James III


James III

James III was a deeply unpopular Stewart king who followed many of the policies his father and grandfather had attempted. He was held by the Boyd family when he ascended to the throne at the age of nine and they ruled in his name. When James finally took power for himself in 1469 he was quick to punish the Boyd's just as his father had done with the Livingston family. James continued to confiscate land from various noble families, he imprisoned his brothers and pursued alliance with England paying scant regard to justice at home.

James made himself more hated by lavishing wealth on a small group of favourites in his court. He refused to travel in order to dispense justice and preferred to stay at Edinburgh or later Stirling Castle.

On the plus side through marriage to Margaret of Denmark he was able to add the Orkney and Shetland Islands to Scotland. He also had a reputation as a patron of the arts and his coinage was the first to bear a true likeness of the monarch.

James' policy of peace with England broke down around 1480 and Edward IV invaded in 1482, James was arrested by some of his own nobles led by the Duke of Albany and imprisoned in Edinburgh Castle. Many of the king's favourites who had made the nobles so jealous were executed. Albany ruled for a brief period before James was restored to his throne but sadly the king paid little attention to this warning and continued his unpopular policies of pursuing peace with England and confiscating land.

The nobles had been denied power and wealth and they would not stand for it, eventually with the king becoming increasingly isolated at Stirling, a group of rebels confronted James at the Battle of Sauchieburn and he was defeated. The king died in the aftermath of the battle and his son (who had been in the opposing army) was crowned a few days later.