HEPBURN, surname of.] Patrick Hepburn, third Lord Hales, created earl of Bothwell in 1488, as above mentioned, was descended from one Adam Hepburn, of a Northumberland family, who, in the reign of David the Second, received from the earl of March, charters of various lands in Haddingtonshire. The eldest son of th said Adam Hepburn, Sir Patrick Hepburn of Hales, born about 1321, appears, from the frequent mention made of him in reference to safe conducts into England in Rymer’s Faedera, to have been a person of consequence. His seal is appended to the act of settlement of the crown of Scotland, 27th march 1371, the achievement being two lions pulling at a rose, on a chevron, still the arms of the Hepburns. At the battle of Otterbourne in 12388, he and his son, Patrick, led on one party of the Scots, and prevented the banner of Douglas from falling into the hands of the English. By his first wife, whose Christian name was Agnes, he was the father of Patrick Hepburn, younger of Hales, styled by Fordun [ii. p. 433] ‘miles magnanimus et athleta bellicosus.’ On 22d June, 1402, during the lifetime of his father, on his return from a hostile incursion into England, the party which he commanded were intercepted by the earls of March and Northumberland at West Nesbit, near Dunse. An obstinate conflict ensued, in which the Scots had the advantage, but the son of March arriving with a reinforcement, the victory turned in favour of the English. Young Hepburn and several other gentlemen, with the flower of the youth of Lothian, were among the slain. By his wife, a daughter and co-heir of the family of Vaux or de Vallibus, Lords of Dirleton, he had two sons. Sir Adam Hepburn of Hales, the elder, was one of the commissioners sent to England in 1423, to treat for the release of King James the First fro captivity. In 1525 he was one of the principal persons arrested along with Murdoch, duke of Albany. He was afterwards one of the supplementary hostages for the security of the payment of forth thousand pounds, for the expense of King James the First during the time he had remained in captivity in England, as, 5th February 1425-6, patrick de Hepburn, William de Hepburn, and John Halyburton, got a safe conduct to England, to attend on the Lord of Hales, then a hostage [Faedera.] He was released by order of 9th November 1427, when William Douglas, lord of Drumlanrig, was substituted in his place. In 1435, when the estates of the family of Dunbar and March were seized by the crown, Sir Adam Hepburn was sent with the earl of Angus and chancellor Crichton, to take possession of the castle of Dunbar, and after it had been delivered up to them, he was left Constable of this important fortress. On the 30th September 1436, he assisted William Douglas, earl of Angus, in the conflict with Henry Percy, earl of Northumberland, at Piperden, or Pepperdin, near Cheviot, when Sir Robert Ogle was made prisoner, with most of his followers, and on 31st March 1438, the year after the murder of James the First, he was one of the conservators of a truce with England. He had four sons: Sir Patrick, his heir; William; George Hepburn of Whitsome, Berwickshire, ancestor of the Hepburns of Riccartoun and Blackcastle; John, one of the lords of Council and Session, and bishop of Dunblane from 1467 to 1486; and two daughters.

      Sir Patrick Hepburn, the eldest son, as we learn from Rymer’s Faedera, was a conservator of truces with England on various occasions, and a commissioner for the barons for administering justice throughout the kingdom in time of pestilence, 19th October, 1456. In the same year he was created a peer of Scotland, by the title of Lord Hales, under which designation he sat among the nobility in the parliament of 16th October 1467. His eldest son, Adam, second Lord Hales, attached himself to Lord Boyd of Kilmarnock, and his brother, Sir Alexander Boyd of Duncow, and in 1466 was engaged in their audacious enterprize of carrying off King James the Third, then in his thirteenth year, from Linlithgow to Edinburgh. [See JAMES THE THIRD.] For his share in this affair he obtained a remission from parliament, (which, as well as the young king, was entirely under the influence of the Boyds,) 213th October of that year, ratified under the great seal, 25th of the same month. He married Helen, eldest daughter of Alexander, first Lord Home, and by her had five sons; viz., Patrick, third Lord Hales, and first earl of Bothwell; 2d, Sir Adam Hepburn of Craigs, master of the King’s stables, 3d, George Hepburn, provost of Bothwell and Lincluden, abbot of Aberbrothwick, 9th February 1503-4, high treasurer of Scotland, 1509, bishop of the Isles, 10 May 1510, and commendator both of Aberbrothwick and Icolmkill in 1512; slain at Flodden, 9th September 1513; 4th, John Hepburn, prior of St. Andrews, founder of St. Leonard’s college in 1512; and 5th, James Hepburn, who, after being rector of Dalry and Partoun, was, in 1515, elected abbot of Dunfermline, and 15th June the same year was appointed lord high treasurer. In 1516 he was elected bishop of Moray, and 3d October of that year he quitted the treasury. He died in 1525, and was buried in Elgin cathedral.

      Patrick Hepburn, third Lord Hales, and first earl of Bothwell, in July 1482, had the command of the castle of Berwick, when that town was invested by the English army, under the duke of Gloucester, afterwards Richard the Third, and the Scottish king’s brother, the duke of Albany. After the execution of the king’s favourites at Lauder, the town of Berwick surrendered to the English, but Lord Hales, in the castle, made a brave defence. Leaving four thousand men to block it up, the dukes of Gloucester and albany advanced to Edinburgh, of which city they took possession without any opposition. [Abercromby’s Martial Achievements, vol. ii. p. 450.] On 20th September 1484, Lord Hales was one of the conservators of a truce with England. the annexation by James the Third of the rich temporalities of the priory of Coldingham to the chapel royal of Stirling, by giving offence to the Lord Home and his clan, who had been accustomed to consider that priory as very much their own, was one of the principal causes of the rebellion which cost that king his life. Lord Home entered into a bond of mutual assistance with Lord Hales, and the Homes and Hepburns opposed with violence the annexation, although an act of parliament had been passed declaring it high treason to obstruct that measure. Lord Hales was a party to the hollow pacification entered into at Blackness in May 1488, and about the same time he and several others of the disaffected nobles received from Henry the Seventh a safe conduct to England; but the progress of events in Scotland prevented any use being made of it. At the battle of Sauchieburn, then called the battle of the field of Stirling, which followed, [June 11, 1488], Lord Hales led the Hepburns in the vanguard against the army of the king; and fifteen days thereafter, on the surrender of the castle of Edinburgh, the custody of that important fortress was committed to him, with three hundred mark of the customs of that city. He was also appointed sheriff-principal of the county of Edinburgh, and within the constabulary of Haddington, On 120th September 1488, he received the office of master of the household, and was constituted high admiral of Scotland for life. On October 13th of the same year he had a charter of the lands of Crichton castle, with lands in the counties of Edinburgh and Dumfries, and the lordship of Bothwell in Lanarkshire, forfeited by Sir John Ramsay, Lord Bothwell, as above-mentioned. Four days afterwards, [17th October 1488], the young king, James the Fourth, erected the lordship of Bothwell into an earldom, and conferred it on Lord Hales, in full parliament, by girding him with a sword. The same day it was declared in parliament that he should have the rule and governance of James, duke of Ross, the king’s brother. The party to which he belonged had then the chief power in the state, and they showered honours and offices on him for the important part which he had acted in the late Revolution. On 5th November 1488, he obtained a grant of the office of steward of Kirkendbright and of the keeping of Thrief castle, with the feus thereof; and 29th May 1489, he and John Hepburn, prior of St. Andrews, his brother, had letters of a lease of the lordship of Orkney and Zetland, and of the keeping of the castle of Kirkwall, the earl, of the same date, receiving the office of justiciary and bailiary of that lordship. On the 6th July the same year he was constituted guardian of the west and middle marches. March 6th, 1491-2, on the resignation of George Douglas, son and heir of Archibald, earl of Angus, he had a charter of the lordship of Liddisdale, with the castle of Hermitage, Angus obtaining in excambion, the lordship of Bothwell, which brought Bothwell castle and its domains into the possession of the Douglases, an arrangement brought about by the king to prevent the house of Angus from becoming so powerful as the elder branch of the Douglases had been. In a parliament held at Edinburgh 18th May 1491, the earl of Bothwell, and the bishop and dean of Glasgow, were appointed ambassadors to the courts of France and Spain, to find out a proper match and negotiate a marriage for the king, and to renew the ancient alliances with these states. The sum of five thousand pounds was advanced for their expenses. In the parliament held at Edinburgh, 26th June 1493, a general revocation was issued of all grants made during the minority of the king, from which the lands granted to the earl of Bothwell and Sir John Ross, knight, were specially excepted. In May 1501, the earl of Bothwell, and Robert, archbishop of Glasgow, and Andrew Forman, papal prothonotary, afterwards archbishop of St. Andrews, received a safe conduct to England, which was renewed in the following October, as ambassadors from the king of Scots, sent to conclude the marriage of James the Fourth with the Princess Margaret, eldest daughter of Henry the Seventh. The princess was solemnly married to King James at Richmond, by proxy, January 27, 1503, the earl of Bothwell being his Majesty’s representative. On her arrival in Scotland in the following August, on her near approach to Edinburgh, she was received by the king, richly apparelled in cloth of gold, the earl of Bothwell bearing the sword of state before him; and attended by the principal nobility of the court. [Leland’s Collectanea, vol. iv. p. 287.] The earl died soon after 1507. By Lady Janet Douglas, his wife, only daughter of James, first earl of Morton, he had issue, with three daughters, three sons, Adam, second earl of Bothwell; John, consecrated bishop of Brechin, from 1517, to August 1558; and Patrick Hepburn, who was educated by his uncle John, prior of St. Andrews, whom he succeeded in the priory in 1522. In 1524 he was appointed secretary, in which office he continued till 1527. In 1535 he was consecrated bishop of Moray, and at the same time he held the abbacy of Scone in perpetual commendam. When the Reformation took place he had the fate of the other Popish prelates, but he kept possession of his episcopal palace till his death, at Spynie castle, June 20, 1573. Foreseeing what was coming, he feued out all the lands belonging to the see. [Keith’s Scottish Bishops.] this prelate had seven natural sons and two natural daughters, legitimations having passed the great seal for them in 1533, 1545, and 1550.

