Home >  The Court and Household of James I of Scotland, 1424-1437 Nicola R. Scott A thesis submitted in fulfillment of the

The Court and Household of James I of Scotland, 1424-1437 Nicola R. Scott A thesis submitted in fulfillment of the







The Court and Household of James I of Scotland, 1424-1437


Nicola R. Scott














A thesis submitted in fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy


University of Stirling
November 2007

i
Contents


Page No.

Declartion ii

Abstract ii

Acknowledgements iv

Abreviatons vi

Chapter 1: Introduction: the Historiography and
Methodology of Studying the Medieval
Scottish Royal Court 1-20

Part One: Court and Household: Organisation and Personnel

Chapter 2: Developments Under James I, 1424-1437 21-56

Chapter 3: The Greater nobility at Court & in the Household 57-92

Chapter 4: Officers and Administrators 93-125

Part Two: Court and Household: Culture and Expression

Chapter 5: The King?s Works: Architecture 126-185

Chapter 6: Literature in the Court and Household 186-238

Chapter 7: Religion and Devotion in the Court & Household 239-314

Chapter 8: Conclusion: The King Incomplete 315-332

Appendices: Household Officers 333-340
Exchequer Audits, dates, auditors & locations 341
Sienna Fresco 342
Architectural Images 343-349
Projected Devotional Calendar 350-353
Projected Itinerary 25 March 354-355
Projected Itinerary 24 June 356-357

Bibliography 358-383


ii
Declaration

I hereby declare that this thesis has been composed by myself, and that the work which it
embodies has been done by myself and has not been included in any other thesis.

Signed______________________________ Date_______________


















iii
Abstract
This thesis examines the importance of the royal court and household in
Scotland during the reign of James I (1424-37). The medieval royal court and household
has received little concentrated attention in recent Scottish studies. However, a
significant body of published research exists elsewhere in Britain and Europe which
shows the importance of this arena for other kingdoms at this time. These studies have
emphasised how the court and household was an important centre for politics and culture
in the medieval period, indicating how a similar study of the Scottish evidence is
essential for a fuller understanding of James I?s reign.
Through a variety of sources, the composition of James?s household and court
affinity has been examined. It is evident from this that James lacked an appropriate
body of companions and high-status administrative officers for a medieval ruler and this
was to have significant consequences for his reign. Additionally, by looking at some of
the cultural aspects of the royal court, in particular the architecture, literature and
religion, a clearer picture of the socio-political dynamics and tensions of James I?s reign
emerges. In contrast to the generally held view of James as a politically successful,
strong and active monarch for much of his reign, this study instead indicates a king who
failed to establish an attractive and useful court and household that could be exploited
for royal political gain. With his failure to establish a suitable court and household,
James was a king incomplete and it is the contention that this contributed significantly to
the king?s assassination.


iv
Acknowledgements
I must offer thanks to the Arts and Humanities Research Council (formerly the
Arts and Humanities Research Board) who provided a studentship to fund my PhD
research, allowing more time to be dedicated to study than would otherwise have been
the case. I am grateful also to the Bank of Mum and Dad who have generously provided
assistance of a financial nature (as well as moral support), not to mention a roof over my
head, over the last months of writing up.
The staffs of the National Library of Scotland, The National Archives of
Scotland, the National Archives and the University of Stirling Library have all been
most helpful and patient in answering queries.
Moral support has been provided by many individuals. Vikki has given
incalculable levels of support, listening to me complain, allowing me to talk things
through and nagging me into much needed breaks! Thanks to which I am not quite as
insane as I might otherwise have been! Andy also provided much needed distractions
and has kept my various computers up and running, for which I am very grateful. Phil
provided a willing ear and the loan of his photographic talents. Joan helped to take my
mind off things by reminding me it could be worse: I could have to work with the
General Public! Thanks also to her parents, Harry and Marie, for taking the time to read
through a draft! Edith has been a source of strength I cannot imagine being without.
Inez, Matt and Wei of D21 fame provided a great deal of support, giving some much
needed light relief. More recently, Val has taken over this role of providing comic
interludes and interesting diversion, not to mention putting up with my moans!
Necessary down time was also provided by Amanda, through movie nights, gossip
v
sessions and dinner parties, all of which forced me away from the laptop for a while.
Before her departure, Delia helped with this too, and afterwards provided a well-timed
offer of a trip to Hawaii. I have also benefited from support from Helen, especially in
these last few weeks. I cannot say how much it has helped. Jane, Bramble and Bracken
have dragged me out for nice long walks, although I will never forgive Bramble for the
cow incident! Peter also made sure I stopped for caffeine breaks now and again. Of
course, little of my PhD would have been possible without the help of Eileen
Bebbington, who taught me Latin. It is thanks to her skills that I have not gone the way
of the Ancient Romans. To all of you, I cannot say how much your help, support and
encouragement has meant. I think I must thank also the staff of the Department of
History, who have followed my progress with interest. And who have long-sufferingly
consumed the products of my stress-induced baking fits.
Above all, I must give thanks to whatever Gods look after PhD students for my
supervisor, Dr Michael Penman. His insightful comments, continual enthusiasm and
seemingly endless patience have kept me going through some tough times. It is no
exaggeration to say that without him, this thesis would be in far worse shape, if in any
shape at all. The fact that it has passed under the watchful eyes of my other supervisor
Professor Richard Oram, also has much to do with its current state, and I am grateful for
his detailed critique. It should be noted that errors remain my own. However, I hope
that, in the words of Walter Bower, ?the merciful reader will kindly tolerate my
imperfection.?
This thesis is dedicated to my grandfather, Archie Scott (1919-1995), who first
introduced me to Linlithgow Palace.
vi
Abbreviations

Allmand, Henry V Allmand, Christopher, Henry V (London, 1992)

APS Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland, T. Thomson &
C. Innes (eds.), 12 vols. (Edinburgh, 1814-75)

Asch & Birke, Princes Patronage
and the Nobility Asch, R.G. & Birke, A.M. (eds.), Princes
Patronage and the Nobility. The Court at the
Beginning of the Modern Age, c.1450-1650
(Oxford, 1991)

Balfour-Melville, James I Balfour-Melville, E.W.M., James I, King of Scots,
1406-1437 (London, 1936)

Boardman, Early Stewart Kings Boardman, S., The Early Stewart Kings, Robert II
and Robert III (East Linton, 1996)
Boece The Chronicles of Scotland Compiled by Hector
Boece, translated into Scots by John Belllenden,
1531, Scottish Text Society (Edinburgh, 1941)

Brown, James I Brown, Michael, James I (East Linton, 2000)
CDS Calendar of Documents Relating to Scotland, J.
Bain (ed.), 5 vols. (Edinburgh, 1881-8)

Chron. Bower Bower, Walter, Scotichronicon, 9 vols. D.E.R.
Watt et al (eds.) (Aberdeen, 1987-1998)

Chron. Wyntoun (Laing) Wyntoun, Andrew of, The Orygynale Cronykil of
Scotland, 3 vols. D. Laing (ed.) (Edinburgh, 1872-
9)

CPR Calendar of Entries in the Papal Registers
Relating to Great Britain and Ireland: Papal
Letters, W.H. Bliss, et al, (eds.), 16 vols (London,
1893)

CSSR Calendar of Scottish Supplication to Rome, 4 vols.
A.I. Dunlop et al (eds.) (Edinburgh & Glasgow,
1934-1983)
Devon, Issues of the Exchequer Devon, F., Issues of the Exchequer; Being a
Collection of Payments Made out of His Majesty?s
vii
Revenue from King Henry III to King Henry VI
inclusive (London, 1837)

Downie, ?Sche is but a Womman? Downie, F. ??Sche is but a Womman?: the Queen
and Princess in Scotland, 1424-63? (Unpublished
University of Aberdeen PhD thesis, 1998)

Downie, She is But a Woman Downie, F. She is But a Woman: Queenship in
Scotland, 1424-1463 (Edinburgh, 2006)

ER The Exchequer Rolls of Scotland, J. Stuart et al
(ed.), 23 vols. (Edinburgh, 1878-1908)
Fasti Watt, D.E.R. & Murray, A.L. (eds.), Fasti
Ecclesiae Scotincanae Medii Aevi ad Annum 1638,
Revised edition, Scottish Record Society
(Edinburgh, 2003)

Given-Wilson, The Royal Household
and the King?s Affinity Given-Wilson, Christopher, The Royal Household
and the King?s Affinity: Service, Politics and
Finance in England, 1360-1413 (New Haven &
London, 1986)

Harris, Henry V Harriss, G.L. (ed.), Henry V: the Practice of
Kingship (Stroud, 1993)

The Kingis Quair McDiarmid, M.P. (ed.), The Kingis Quair of James
Stewart (London, 1973) [Unless otherwise stated.]

McGladdery, James II McGladdery, C., James II (Edinburgh, 1990)

MacKinlay, Ancient Church
Dedications: Scriptural MacKinlay, James Murray, Ancient Church
Dedications in Scotland: Scriptural Dedications
(Edinburgh, 1910)

MacKinlay, Ancient Church
Dedications: Non-Scriptural MacKinlay, James Murray, Ancient Church
Dedications in Scotland: Non-Scriptural
Dedications (Edinburgh, 1914)

NAS National Archives of Scotland

Nicholson, Later Middle Ages Nicholson, Ranald, Scotland: the Later Middle
Ages (Edinburgh, 1974)

viii
Oram, ?Community of the Realm? Oram, R. D., ?Community of the Realm: the
Middle Ages? in The Architecture of Scottish
Government

RCAHMS Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical
Monuments of Scotland, Reports

RRS Regesta Regum Scottorum, vol.6, B. Webster (ed.)
(Edinburgh, 1982)

RMS Registrum Magni Sigilli Regum Scotorum, J.M.
Thomson & J.B. Paul (eds.), 2 vols. (Edinburgh,
1882-1914)
Rot. Scot. Rotuli Scotiae in Turri Londinensi et in Domo
Capitulari Westmonasteriensi Asservati, D.
MacPherson (ed.), 2 vols. (London, 1814-1819)

Shirley, The Dethe of the King
Of Scotis Shirley, John, ?The Dethe of the Kyngs of Scotis?,
in L.M. Matheson (ed.), Death and Dissent: Two
Fifteenth-century Chronicles (Woodbridge, 1999)

SHR Scottish Historical Review

SP Paul, J.B. (ed.), The Scots Peerage, 9 vols.
(Edinburgh, 1904-14)

1
Chapter 1 ? The Court and Household of James I: Historiography and Sources

The reign of James I has received some significant attention from historians of
medieval Scotland, not least from that king?s two biographers, E.W.M. Balfour-Melville
and Michael Brown. Balfour-Melville, writing in the 1930s, was the first to give an
account of James?s reign while Brown in the 1990s produced an updated account of
James?s personal rule. Other writers, such as A.A.M Duncan, Ranald Nicholson and
Alexander Grant, have also discussed the rule of the first James in a significant amount
of detail.
1
However, as Grant himself has noted, the focus of all these works has
primarily been on the political aspects of the reign, largely sidelining the role and
significance of the royal court and household.
2

Balfour-Melville concentrates particularly on the constitutional nature of the
reign, making little reference to the court or household, except in passing. For instance,
he briefly discusses the main household officers but does not analyse the exact
relationships between the officers and appears to ignore lesser positions. Balfour-
Melville also declines to explore how James chose his household officers and does not
examine changes throughout the reign. There is also no real concern in this work to
place the court and household within the context of the reign as a whole or to suggest
what implications this may have had for James?s rule. Brown also writes from a
political viewpoint, focusing on magnate relations and exploring the court only in

