[MR] Wikipedia: Assassination of James I of Scotland

Garth Groff and Sally Sanford mallardlodge1000 at gmail.com
Fri Feb 21 02:30:35 PST 2020

Noble Friends, Especially Fellow Scots,

On this date in 1437, King James I of Scotland was assassinated at
Blackfriars Abbey in Perth by a party of his disgruntled nobles. King James
I of Scotland (1394-1437) is not to be confused (though he often is) with
King James I of England (1566-1625), the latter also being James VI of

The King James in question was one of the more ruthless and nasty of the
whole ill-fated mess of Stewarts that ruled, or too often misruled
Scotland. [As you might gather, I don't think much of the Stewarts, even
though my real Napier ancestors were among their staunch supporters.]

James had been captured by English pirates while on his way to France for
safekeeping during a period of typical Scottish unrest in 1406. The pirates
promptly shopped him to the English king Henry IV. James spent the next 18
years as a "guest" of the English, or perhaps you could say a pampered
prisoner. The English hoped to make James into a pliable Scottish ruler.
Henry gave his "guest" a fine English education, allowed him the freedom of
the court, and eventually had him married off to Joan Beaufort, daughter of
one of Englands most powerful men. After the next king, Henry V, died while
campaigning in France, the regents sent James back to Scotland with £30,000
hotel bill in 1424. A number of substitute hostages, sons from leading
Scottish families, were sent south to ensure the sum was eventually paid.

If the English thought they had tamed the Scots through James and were
going to get their investment back, they were wrong, wrong, wrong. James,
with his butt now firmly back on the Scottish throne, stiffed the English
and left the hostages to rot and die in prison. Then he went to work
enhancing his own position and revenues by eliminating the heads of many
Scottish families and seizing their lands for his own use. He was
particularly nasty to his own Albany Stewart relatives and to the powerful
Douglas family.

James seemed to have a talent for alienating just about everybody, even the
commons --  one of his acts was to ban the very popular sport of foot ball
(sort of like a riotous form of rugby, where the aim was less to score
points than to knee your opponents in the the jewels).

So shortly after midnight on 21 February 1437, a group of outraged nobles
entered Blackfriars Abbey where James and the Queen were lodging. Alerted
by the commotion, James fled down a storm drain. Unfortunately, he had
ordered a grate added to said drain's outfall to prevent his tennis balls
being flushed into the river. Trapped at the end of a sewer against bars of
his own making, James was daggered to death by many thrusts in the approved
Scottish fashion -- an undistinguished end to an undistinguished king.

You can read more about James and his intrigues at
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_I_of_Scotland .

His son and successor, James II, was an even bigger flop, really a true
monster, but we will save his end for another time.

Yours Aye,

Mungo Napier, Laird of Mallard Lodge  🦆

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