      Adam Hepburn, second earl of Bothwell, succeeded his father both in his extensive possessions and in his office of high admiral of Scotland. At the disastrous battle of Flodden, 89th September 1513, he commanded the reserve, consisting of his own followers, supported by those of other chiefs connected with the Lothians, and advanced to support the King’s attack on the English in so gallant a style that the standard of the earl of Surrey, the English general, was placed in the utmost danger. With his sovereign and the greater part of the chivalry of Scotland, he fell on that fatal field.

                        “Then did his loss his foeman know.
                        Their king, their lords, their mightiest low,
                        They melted from the field, as snow,
                        When streams are swoln and south winds blow,
                                    Dissolves in silent dew.
                        Tweed’s echoes heard the ceaseless plash,
                                    While many a broken band,
                        Disordered, through her currents dash,
                                    To gain the Scottish land;
                        To town and tower, to down and dale,
                        To tell red Flodden’s dismal tale,
                        And raise the universal wall.
                        Tradition, legend, tune and song,
                        Shall many an age that wall prolong;
                        Still from the sire the son shall hear
                        Of the stern strife and carnage drear
                                    Of Flodden’s fatal field,
                        Where shivered was fair Scotland’s spear,
                                    And broken was her shield.”

                                                                                    Scott’s Marmion.

The second earl of Bothwell married in 1511 Agnes Stewart, natural daughter of James earl of Buchan, brother uterine of James the second, by whom he had one son.

      Patrick, third earl of Bothwell, succeeded when an infant to the titles and estates of his family. In the minority of the king, James the Fifth, and the unsettled state of the kingdom, great disorders prevailed on the borders, which were encouraged by the border chiefs, and the duke of Albany, on assuming the regency, did his utmost to suppress the robberies and violations of the law that were continually taking place. On April 6, 1528, the earl of Bothwell, then a young man about sixteen, and Patrick Hepburn, master of Hales, and several others, their kinsmen and retainers, received a remission for their treasonably assisting George Lord Home, and the deceased David Home of Wedderburn, his brother, and their accomplices, being at the time the king’s rebels, and at his horn. towards the end of the same year he was, by King James, committed to prison for protecting marauders on the borders, and after being six months in confinement was only released on the recognizances of his friends to the amount of twenty thousand pounds. In December 1531, he secretly passed into England, and held a conference of a treasonable nature with the earl of Northumberland. On his return he was, by the king’s orders, seized and confined in the castle of Edinburgh, where he remained a considerable time, being still therein June 1533. King James the Fifth, determined to have peace on the borders, and considering Liddisdale as a nursery of freebooters, to be held in order only by the royal power, in September 1538 compelled the earl of Bothwell to resign it into his hands. It would appear [Pitscottie’s History, p. 237] that the earl was then banished the kingdom, when he is said to have gone to Venice. He appears to have returned to England in 1542, and to have engaged in treasonable negotiations with Henry the Eighth. At a parliament held at Edinburgh, 3d December 1542, the earldom of Bothwell, and many other estates, were annexed to the crown. The earl returned to Scotland soon after the death, 13th December 1542, of King James the fifth. After the arrest of Cardinal Bethune in the succeeding January, he and the earls of Huntly and Moray offered themselves as surety for his appearance to answer the charges against him, and demanded that he should be set at liberty, which was refused by the governor, Arran. He was also one of the Catholic lords, the earls of Huntly, Moray, and Argyle being the others, who met at Perth a powerful body of the barons and landed gentry, and a numerous concourse of bishops and abbots, and despatched a message to the earl of Arran, by Reid, bishop of Orkney, that the cardinal should be set at liberty, and that the New Testament should not be read in the vulgar tongue by the people, which of course could not be listened to; and being charged, under the pain of treason, to return to their allegiance, they did not dare to disobey, but sent in their adherence to the governor. He was present in parliament 15th Marcy 1543, when he instituted a summons of reduction of the pretended resignation of the lordship of Liddisdale and castle of Hermitage, said to have been made by him into his majesty’s hands. In this suit he was successful, as his estates were restored, and when the English ambassador, Sir Ralph Sadler, came to Scotland in that year, in order to negotiate a marriage between the infant queen Mary and the young prince, Edward of England, he found Bothwell in possession of Liddisdale. Sadler mentions him as opposed to that match and devoted to the French interest. In one of his letters, dated May 5th 1543, he thus describes him: ‘as to the earl of Bothwell, who hath the rule of Liddisdale, I think him the most vain and insolent man in the world, full of pride and folly, and heere nothing at all esteemed.’ [Sadler’s State papers, vol. i. p. 184.] In order to embroil the matrimonial negotiations with England, when Cardinal Bethune and the earl of Huntly assembled their forces in the north, and Argyle and Lennox theirs in the west, Bothwell, Home, and the laird of Buccleuch mustered their feudal array upon the borders. He joined at Leith the force of ten thousand men under Lennox, Huntly, and Argyle, when they marched to Linlithgow, and obtained possession of the young queen and conducted her in triumph to Stirling. He was one of the principal nobles who, in June 1544, signed the agreement to support the queen mother, Mary of Guise, as regent, instead of the earl of Arran. He became the rival of the earl of Lennox for the hand of the queen dowager, when both earls daily frequented the court, striving in magnificence of apparel and in all courtly games, to excel one another, but finding at length that this method of attracting her Majesty’s favour was somewhat costly, Bothwell wisely retired. He appears again to have, for a short time, changed sides, for a summons was raised against him for treasonably treating and counselling with the king of England in December 1542 against King James the Fifth, by the great gifts and sums of money received by him from Henry of England; for intercommuning with the earl of Hertford and the English army, when Scotland was invaded in May 1544, and for imprisoning Bute pursuivant, in Haddington, Crichton Castle, and Linlithgow, in July of that year. From this summons, however, he was assoilzied in parliament, on 12th December 1544. It was by the treachery of this earl of Bothwell that in January 1546 George Wishart was delivered into the hands of Cardinal Bethune. Wishart was in the house of Ormiston, about eight miles from Edinburgh, when the house was surrounded by Bothwell and a party of armed men sent by the cardinal to apprehend him. Mr. Cockburn, the proprietor of Ormiston, at first refused to open the door, but finding it in vain to resist, the earl and a few of his followers were admitted. After some expostulations Bothwell gave a promise, confirmed by an oath, that he would protect Mr. Wishart from the malice of the cardinal, and procure him a fair trial, or set him at liberty; on which Wishart was placed in his hands. The earl carried his prisoner to his own castle of Hales, and seemed at first to have some intention of performing his promise, but by the persuasion of the queen dowager, he was soon prevailed upon to break it. As an excuse, on the 19th January, he was brought before the governor and council, and commanded, under the highest penalties, to deliver up his prisoner. He complied with that command, and conducted Mr. Wishart to the castle of Edinburgh, whence he was immediately carried to the castle of St. Andrews, and soon after martyred. The earl of Bothwell, notwithstanding this service, was afterwards again imprisoned, and not released till after the battle of Pinkie, 10th September 1547. The first use he made of his liberty was to wait upon the duke of Somerset, the invading general, 17th September. On that occasion he is described as a ‘gentleman of a right cumly porte and stature and heretofore of right honourable and just meaning and dealing towards the king’s majesty (Henry the Eighth), whom, therefore, my lord’s grace did, according to his degree and merits, very friendly welcome and entertain.’ Indignant at his long and frequent imprisonments, he appears now to have wholly espoused the English interest, as an instrument, dated at Westminster 3d September 1549, sets forth that King Edward had taken him under his protection and favour, granting him a yearly rent of three thousand crowns, and the wages of a hundred horsemen, for the defence of his person and the annoyance of the enemy, and if he should lose his ands in Scotland in the English king’s service for the space of three years, promising to give him lands of similar value in England. [Faedera, vol iii. p. 173.] He died, (it is supposed in exile,) in September 1556. He married Margaret Home, said to be of the family of Lord Home, and had a son, James, fourth earl of Bothwell, the husband of Mary, queen of Scots, and a daughter, Jean, married, first, 4th January 1562, to John Stewart, prior of Coldingham, a natural son of King James the Fifth, by whom she was the mother of Francis, earl of Bothwell, of whom afterwards. She took for her second husband John, master of Caithness.

