William Maitland of Lethington, 1525-1573

William Maitland of Lethington was a man of great wit and learning from a well-connected, but not noble, Scottish family. He had been educated at St. Andrews and the French Court. His loyalties were not based on any strong religious conviction, but Knox converted him to be a Reformer in 1556. Although his brilliance as […]

James Douglas, 4th Earl of Morton 1516-1581

David and James Douglas were a bit lucky. They were the sons of Sir George Douglas of Pittendreich, the younger brother of Archibald, 6th Earl of Angus. Sir George had been a loyal supporter of Angus, his brother, fighting on behalf of the English party in Scottish politics. Angus had married Princess Margaret Tudor, by […]

Lord James Stewart, Earl of Moray & Regent of Scotland, 1531-1571

Lord James Stewart, born in 1531, was the son of James V by his mistress Margaret Erskine, daughter of the Earl of Mar. She later claimed to have been secretly married to the King to promote his legitimacy, but this might have proved more plausible if she had not been married to Sir Robert Douglas […]

The Erskine Claim to the Earldom of Mar

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When I started writing ‘The Challenge to the Crown‘, I undertook a significant amount of research into my wife’s grandmother’s family, the Erskines. The Erskines laid claim to the Earldom of Mar, the senior Scottish Earldom, although they gained this by marriage. This account shows the initial fragility of their claim and explains the reasons […]

Differences between the Ogilvys and the Gordons

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Sir John Gordon’s attempt to claim the estates of Ogilvy of Cardell In researching my book ‘The Challenge to the Crown’, I came across the story of Sir John Gordon’s brawl in Edinburgh with Sir Alexander Ogilvy of Deskford in June 1562. Having studied the genealogy of the named participants it became clear that their […]