1
E.W.M. Balfour-Melville, James I, King of Scots 1406-1437 (London, 1936); M. Brown, James I (East
Linton, 1994, 2000); A.A.M. Duncan, James I: King of Scots, 1424-1437 (Glasgow, occasional paper,
1984) 2
nd
ed.; R. Nicholson, Scotland. The Later Middle Ages (Edinburgh, 1974); A. Grant, Independence
and Nationhood, Scotland 1306-1469 (Edinburgh, 1984).
2
A. Grant, ?Service and Tenure in Late Medieval Scotland, 1314-1475? in Curry & Matthew (eds.)
Concepts of Service in the Later Middle Ages (Woodbridge, 2000), 145.
2
relation to its political function, stating, for example, that by 1430 the court was the
renewed focus of magnate activity as a result of the displays of royal power in the
preceding years.
3
Brown highlights this argument with a discussion of a situation in
1429 when a ?complex family quarrel? was creating problems in Carrick, resulting in the
?unparalleled attendance of James?s earls on his daily council?.
4
However, there is no
systematic analysis of court attendance during the whole reign and thus there is little
discussion of the extent to which nobles wished to be at court or whether they were
driven there by political necessity. This makes it difficult to determine precisely how
accurate Brown?s picture is. Court style is discussed only briefly in Brown?s study,
focussing upon a limited account of funds spent on the building of Linlithgow Palace,
and James?s expenditure in Flanders, and has little to say on the court?s cultural
significance or on household organisation.
5
Thus, James?s two main biographers are
generally unconcerned with a key facet of medieval kingship.
Other historians follow a similar line. Nicholson, for example, scarcely goes
beyond a statement that items imported from Flanders suggest a luxurious court.
6
Grant
discusses household administration briefly but again detailed analysis is absent and there
is no real attempt in either of these general works to place developments in the
household and court within the context of the reign as a whole. The only thorough
published study of the household in this period focuses on one specific officer, the
Comptroller.
7
The office of Comptroller originated in England where he was in charge
of ?the receipts and issues of the treasurer?s office of household?, and was third in power

3
Brown, James I, 113.
4
Ibid. 125-129.
5
Ibid. 113-114.
6
Nicholson, The Later Middle Ages, 319.
7
A. Murray, ?The Comptroller, 1425-1488? in Scottish Historical Review, vol.52 (1973), 1-29.
3
after the Steward and Treasurer, although in Scotland, he soon came to be the chief
accounting officer of the household.
8
Murray?s paper is a ground-breaking study, as it
details the development of one of the key offices of the medieval Scottish household.
However, it far from aids the understanding of the royal household as a unit in this
period or its relationship to the court. This is especially the case for James?s reign, as
much of the paper is concerned with the period after 1437. Only recently have studies
appeared that have begun to redress this imbalance, notably Katie Stevenson?s recent
articles on the court of James I and on chivalry at the court of James II.
9
However, a
large-scale study of the medieval royal court in Scotland is still wanting.
The fact that so much of Scotland?s medieval history has been written from a
political viewpoint is not particularly surprising, given Richard Evans? contention that
many still view history as being essentially political history.
10
Partly, this is due to
surviving evidence, which makes a political route the most obvious choice; charters and
Acts of Parliament, for example, easily lend themselves to discussions of the politics of
a period. However, this gives a somewhat unbalanced view of an important period in
Scotland?s history. The household was the centre of government in the medieval era and
the court provided visual confirmation of the monarch?s status. This was important in
the medieval period as it acted to pronounce and promote a prince?s reputation both
within his own kingdom and in the wider international context. A study of the royal

8
A.R. Myers, The Household of Edward IV. The Black Book and the Ordinance of 1478 (Manchester,
1959).
9
Stevenson, K., ?Contesting Chivalry: James II and the Control of Chivalric Culture in the 1450s? in
Journal of Medieval History, 33 (2007), 197-214; Stevenson, K. ??Recreations to refresh the spirits of his
followers?: Walter Bower?s revelations on cultural pursuits at James I of Scotland?s court? in Recherches
Anglaises et Nord Americaines (2007), vol.40, 197-214
10
R. J. Evans, In Defence of History (London, 1997), 162.
4
court and household is thus essential for a fuller understanding of the successes and
failures of James I?s reign and its violent conclusion.
A key problem that emerges when studying the court is the lack of any
universal model from which to proceed. Norbert Elias?s thesis was, until recently,
extremely influential for court historians.
11
Elias?s argument, based on the court of
Louis XIV of France (1643-1715), saw the court as an instrument used by the king to
control the nobility.
12
However, Jeroen Duindam has recently weakened this by
disproving the thesis with specific studies of French and German courts between 1450
and 1800, concentrating on the later seventeenth century.
13
John Adamson has provided
further support for Duindam?s view by arguing against the idea that monarchs, to
centralise their authority, exploited the court,
14
pointing out the dangers of imposing
modern ideas of the growth of the centralised state onto past societies. Ronald Asch has
also pointed out the difficulty in transferring this idea to other courts at other times.
15

As Rosemary Horrox states, there is a tendency to see ?the court? as an early-modern
phenomenon, an idea predicated on the change in style that was evident over the
centuries.
16
However, as Horrox again points out, it is not correct to say that just
because seventeenth century Versailles was a court that anything from an earlier period
was not.
17
Thus, it would seem there is great difficulty in arriving at a single model for
the study of the princely court. Accordingly, it may be that even if the royal court in

11
M. Vale, The Princely Court: Medieval Courts and Culture in North-west Europe (Oxford, 2001), 17.
12
N. Elias, The Civilizing Process (Oxford, 1994).
13
J. Duindam, Myths of Power: Norbert Elias and the Early Modern European Court (Amsterdam,
1994).
14
J. Adamson (ed.), The Princely Courts of Europe, 1500-1750 (London, 2000), 10.
15
R.G. Asch, ?Court and Household from the Fifteenth to the Seventeenth centuries? in Princes,
Patronage and the Nobility, 3.
16
R. Horrox, ?Caterpillars of the Commonwealth? Courtiers in Late Medieval England? in Archer &
Walker (eds.) Rulers and Ruled in Late Medieval England (London, 1995), 2.
17
Ibid.
5
Scotland at this time was different to other European courts of the same period, it is not
satisfactory to say that there was no court in Scotland.
18

However, there is perhaps one suggestion that may bear particular examination
in relation to Scotland. Werner Paravinci has argued that as the power of the Dukes of
Burgundy grew, they sought to integrate the nobles into court life as a means of binding
them to the dynasty and that in doing so, were able to increase their influence further.
19

They achieved this in part through an expansion of bureaucracy, increasing the number
of positions available at court through the introduction of part-time service; Paravinci
suggests a fourfold increase in the size of the Burgundian court between 1426/7 and
1474.
20
This provided the dukes with a greater opportunity to influence nobles and the
localities. The nobles would be in a situation where they could carry information to the
court from the various regions of the duchy, as well as report to the dukes about local
issues. Such knowledge was essential for the duke to rule effectively. Furthermore, the
dukes retained the court as the centre of political power despite an increasing tendency
to separate administrative functions from the court. There does need to be some
distinction here between hereditary nobles, and those men who achieved status through
service to the ruler. The extent to which James utilised these distinct groups can reveal
much about his relationship with such men and the possible consequences this created.
While the different political and geographical circumstances in Burgundy
prevent it from being used as a direct model for Scotland, the situation there does
provide a useful starting point. How far Scotland?s rulers were attempting to centralise

18
It should be noted that there is no specific argument that medieval Scotland had no royal court.
However, the topic has received little attention.
19
W. Paravinci, ?The Court of the Dukes of Burgundy: a Model for Europe?? in Princes Patronage and
the Nobility, 69-102.
20
Ibid., 78.
6
government in this period has been a matter of some debate. Some historians have
suggested that there was no pressure or desire for centralisation of government in
Scotland, while others have argued that the opposite was in fact the case.
21
However,
Michael Brown has argued that James I was acutely keen to focus authority in his own
person, making a study of his reign particularly helpful in testing current assumptions
regarding monarchy and government in later medieval Scotland. Indeed, the fact that
James introduced new household positions such as the Comptroller and Treasurer does
imply that he was seeking to expand government administration. This, combined with
his ultimately unsuccessful efforts to reform parliament would suggest that James was
indeed trying to centralise authority.
22
However, the extent to which this occurred is
something that requires further investigation, particularly with reference to the court and
household.
Uncertainty over a model for the study of the court and household is further
emphasised by the problems that arise in determining precisely what these terms mean.
Walter Map, a ?gossip writer, courtier, ambassador, and itinerant justice? in the
administration of Henry II (1154-1189)
23
, writing on the court, could only state ?in the
court I exist and of the court I speak, but what the court is, God knows, I know not?.
24

This uncertainty is understandable. While there is general agreement among historians
that the court was wherever the prince was, in fact, that it required the king?s presence,

21
R.S. Rait, The Parliaments of Scotland (Glasgow, 1924); Grant, Independence and Nationhood; J. M.
Brown, ?The Exercise of Power? in J. M. Brown (ed.), Scottish Society in the Fifteenth Century (London,
1977); M. Brown, ?Scotland Tamed? Kings and Magnates in Late Medieval Scotland: a Review of
Recent Work? in The Innes Review, vol. XLV (1994), 120-146.
22
An Act of 1426 stated that all prelates, earls, barons and freeholders who were tenants in chief were
bound to personally attend parliament. This proved unpopular and a compromise was reached in 1428
that meant barons and freeholders would be represented by elected members from each Sheriffdom.
23
W.L. Warren, Henry II, new edition (Yale, 2000), 301.
24
Walter Map, De Nugis Curialium, quoted in Vale, The Princely Court, 16.
7
and comprised not only the location but also the circle of companions that accompanied
him, it is not so straightforward.
25
It is impossible to define this arrangement with any
precision. As Horrox has pointed out, courts were protean places and varied according
to the preferences of the ruler, as well as the size of his income.
26
Gervase Mathew
illustrates this point with a comparison of the courts of Edward III (1327-1377) and
Richard II (1377-1399).
27
Mathew argues that Edward?s court was geared more to war,
while Richard?s was more formal and marked by elaborate ceremonial. This, he
suggests, was due to the long minority that Richard experienced, making him more
anxious to emphasise his status (a point that may also be true of James I of Scotland),
and to Edward?s greater preoccupation with the French wars. Yet, some recent work has
suggested that this view needs to be revised and indicates that Edward III?s court did
possess a more ceremonial atmosphere. Excavations at Windsor in 2006 revealed
foundations for a Round Table building, at which Edward and his court would have
participated in jousts, feasts and dances.
28
However, it should be noted that this
structure was not long-lived. Additionally, there were still very strong military
connotations to Edward III?s chivalric interests. It has been suggested that the chivalric
festivities of 1344 were part of a ?recruitment drive? to win support for a forthcoming

25
A. Weir, Henry VIII: King and Court (London, 2002); Vale, The Princely Court; D. Loades, The Tudor
Court (1986); Horrox, ?Caterpillars of the Commonwealth??; J. Adamson (ed.), The Princely Courts of
Europe, 1500-1750; Asch & Birke, Princes, Patronage and the Nobility. A similar idea seems to have
been held in fifteenth century Scotland. Although referring to a noble rather than the king, Andrew of
Wyntoun refers to those accompanying the Earl of Mar to England as his ?Court?. Chron.Wyntoun
(Laing), iii, bk.9, l.2890.
26
Horrox, ?Caterpillars of the Commonwealth??, 2. David Loades also suggests this in ?The Renaissance
Court: England, Florence and Burgundy, c.1420-1520? in Medieval History, Vol.1, No.3. (1991), 106-
120.
27
G. Mathew, The Court of Richard II (London, 1968).
28
J. Munby, R. Barber & R. Brown, Edward III?s Round Table at Windsor (Woodbridge, 2007).
8
campaign in France and that tournaments were usually held to mark the end of military
campaigns.
29

Different political circumstances could also affect the court. Malcolm Vale has
indicated this with reference to France, where the king could spend more lavishly as
there was no parliament to call for a reduction in expenditure as there was in England
and Scotland.
30
There is thus a good case for determining how the particular politics of
the reign affected James I?s court and in turn how the court affected the political climate.
Furthermore, some historians have attempted to argue that there was no such thing as a
royal court in the medieval period,
31
contending that the royal court was simply a
grander version of the noble household.
32
Again, this necessitates an examination of
James?s court, particularly as it has been suggested that James was seeking to elevate
himself above the level of his nobility in terms of status. Both of James?s immediate
predecessors, Robert II and Robert III had to contend with being perceived as little
different from their great nobles, although their courts were probably not significantly
different to other European courts of the period, in terms of the type of issues that were
important.
33