      James Hepburn, fourth earl of Bothwell, the unprincipled and ambitious nobleman who became the third husband of Mary, queen of Scots, was born about 1536, and was served heir to his father, 3d November 1556,. This ‘glorious, rash, and hazardous young man,’ as he is happily styled by Walsingham, was destined to act a principal part in the history of that turbulent period. Although a Protestant, he adhered to the party of the queen regent, and acted with vigour against the Lords of the Congregation. On 8th August 1559, along with Ker of Cessford and Maitland of Lethington, he was nominated, by commission from Francis and Mary, for settling differences on the borders. In October following, having learned that Cockburn of Ormiston had received four thousand crowns from Sir Ralph Sadler for the use of the Lords of the Congregation, he attacked and wounded him, and carried off the money. Sadler mentions that the earl of Arran and the Lord James Stewart, afterwards the Regent Murray, immediately went to Bothwell’s house, in the town of Haddington, with two hundred horsemen and a hundred footmen, taking with them two pieces of artillery, in the hope of finding him there, but a quarter of an hour previously he had received notice that troopers were entering the west port of the burgh in search of him; on which he fled down a lane called the Goul, to the Tyne, and running down the bed of the river for about one hundred and fifty years, stole into the house of Cockburn of Sandybed, by the backdoor, which opened to the river, changed clothes with the turnspit, whose duty he performed in Sandybed’s kitchen for some days, till he was enabled to make his escape. In return for his protection, Bothwell gave to Sandybed and his heirs and assignees, a perpetual ground annual, as it is called in Scotland, of four bolls of wheat, four bolls of barley, and four bolls of oats, to be paid yearly out of his lands of Mainshill, in the county of Haddington. This ground annual continued to be paid to the heirs of Cockburn till about 1760, when his descendant, George Cockburn of Sandybed, who, on succeeding to the estate of Gleneagles, in Perthshire, took the name of Haldane, sold it and his property of Sandybed to John Buchan of Letham, and soon after the latter sold and discharged this ground annual to Francis earl of Wemyss, then proprietor of Mainshill. [Douglas Peerage, edited by Wood, vol. i. p. 229, note.]

      In December 1559, Bothwell took the command of the French auxiliaries in Scotland. He afterwards went to France, where, by his dutiful demeanour and zeal in her service, he recommended himself to the young queen, Mary, then the wife of the French king, Francis the Second. In 1563 he returned to Scotland. Immediately thereafter, ‘great excitement was created in Edinburgh, by an act of violence perpetrated by the earl of Bothwell, with the aid of the Marquis d’Elboeuf and Lord John Coldingham. They broke open the doors of Cuthbert Ramsay’s house, in St. Mary’s Wynd, during the night, and made violent entry in search for his daughter-in-law, Alison Craig, with whom the earl of Arran was believed to be enamoured. A strong remonstrance was presented to the queen on this occasion, beseeching her to bring the perpetrators to punishment; but the matter was hushed up, with promises of amendment. Emboldened by their impunity, Bothwell and his accomplices proceeded to further violence. They assembled in the public streets during the night, with many of their friends. Gavin Hamilton, abbot of Kilwinning, who had joined the reforming party, resolved to check them in their violent proceedings. He accordingly armed his servants and retainers, and sallied out to oppose them, and a serious affray took place, between the Cross and the Trone. The burghers were mustered by the ringing of the town bells, and rival leaders were sallying out to the assistance of their friends, when the earls of Moray and Huntly, who were them residing in the Abbey, mustered their adherents at the queen’s request, and put a stop to the tumult. Bothwell afterwards successfully employed the mediation of Knox, to procure a reconciliation with Gavin Hamilton, the earl of Arran, and others of his antagonists.’ [Wilson’s Memorials of Edinburgh, vol. i. p. 73.] Soon after this he was banished the kingdom for being engaged in a conspiracy against thee earl of Moray. He returned home in 1565, and on May 2d of that year, he was denounced rebel and put to the horn for not appearing to answer an indictment for high treason, in conspiring to seize the queen’s person, &c., having proposed to the earl of Arran, with whom he had been lately reconciled, to carry off the queen to the castle of Dumbarton, ‘and thair keep her surelie, or utherwyse demayne hir person at your plesour, quhill scho aggre to quhatsumeuir thing ye shall desyre’ [Pitcairn’s Criminal Trials, v. i. part 2, p. 462]; the very method he himself afterwards adopted at Dunbar, to secure the queen’s hand. Arran revealed the plot to the queen at Falkland, and on being confronted in presence of her majesty and the lords of secret council, Bothwell denied the allegation, whereupon Arran challenged him to judicial combat, and both were committed to the castle of Edinburgh, from which Bothwell escaped, and was once more constrained to quit the kingdom. On the indictment being called in court, Alexander Hepburn of Whitsome, his kinsman, protested in his name against sentence of outlawry being passed against him, as he durst not appear at that time on account of the great convention of his enemies, by which his life was endangered. On the disgrace and expatriation of the earl of Moray and his friends, after the weak attempt at insurrection called the ‘Roundabout Raid,’ which arose out of their opposition to Mary’s marriage with Darnley, Bothwell and other lords, foes to that faction, were recalled from exile by the queen, to strengthen her own party. On February 22d, 1566, Bothwell married Lady Jean Gordon, daughter of the fourth earl of Huntly. After the assassination of Rizzio, on the 9th March that year, he acquired an undue influence over the mind of the queen. It is stated by Pennant [Tour, v. i. p. 70] that he made the first impression on her too susceptible heart, by once galloping, in full armour, down the dangerous steeps of the Calton hill, and leaping his steed into the ring, while a tournament was held in the adjoining valley of Greenside. This, however, appears to be nothing more than a tradition of the locality. He appeared to the queen the only one of the nobles who was sincerely attached to her, for she had found them all rude and stern, and engaged in fierce and ambitious designs against her. Hence, besides his attractive manners, handsome figure, and courtly address, the ascendancy which this profligate nobleman at this time obtained over her. He was appointed warden of the Three Marches, an office never before held by one person, created high admiral, and had a grant of the abbeys of Haddington and Melrose. By his interest his brother-in-law, the earl of Huntly, was constituted high chancellor of the kingdom, and no matter of importance was transacted without his advice. When the queen’s attachment to Darnley was converted into aversion, Bothwell’s insinuating address and unremitting assiduity had the effect intended on her warm and tender heart, and many instances of her partiality for him are given by contemporary historians; the most striking of which was the following: Having proceeded to Liddisdale to apprehend some marauders, Bothwell was, on 7th October 1566, attacked and wounded by one of them. The queen was then at Jedburgh holding a justice Court, and on hearing of his wound she evinced her feelings for him by riding from that town to Hermitage Castle, where Bothwell lay, a journey of twenty Scotch miles, through a country then almost impassable, and infested with banditti. Finding that the earl was not dangerously wounded she returned to Jedburgh that same night. This rapid journey and the anxiety of her mind on Bothwell’s account, threw her into a fever, and her life was, for a short time, despaired of. On her recovery, attended by Bothwell, she proceeded, 7th November, to Coldingham, whence she went to Dunbar and Tantallan, and arrived at Craigmillar, 17th of the same month. In the following December he accompanied her to Edinburgh, Stirling, and Drymen. Two months afterwards, namely, on the 10th of February, 1567, occurred the murder of Darnley, in which Bothwell was the principal actor. He had obtained a situation for one of his menials in the queen’s service, and so was enabled to obtain the keys of the provost of St. Mary’s house at Kirk-of-Field, where Darnley was lodged. He immediately caused counterfeit impressions of them to be taken. [Laing, v. ii. p. 296.] Shortly after nine o’clock on the evening of the 9th he left the lodgings of the laird of Orminston, (James Ormiston of that ilk), in company with whom and several of his own servants, his accomplices in the dark transaction that was about to ensue, he passed down the Blackfriars’ Wynd, entering the gardens of the Dominican monastery by a gate opposite the foot of the Wynd; and by a road nearly on the site of what now forms the High School Wynd, they reached the postern in the town wall, which gave admission to the lodging of Darnley. Bothwell joined the queen, who was then visiting her husband, while his accomplices were busy arranging the gunpowder in the room below, and, after escorting her home to the palace, he returned to complete his purpose. [See Documents illustrative of the murder of Darnley in Pitcairn’s Criminal Trials.] A loud explosion, about two o’clock in the morning, shook the whole town, and startled the inhabitants from their sleep; and at day dawn the dead body of Darnley and that of his page were found lying in the garden. On the 21st of February, the queen and Bothwell went to Seton, where they remained till the 10th of March, on which day they returned to Edinburgh. On 19th March Bothwell was appointed governor of Edinburgh Castle, when he nominated Sir James Balfour his deputy governor. On the 24th of the same month he again accompanied the queen to Seton, and on the 10th April they returned to the capital. The clamours of the people, and the remonstrances of the earl of Lennox, Darnley’s father, made it necessary for the queen to bring her favourite to trial; but on the day appointed, Saturday, 12th April, Bothwell appeared with such a formidable retinue as overawed his accusers. No witness were called to prove the guilt of such a powerful antagonist, and he was in consequence acquitted. Nor was this all. At a parliament held on the 19th he obtained the ratification of all the possessions and honours which the queen had conferred on him, and was farther appointed captain and keeper of the castle of Dunbar. But the sway which he had now acquired over Mary’s mind was shown more indisputably by an act in favour of the Reformed religion, to which, at this time, she gave her full assent. Immediately afterwards, viz., on the 20th April, Bothwell invited several of the nobles to an entertainment at his house, and at a late hour, when they were excited with wine, he opened to them his purpose of marrying the queen. By mingled promises and threats, he prevailed on all present to subscribe a paper or bond approving of the match, and engaging to support it, if acceptable to Mary, with their united forces, lives, and fortunes. Eight bishops, nine earls, and seven barons, signed this document, armed with which Bothwell, in accordance with his own former advice to the earl of Arran, resolved that she should not have the power to refuse him. On the 21st April, the queen went to Stirling to visit her son; on her return on the 24th, Bothwell, at the head of a thousand horse, met her at Cramond Bridge, and dispersing her slender train, conducted her, without the least opposition on her part, to the castle of Dunbar, where she remained for ten days, and where, it is said, he forcibly ravished her. From Dunbar he conveyed her to Edinburgh castle, and the preparations for their marriage were hurried on with indecent haste. On May 3d, he was divorced from his wife for adultery with her maid, and on the 7th his marriage with Lady Jean Gordon was formally annulled. On the 123th he was created marquis of Fife and duke of Orkney On the 14th the marriage contract of the queen and Bothwell was signed, and on the 15th their nuptials were publicly solemnized in the chapel of Holyrood, first according to the rites of the Protestant church, and afterwards, in private, in the Popish form, Adam Bothwell, bishop of Orkney, officiating at the former ceremony. That same night the distich of Ovid [Fasti, book v.] was affixed to the palace gate:

