James Stewart, 1st Earl of Buchan

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James Stewart, 1st Earl of Buchan (1442–1499) was a Scottish noble. He was the uncle of James III of Scotland who was granted the Earldom of Buchan. Buchan repaid him by fighting for his cause against rebellious southern barons. Through his marriage to Margaret Ogilvie he acquired the title Lord Auchterhouse.


James Stewart was the second son of Sir James Stewart, the Black Knight of Lorne, and Joan Beaufort, the widow of James I of Scotland.[1] "Hearty James" was a younger brother of John Stewart, 1st Earl of Atholl, and a younger half-brother of James II of Scotland and Princess Margaret Stewart, first wife of Louis XI of France.[citation needed]

In 1467, his nephew James III granted him and his wife the lands of the Baronies of Strathalva and Down, with the Castle of Banff and the fishings of the water of River Deveron. In 1469, James III conferred on James the Earldom of Buchan (first of the third creation).[1] James III conferred the estate of Traquair was on Dr. William Rogers, an eminent musician, and one of his favourites. After holding the lands for upwards of nine years, Dr. Rogers sold them for an insignificant sum, in 1478, to Buchan.[2]

When the southern barons entered into a conspiracy against the King, the Earl of Buchan naturally remained loyal. The King soon crossed the River Forth, and passed into the northeastern counties, where a strong force rallied around him. He then marched southward, and came in sight of the rebellious barons at Blackness in West Lothian, and the Earl of Buchan attacked and drove back the left wing of the insurgent army.[1]

Negotiations were opened, and the Earl of Buchan insisted on severe measures against the insurgent nobles; but George Gordon, 2nd Earl of Huntly and William Hay, 3rd Earl of Erroll were opposed to this, and they retired to the north. It was evident, however, that Buchan’s view was right. A pacification was arranged in May, 1488, in which the barons promised to return to their allegiance and maintain the rights of the Crown and the peace of the kingdom; and thereupon the King disbanded his army and returned to Edinburgh.[1]

However the rebellion continued and on 11 June 1488 at the Battle of Sauchieburn King James III and was defeated and killed. The victorious barons passed the night on the field of battle. On the following morning they proceeded to Linlithgow, issued a proclamation, and immediately seized the Royal treasure and the reins of Government. The Earls of Buchan, Huntly, and Lennox, Lord Forbes and others, who had fought for James III, were summoned to appear before Parliament and answer to a charge of treason.[3]

Parliament met at Edinburgh on 6 October 1488, and proceeded to consider the position of those who had been summoned for treason. The Earl of Buchan appeared and tendered his submission; and he was pardoned and restored to power. None of the others who was cited appeared, and consequently their possessions were placed at the disposal of Parliament.[4]

In 1491 Buchan conferred Traquair, on his natural son, James Stewart (see below).[2] Buchan died in 1499, and was succeeded by his son, Alexander, 2nd Earl of Buchan.[4]


Before 1467 James Stewart married Margaret Ogilvie, the heiress of Sir Alexander Ogilvie of Auchterhouse.[1] They were parents to two children:[citation needed]

Buchan had several illegitimate children with his mistress Margaret Murray (b. ca. 1446), many of whom were later legitimized by a royal charter issued in 1488–1489.[citation needed]



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Mackintosh 1898, p. 103.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Taylor1889, p. 67.
  3. Mackintosh 1898, pp. 103, 104.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Mackintosh 1898, p. 104.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Taylor 2012, The Stewarts of Traquair.
  6. http://thepeerage.com/p10832.htm#i108317


  • This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Taylor, James (1889). The great historic families of Scotland. 2. London: J.S. Virtue. p. 67.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Mackintosh, John (1898). Historic earls and earldoms of Scotland. W. Jolly. pp. 103, 104.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

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