29
Ibid. 77-8.
30
M. Vale, Charles VII (London, 1974), 219. For a full examination of the Scottish parliament in this
period see R. Tanner, The Late Medieval Scottish Parliament, Politics and the Three Estates, 1424-1488
(East Linton, 2001), which argues for a stronger role for the parliament than allowed by earlier historians
such as Rait in The Parliaments of Scotland.
31
For the Lancastrian court, see Scattergood & Sherborne (eds.), English Court Culture; D.A.L. Morgan,
?The House of Policy? in Starkey (ed.), The English Court from the Wars of the Roses to the Civil War.
32
L. Hopkins, Queen Elizabeth I and her Court (London, 1990). For the view that the royal household
was intrinsically different to the noble see K. Mertes, The English Noble Household, 1250-1600 (Oxford,
1988).
33
As discussed in the following chapters, Robert II and III and their sons were clearly interested in
tournaments, hunting, literature, music, architecture and displays of piety, all important in the medieval
royal court. However, there would necessarily have been differences between their courts and those of
their southern and European counterparts, due to finance issues and also the fact that Robert II and III
were forced into political exile for significant periods of their reigns. The precise level of continuity as
9
Further confusion arises from the difficulty of separating the court from the
household. It has already been stated that the court existed wherever the king was, and
Asch has suggested that the household could exist without the king.
34
However, the
court was dependant on the household for organisation and administration.
35
Thus, no
study of the court can be complete without a similar undertaking concerning the
household, particularly with regards to medieval Scotland where the household was still
nominally peripatetic, although it was becoming increasingly static in this period.
The household performed several basic functions, making it much easier to
define. These included catering for the domestic needs of the king, serving as the centre
of government, acting as the personal finance department of the king and providing him
with a bodyguard at all times and with the core of his army in times of war.
36
Indeed,
Christopher Allmand has stated that an able household was important in helping the king
to rule and Balfour-Melville argues that the household was still the core of executive
government in James?s reign.
37
Since the aforementioned areas were functions that had
to be performed on a regular basis, the household had to be a much more stable entity,
while the court could change on an almost daily basis depending on the time, place and
occasion. The military role of the household was particularly important, and Given-
Wilson has argued that this capability was crucial in the establishment and maintenance

opposed to change between the courts of James I and his father and grandfather is difficult to determine as
little work has been undertaken on the Scottish royal court as a whole for the earlier period.
34
Asch & Birke, Princes, Patronage and the Nobility, 9.
35
Vale, The Princely Court; Asch & Birke Princes, Patronage and the Nobility; A.G. Dickens, The
Courts of Europe: Politics, Patronage and Royalty, 1400-1800 (London, 1977).
36
C. Given-Wilson, The Royal Household and the King?s Affinity (Yale, 1986), 1; J.O. Prestwich, ?The
Place of the Royal Household in English History, 1066-1307? in Medieval History, vol.1, no.2 (1991), 37-
52; J. Catto, ?The King?s Servants? in G.L. Harriss (ed.) Henry V: the Practice of Kingship (1993);
Loades, ?The Renaissance Court?; J. MacKinnon, The Constitutional History of Scotland (London, 1924);
C.M. Woolgar, The Great Household in Late Medieval England (New Haven & London, 1999), especially
chs. 2 & 3; Adamson (ed.), The Princely Courts of Europe.
37
C. Allmand, Henry V (London, 1992), 2; Balfour-Melville, James I, 354-5.
10
of kingship.
38
Additionally, Jeremy Catto has emphasised this with reference to Henry
V, whom, he feels, would have been unable to achieve military victory in France without
the organisational skills of his household.
39

The household could have a more symbolic function as well. Richard Firth
Green has suggested that a large household was essential to the king who wished to
display his status and authority.
40
Chastellain, a fifteenth-century chronicler in the
service of the Dukes of Burgundy wrote, ?after the deeds and exploits of war?the
household is the first thing that strikes the eye, and which it is, therefore, most necessary
to conduct and arrange well?.
41
Awareness of this issue in medieval Scotland can
perhaps be seen in the efforts of David II and James I to limit the size of nobles? armed
retinues.
42
Models for the study of the household are perhaps easier to find, studies by
Christopher Given-Wilson and Christopher Woolgar, providing royal and non-royal
examples respectively. Both of these works highlight the practical and symbolic
functions of the household, as well as changes that took place in the fourteenth and early
fifteenth centuries.
43


38
Given-Wilson, The Royal Household and the King?s Affinity, 6. This was especially so in Scotland,
where the general host was comprised of those giving their required annual service, since the Scottish king
could not afford to pay for prolonged military service.
39
J. Catto, ?The King?s Servants?, 75-6. Henry?s household did have a significant number of military
figures among its staff; all three Stewards of the Household and four out of five Treasurers of the
Household were knights and had active military experience, remaining with the king while he was in
France. See Allmand, Henry V, 357.
40
R. Firth Green, Poets and Princepleasers: Literature and the English Court in the Late Middle Ages
(Toronto, 1980), 17.
41
Quoted in J. Huizinga, The Waning of the Middle Ages (London, 1924), 31. For the latter part of the
century, A. R. Myers suggests that a magnate in the ?lethally competitive society? of the fifteenth century
had to ?impress men by his ostentation and attract them by his hospitality?, The Household of Edward IV.
The Black Book and the Ordinance of 1478 (Manchester, 1959), 2.
42
M. Brown, The Black Douglases: War and Lordship in Late Medieval Scotland, 1300-1455 (East
Linton, 1998), 163; APS, ii, 16.
43
Given-Wilson, The Royal Household; Woolgar, The Great Household. It should be noted that both of
these studies are able to draw on the greater depth of primary source material that is available for England
and which is not extant for Scotland.
11
However, the fact that the household did have a more clearly defined purpose
should not be taken to mean that the court had no specific function, as it performed an
important role as a political centre.
44
The court also provided the king with a link to the
localities through those who attended him in addition to the links provided by his
household officers.
45
Additionally, the court was an arena for ceremony, display and
education, a place for the king to advertise his status to domestic and foreign visitors
alike.
46
It is simply that the how and why of these functions varied considerably
depending on the realm, monarch and the situation. An example of the way in which the
court could be utilised can be seen in Henry V?s preparations for the visit of Sigismund
to England in 1416. Henry arranged for the emperor-elect to be met in London by a
large court and postponed that year?s meeting of the Order of the Garter so that
Sigismund could be inducted into the Order, giving the English king the opportunity to
display his wealth and status.
47
Furthermore, household officers could have
considerable political power (though some did not) and courtiers may have held
household titles, though not actually performing the tasks implied in those titles.
48
The
Chamberlain, for instance, was entrusted with making purchases for the household and
regulating the king?s residence in order that purveyance did not cause an unnecessary
burden on the country. However, neither the Duke of Albany nor the Earl of Buchan,
who both held this post between 1382 and 1424, carried out these duties, leaving them to

44
Adamson, The Princely Courts of Europe, 7
45
Horrox, ?Caterpillars of the Commonwealth??, 8-9.
46
N. Saul, Richard II (New Haven & London, 1997), 327.
47
Allmand, Henry V, 105-6. James was lodged in London for most of 1416 and may well have witnessed
Sigismund?s entry into London. At the very least, he would have been informed about the occasion from
servants.
48
Horrox, ?Caterpillars of the Commonwealth??, 3.
12
deputies.
49
In Scotland, the problem of separating household and court is further
exacerbated by the fact that there was no administrative centre, the government instead
usually following the king. However, Richard Oram has recently suggested that
Scotland was not entirely without a capital in this period.
50
Oram highlights that Scone
had served as the traditional inauguration site for Scottish kings and was also a favoured
site for meetings of the Three Estates. Perth also featured as a common site for meetings
of the estates and despite disruption caused by the Wars of Independence, Perth/Scone
does appear to have acted as a bureaucratic centre along the lines of the English model
of Westminster. This is an area that needs particular consideration in the context of
James I?s reign, in view of his lengthy experience of English government and his interest
in Perth as will be discussed in chapter seven.
51

The court had many different functions in this period, not just as a venue for
political intrigue. It also acted as a centre for chivalric culture, which found expression
in literature and tournaments. Chivalry could provide a unifying force, bringing political
stability to a nation.
52
Tournaments could be utilised by princes to advertise their
chivalric characters, consequently increasing both their domestic and international
prestige. Duke Philip the Good of Burgundy, for example, had a strong interest in
tournaments and in the revival of chivalry, using it to re-assert the value of the knight to

49
Grant, Independence and Nationhood, 149. A further example would be the position of Steward,
originally an important officer, though subservient to the Chamberlain, in charge of ordering the
household. By the end of the 13
th
century this had become a hereditary title, and it would be difficult to
argue that thereafter domestic duties predominated. It is highly unlikely, for instance, that Robert the
Steward (later Robert II), took personal responsibility for the duties implied in his name.
50
R. Oram, ?Community of the Realm: The Middle Ages? in M. Glendinning (ed.), The Architecture of
Scottish Government: From Kingship to Parliamentary Democracy (Dundee, 2004), 15-81.
51
See chapter 7, section iii.
52
D. Ditchburn, Scotland and Europe: the Medieval Kingdom and its Contacts with Christendom (East
Linton, 2000), 101.
13
society.
53
This aspect has been largely neglected in relation to the royal medieval court
of Scotland. Carol Edington has looked at tournaments in medieval Scotland generally,
but over a long time period, and more recently Katie Stevenson has examined chivalry
amongst Scotland?s nobles in the later medieval period.
54
Stevenson does look at royal
chivalry, however on this aspect her focus is chiefly post-1437. Scottish literature has
received much scholarly attention both in terms of studies of specific works and in terms
of literature?s relationship to the royal court. However, there has again been no rigorous
examination of this area in relation to James I?s court and thus no effort to determine
what role this component of medieval life had in his reign.
55

Another area to be examined in relation to the court is architecture. It must be
noted that there are limitations on such a study for James I, as documentary evidence is
restricted to a few entries in the exchequer accounts and many modifications have been
carried out to those residences that survive, which can sometimes obscure precisely what
features were in existence during James?s reign. The problem is intensified where the
building no longer remains, as with the Charterhouse in Perth and the King?s House in
Leith, both of which are discussed in chapter five. However, several historians and
archaeologists have pointed to the importance of buildings as a manifestation of royal
power, both through the buildings themselves and in the manner in which they were

53
R. Vaughn, Philip the Good: the Apogee of Burgundy (1970), 146; Dickens (ed.), The Courts of
Europe.
54
C. Edington, ?The Tournament in Medieval Scotland? in M. Strickland (ed.), Armies, Chivalry and
Warfare in Medieval Britain and France (Stamford, 1998); K. Stevenson, Chivalry and Knighthood in
Scotland, 1424-1513 (Woodbridge, 2006).
55
R.J. Lyall, ?Politics and Poetry in Fifteenth and Sixteenth Century Scotland? in Scottish Literary Journal
(December, 1976) vol.3, no.2, 5-29; G. Kratzmann, Anglo-Scottish Literary Relations, 1430-1550
(Cambridge, 1980); S. Mapstone, ?Was There a Court Literature in Fifteenth-century Scotland?? in Studies
in Scottish Literature, vol.xxvi, 1991, 410-422; R.D.S. Jack (ed.), The History of Scottish Literature, vol.1
(Aberdeen, 1988); J.D. McClure, & M.R.G. Spiller, (eds.), Bryght Lanternis: Essays on the Language
and Literature of Medieval and Renaissance Scotland (Aberdeen, 1989).
14
used for ceremonial purposes.
56
John Dunbar has discussed the function of the various
principal rooms, highlighting, for example, the role of the hall in the ceremonial life of
the court, while Geoffrey Stell and Richard Fawcett discuss how the size and design of a
building can be taken as an indication of the status of the owner.
57
Fawcett also stresses
that many of James?s noble contemporaries had quite elaborate residences, particularly
the two main branches of the Douglas family. Tantallon Castle, for instance, appears to
have had separate chambers for the family and senior members of the household,
something that was also in evidence, for example, at Richard II?s residence at Sheen.
This is suggestive of a growing level of planning in noble accommodation and an
increasing desire for privacy amongst noble society in the fifteenth century.
58
James
appears to have been trying to integrate these issues of courtly display and expression of
power in his palace of Linlithgow, which has been the focus of much architectural
study.
59
Studies from other countries have highlighted the importance of these aspects
of court life to the country as a whole so it is clearly necessary to construct a similar
study for Scotland.