                        ‘Mense malas Malo nubere vulgus ait;’

and from the misery and ruin that sprung from this fatal union, is traced the vulgar prejudice that still regards it as unlucky to marry in the month of May.

      Bothwell was now anxious to secure the person of the young prince, for whose protection, almost as soon as the marriage was celebrated, a considerable body of the nobles had entered into an association at Stirling. Alarmed at this confederacy Mary issued a proclamation requiring her subjects to take arms for her defence. On the 7th June Bothwell and the queen went to Borthwick castle, whence the former proceeded to Melrose, to arrange an expedition against Lord Home, and then returned to the queen at Borthwick. On the 11th June the confederated lords appeared suddenly before that strong fortress. Bothwell, having timely warning of their approach, escaped hastily to Dunbar, wither two days afterwards he was followed by the queen. On the 15th, exactly one month after Queen Mary’s fatal marriage with this nobleman, the army of the queen and that of the confederated lords met at Carberry hill, on the same ground which the English had possessed at the battle of Pinkie. The forces of the queen, consisting of four thousand men of Lothian and the Merse, were commanded by Bothwell, having under him the Lords Seton, Yester, and Borthwick, with four barons of the Merse, viz. Wedderburn, Langton, Cumledge, and Hirsel; and those of the Bass, Waughton, Ormiston in Lothian, and Ormiston of that ilk in Tiviotdale. The confederate army was led by the Lord Home and the earl of Morton, afterwards regent. Gallantly arrayed in brilliant armour, Bothwell “showed himself, mounted on a brave steed;” and offered by single combat to decide the quarrel. His proffered gage was eagerly seized by Kirkaldy of Grange, but Bothwell would not accept of him as an opponent as being of inferior rank to himself. He likewise rejected Sir William Murray of Tullibardine, and his brother, Murray of Purdorvis, for the same reason. Bothwell then challenged Morton, who accepted the challenge, and the combat was appointed to take place on foot, but old Lord Lindsay of the Byres requested Morton to allow him to meet Bothwell instead, being his right as next of kin to the murdered Darnley. Morton consented, and Lindsay, kneeling down before both armies, audibly implored the Almighty to ‘strengthen the arm of the innocent, that the guilty might be punished.’ Twenty knights were to attend on each side, and the lists were in course of being marked out, when the other lords interdicted the combat. Some authorities say that Mary, making use of her royal prerogative, prohibited the encounter. She demanded a conference with Kirkaldy of Grange, who approached and knelt before her; and while he was urging the queen to separate herself from Bothwell, and join the confederates, who sought only the re establishment of order and good government, that unscrupulous and unprincipled nobleman secretly desired one of his harquebussiers to shoot him. The man was in the act of levelling his piece at the unsuspecting knight, when the queen observed him; uttering a scream, she threw herself before the harquebuss, and exclaimed to Bothwell that surely he would not disgrace her so far as to murder one to whom she had promised protection. [Life of Kirkaldy, p. 171.] Bothwell then took his last farewell of Mary, and rode off the field with a few followers. For a short time he took refuge among his vassals in the castle of Dunbar; then, equipping a few vessels, which, as lord high admiral, he was easily enabled to do, he proceeded by sea to the north, and remained for sometime with the earl of Huntly and his uncle, Adam Hepburn, bishop of Moray. He was soon, however, abandoned by them, when he sailed for Orkney. After in vain attempting to obtain admittance into the castle of Kirkwall, he plundered the town, and, retiring to Shetland with two small vessels, turned pirate. On 11th August a commission was granted, by the lords of the secret council, to Kirkaldy of Grange and Murray of Tullibardine, to pursue him by sea and land, with fire and sword [Anderson’s Collections.] The laird of Grange, on board the Unicorn of Leith, was accompanied in the pursuit of the obnoxious earl, by Adam Bothwell, bishop of Orkney, (of whom in next article), although not three months before he had performed the marriage ceremony for him and Mary. While pursued by Kirkaldy’s fleet a violent storm arose, and Bothwell’s ship, becoming unmanageable, was driven towards the coast of Norway, after parting company with the other vessel, which contained his plate, furniture, valuables, and armour, brought from the castle of Edinburgh. [Bothwell’s Declaration.] Off the Norwegian shore he fell in with a vessel richly laden, and immediately attacked it. After a desperate fight, despairing of victory, he resolved to seek safety in flight, leaving his ship stranded and bulged on a sandbank. In a small boat, alone and unattended, he reached Carmesund, in Norway. Thence he fled to Denmark, where his person being recognized he was put into close confinement in the castle of Draxholm. For eight years he languished in captivity, deprived of his reason, and in that unhappy condition he died 14th April, 1578.

