James Stewart, 1st Earl of Moray

James Stewart, 1st Earl of Moray

James Stewart, 1st Earl of Moray (c. 1531 – January 23, 1570) was Regent of Scotland from 1567 until his assassination in 1570.

Moray was the illegitimate son of King James V of Scotland and Lady Margaret Erskine, daughter of John Erskine, 5th Lord Erskine.

After the return of his half-sister Queen Mary in 1561, he became her chief adviser, and was created Earl of Moray by her the following year. In 1562 he defeated a rebellion by George Gordon, 4th Earl of Huntly, at the Battle of Corrichie near Aberdeen. About this time Moray married Anne (d. 1583), daughter of William Keith, 4th Earl Marischal.

After Moray opposed Mary's marriage to Lord Darnley in 1565, he embarked upon the unsuccessful 'Chaseabout Raid', together with the Earl of Argyll, and the Hamiltons. He was subsequently declared an outlaw and took refuge in England. Returning to Scotland after the murder of David Rizzio, he was pardoned by the Queen. He contrived, however, to be away at the time of Darnley's assassination, and avoided the tangles of the marriage with Bothwell by going to France. After the abdication of Queen Mary at Loch Leven, in July 1567, he was appointed regent of Scotland. When Mary escaped from Loch Leven (May 2,1568), the Duke of Chatelherault and other nobles rallied to her standard, but Moray gathered his allies and defeated her forces at the Battle of Langside, near Glasgow (May 13, 1568), and compelled her to flee to England. For this and the subsequent management of the kingdom he secured both civil and ecclesiastical peace, and earned the title of "The Good Regent."

Moray was assassinated in Linlithgow in January 1570 by Hamilton of Bothwellhaugh, a supporter of Mary.

In Popular Culture

Notable media depictions of Moray include Patrick McGoohan's portrayal of James Stewart (pre-Regency) in the 1971 film "Mary, Queen of Scots".



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