56
Mathew, The Court of Richard II; Weir, Henry VIII; S. Rees Jones et al. (ed.), Courts and Regions in
Medieval Europe (York, 2000); A.A. MacDonald, ?The Chapel of Restalrig: Royal Folly or Venerable
Shrine?? in L. Houwen, A.A. MacDonald and S. Mapstone (eds.), A Palace in the Wind: Essays on
Vernacular Culture and Humanism in Late Medieval and Renaissance Scotland (Copenhagen, 2000), 27-
59.
57
J. G. Dunbar, Scottish Royal Palaces: the Architecture of the Royal Residences during the Late
Medieval and Early Renaissance Periods (East Linton, 1999); G. Stell, ?Architecture: the Changing
Needs of Society? in J. Brown, (ed.) Scottish Society in the Fifteenth Century (London, 1977). The
implication is, of course, that the grander the design, the more powerful the owner, thus making it
necessary for James to outdo his nobles in terms of building; R. Fawcett, The Architectural History of
Scotland, from the Accession of the Stewarts to the Reformation (Edinburgh, 1994).
58
D. Starkey, ?Court History in Perspective? in Starkey (ed.) The English Court from the Wars of the
Roses to the Civil War (London, 1987), 4. This topic is also covered by Woolgar, The Great Household,
ch.4, where he highlights the transformation of noble castles into dwellings suitable for near-continual
habitation, as well as the increasing complexity of their design in order to accommodate members of the
household and visitors.
59
In addition to the works by Dunbar and Fawcett already mentioned, see I. Campbell ?Linlithgow?s
?Princely Palace? and its Influence in Europe? in Architectural Heritage, IV (1995). The specific relation
of Linlithgow to court life has received little sustained attention, particularly in the context of a general
examination of the court.
15
Royal piety also needs to be examined in this context, as it can reveal much
about the atmosphere at court, and how the monarch wished to portray himself. As will
be shown in chapter seven, devotional activity could, if used properly, serve to unify
subjects and ruler behind a common cause, as is exemplified, for example, by Edward III
of England?s use of religious devotions.
60
Of course, the opposite effect could be
produced, resulting in the monarch?s behaviour alienating his subjects. Given the way in
which James?s reign ended, it is important to determine the extent to which his
devotional interests had an impact on his subjects? actions.
For Scotland, the lack of extant sources for the period does create some
difficulties, which perhaps helps to explain why the court and household have not
received the attention they deserve. However, there is much that can be discovered and
inferred from the documents that do survive, particularly the Exchequer Rolls, as these
provide the main source of information regarding the King?s expenditure.
Unfortunately, the Exchequer Rolls for James I?s reign are not complete, those for the
audits of 1424, 1427, 1432, 1433 and 1436 being lost, and the others are often lacking in
detail.
61
Nonetheless, they can help in constructing a picture of the court, revealing
details of just how opulent life at court actually was and enabling its style to be
determined. The Exchequer Rolls can also be used to gain an insight into household
administration, as they provide information on who was in office and when and how
their duties changed throughout the reign. Brown has suggested that James looked to the
area around the Forth for his power base. However, this assertion has not been fully
analysed with reference to the household and court and a closer examination of

60
W.M. Ormrod, ?The Personal Religion of Edward III? in Speculum, vol.64, no.4 (1989), 849-877.
61
ER, iv, passim.
16
household officers should provide a much more detailed picture of the geographical and
social backgrounds of James?s associates.
62

An examination of other contemporary sources, however, will also be
necessary. Abbot Walter Bower of Inchcolm?s Scotichronicon is a valuable chronicle
for the period, the author having been a part of James?s administration, and provides a
narrative account rather than a financial one.
63
Thus, it reveals more about what
contemporaries felt and believed about the events of the period, which, as John Tosh has
pointed out, can often be as important as what actually happened.
64
The Exchequer
Rolls, as government accounts, are far more prosaic in nature. Use will also be made of
other chronicles, such as John Shirley?s ?The Dethe of the Kynge of Scotis?, written in
the 1440s. Despite its relatively short length, this provides a picture of James in the
midst of his household. Additionally, James?s own composition, the Kingis Quair and
earlier literary works such as Barbour?s Bruce, may reveal some of the ideals held both
by the monarch and by contemporary society.
65
Barbour?s Bruce certainly concerns
itself with matters of kingship, chivalry and knighthood, themes that were of importance
to international court life in this period and which several historians, such as Maurice
Keen, have tackled in relation to England

and Europe.
66


62
Brown, James I, 203.
63
Chron. Bower, 8 vols., passim.
64
J. Tosh, The Pursuit of History: Aims, Methods and New Directions in the Study of Modern History 2
nd

ed. (London, 1991) 57.
65
M.P. McDiarmid (ed.), The Kingis Quair of James Stewart (London, 1973); For Scottish literature in
this period see for example H. MacQueen ?The Literature of Fifteenth-century Scotland? in J. Brown (ed.)
Scottish Society in the Fifteenth Century; R.J. Lyall ?Complaint, Satire and Invective in Middle Scots
Literature? in N. MacDougall (ed.) Church, Politics and Society, Scotland 1408-1929 (Edinburgh, 1983).
66
A. M. McKim has discussed Barbour?s portrayal of knighthood, for instance. See her chapter ?James
Douglas and Barbour?s Ideal of Knighthood? in W.H. Jackson (ed.), Knighthood in Medieval Literature
(Suffolk, 1981); M. Keen, Nobles, Knights and Men-at-arms in the Middle Ages (London, 1996); L.
Gautier, Chivalry, J. Levron (ed.) (London, 1959), largely concerned with France and examining
chansons de geste. Also, Mathew, The Court of Richard II.
17
Further government sources that require examination are the Acts of the
Parliaments of Scotland.
67
Although earlier historians have made extensive use of these
for political studies, the information that they can reveal regarding the court and
household has, again, been largely overlooked. Balfour-Melville, for example, does
mention three Acts that were concerned with the type of clothing permitted to different
ranks but fails to analyse in any detail what significance this may have for the court.
68

Additionally, charters reveal those who were receiving patronage from the King and it
may be possible to determine from them how significant the court was in helping the
king?s subjects to gain such patronage.
69
Furthermore, the locations from which charters
were issued, in combination with information from the Exchequer Rolls can help to
determine the location of the court and whether it followed any particular schedule in its
movements. This should also reveal if certain locations were favoured at particular
times of the year, allowing a tentative determination to be made of the religious feasts
celebrated by James.
70

As Scotland was very much a part of Europe in the medieval period, it is
necessary to compare and contrast the situation in Scotland with that in her European
neighbours, particularly England, since James spent eighteen years as a prisoner in the
southern kingdom.
71
The introduction by James of the household offices of Treasurer
and Comptroller is an indication that his time in England did affect him, but the extent of

67
APS, 12 volumes, (Edinburgh, 1814-1875). Volume 2 will be the primary volume utilised here.
68
Balfour-Melville, James I, 184; Duncan, James I: King of Scots.
69
RMS, 11 volumes, (Edinburgh, 1882-1914). Volume 2 will be the primary volume utilised here.
70
There is some indication of this in the Exchequer Rolls. There is, for example, a record of offerings
made on Palm Sunday, and of several payments from the fermes of Renfrew to the chaplain at the altar of
St Thomas the Martyr in the church of Renfrew. (ER, iv, 450, 427, 464, 487, 516, 546, 582, 631); P.G.B.
McNeill & H.L. MacQueen (eds.), Atlas of Scottish history to 1707 (Edinburgh, 1996).
71
Brown, ?Scotland Tamed??, 120; Ditchburn, Scotland and Europe.
18
this has yet to be determined fully with reference to the court and household.
72

However, other areas such as France and Burgundy also need to be taken into
consideration. James was in France during his English captivity and Charles, duke of
Orleans was a prisoner in England for the latter part of James?s detention. Furthermore,
Scotland had strong trading links with Europe, Bruges in particular.
73
The fact that it
has been asserted that the Burgundian Dukes ?seem to have set the standard for?courtly
ostentation in the fifteenth century? further necessitates that a wider comparative
approach is undertaken.
74
In addition, as Joan Murray has noted in her study of the
Scottish mint, the archives of other countries can be used to interpret the sparser records
for Scotland, although the particular contexts and differences should always be
remembered.
75
It is especially valid to do this in relation to the household as Kate
Mertes has pointed out that all nobles of this period shared basic needs in common,
including the provision of food and the need for personal service and for someone to
provide for the religious needs of the household.
76
Thus, despite the differences in scale
for Scotland as compared to England and its European counterparts, and also differences
in royal as compared to noble households, there is some validity in using foreign
examples to infer what James may have been doing. As James spent eighteen formative

72
This will require the use of studies such as Allmand, Henry V.
73
A. Stevenson, ?Medieval Scottish Associations With Bruges? in T. Botherstone and D. Ditchburn (eds.),
Freedom and Authority, Scotland c.1050-c.1650 (East Linton, 2000).
74
Firth Green, Poets and Princepleasers, 18. For the influence of Burgundy see also Dickens (ed.), The
Courts of Europe: J. Calmette, The Golden Age of Burgundy: the Magnificent Dukes and their Courts
trans. D. Weightman (London, 2001); Asch & Birke (eds.) Princes, Patronage and the Nobility, especially
the article by Paravinci, which suggests the Burgundian Court was not as original nor as influential as is
generally accepted.
75
J. E.L. Murray, ?The Organization and Work of the Scottish Mint, 1358-1603?, in D.M. Metcalf (ed.),
Coinage in Medieval Scotland, 1100-1600 (British Archaeological Report, 1977).
76
Mertes, The English Noble Household, 51.
19
years in England, the focus will necessarily fall on comparisons with that country, as it is
the one with which he had the most experience.
Influences from within Scotland cannot be overlooked, however, as it has been
suggested that James was keen to establish a court superior to that of his magnates to
emphasise his royal status. The earls of Douglas, for example, had a relatively
sophisticated household administration, needing both a chancellor and a secretary by
1413, perhaps reflecting the power of the earls as well as their desire to increase their
own influence. Additionally, the Douglas family had a strong reputation in France, the
fourth earl?s influence culminating in Charles VII making him Duke of Touraine.
Although the duke was killed at Verneuil in 1424, the Douglases were still admired in
Europe, something James would have been keen to subvert in his attempts to increase
his own prestige, since a strong Douglas court could have acted as a competing centre,
having the ability to act as a magnet for artisans and as a rival military power.
77
The
suggestion that the courts of his predecessors, Robert II (1371-90) and Robert III (1390-
1406) supposedly differed little from those of their magnates and that these monarchs
were often politically sidelined may also have acted as a motivational force.
78

The combination of a new examination of primary source material, in
conjunction with secondary sources exploring comparative topics for England and
Europe in this period can thus be utilised in order to determine the functions and
importance of the royal court and household of Scotland during the reign of James I. By
examining the organisation of the household and the composition of the court and
household?s personnel in conjunction with a study of the court?s cultural atmosphere, it

77
For a full discussion see Brown, The Black Douglases.
78
For a full discussion of these reigns see S. Boardman, The Early Stewart Kings: Robert II and Robert III
(East Linton, 1996).
20
will be possible to add to the picture of this time gained from the more purely political
studies thus far conducted. Additionally, by placing this study into the context of the
political events of the period, a fuller understanding of James and the legacy of his reign
should be achieved.
21
Chapter 2 - Organisation and Personnel: Developments Under James I

i: The Scottish Royal Household Before 1424
1

As a prelude to the discussion of changes made by James after 1424, it is
perhaps helpful to have a brief examination of the existing situation. The household as
an administrative structure in a recognisable form in Scotland appears to date to the
reign of David I, when, Geoffrey Barrow suggests, the introduction of a court and daily
council modelled on English and French examples acted to enhance royal prestige.
2
The
officers introduced in this period do reflect English and French influence, comprising the
positions of Steward,
3
Constable
4
and at least one Marischal, who acted as an assistant
to the Constable. These positions became hereditary from the later twelfth century,
although it should be noted that even after this period several marischals can be
identified.
5
Additionally, these positions only slowly developed their pre-eminence.
For instance, the fore-runner of the Steward was the dapifer, an office of lower rank,
although there appears to be only limited evidence for this office prior to the rise of
Walter, son of Alan, as Steward in the mid-twelfth century.
6
Additionally, this period
saw the establishment of the offices of Chancellor, Chamberlain, Justiciar and Sheriff.
As they developed, these positions would become crucial in royal administration, with