                        “A fugitive among his own,
                        Disguised, deserted, desolate –
                        A weed upon the torrent thrown –
                        A Cain among the sons of men –
                        A pirate on the ocean – then
                        A Scandinavian captive’s doom,
                        To die amid the dungeon’s gloom!”


“Thus perished the chief of the Hepburns, whose sounding titles of ‘the most potent and noble prince, James, duke of Orkney,’ marquis of Fife, earl of Bothwell, lord of Hales, of Crichton, Liddisdale, and Zetland; high admiral of Scotland; warden of the three marches; high sheriff of Edinburgh, Haddington, and Berwick; baillie of Lauderdale; governor of Edinburgh castle and captain of Dunbar, only served to make the scene of the fettered felon, expiring in the dungeons of Draxholm, a more striking example of retributive fate, and of that guilty ambition, misdirected talent and insatiable pride, the effect of which had filled all Europe with horror and amazement.” [Life of Kirkaldy, p. 191.] Before his death, in an interval of returning reason, the miserable Bothwell confessed his own share in the murder of Darnley, and fully exculpated Mary from any participation in his crimes. He left no issue. Lady Jean Gordon, his first wife, who is described as a lady of great prudence, was afterwards twice married, first, on 13th December 1573, to Alexander, eleventh earl of Sutherland, who died in 1594; and secondly, to Alexander Ogilvy of Boyne. She enjoyed a jointure out of Lord Bothwell’s estates in Haddingtonshire, till her death in 1629, in the 84th year of her age. The earl of Bothwell was forfeited by the Scottish parliament 29th December, 1567, and thus the Hepburns were for ever deprived of the landed property and titles which they had enjoyed for so long a period, taking the first rank among the families of East Lothian.

      The narrative written by the last earl of Bothwell of the house of Hepburn, embracing his personal history after his flight from Scotland, his adventures on the coast of Norway, and imprisonment in Denmark, has been privately printed for the Bannatyne Club from the original in the royal library at the castle of Drottningholme in Sweden, and was presented to the members of the club by Messrs, Henry Cockburn and Thomas Maitland (Lords Cockburn and Dundrennan), under the title of ‘Les Affaires de Conte de Bodwell, l’An. MDXXVIII.’ An English translation also appeared in the ‘New Monthly Magazine,’ in which periodical the authenticity of the document if fully established. M. Mignet, the French historian, in a History of Mary Queen of Scots, in two volumes, published in 1851, attempts, from a collection of Mary’s letters said to be in the possession of Prince Labanoff, and certain Spanish manuscripts obtained by his own researches in the archives of Simancas, to prove Mary’s complicity in Darnley’s murder, but however guilty as a woman and faulty as a queen she might have been, and however far led away by her passion, for Bothwell, we hesitate to believe her so deeply criminal as to be a consenting party to the assassination of her own husband.


      The next and last possessor of the title of earl of Bothwell was Francis Stewart, eldest son of John Stewart prior of Coldingham, natural son of King James the Fifth, by Elizabeth, daughter of Sir John Carmichael, captain of Crawford. The prior obtained a legitimation under the great seal of Scotland 7th February 1551, and died at Inverness in 1563, when on a northern circuit with his brother, the earl of Moray. He had married, 4th January 1562, Lady Jane Hepburn, only daughter of Patrick, third earl of Bothwell, and sister of the turbulent earl, the murderer of Darnley. This marriage was celebrated at Seton house in East Lothian with great spendour, Queen Mary honouring the nuptials with her presence. Two sons were the issue, Francis and Hercules. Francis, the elder, was, by the special favour of King James the Sixth, in consideration of his descent from the Hepburns, created, 29th July 1576, earl of Bothwell, and had a grant of several lands, with the offices of sheriff-principal of the county of Edinburgh and within the constabulary of Haddington, and lord high admiral of Scotland. He was also appointed sheriff of the county of Berwick and bailiary of Lauderdale. This nobleman rendered himself remarkable by his restless disposition, and his several daring attempts to obtain possession of the person of the king. In his youth he went for a short time to France, but in July 1582 he returned to Scotland, and soon took part against James Stewart, earl of Arran, the most unprincipled of all the favourites of James the Sixth. In conjunction with Lord Home and the laird of Cowdenknows, he forfeited Kelso, and bade defiance to Arran’s power. Having a personal altercation with Sir William Stewart, Arran’s brother, in presence of the king at Holyroodhouse, Stewart gave him the lie in very rude language. A few days afterwards, on the 30th July 1588, they accidentally met in the High Street, when each had his retainers with him. A battle immediately ensued. Sir William, driven sown the street by the superior numbers of his opponents, retreated into Blackfriar’s Synd. There he was thrust through the body by Bothwell, and slain on the spot. [Birrel’s Diary. p. 13.] Feuds of this kind were so common at that turbulent period that little notice seems to have been taken of this affray, and Bothwell was never seriously prosecuted for it.

      In 1587, on the news reaching Scotland of the execution of Queen Mary, a strong desire was manifested to attack England, and avenge her death. Bothwell refused to put on mourning, and declared that the best ‘dule weed’ was a steel coat. In 1588, he aided the Catholic earls of Huntly, Errol, and Angus, in their rebellion against the king, and on James’ proceeding to the north he threatened to ravage the borders and compel his return, but his forces gradually left him, and when the king came back to Edinburgh he threw himself on his knees before his majesty in the chancellor’s garden, and was sent prisoner to Holyrood.

      On the 28th May 1589, with the earls of Huntly and Crawford, he was brought to trial on a charge of high treason and other crimes, and especially in trafficking with strangers, such as Jesuits and seminary priests, for the overthrow of the protestant religion. Bothwell was farther charged with having received from one Colonel Semple a thousand crowns, and from France, by the earl of Errol, the same sum, which he made use of to raise soldiers, without having his majesty’s commission to do so. They denied the principal charges but were found guilty of treason. The king, however, would not consent to their execution, and the matter was allowed to remain in abeyance for upwards of two years, when the earls of Huntly and Crawford received a full pardon [Pitcairn’s Criminal Trials, vol. i. part 2, pp. 172-181.] Lord Bothwell was imprisoned in Tantallan Castle, but after a few months he was released on payment of a heavy fine to the Crown. In October of that year, when King James went to Denmark on his marriage expedition, Bothwell and the duke of Lennox were appointed to govern the kingdom in his absence, and it is recorded that while they were at the head of the government, ‘greater peace, tranquility, and justice were not heard of long before.’ But on the return of the king his troubles commenced. In January 1591, a midwife of the name of Agnes Sampson, known as the ‘wise wife of Keith,’ and some other persons were burnt at Edinburgh for sorcery and witchcraft. By some of these persons the earl of Bothwell was accused of having consulted them, in order to know the time of the king’s death, and of having employed their art to raise the storms which had detained him so long in Denmark, as well as endangered the lives of the king and queen during their voyage to Scotland in the preceding year. Being in consequence cited to appear before the Secret Council, he obeyed the citation. According to Sir James Melville, he voluntarily surrendered himself a prisoner in the castle of Edinburgh, very naturally insisting that ‘the devil, wha was a lyer from the beginning, nor yet his sworn witches, aucht not to be credited.’ In the “Historie of King James the Sext,’ we are told that after appearing before the lords of the secret council he was ‘committed to prison within the castle of Edinburgh, till farther trial should be taken of him. For the king, at the persuasion of Chancellor Maitland, suspected the said Bothwell, that he meant and intended some evil against his person, and remained long constant in that opinion divers years after. The king wrote to all the nobility at diverse times to convene for his trial, but they all disobeyed, because they knew that the king had no just occasion of grief nor crime to allege against him, but only at the instigation of Chancellor Maitland, whom they all hated to the death for his proud arrogance used in Denmark against the earl Marischal.’ The latter was ambassador extraordinary to the Danish court. After lying twenty days in prison, Bothwell, on the 22d June 1591, effected his escape from the castle of Edinburgh, by the agency of one Lauder, captain of the watch, whom he gained over, and who fled with him. On this it was resolved to put in force his former conviction    for treason. On the 25th of the same month, sentence of forfeiture was pronounced against him at the cross of Edinburgh, and it was declared high treason for any one to ‘reset, supply, show favour, intercommune, or have intelligence with him.’ The earl fled to the borders, and assembled his retainers, under pretence of driving Chancellor Maitland from the king’s councils. On the 2d August a proclamation was issued for the pursuit of the earl, and the king resolved to march against him in person. On the 7th, however, the king issued another proclamation dispensing with the attendance of those whom he had summoned to arms, as he had abandoned the proposed expedition against Bothwell. On the 27th of December, the earl repaired to Edinburgh, and being favoured by some of the king’s attendants, he was admitted with his followers, late in the evening, into the courtyard of Holyroodhouse, in which the king was then residing. He advanced directly towards the royal apartments, the doors of which were instantly shut. He attempted to force open some of them with hammers and other weapons, and called for fire to burn others, but the alarm being communicated to the city, the inhabitants ran to arms. An attack was also made on the queen’s apartments, on the supposition that the king was there, but the door of the gallery was ably defended by Henry Lindsay, the master of her majesty’s household, and the king was conveyed for safety to a turret above. During the fray a gentleman named Scott, brother of Scott of Balwearie in Fife, was shot in the thigh, and the king’s master-stabler, named William Shaw, was killed, as was also one with him named Peter Shaw. The earl was at last repulsed, and made his escape with difficulty but eight of his men were taken, and on the following morning they were hanged without trial, on a new gallows that was erected opposite the palace gate for the purpose. [Birrel’s Diary.] For this extraordinary attempt to seize the king, Bothwell and his accomplices, among whom we find his countess, James Douglas of Spott, Archibald Wauchope, younger of Niddry, John Hamilton of Samuelston, and other country gentlemen, were attained in parliament, 12th July 1592. On the 17th of the same month he and his partisans made another desperate attempt in Falkland palace to seize the person of the king, who, betrayed by some of his courtiers, and feebly defended by others, had very nearly fallen into their hands. He owned his safety to the fidelity and vigilance of Sir Robert Melville, and the irresolution of Bothwell’s followers. Foiled in this enterprise, the earl fled to England, where he was taken under the protection of Queen Elizabeth. His countess, who had been left in Scotland, was received into the royal favour on the 17th November, but on the 23d of the same month a proclamation was issued ordering that no one ‘should reset her, give her entertainment, or have any commerce of society with her in any case.’ This lady was Lady Mary Douglas, eldest daughter of David, seventh earl of Angus, and widow of Sir Walter Scott of Buccleuch, who died in 1574. All resetters and assisters of Bothwell having been ordered by parliament not to approach nearer to the royal presence than ten miles, and many of them having disobeyed, on the 8th December, a warrant was issued to the lord provost and magistrates of Edinburgh to apprehend Dame Margaret Douglas, countess of Bothwell, Archibald Wauchope, younger of Niddrie, John Hamilton of Samuelston, Sir James Scott of Balwearie, Andrew Ker of Ferniehirst, Walter Scott of Harden, and several others, all avowed partisans of the outlawed earl. A great variety of proclamations were at this time issued against Bothwell and his adherents, and a number of persons were denounced rebels for resetting him and his accomplices. The Criminal Records of the period are full of such denunciations, and even the town of Kelso did not escape prosecution for the same offence. On the 12th of May 1593, the inhabitants, with only one exception, a person named William Lauder, were ordered to find security that they shall ‘satisfy his Majesty’s will in silver, providing the same shall not exceed the sum of two thousand merks.’ On the 17th, judgment was given against them, and they were ordered to pay a fine of ‘seventeen hundred merks, and to find caution in the Baikis of Secret Counsall that they shall not resett, supplie, or intercommune with the said sometime earl or his accomplices, furnish them meit, drink, house, nor harbery, under whatsomever collour or pretence, under the penalty of two thousand punds.’ [Pitcairn’s Criminal Trials, vol. i. part ii.] On the 1st June of that year (1593) ‘the sometime earl,’ and four others, namely, Gilbert Pennycuik, John Rutherford of Hunthill, elder, Thomas Rutherford of Hunthill, younger, and Simon Armstrong, younger of Whitehaugh, were summoned ‘for certane crymes of treasone and lesemajestic,’ at the instance of Mr. David Macgill and Mr. John Skene, ‘advocates to our sovereign lord.’ In this summons, which is a long document in Latin, the invasion of the palaces of Holyroodhouse and Falkland, and other matters, are all recapitulated. On this occasion the previous ‘summons and executions’ were produced, with letters of relaxation, dated March 16, 1592-3, bearing that Bothwell had been ‘relaxit frae the process of horning led against him.’ On the 21st of July, the earl was ‘called of new,’ as it is termed, at the window of the Tolbooth of Edinburgh, and failing of course to appear, he was solemnly declared a traitor, his property was confiscated, and his armorial bearings were torn by the heralds at the Cross in the presence of a great number of spectators.

      Bothwell had still many powerful friends, especially among the noblemen and gentlemen of his own name of Stewart, and it is said that Queen Elizabeth herself interceded with James for his pardon. The repeated proclamations against him, in which he and his resetters were denounced with the utmost rigour, had excited a vast sympathy in his favour, and many, especially the enemies of the court favourites, viewed him as a persecuted individual. a number of his friends held a meeting at Edinburgh, and it was resolved to take advantage of the odium which Chancellor Maitland had recently incurred, to invite Bothwell to appear before the king, and to ‘offer himself to his clemency and mercy.’ Accordingly, he was invited back to Scotland by the duke of Lennox, the earl of Athole, and Lord Ochiltree, all noblemen of his own name, to whom he was related. On the 24th July 1593, only three days after he had been solemnly declared a traitor, this daring and rebellious peer seized the gates of the palace of Holyroodhouse, and, accompanied by a person of the name of Colville, brother of the laird of Easter Wemyss, was introduced into the royal apartments with a numerous train of armed followers The king, deserted by his attendants and incapable of resistance, called to Bothwell to consummate his treasons by piercing his sovereign to the heart; but the earl fell on his knee and implored pardon. James yielded from necessity to his entreaties, and a few days afterwards he signed a capitulation, whereby he pledged himself to grant him a remission of all past offences, to procure a ratification of it in parliament, and to dismiss Chancellor Maitland from his councils and presence. Bothwell, on his part, promised to withdraw from the court, and, ‘by reason the original cause of his trouble was the suspicion of witchcraft, he offered himself to trial by whomsoever of his majesty’s subjects he should please to appoint upon the jury, and a short day was assigned to that effect.’ The trial accordingly took place on 10th August, when Bothwell was acquitted of consulting with witches against the king’s life. That same night he slept at Holyroodhouse, and detected a plot for the escape of the king to Falkland, which he prevented from being carried into effect, and the next day he gave a banquet to his Majesty at his house in Leith. He now became the leader of the English party and of the Kirk. His enemies, Lord Home, Chancellor Maitland, or more property Lord Thirlstane, the Master of Glammis, and Sir George Home, were banished the court, and on the 26th July a proclamation was issued in favour of the earl of Bothwell, his countess, James Douglas of Spott, and others, charging the lieges that ‘nane of them tak upon hand to slander, murmur, reproach, or backbite the said earl and his friends.’ His triumph, however, was of short duration. On the 7th of September, at a convention of the nobility and others at Stirling, called by the king, and which was attended only by the duke of Lennox, the earls of Glencairn, Mar, Morton, and Montrose, and Lords Hamilton, Lindsay, and Livingstone, with two or three commissioners for the boroughs, his majesty entered into a long detail about Bothwell and his proceedings, alleging that the earl kept him in thraldom and captivity, that he had been compelled to grant him a remission of his offences against law and his own free will, and he desired that they should by their general votes acknowledge the same. The convention, however, unanimously answered that ‘captive he could not be esteemed, seeing that since his last talking with Bothwell at Holyroodhouse he had been at Falkland, next at Edinburgh, and last of all at extreme liberty and pastime for the space of many days in the palace of Hamilton, unaccompanied by any suspected person on the part of Bothwell;’ and they farther declared that they really ‘could not condescend to his majesty on that point.’ All that the king could persuade them to sanction was a declaration, on the 13th of September, that ‘his Highness, as a free prince, may at his peasure xall sik of his nobilitie, counsall, officers, and others gude subjects as his Highness has, or best shall like;’ and Bothwell and certain individuals were ordered not to approach nearer the king than ten miles without the royal permission. A memorial signed by the king was also transmitted to the earl, who was then residing in Edinburgh, intimating that if he would renounce the former conditions extorted by force in Holyroodhouse, being a breach of the royal prerogative, a remission would be granted for all past offences, which would be ratified by the parliament to be held on the 20th of November, the earl finding security that he would forthwith retire out of the kingdom, and remain ‘furth of the same’ during the king’s pleasure. The king at the same time wrote to him to proceed to the prior of Blantyre and Sir Robert Melville, to confer with them on the subject; but, fearing that some plot was concocted against him, his lordship sent an excuse. On the 121th October he was served with a summons to appear before the king and council on the 25th, to answer sundry charges of high treason; and, having failed to appear, he was denounced a rebel. On the 11th of December he was put to the horn, and repeated proclamations were issued against him. On the day last named Birrel mentions that he fought a duel with Ker of Cessford. Retiring to the borders, the earl succeeded in raising a force of five hundred moss-troopers, with which he entered Kelso on the evening of the 1st of April, 1594, and on the following day he marched to Dalkeith. At that time considerable excitement prevailed in the kingdom, occasioned by some correspondence which had been carried on by the earls of Huntly, Errol, and other roman Catholic noblemen and gentlemen, with Spain, the chief object of which was believed to be the subversion of the Protestant religion in Scotland, and the restoration of popery. Of this Bothwell cleverly took advantage to create a feeling in his favour. While at Dalkeith, he issued a long proclamation, in which he made the correspondence with Spain a prominent topic of grievance. He also addressed letters to the English ambassadors on the subject, and one to his ‘right reverend and loving brethren,’ as he calls them, ‘the synodal assemblie of ministers then convenit at Dunbar.’ On the 3d of April he proceeded to Leith with between four and five hundred troopers, accompanied by Lord Ochiltree and several partisans of inferior rank. On hearing that the earl was at Keith, the king proceeded to St. Giles’ church, and addressing the people he declared to them that if they would assist him against Bothwell he would banish all the Catholic lords. A large body of the citizens mustered at his call, and headed by James in person, marched to Leith. Bothwell had drawn up his men in battle-array on the south-west side of that town, but as soon as he perceived the force under the king advancing from Edinburgh, he retreated to Hawkhill near Restalrig castle, which overlooks Lochend, and then at an easy pace he passed through the village of Restalrig, and proceeded to the mill at Wester Duddingstone, about a mile and a half distant. Thence he continued his march with the utmost leisure to the little village of Niddry Marischal, on the property of Wauchope of Niddry, whose eldest son was one of his chief supporters, and had been often prosecuted on his account. Ascending an eminence called the Wowmat, he dismissed his followers; (according to Douglas they abandoned him;) reserving only a few. Lord Home, the Master of Glammis, and others, were commanded by the king to pursue the earl with both horse and foot. On their approach to Niddry Green, they sent forward three gentlemen to view the ground, but being perceived, the earls watches fell upon them, and compelled them to return to their friends. Bothwell and his few attendants immediately charged Home and Glammis, with great impetuosity, and forced them and their followers to flee in every direction. He pursued them till within half-a-mile of the spot where the king stood. The foot fled to the neighbouring castle of Craigmillar, upon the field in front of which Bothwell sounded a retreat, in sight of the king and his supporters, and marched back unmolested to the Wowmat, whence he proceeded to Dalkeith, where he remained during the night, and on the following day betook himself to the south From Birrel’s Diary and Pitcairn’s Criminal Trials, it appears that in 1594, several persons were executed for receiving and entertaining Bothwell, among whom was the governor of Blackness castle, who was accused of agreeing with the earl to receive the king as a prisoner in that fortress. On the 16th September the same year a proclamation was issued, declaring it treasonable to have any intercourse with his lordship, and on the 30th of that month, another appeared, rehearsing all his treasons, and asserting that his ‘dissembled hypocrisy this three years past had procured to him the favour of ower mony of people, by the quhilk he was enabled to work all this insolencies against his Highness.’ His brother, Hercules Stewart, suffered on the scaffold the same year.