1
Barrow summarises the introduction and early development of Scotland?s administrative positions,
including the influence of Anglo-Norman practice in The Kingdom of the Scots. Government, Church and
Society from the eleventh to the fourteenth Century (London, 1973, 2003). These matters are also
discussed more fully in the introductions to the RRS volumes, especially i and ii.
2
G.W.S. Barrow, Kingship and Unity. Scotland 1000-1306, 2
nd
edition (Edinburgh, 2003), 46.
3
The Steward was responsible for supervising the hall and controlling the officers with the counsel of the
Chamberlain. Lesser knights later carried out these duties.
4
The Constable commanded the king?s knights and was responsible for keeping the peace at court.
5
RRS, ii, 38. Barrow suggests that under William I, there may have been several marischals operating in
the localities or operating under a senior Marischal.
6
RRS, i, 31-2.
22
the Chamber emerging as a more formal institution in the reign of William I.
7
Other
positions appeared by the end of the thirteenth century, such as the Clerks of Liverance,
Provender, the Wardrobe and the Kitchen, whose duties are described in the treatise The
King?s Household dated to between 1286 and 1309 and this document suggests the
importance of these offices to the proper ordering and provisioning of the king?s
household.
8
This document is perhaps a somewhat idealised picture of the royal
household and the reality is somewhat less clear.
9
Additionally, there was the king?s
bodyguard, described in The King?s Household as Doorwards or Durwards, comprising a
group of twenty-four men, half of whom guarded the king?s chamber during the day,
with the whole company on duty at night, an office which again provided a hereditary
position.
10
Another important officer of the household was the Butler or Pantler, who
could officially expect to receive a fee of ?10 per annum, a not insignificant sum, and
who would nominally have domestic duties.
11

The chief non-hereditary officer was the Chancellor, usually a cleric, who was
responsible for supervising the court chaplains, and was in charge of the king?s writing
office,
12
having custody of the Great Seal, which was used to authenticate all charters,

7
Barrow, Kingship and Unity, 46-7; RRS, ii, 63.
8
This document is discussed by M. Bateson in ?The Scottish King?s Household and Other Fragments from
a Fourteenth-century Manuscript? (SHS Misc, 1904), 3-43 and provides descriptions of the duties of all of
the major and some lesser officers. The dating of this document suggests that it was written for John
Balliol (1292-6).
9
RRS, ii, 35-7 discusses the appearance and the sometimes erratic usage of these offices. For example,
there is little mention of the Clerk of Liverance in the reign of William I, although Barrow suggests that
this position was held by the same man who held the office of Provender.
10
Ibid., 16. This position was hereditary from the time of Malcolm of Lundie in the reign of William I.
Malcolm?s son, Thomas, and grandson, Alan, took the surname Durward as a result.
11
A.A.M. Duncan, ?The ?Laws of Malcolm MacKenneth??, in A. Grant & K. J. Stringer (eds.), Medieval
Scotland, Crown Lordship and Community (Edinburgh, 1993), 246. The fee of ?10 was assigned in The
Laws of Malcolm MacKenneth, but as Duncan highlights, officers are rarely recorded as having been paid
their full fee on a regular basis. ?10 was also the sum allocated as the fee of both the Constable and the
Marischal.
12
RRS, ii, 29-31.
23
brieves and letters issued by or on behalf of the king. The Chancellor also played a key
role in the Exchequer audit, thus giving him considerable political power.
13
Indeed, the
Chancellor can often be found playing a significant role in political events of a reign.
For example, Gilbert Greenlaw, bishop of Aberdeen became Chancellor in 1397,
possibly due in part to his role in supporting the Earl of Carrick?s papal supplication for
the preservation of his marriage to Elizabeth Dunbar.
14
Greenlaw was also ?a guest? of
the Duke of Albany in November 1398 as part of an attempt by the latter to oust Robert
III from the government, indicating the political importance attached to this officer.
15

The chief financial officer of the kingdom was the Chamberlain, whose
importance grew as royal revenues increased.
16
According to The King?s Household,
the Chamberlain was responsible for collecting the proceeds of wards, reliefs and
marriages, and also had a special responsibility for the king?s burghs.
17
The
Chamberlain also administered the King?s Chamber, the place where the monarch could
gain relative privacy, and was the chief officer of the domestic household, using customs
revenues to finance this. This role would undoubtedly have placed the Chamberlain in
fairly close proximity to the king on a regular basis.
18
This would have been
emphasised by the fact that prior to 1424, the post of Chamberlain was usually held by a
great noble, as it was considered to be high status and carried a salary of 100 merks.
19

However, this led to inefficiencies in the collection of customs revenue. In the years

13
Professor Duncan has asserted that the Chancellor had considerable freedom over what he sealed. See
A.A.M. Duncan, Scotland. The Making of the Kingdom (Edinburgh, 1975), 605.
14
Boardman, The Early Stewart Kings, 206.
15
Ibid. 214. Albany later supported Greenlaw over the Papal appointee Wardlaw to the vacant bishopric
of St Andrews in 1402.
16
Duncan, The Making of the Kingdom, 600.
17
Bateson, ?The Scottish King?s Household?, 38; Nicholson, The Later Middle Ages, 17.
18
Barrow, Kingship and Unity, 47.
19
Nicholson, The Later Middle Ages, 22.
24
preceding James?s return, this office was held firstly by the Duke of Albany and from
1408 by his second son, John, earl of Buchan.
20
Nicholson asserts that the appointment
of Albany to this office led to a significant and sustained reduction in total customs
receipts, as well as some large deficits.
21
This period also saw a tremendous abuse of
customs revenue, with ?5000 being appropriated by the earl of Douglas, with Albany?s
implicit consent, between 1409 and 1420.
22
The fact that Douglas and Albany were in
alliance and Buchan was often absent on campaign in France, particularly in the latter
years of this period, probably gave James the impression that nobles were not to be
trusted in matters of finance. Under the Chamberlain was the Steward, who was in
charge of organising the king?s household, and was required to report deficiencies to the
Chamberlain as well as carry out the latter?s instructions in regards to the household.
23

The Chamberlain thus appears to have had both a domestic and non-domestic role in
financial

matters.
Justiciars were the highest judicial officers under the crown, required to hold
justice ayres for the hearing of complaints and were responsible for a specific area.
Down to the reign of Alexander III there appears to have been three Justiciar offices, for
Scotia (the area north of the Forth), Lothian and Galloway.
24
These men acted as a
conduit between the crown and the localities aiding control of the country. They also
had an important political function, evidenced, for instance, by their presence on
embassies and were very often leading nobles.
25
They were aided in the localities by the

20
Ibid. 254.
21
Ibid. 188.
22
Ibid. 255.
23
Bateson, ?The Scottish King?s Household?, 39.
24
RRS, i, 50-1; RRS ii, 43-7. See also Professor Barrow?s chapter ?The Justiciar? in G. Barrow, Kingdom
of the Scots, 2
nd
edition (Edinburgh, 2003), 68-111.
25
Duncan, The Making of the Kingdom, 595.
25
sheriffs, who, Duncan submits, probably performed some of the Chamberlain?s duties in
the smaller burghs.
26
Their duties included the collecting of revenues and organising
military
is was approximately the condition of the Scottish
household prior to James?s return.
ii: New
levies.
The Constable was primarily responsible for the king?s safety, having
responsibility for keeping the peace in the Court of Verge, that is, the area around
wherever the king happened to be lodged. If the king was lodged in a castle or fort, then
the Constable would have chief responsibility for the security of the residence.
27

Nominally, the role of the Marischal was to arrange the king?s hall during meals and to
ensure that guests were treated appropriately according to their rank. The Marischal also
had authority over the court during times of war.
28
It should be noted that as both of
these positions became hereditary it is unlikely that the everyday duties were actually
carried out by the holders of these offices. The office of macer, or standard bearer, was
another key feature of the Scottish household, and this office also became hereditary,
held by the Scrymgeour family of Dundee, Nicholas Scrymgeour having a charter of this
office from Robert I in 1324.
29
Th

Offices and Administrative Reforms
30

Following his return in 1424, James I made a number of changes to the
composition of the royal household. The most obvious of these changes was the

26
Ibid. 159.
27
Bateson, ?The Scottish King?s Household?, 13, 39.
28
Ibid., 17, 40.
29
SP, iii, 304-7.
30
See appendix 1 for a chronological list of James?s household officers during his reign.
26
introduction of the financial offices of Comptroller and Treasurer.
31
These offices
already existed in England, and it is likely that they were introduced in Scotland at least
partly in mimicry of English practice. James I may also have wished to limit the
influence of a single financial officer by distributing fiscal duties among several men.
However, these new officers did not fulfil the same functions as in England, particularly
in the case of the Comptroller, who was in England only third in position after the
Steward and Treasurer and who was responsible for controlling the receipts and issues of
the Treasurer?s office rather than having direct fiscal authority himself.
32
Determining
the exact functions of these new officers in Scotland and the changing role of the
existing positions is made somewhat problematic by the lack of surviving evidence. For
James?s reign, only two Chamberlain?s accounts are extant and there are no Sheriff?s
accounts and little detail in the Exchequer Rolls regarding income from royal lands,
feudal casualties and the profits of justice. Athol Murray does argue that by 1434, the
Comptroller had become the chief financial officer in Scotland, receiving ?2,360 to
account

although it took several years for this to become the case.
33

One matter that is clear is that the position of the Chamberlain began to
deteriorate soon after James returned from England. In the first surviving account for
James?s reign, 1424-5, the Chamberlain was still the chief financial officer, being

31
Athol Murray discusses these offices, particularly that of the Comptroller in, ?The Comptroller, 1425-
1488?, 1-29. Murray discusses briefly the changing role of the Comptroller and Treasurer during the reign
of James I, as well as some of the implications this had for other household officers. The focus of his
work, however, is the period after 1437. Murray does point out, however, that problems with the
surviving evidence make it difficult to determine the precise roles of these new officers in the years
immediately following their introduction.
32
According to a later fifteenth century English ordinance, the Comptroller carried out household tasks as
a subordinate of the Treasurer of the Household, who oversaw his duties, so that the Treasurer did not
have to attend to every small detail personally. The Treasurer of the Household was second in the
hierarchy after the Steward. For a full discussion see, Myers, The Household of Edward IV.
33
Murray, ?The Comptroller?, 5; ER, iv, 507-603.
27
responsible for sums received by others, and directly receiving some small sums, the
total being ?2,896 9s 3d.
34
However, the following years saw a decline in the amounts
for which this officer was responsible.
35
This does suggest that James?s ultimate aim
was to reduce the financial authority of the Chamberlain and some possible reasons for
this will be discussed in section iii below. If indeed this was James?s intention, the task
seems to have remained incomplete at the time of the king?s death. One of only two
surviving Chamberlain accounts for this period, from 1435, shows this officer receiving
a total of ?1,035 19s, including arrears, the majority of which came from his ayres and
from fines for forestalling in the burghs, areas for which the Chamberlain was
traditionally responsible, indicating that this officer retained a significant fiscal role.
However, the balance of the account was paid to the Comptroller, clearly indicating that
the Chamberlain was now subordinate in status.
36
Nevertheless, the Chamberlain did
continue to be important in other areas. Throughout the reign this officer was frequently
with the king and witnessed a significant number of royal charters. This suggests that
the Cham

berlain was still an important individual in the political life of the kingdom.
37

The fall of the Chamberlain appears to have been paralleled by the rise of the
Comptroller, who eventually became the premier financial officer in the household,
being responsible chiefly for revenues of the great customs, burgh ferms and rents from
crown lands, areas previously the responsibility of the Chamberlain.
38
However, for the
duration of James I?s reign, there is some confusion over the precise role of this officer

34
ER, iv, 379-399, throughout.
35
In the next 2 accounts, the Chamberlain received ?530 18s 3d and ?25 15s 4d respectively. ER, iv, 401-
451, passim.
36
Ibid., 668-671.
37
RMS, ii, nos., 1-200, passim.
38
Murray, ?The Comptroller?, passim; Balfour-Melville, James I, 255; Nicholson, The Later Middle Ages,
313.
28
and what his responsibilities were. The 1425 account indicates that the Comptroller was
clearly subordinate to the Chamberlain; although the Comptroller received ?833, the
Chamberlain remained responsible for the amount.
39
This position was reversed the
following year when the Comptroller received, and was responsible for, ?2,066,
significantly more than any other officer.
40
However, for the next several years for
which records survive, the Comptroller received little more than ?400 to account and in
1431 he received only ?169. Most of this latter amount came from customs revenue and
was connected to purchases of salmon, indicating that the office was perhaps in some
way connected to provisioning the king?s household at this time.
41
The erratic rise of
this officer?s position is further highlighted by its apparent resurgence sometime
between 1431 and 1434, with David Broun receiving ?2,360 15s 4d, often stated as
being for the expenses of the king, in 1434 and ?975 9s 5d in 1435.
42
There does seem
to be an indication that this officer had a primarily domestic function as payments to him
are frequently recorded as being ?to the expenses of the king?s household?, particularly
from 1428 onwards.
43
However, at this point in its development, the precise role of the
officer is

unclear.
A similar uncertainty is evident in the position of the Treasurer. This officer
appears frequently in the Exchequer Rolls, styled ?Treasurer of the King?s Household? as

.
441, 447, 466, 468, 469, 473, 477, 481, 485, 497, 499, 502,
ervening years. Broun was also chancellor of Glasgow from 1428 -1435 and
o the Comptroller are described in this manner, or ?ad expensas domicilli regis?, 567, for
39
ER, iv, 380-391
40
Ibid., 401-427.
41
1428, 1429, 1430 and 1431. ER, iv, 440,
504, 507, 515, 520, 523, 544, 536, 537, 553.
42
Ibid. David Broun was Comptroller from 1424 to 1429 and then again in 1434 and 1435. John Spens
held the position in the int
canon of the chapel royal.
43
The entries read ?ad expensas domus domini nostri regis?. ER, iv, 440. After 1428, the bulk of
payments t
instance.
29
in 1425, 1426 and 1431.
44
In these years the Treasurer received respectively ?160, ?701
(including a payment of ?145 for wine, salt, iron, almonds and sugar for the king), and
?2,000.
45
The fact that the Treasurer was providing items for the king suggests that in
these years he also fulfilled a fairly domestic function and was connected to the king?s
personal needs rather than matters of national importance. However, this officer does
appear on other occasions, when he receives no direct payments from the customs or the
burghs, and on these occasions he is referred to as ?Treasurer of Scotland?, perhaps
suggesting a more national function. Nevertheless, as Murray points out, in 1434 the
Treasurer?s subordinate rendered an account of revenue from crown lands and lands in
the king?s hands by reason of ward, the total sum of which was ?823.
46
These items
would previously have been the province of the Chamberlain and is a further indication
of the erosion of the powers of this officer. However, the final position of the Treasurer
was still not clear either. Towards the end of the reign the Comptroller was beginning to
acquire authority in crown lands as well.
47
If James had a definite plan in mind for the
reorgani

sation of his household, there is little evidence of it in the surviving records.
Nonetheless, although matters are unclear at this point, it is possible to ascertain
the beginnings of a division of the fiscal duties of the Comptroller and Treasurer.
During James?s reign, the Comptroller received the bulk of his payments from the great
customs and after 1426 these were usually said to be for the expenses of the king?s
household.
48
Thus it is perhaps the case that the Comptroller was introduced to have
authority over household expenses, despite the apparent uncertainty suggested by the

44
ER, iv, 381, 401-14, 525.
45
Ibid., 381-390, 401-414 (the bulk received by Robert Lyntoun, clerk of the Treasurer), 526-552.
46
Murray, ?The Comptroller?, 4; ER, iv, 597-603.
47
ER, iv, 590-6, 599-603; Murray, ?The Comptroller?, 14.
48
ER, iv, passim.
30
variations in amounts involved. As already stated, it is difficult to define the exact
duties of the Treasurer. Of the payments recorded to him in the Exchequer Rolls, there
is a mix of customs and fermes, with no specific designation given, although in 1434 his
subordinate does account for revenues from crown lands.
49
Murray has suggested that
his function was initially the same as the English Treasurer of the Household, but that
when styled ?of Scotland?, the Treasurer was more concerned with national matters,
which seems to be a valid suggestion.
50
This uncertainty perhaps stems from James?s
experience in England. In 1416, the English Treasurer of the Household became
Treasurer for War, so James was perhaps unclear as to the specific duties that the
Household Treasurer usually fulfilled and thus later experimented to find the best system
for Scotland, although it is perhaps unlikely that James did not have some plan in
mind.
51
James was lodged at various locations during his time in England so would not
have had the opportunity to observe government in action at Westminster for any
extended period of time. From June 1407, James was in the custody of Lord Grey of
Codnor, the king?s Chamberlain, at Nottingham Castle, of which Codnor was also
keeper. In the later years of his captivity, John Waterton, clerk of the king?s kitchen,
John Everton, clerk, and Sir William Meryng all received payments for James?s
expenses, as did a Roger Aston, deputy of William Bourchier, Constable of the Tower of
London.
52
This variety of persons responsible for his expenses may well have hindered
any chance of James gaining practical experience of English government, even aside
from James often being lodged away from Westminster.

49
Ibid., 597-603.
50
Murray, ?The Comptroller?, 3.
51
Allmand, Henry V, 350.
52
NA E101/407/14, E364/62, E364/52, E43/589; Balfour-Melville, James I, 38, 88, 92-4.
31
It may be that James was more fully aware of the ceremonial functions of
household officers. As a guest of honour at Queen Katherine?s coronation (February
1421), James would have witnessed the spectacle of regalia-bearing office-holders
kneeling and standing around Katherine for the duration of the banquet.
53
Even if
unaware of the specific duties of each of the English officers, this occasion would have
given James ample opportunity to observe the formal role they could play in
accentuating royal status in court ceremonial. It is possible that this played a part in
James?s considerations when reorganising his own household after 1424.
Another new office introduced by James was that of the Clerk of Spices, likely
based on the equivalent English office.
54
This officer first appears in the 1425 audit,
where he is recorded as receiving ?540 on behalf of the Chamberlain. Thereafter he was
responsible for sums he received, although the amounts were lower than the 1425 figure
and did not reach the levels received by the Comptroller or other financial agents.
55
The
largest sum received by this clerk after 1425 occurred in 1430, totalling ?388 17s 8d.
56

After this the office went into decline, with the Rolls for 1431 and 1434 recording little
or no activity by this officer. There is a further record of a payment in 1435 of ?53 16s
6d for ?items for the expenses of the king?s household? made to the Comptroller, not the
Clerk of Spices, which Murray has suggested meant that this office was now
subordinated under the Comptroller.
57
However, there is a further payment in 1435,

53
J.F. Burden, ?Rituals of Royalty: Prescription, Politics and Practice in English Coronation and Royal
Funeral Rituals c.1327 to c.1485? (Unpublished University of York PhD thesis, 1999), 198.
54
There was certainly a well-established office of this name in fourteenth-century England, responsible
for spices and wax and also the provision of medicines for the household. It was often combined with the
offices of Chandlery and confectionary. Given-Wilson, The Royal Household and the King?s Affinity, 59.
55
ER, iv, 381-391; Murray, ?The Comptroller?, 7.
56
ER, iv, 499-515.
57
The entry reads ?diversis speciebus ad expensas domus domini regis?. ER, iv, 622; Murray, ?The
Comptroller?, 7.
32
made to William Norville, styled Clerk of Spices, of ?23 8s 8d, for which he is
responsible. While his position was perhaps no more stable than that of the Comptroller
or Treasurer during James?s reign, it cannot be certainly claimed that he had ceased to be
an independent officer by 1437. The reasons for the changes in fortune of this officer
are unclear and remain a matter for speculation. It is possible that James felt that this
office was becoming too powerful and wished to reduce its influence or perhaps it was
simply becoming too unpopular and James hoped that by reducing its importance he
could win more support for his policies. Alternatively, James may simply not have had
the funds available to lavish on this Clerk having spent significant sums on luxury items
from Flanders. What does appear to be certain is that this officer had no more security
than many others during James?s reign.
The same could also be said of the position of royal Steward, held variously by
James of Schaw and Andrew Young.
58
Professor Duncan has suggested that this office
experienced a revival under James I.
59
Certainly the Steward received over ?1,000 on
behalf of the Chamberlain in 1425, but thereafter his appearances are scarce.
60
Indeed,
with the exception of 1429 when he received a total of ?36 16s 5d for the expenses of
the king at Haddington, his only notable mentions occurred in connection with Schaw?s
?5 per annum pension, which he had been receiving since 1406 (which although clearly
not at the instigation of James does suggest some level of continuity in the royal
household), and with the receiving of a shipment of Rhine wine mentioned in Turyne?s

58
Schaw is named in this office in 1425 and 1429. Young is mentioned as such in the 1436 Turyne
Account, though it is unclear if this meant he held the office in that year or in a year covered by the
account.
59
Duncan, ?The ?Laws of Malcolm MacKenneth??, 247.
60
ER, iv, 380-390.
33
1436 account.
61
This account, rendered 5 September 1436, details the collection of
money raised for the king?s ransom and how much of it was ultimately spent on luxury
goods in Flanders. It is also worth noting that most of these payments were made to the
Steward not only by mandate of the king, but also by mandate of the Comptroller,
further indicating that the Steward was now at least nominally subordinate to the latter
officer to some extent. While this does indicate that there continued to be a role for the
office of Steward, it was clearly in a much more limited and less regular capacity.
Again, the reasons for this may only be guessed at.
62
However, sidelining such a
traditional officer may not have been generally popular among James?s subjects,
especially as the king was introducing a more foreign approach to household
organisation.
As Balfour-Melville has already noted, the office of Steward was apparently
supplanted by the introduction of the position of Master of the King?s Household, which,
using data from the Exchequer Rolls, he dates to 1431.
63
However, there is some
indication of an earlier introduction in the RMS. John Forrester is five times styled
?Master of the King?s Household?, on 10 July 1424, 14 April 1425 and 6 November
1429.
64
This is a tentative suggestion, and may owe more to confusion over terminology

61
ER, iv, 477, 398, 456, 492, 552, 588, 638, 679. John Turyne was a merchant who acted on behalf of the
king and the 1436 account details Turyne?s purchases and expenses on behalf of James, paid for with
money from tax and customs allocations, which Turyne received between 1429 and 1431.
62
There is perhaps a slight possibility that James?s vision for his reign played some part in this. His
family had of course come to prominence through its role as hereditary Stewards of the royal household.
James may have preferred to keep this as a family designation, he himself being the ?Steward? of the
kingdom, responsible for overseeing it. Alternatively, James may have desired to remove any reminders
of his family?s less-than-royal beginnings, which he may have perceived as an affront to his dignity,
particularly as he was keen to emphasise his royal status.
63
Balfour-Melville, James I, 256.
64
RMS, ii, 41, 4, 5, 7 135; Registrum Episcopatus Aberdonensis, i, Spalding Club (Edinburgh, 1845), 222.
This is almost certainly the same John Forrester who was Chamberlain, as John Forrester of Corstorphine
is styled both MKH and Chamberlain within a few months. Charter 41 actually appears in the RMS under
the year 1426. However, Bishop William Lauder appears as a witness and, since he died June 1425,
34
or a mistake by a scribe than a real attempt to introduce a new office. However, the fact
that the new title is given on more than one occasion and with some time-lapse between
the latter instances, does give a strong indication that the office was introduced almost
immediately upon James?s return to Scotland. This potentially early innovation adds to
the impression given by his introduction of the offices of Comptroller, Treasurer and
Clerk of Spices of an active king interested in reorganising his household. Indeed, the
fact that these offices were introduced so early in James?s reign would tend to support
the suggestion that the office of Master of the King?s Household was also introduced at
the earlier date.
Even after this office was certainly introduced there still appears to be some
uncertainty over the position. In the Exchequer Rolls, Walter Ogilvy is styled Master of
the King?s Household in 1431.
65
However, while he is styled as such in the RMS on 27
and 30 January 1431, on 31 January and 4 February he is referred to as Treasurer. This
occurs again when he is referred to as Master of the King?s Household in March and
early April, but as Treasurer at the end of the latter month, before the designation once
again changes to Master of the King?s Household in May.
66
It is unlikely that this was a
scribal error, as the two terms were often used within days of each other at the same
location. This interchangeability of designation may indicate that the Treasurer was an
officer principally concerned with the household. Alternatively, the converse may be
true, the designation Treasurer perhaps being used when Ogilvy was performing
functions not connected to the household. This is emphasised by the fact that it is