      Bothwell fled to England, but Queen Elizabeth, in compliance with the earnest remonstrances of James, obliged him to leave her kingdom. James had also influence enough with the presbyterian ministers to induce them to excommunicate him. After an abortive attempt to join Huntly and the Catholic lords in another rebellion, the earl fled to Caithness, whence he was compelled to retire for safety to France, and afterwards to Spain and Italy, where he renounced the protestant faith, and lived many years in obscurity and indigence, plunging into the lowest and most infamous debauchery. He died at Naples, in the year 1624, in great misery. Before engaging in his treasonable attempts, he had made over his large estates to his stepson, Sir Walter Scott of Buccleuch, in whose family then remained long after the earl’s attainder. Bothwell had three sons and three daughters. Francis, the eldest son, obtained a rehabilitation under the great seal of Scotland 30th July 1614, which was ratified by act of parliament 28th June 1633. the titles were never restored, but according to Scott o Scotstarvet, the last ear of Bothwell’s eldest son received from the earl of Buccleuch, by decret arbitral  of Charles the First, the extensive estates of his father, which he sold to the Winton family, having married Lady Isabella Seton, only daughter of Robert first earl of Winton. The offspring of this marriage was a son and a daughter. The son Charles is stated, on the authority of Scott of Scotstarvet, to have been a trooper in the civil wars. He was served heir to his father in 1647. His name and that of his sister, Margaret, are entered in the parish register of Tranent, from which is appears that he was born in April 1618. John, the second son of the earl, was the last commendator of Coldingham, and he got the lands and baronies which belonged to that priory united into a barony in 1621. On the 2d June 1638 his son Francis had a charter of the burgh of barony of Coldingham. In the Memoirs of Captain Creighton [Swift’s Works, vol. xiv. p. 297] it is stated that Francis Stewart, grandson of the earl of Bothwell, was a private gentleman in the Horse Guards in the reign of Charles the Second, by whom he was made captain of dragoons, and he commanded the cavalry on the left in the action against the Covenanters at Bothwell Bridge in 1679. The reader of Scott’s works will readily remember the Sergeant Bothwell of Old Mortality. Henry Stewart, the earl’s third son, had also a charter of the lordship of Coldingham in 1621. Of the earl’s three daughters, Elizabeth, the eldest, married James, second son of William first Lord Cranstoun, and was the mother of William the third lord. Margaret, the second, became the wife of Alan, fifth Lord Cathcart, without issue; and Helen, the youngest, married Macfarlane of Macfarlane, by whom she had several children.


      The surname of BOTHWELL is of great antiquity, being derived from the lordship of Bothwell in Lanarkshire. The name Botheville, Bothel, Boethwell, Bothell, or Bothwell, has been supposed to have originated in the Celtic Both, an eminence, and wall, a castle, the castle of Bothwell standing considerably elevated above the Clyde. A more probably conjecture is, that it is a compound of the two Celtic words Both, in its signification of a dwelling and ael or hyl, a river, which is strictly descriptive of Bothwell castle, as it is also of the castle of Bothell or Bothall in Northumberland, situated on the Wentsbeck. In the reign of Alexander the Second the barony of Bothwell was held by Walter Olifard, justiciary of Lothian, who died in 1242. The writer of the genealogy of the Bothwells, Lords Holyroodhouse, in the Appendix to ‘Nisbet’s System of Heraldry,’ (vol. ii. p. 242,) quoting the Chartulary of the Episcopal See of Glasgow, thinks it highly probable that the Olifards got the barony of Bothwell by the marriage of an heir female of the surname of Bothwell. [See OLIPHANT, surname of.] it afterwards passed by marriage to the Morays or Murrays. In the time of King Edward the First it was given to Aymer de Valence, earl of Pembroke, appointed by him governor of the south part of Scotland. Upon his forfeiture, it was bestowed by King Robert the Bruce on Andrew Moray, lord of Bothwell, who married Christian, sister of that monarch.

      The ancestor of the noble family of Bothwell, Lords Holyroodhouse, was John de Bothwill, who received from King David the Second a charter (dated at Dundee, 31st July 1369), in which he is styled his beloved cousin, of ten pounds sterling and four chalders of grain yearly, due to the king from the thanage of Doun in Banffshire, for his life, and another 19th April 1371, of all his majesty’s lands of the park of Gargwoll in the same shire, also for his life. The family of Bothwell fixed their residence in Edinburgh, where they ranked among the principal citizens, and near which city they had a considerable estate in lands. Richard Bothwell was provost of Edinburgh in the reign of King James the Third. He married Elizabeth, daughter of William Sommerville of Plean in Stirlingshire, by whom he had two sons and a daughter. The second son, Richard Bothwell, was prebendary of Glasgow and rector of Ashkirk, doctor of the civil and canon laws, and provost of the church of St. Mary in the Fields, within the walls of the city of Edinburgh. He was director of the Chancery in the reign of King James the Fifth, by whom he was appointed a lord of session, at its first institution, 25th May, 1532. On account of his advanced age the king dispensed with his attendance, 7th march 1539, but reserved to him his salary and privileges. [Haig and Brunton’s Senators of College of Justice.] He died in 1547. The daughter, Margaret, married Sir Duncan Forrester of Garden, comptroller to James the Fifth in 1503.