Balfour-Melville has suggested this and other charters must be misplaced in the register. Indeed, Reg. Ep.
Aberd. also gives this charter and gives the regnal year of issue as 20, giving a date of April 1425.
65
The entry reads ?magistro hospicii domini regis?. ER, iv, 525.
66
RMS, ii, 180-189, 192-194, 197-200.
35
Thomas Myrton, dean of Glasgow, who in April 1431 appears as an Exchequer auditor
with the designation Treasurer of the King?s Household, indicating that there were
distinct differences between the positions of Master of the King?s Household, Treasurer
of Scotland and Treasurer of the Household.
67
These differences are unclear, but it is
possible to make some tentative inferences. The designation of ?treasurer of the
household? may perhaps indicate some level of duties in line with those of the earlier
Steward, suggesting that by renaming the office, James was seeking to give it additional
prestige, thus making it a more appealing office which could be granted out as a form of
patronage. There is also the possibility that the office of Master of the King?s
Household had a more ceremonial than practical role, at least initially. This may explain
why Forrester is found with this designation in the RMS but not in the Exchequer Rolls.
This, in conjunction with the preceding discussion, would seem to indicate a confusion
regarding the structure of the household and a lack of consistency in household
organisation during the reign of James I.
Perhaps the only exception to this is the position of the Chancellor, who
retained his important political and administrative functions throughout the reign. The
only year in which the Chancellor did not appear as an exchequer auditor was 1426,
when the position was still vacant following the death of Bishop Lauder, although it
should be noted that auditors were not recorded in every year.
68
Even in this instance,
however, John Cameron, who would later hold the position of Chancellor, was present
as an auditor. The Chancellor also continued to be an important witness throughout

67
The entry reads ?hospicii domini regis thesaurio?. ER, iv, 525. It is difficult to be certain on this point
due to the nature of the surviving evidence. In the RMS, when Ogilvy is referred to as Treasurer, it is that
simple title that is given rather than ?of Household? or ?of Scotland?.
68
ER, iv, 379, 400, 432, 465, 525.
36
James?s reign, appearing as one of the most frequent witnesses of royal charters in this
period. Additionally, Cameron was employed as an ambassador by James on several
occasions throughout the reign indicating the continued importance placed on this office
by the king. This also highlights that James was not seeking to change everything about
the royal household and was willing to continue at least some of the conventions that
had existed prior to 1424.
The difficulty in establishing the precise duties and hierarchy of the household
is compounded by the use of makeshift financial officers. In 1428, for instance, Master
John Winchester, canon of Glasgow, received to account ?1,214 12s 8d, approximately
three times as much as the Comptroller collected.
69
He also received significant sums in
1430 and 1435, while Thomas Myrton, dean of Glasgow, received ?516 in 1429,
including balances from the bailies, more than the Comptroller.
70
Neither of these men
were named in office on these occasions, though Winchester was in 1426 Clerk of the
Keeper of the Privy Seal, at which time he received ?102 10s 9d and Myrton would be
Treasurer in 1430 and 1431 and was an exchequer auditor on several occasions.
71
The
only other officer to have any significant financial role was the Keeper of the Privy Seal
in 1425 and 1426, when he received respectively a single payment of ?187 18s 9d for
the king and a total of ?291 11s 9d for unspecified reasons, although as one small
payment was attested by the king it may be that this sum was again for James?s own use
or may possibly have been related to the issuing of charters.
72
Murray asserts that the

69
ER, iv, 434-464.
70
Ibid., 498-524, 607-638, 468-496.
71
Ibid., 407-423, 525, 432, 465, 525; CSSR, iii, 142.
72
ER., 384, 403, 405, 407, 408, 409, 415, 416, 418, 420, 421, 422, 423, 427.
37
sums received by this officer were those not required directly by the household.
73
This
officer only received such sums while John Cameron held the position and this perhaps
indicates that more importance was placed on the holder rather than the office, as
Cameron was an important individual throughout James?s reign, as will be shown in
chapter four. However, the office of the Privy Seal did retain an important
administrative function, as the office was held to be ?the key and security of the great
seal?.
74
The Keeper of the Privy Seal was also a frequent charter witness throughout the
reign, with Cameron and William Foulis, the holder of this office after Cameron,
witnessing a significant number of charters.
75
The roles of these individuals shall be
discussed in more detail in chapter four. However, it is worth noting here that of these
household officers, Lauder, Cameron, Foulis, Myrton and Winchester were clerics in
Glasgow diocese. This may have partially been a result of Bishop Lauder?s role in the
negotiations to free James in the latter years of the king?s captivity, leading to a
relationship of trust between James and the Glasgow bishop which extended to those
clerics serving alongside him.
In addition to the new offices that appeared, there also appears to be an absence
of some of the more traditional offices. The Constable and Marischal do not appear to
have played a prominent role in James?s administration and these individuals shall be
discussed in the following chapter. This is perhaps not a new development, however, as
these men do not appear to have played a large role in the reigns of either Robert II or

73
Murray, ?The Comptroller?, 4.
74
Nicholson, The Later Middle Ages, 22; J. MacKinnon, The Constitutional History of Scotland, From
Early Times to the Reformation (London, 1924), 245; Bateson, ?The Scottish King?s Household?, 38.
75
RMS, ii, nos.1-201, passim.
38
Robert III.
76
Additionally, the absence of the Steward and the Clerk of the Wardrobe
has already been mentioned. However, also missing from the records are positions such
as the Clerks of Liverance and the king?s bodyguard. The fact that these officers are
largely missing from the records does not necessarily mean that they did not exist at
James?s court. A John Scrymgeour does continue to appear as macer in the Exchequer
Rolls during James?s reign, receiving his fee of ?10 per annum as well as an annuity of
20s from the customs and fermes of Dundee respectively, suggesting that this office was
not entirely neglected.
77
However, there is some chronicle evidence to suggest that
James failed to keep a bodyguard. In John Shirley?s account of the king?s murder, it is
left to a female attendant to try and bar the door against James?s attackers and there was
only Walter Straiton, the king?s page, to offer any other resistance.
78
This does seem to
indicate that James neglected his bodyguard, or at least did not keep a significant guard
with him at all times, and this perhaps suggests that he neglected other offices as well. It
could be argued that Robert Stewart, the Earl of Atholl?s grandson, acted in a bodyguard
capacity to some extent as he was present with the king and his household at the
Blackfriars in Perth on the night of the king?s assassination, although as Stewart helped
the assassins to gain entry to the king?s apartments this was not to James?s benefit. To
Stewart may be added David Dunbar of Cockburn, the only man to attempt an
immediate pursuit of the king?s attackers. However, this is far from the ?armed group of
select brave men? that Bower states should surround kings ?not only by day, but

76
William Keith witnessed Alexander Stewart?s release from excommunication in 1390 and was a
member of the council appointed to advise the Duke of Rothesay in 1399. Boardman, The Early Stewart
Kings, 176, 224. The Constable?s role appears even more limited.
77
ER, iv, passim.
78
J. Shirley, ?The Dethe of the Kynge of Scotis?, in L. M. Matheson, (ed.) Death and Dissent; two
Fifteenth-century Chronicles (Woodbridge, 1999), 36.
39
especially at night? and who do seem to have accompanied the Dukes of Burgundy.
79

This position may simply be due to a deficiency in the extant records. Bower, however,
is quite critical of this aspect of James?s household. He states that on the night of his
murder, James ?had forgotten to have the comforting presence of brave men with him?.
The chronicler goes on to state that
kings could learn to have select men always by their side, whom
they never allow to leave their company, because it is an act of
forethought and caution to provide in advance for those things
which from time to time, even if rarely, actually come about
when they are not anticipated.
80

James appears to have lacked the ability to understand the long-term
consequences of his actions, which could have helped bring about his murder.
Certainly, he seems to have lacked the ?forethought and caution? that Bower views as a
mark of good kingship, at least in this instance. It may also be that James had an
aversion to being surrounded by armed men, whatever their status, following his years as
a captive in England. Although the circumstances were different, there may have been
enough similarities to discourage James from taking appropriate precautions. Of course,
James may simply have been over-confident and felt that such precautions were
unnecessary.


79
Chron. Bower, viii, 329. Although he states that the guard was not officially instituted until 1474,
Paravinci shows that the ducal guard comprised twenty-four archers in peacetime during the reign of Duke
Philip (1419-67). Paravinci, ?The Court of the Dukes of Burgundy?, 73-4. In England, there was also a
system of protection for the king, with chamber knights having responsibility for this task, there always
being four with him. Allmand, Henry V, 350.
80
Chron. Bower.
40
iii: Reasons for Change
The reasons James undertook these changes are not entirely clear. Murray has
suggested that the lack of active royal government in the period before James?s return
provided the opportunity for reform.
81
A series of lieutenants or governors had been in
effective power since before James?s birth and it is probable that he was eager to restore
royal government, particularly following his observation of English practice. However,
this is too simple an explanation, as it may have been easier to continue some of the pre-
Albany system, although it is possible that the length of the Albany governorship meant
that there were very few men left with enough working knowledge of the pre-1406
system. Yet, it is unlikely that opportunity was the only rationale. The introduction of
the Comptroller and Treasurer to the Scottish system may provide some clue. Nicholson
suggests that these offices were intended to reduce the role of the great nobles in crown
finance, which would help prevent the abuses of the Albany era and would have given
James more control.
82
Nevertheless, new posts were not necessary to achieve this as
finances could be improved in other ways. For example, although the Chamberlain was
usually a great noble, Walter of Biggar, who was not, held this post almost continuously
between 1359 and 1376 and managed royal finances with great skill, contrasting sharply
with the poor returns experienced under the Earl of Fife?s administration after 1382.
83

James?s financial resources were limited at the start of his personal reign and he may
have believed that a great noble was unable to effectively manage the Great Customs.
James may initially have been hampered by the fact that the post of Chamberlain was
held by the Earl of Buchan. However, Buchan was in France when James returned to

81
Murray, ?The Comptroller?, 1.
82
Nicholson, The Later Middle Ages, 313.
83
Ibid., 165, 188.
41
his kingdom and effective control of the office rested with his deputy, John Forrester of
Corstorphine, who was soon promoted to full Chamberlain after Buchan?s death in
August 1424, having already apparently been given the position of Master of the King?s
Household as well. This does suggest that a desire to reduce the influence of great
nobles in crown finance was a factor in James?s reorganisation of the household, though
this may have been prompted by a simple desire to improve efficiency rather than
wholesale distrust of the nobles. Still, the great men do appear to have been largely
absent from James?s court, as will be shown in the next chapter, so the possibility of
hostility cannot be discounted.
Further explanation for the reorganisation is needed, though, as these seem
relatively minor reasons for such significant changes. Murray suggests that James
wished to reduce the power of the Chamberlain. Grant agrees with this, pointing to the
domination of that office by Albany and Buchan between 1382 and 1424 as James?s
motivation: the office had become tainted by the actions of these two nobles.
84
This at
first appears a more likely explanation, but again does not offer a fully satisfactory
rationalisation for why James effectively sidelined this office and introduced several
new offices and officers. Simply appointing a civil servant rather than a noble to this
position would have made this office more amenable to royal demands, the former being
more reliant on the king?s favour than the latter, and would have had the advantage of
minimising any upheaval. The motivations for reform must therefore be more complex
than these explanations suggest.
James was clearly following English practice with the introduction of the
Comptroller and Treasurer and his general reorganisation may have been prompted by

84
Murray, ?The Comptroller?, 1; Grant, Independence and Nationhood, 149.
42
an active desire to reproduce the level of control that the English king held over
government. James was exposed to this to an extent during his eighteen-year captivity,
having spent time in the courts of both Henry IV and Henry V. This may have given
James the opportunity to learn of the contrasting fortunes of those kings in the area of
finance, either through direct observation or more likely through rumours reaching him
wherever he was lodged. This source of information may have been particularly strong
during the periods in which James was lodged at Westminster, the centre of English
government bureaucracy, although James?s status as a prisoner may have limited the
detail available to him. As a usurper, Henry IV alienated portions of the royal estate in
order to win support, thus reducing his income and forcing him to seek support from
parliament to enable him to meet his ordinary expenses. By contrast, Henry V
consciously sought to reduce crown expenses: he not only reduced the number of
annuitants but improved resources by limiting corruption with the introduction to office
of men of lesser birth known personally to him, and by improving efficiency.
85
In some
ways, James?s position on his return to Scotland was more akin to that of Henry IV than
Henry V, as he needed to win the support of his nobles following a long period in which
the Scottish magnates were used to managing their affairs without the interference of the
monarch. However, instead of using royal resources to buy support, James dramatically
reduced the burden of annuitants on crown finances. Even a general survey of the
Exchequer Rolls for the reigns of James and his father and grandfather highlights this.
86