      Francis Bothwell, the eldest son, was likewise appointed a senator of the College of Justice on its first institution, on the temporal side, while his brother, Dr. Richard Bothwell, was named on the spiritual side. Francis had a charter of two pieces of waste ground in Edinburgh, and served the office of provost of that city in 1535. He married Janet, one of the two daughters and coheirs of Patrick Richardson of Meldrumsheugh, burgess of Edinburgh, with whom he got lands in the neighbouring regality of Broughton. He had two sons and a daughter, namely, Richard, provost of Edinburgh in the reign of Queen Mary, whose male line is extinct, and Adam, the celebrated bishop of Orkney, of whom a notice follows. Janet, the daughter, married Sir Archibald Napier of Merchiston, and became the mother of John Napier, the inventor of the logarithms.

      Adam Bothwell, the second son, was preferred to the see of Orkney by Queen Mary, 8th October 1562, after being duly elected by the chapter, and on 13th November 1565, he was appointed a lord of session. He was one of the four Scottish bishops who embraced the Reformation, and as he had in his own person the property of the bishopric of Orkney, he made an excambion of the greater part of it with Robert Stewart, abbot of Holyroodhouse, one of the natural brothers of the queen, for his abbey, which was ratified by a charter under the great seal of Scotland, 25th September 1569. He was one of the eight bishops who signed the bond granted by the nobility to the earl of Bothwell, engaging to support his marriage with Queen Mary (see ante), and, as already stated, he performed the marriage ceremony between them according to the rites of the protestant church. He was one of the first to desert the party of the queen, and only two months after her fatal marriage with Bothwell, he placed the crown on the head of her infant son. At the meeting of the General Assembly in December of that same year (1567), “the haill kirk found that he transgressed the act of the kirk in marrying the divorced adulterer; and, therefore, deprived him of all functione of the ministrie, conforme to the tenor of the act made thereupon, ay and whill [until] the kirk be satisfied of the sclander committed be him.” [Booke of the Universall Kirk of Scotland, p. 71.] In the Assembly held in July 1568, the bishop made due ‘obedience and submission,’ and engaged “upon some Sonday to make ane sermone in the kirk of Halyrudehouse, and in the end thereof to confess his offence in marrying the queene woith the earle of Bothwell,” whereupon the kirk restored him again to the ministry. The same year (1568) the ancient barony of Broughton and the surrounding lands comprehended within its jurisdiction, were granted to him by James the Sixth, but in 1587 he surrendered them to the Crown, in favour of Sir Lewis Bellenden of Auchnoul, lord-justice-clerk. The bishop was much employed in matters of state, and in September 1568, he accompanied the Regent Moray to York as one of the commissioners against Queen Mary. For his opposition to the Regent Morton, he was for a short time imprisoned in the castle of Stirling. He died 23d August, 1593, at the age of 67, and was interred in the nave of the Abbey Church of Holyrood, where a monument was erected to his memory. [Keith’s Scottish Bishops.] This monument is still to be seen in the ruined chapel, attached to the second pillar from the great east window that once overlooked the high altar. By his wife, Margaret, daughter of John Murray of Touchadam, he had three sons and one daughter, the latter married to Sir William Sandilands of St. Monance. A vignette view of the bishop’s mansion in Brye’s Close, High Street, Edinburgh, (now the warehouse and property of Messrs, Clapperton and Co.,) as seen from the north, is given in Wilson’s Memorials of Edinburgh, vol. ii. p. 7.

      A tradition exists that the heroine of the touching ballad, named “Lady Ann Bothwell’s Lament,’ beginning

                        ‘Balow, my boy, lie still and sleip!
                        It grieves me sair to see thee weip;’

was a daughter of Adam Bothwell, bishop of Orkney. Mr. Robert chambers, in his Scottish ballads, speaking of this pathetic lament, has committed a mistake when he says that the bishop was raised to a temporal peerage, under the title of Lord Holyroodhouse. It was his son, and not himself, who was the first Lord Holyroodhouse. His daughter, anna, it is said, was betrayed, when very young and by the aid of her nurse, into a disgraceful connexion with the Hon. Sir Alexander Erskine, third son of John, seventh earl of Mar, of whom a portrait still exists by Jamieson, in which he is represented in a military dress, with a cuirass and scarf. He is said to have been one of the handsomest men of his time, with a noble and expressive countenance. The desertion of his unfortunate victim was believed by his contemporaries to have exposed him to the signal vengeance of heaven. He was blown up, along with the earl of Haddington, and about eighty other persons of distinction, in the castle of Dunglas, Berwickshire, in 1640, the powder magazine having been ignited by a servant boy, out of revenge against his master. In the ballad, supposed to have been written by the heroine herself, who was at one time conjectured to have been the countess of Bothwell, and another a Miss Boswell of Auchinleck, the following verses seem prophetic of his fate:

                        “Balow, my boy; they father’s fled,
                        When he the thriftless son has play’d.
                        Of vows and oaths forgetful, he
                        Prefers the wars to thee and me.
                        But now, perhaps, thy curse and mine
                        Makes him eat acorns with the swine.

                        “Yet I can’t chuse, but ever will
                        Be loving to thy father still;
                        Where’er he gae, where’er he ride,
                        My luve with him doth still abide.
                        In weel or wae, where’er he gae,
                        My heart can ne’er depart from frae.

                        “Then curse him not; perhaps now he,
                        Stung with remorse, is blessing thee;
                        Perhaps at death; for who can tell,
                        Whether the judge of heaven or hell
                        By some proud foe, has struck the blow,
                        And laid the dear deceiver low.

                        “I wish I were into the bounds
                        Where he lies smothered in his wounds –
                        Repeating, as he pants for air,
                        My name, whom once he called his fair.
                        No woman’s yet so fierxely set,
                        But she’ll forgive, though not forget
                                    Balow, my boy; lie still and sleip!
                                    It grieves me sair to see thee weip.”

These two last verses, however, are not to be found in the version of the ballad in Bishop Percy’s collection, which differs considerably from that in chambers’ Scottish Ballads.

      John Bothwell, the eldest son of the bishop, designed of Alhammer, succeeded his father as commendator of the abbey of Holyroodhouse, and was appointed a lord of session, 2d July 1593. Enjoying the favour and confidence of King James the Sixth, he was sworn of his privy council, and accompanied him to England in 1603. On the journey he received the keys of the town of Berwick, in his majesty’s name. He was created a peer by the title of ‘Lord Halyrudhous,’ by charter dated at Whitehall, 20th December 1607. to him and the heirs make of his body, whom failing, to the heirs male of Adam, bishop of Orkney, his father, whom failing, to his own lawful and nearest heirs. His lordship married Mary, daughter of Sir John Carmichael of Carmichael, with whom he got twelve thousand marks of portion, and died in November 1609, leaving an only son, John, second Lord Holyroodhouse, who died, unmarried, in 1635. The title remained dormant for ninety-nine years.

      William Bothwell, third son of Adam bishop of Orkney, had a son, Adam Bothwell, whose grandson, Alexander Bothwell of Glencorse, as lineally descended from Sir Richard Bothwell, provost of Edinburgh, the bishop’s elder brother, served himself heir before the sheriffs of Edinburgh, 4th February, 1704, to his grandfather, Adam Bothwell of Whelpside, grandchild of Sir Francis, the provost, as also to the second Lord Holyroodhouse. He married Janet, daughter of John Trotter of Mortonhall, by whom he had a son, Henry Bothwell of Glencorse, who was served heir to John Lord Holyroodhouse, 8th February 1734, and presented to the king a petition claiming the title. This petition was by his majesty’s commands laid before the House of Lords, 20th March 1734, but no determination was ever come to respecting it. He nevertheless assumed the title, and died in the Canongate, Edinburgh, 10th February 1755. By his wife, Mary, daughter of Lord Niel Campbell of Ardmaddie, second son of Archibald marquis of Argyle, he had five sons and four daughters, None of his sons had make issue, and the peerage may now be said to be extinct.

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