85
For a full discussion of the finances of Henry V?s reign see Allmand, Henry V, 384-403 and G.L.
Harriss, ?Financial Policy? in Henry V: the Practice of Kingship, 159-180. An annuitant was a person in
receipt of an annual payment from the crown.
86
ER, iii & iv, passim. The ER editor, G. Burnett, notes in his introduction to volume 3 that the bulk of
payments out from Chamberlain and custumars? accounts were in the form of annuities. Burnett lists 38
men who were recipients of annuities during the reigns of Robert II and III. He further states that while
43
Yet while Henry V?s reduction of annuities proved popular in England, it is possible that
James?s efforts were less welcome, particularly as he then diverted this income towards
the expenses of the royal household as opposed to matters of national importance or the
ordinary business of government.
Henry V also aimed to ?live of his own?, medieval ideals of kingship holding
that a king was required to use income from his lands and areas such as feudal casualties
to support his household and government and reward supporters.
87
James rather missed
the point of this, aiming to increase ?his own? through dubious forfeitures such as
annexing Albany Stewart lands to the crown in 1425 rather than granting them out and
doing the same with the earldom of Mar after the death of Alexander Stewart in 1435.
James also desired to keep the whole of the Great Customs for his own use. Even in
England, the king was only granted the customs by the grace of parliament. James may
have felt that by increasing the level of bureaucracy and maintaining control over it he
could effect similar financial success in Scotland. However, it appears that James did
not absorb Henry?s ability to calculate the long-term consequences of his financial
planning and gain awareness of the different circumstances which existed in England at
that time. A major problem for James was that he lacked direct experience of royal
government due to his eighteen year captivity in England. A similar problem was also
faced by Henry IV before he usurped the throne in 1399, since he had had poor relations
with Richard II (culminating in Henry?s exile), despite his position as a major noble and
cousin of the king. Additionally, James would not have had the opportunity to observe
Henry V in action at any length, since the English king was so often absent in France.

individual payments were relatively small, together they ?greatly weakened the resources of the Crown?.
ER, iii, lxxxii-lxxxv.
87
Harriss, ?Financial Policy?, 168.
44
For example, prior to his return to England at the end of 1420, Henry had not been to
England for over three years.
88
Thus, although Henry was able to effect good control
over government, it was not something that James would have been able to witness
directly until near the end of his captivity when Henry brought him to France to try and
undermine the Scots troops fighting for the French.
A strong government would have been essential if James were to achieve
greater financial security and this was distinctly lacking for Scotland in 1424, although it
is perhaps the case that increasing centralised authority was a main aim of James?s
changes. The complexities of the hierarchy described above may also be connected to
this, in that no single officer was able to gain supremacy in financial matters, potentially
leaving James as the sole authority in this area. More ominously, the vagueness of
officers? duties and of entries in the Exchequer Rolls raises the possibility that there was
no detailed accounting at the various audits. As a result, only the specific officers
involved would have had a clear understanding of what was being purchased and how
much was being spent on specific items and then only in relation to their own purchases
for the king. For example, the Clerk of Spices received payments of ?100 and ?283 in
1429, but the purpose of the payments is not specified.
89
It is perhaps worth noting that
the individual officers are likely to have possessed more detailed records that they
provided at the annual audits but which no longer survive, so it is possible that more
detail was available to contemporaries than is now extant. However, as the auditors of

88
C.T. Allmand, ?Henry V the Soldier, and the War in France? in Henry V: the Practice of Kingship, 128.
89
ER, iv, 472, 508. Discussing the Durham Cathedral Priory in the later fifteenth century, Miranda
Threlfall-Holmes arrives at a figure of around ?25 p.a. on spices, inc. dried fruit, for around 40 monks.
Even allowing for a greater number of people to be supplied at the Scottish court, this would still be a
significant sum. See eadem ?Durham Cathedral Priory?s Consumption of Imported Goods: Wine and
Spices, 1464-1520? in M. Hicks, (ed.), Revolution and Consumption in Late Medieval England
(Woodbridge, 2001), 141-158.
45
the Exchequer, when they were appointed, were often themselves members of James?s
administration in other areas it is uncertain that the details of these records were widely
circulated, if it all. Yet there is little record in the Exchequer Rolls of regular
overspending, suggesting that there was some level of control in royal finances, although
there is some suggestion of overspending towards the end of the reign. The 1435
accounts of Robert Gray and John of Fife, of money they had received from the customs
in order to make purchases for the king, do record overspends of ?148 18s 3d (reduced
to an overspend of ?88 18s 3d by an extra payment of ?60 to Gray by the Treasurer) and
?218 15s 5d respectively.
90
Furthermore, overspends of ?66 15s 3d, ?30 18s 11d and
?59 10s are recorded at various times during the reign, in the accounts of Linlithgow
(1431), Perth (1435) and the wool custom account of Edinburgh (1435) respectively.
91

Nicholson has stated that in financial matters, James ?believed in keeping his
left hand ignorant of what his right hand was doing?.
92
This would appear to be a fairly
accurate assessment. By preventing any individual officer gaining the dominant
influence in crown finance, James effectively prevented any single officer, and
consequently parliament, from gaining a detailed knowledge of his own expenditure.
Obviously, total expenses were available through the audits, but the vagueness and
complexity probably aided James in concealing his spending patterns. Audits do appear
to have been held on an annual basis during James?s reign although not all records are
extant.
93
Furthermore, a survey of the auditors of the Exchequer accounts, where the
information exists, reveals that these men were nearly all members of James?s

90
ER, iv, 625-28. Fife?s purchases included ?72 worth of wine for the king?s use.
91
ER, iv, 528-30, 612-4, 624.
92
Nicholson, The Later Middle Ages, 313.
93
See appendix 2 for dates and locations of exchequer audits with a list of auditors where named.
46
household, and increasingly so towards the end of the reign. This weighting may have
allowed the king to better conceal the levels and direction of his expenditure of customs
revenue from his noble subjects.
The variety of men who acted as financial officers throughout James?s reign
also suggests that he was seeking to surround himself with a variety of men from whom
to obtain money, in contrast to the days of his captivity when he would probably have
been given his allowance from one officer, and a fairly minor one at that, depending on
the person in whose keeping he happened to be. While there does appear to be a
contradiction here, in terms of James introducing a wider range of financial offices, but
at the same time keeping these officers as an exclusive group, the two ideas are not
mutually exclusive. The men James employed in this capacity were men known to him,
men whom he presumably trusted, and most importantly men whom he had chosen
himself. It is possible to infer that James was seeking a balance between a broad range
of revenue sources while at the same time ensuring that only those whom he trusted
would have authority in financial matters. In this context, the decision of parliament in
October 1431 to restrict the king?s access to the tax raised for a further northern
expedition by having it placed in a kist under the control of Bishop Wardlaw of St
Andrews would have been viewed as a significant insult by James. Parliament had
publicly proclaimed its distrust of the monarch.
Of course, it could simply have been that James was playing with the structure
in an attempt to find the best system to suit his own particular circumstances, as it would
have been difficult to establish the ideal arrangement straight away. However, if this
had been the primary motivator then surely there would not be so much uncertainty over
47
the precise role of the various officers, nor would there have been the need for the ad
hoc officers utilised by James. Indeed, these issues were more likely to have hindered
long-term progress, even if they did perform a function in the short-term. The desire to
keep his officers in their place must remain a factor for consideration. Michael Brown
has further suggested that James was eager to focus authority in his own person rather
than the nobles and the first major political event of the reign, the destruction of the
Albany Stewarts, would tend to support this view. James?s efforts to gain dominion
over the Highlands and Islands in 1428-31 further add to this impression.
What seems to be the case is that James returned to his kingdom in 1424 full of
enthusiasm for reform, fuelled by a desire to replicate in his own kingdom the levels of
monarchical authority that existed in England. The number of changes that took place in
the early years of his reign and which were clearly intended to emulate the situation in
England tends to support this. However, as his rule progressed, James appears to have
lost interest in reorganising his household. The lack of continued reform amongst the
king?s financial officers suggests that James was less concerned with how his finances
were administered than he was in making sure he had money to spend. This pattern is
also suggested by the fact that the number of extant charters issued by James declined
during the 1430s as did his efforts to gain control in the Highlands. Whether hampered
by resistance from his subjects or simply due to an increasing lack of interest and an
increasingly indolent lifestyle, James?s reign appears to be one of two halves. It is
tempting to speculate that the parliament of 1431 was a turning point, with James losing
momentum for change in the face of such strong opposition from his subjects. It is
interesting to note that after the 1431 account in April/May of that year, no further
48
auditors are recorded in the Exchequer Rolls. It is possible that James was even more
determined to keep parliament in the dark regarding the royal finances following what
he perhaps viewed as an affront to the royal dignity.
The introduction of new officers can be linked to James?s political situation
post-1424 in a broader way. Green has speculated that a large household was essential
to a king who wished to display his status and authority.
94
As Myers further suggests, a
magnate in the ?lethally competitive society? of the fifteenth century had to ?impress
men by his ostentation and attract them by his hospitality?.
95
This need would have been
amplified for the Scottish king. On his return to Scotland, James?s status was by no
means uncontested, the great families of Douglas and the Albany Stewarts having grown
used to being the dominant influence in Scottish politics. James had to act swiftly to
impose his own mark on the kingdom, his attack on the Albany Stewart family
exemplifying this. The fact that the Douglases had a highly developed household, with
multiple officers used by the Douglas earl to control his numerous and geographically
disparate lands, would surely have influenced James and motivated him to attempt to
surpass a mere noble family to accentuate his own royal status, particularly in light of
the strong reputation the Douglas family enjoyed in Western Europe in this period.
96
On
a purely practical note, James, too, would have needed to make changes to his household
in order to accommodate the increased bureaucratic burden created by his acquisition of

94
Green, Poets and Princepleasers, 17.
95
Myers, The Household of Edward IV, 2.
96
Brown, Black Douglases, 157-165. The fact that the fourth earl of Douglas was granted the Duchy of
Touraine by the French king is illustrative of this family?s status on the Continent.
49
the Albany Stewart lands, just as the Douglas family had been required to do in the later
fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries.
97

James?s desire to develop central government may also help to explain the
king?s attitude towards the burgh of Perth. Scotland had no official capital at this time,
although Michael Brown has shown that 190 royal documents in James?s reign were
issued in Edinburgh, eighty-seven from Perth and fifteen from Stirling, with several
other locations having smaller numbers, indicating that Edinburgh was perhaps the
favoured location for daily royal business.
98
However, fourteen of the eighteen
parliaments, which were more extraordinary gatherings, of James?s reign were held at
Perth, although it was not the sole location, as Stirling and Edinburgh were also chosen
to host parliaments. Additionally, four Exchequer audits were held at Perth, although
again it was not the only choice as Edinburgh, Dundee, Linlithgow and Stirling were
also sites for audits. This does indicate, however, that Perth was a highly favoured
location for conducting necessary aspects of government administration.
99
In addition,
James?s efforts to have the university moved from St Andrews to Perth, as well as his
choice of Perth as the location for the Charterhouse, does indicate that the burgh was
James?s choice for his capital or at least that he had plans in this direction. James may
have been trying to mimic the English example at Westminster or may have been
influenced by the interest in Perth of Robert II and III. This is explored in more detail in

97
Ibid. 162. Brown suggests that the division of duties between chancellor and secretary was a result of
both the greater power and greater pretensions of the fourth earl.
98
Brown, James I, 202.
99
Balfour-Melville, James I, 258. The Atlas of Scottish History to 1707, 171-177, shows that Edinburgh,
Stirling and Perth had been favoured administrative centres during the reigns of David II, Robert II and
Robert III. The use of Perth as an administrative centre is examined in Oram, ?Community of the Realm?,
15-81
50
chapter seven.
100
In England, the Exchequer had been moved permanently to
Westminster in the early years of the reign of Henry II and was the most usual location
for meetings of Parliament.
101
The stationary nature of English bureaucracy may have
given James more opportunity to learn something about it during the periods in which he
was lodged in London. James may have been quite happy with the Scottish situation by
1426, however, as it allowed him access to large amounts of money, without having a
regularised bureaucracy that would clearly highlight any irregularities. The changing
roles and levels of authority of the various household officers could perhaps, at least for
a time, be explained by James as part of the process of reform.
However, while James may indeed have intended to make Perth the capital of
his kingdom, as implied above, he did also visit several other locations during his reign.
At first glance, the number of places visited by James during his personal reign appears
rather limited. The king issued acts from only fourteen different locations during his
thirteen-year personal reign, compared to thirty-two for fourteen years for David II
between 1357 and 1371, fifty-six for Robert II (nineteen years) and thirty-three for
Robert III (sixteen years).
102
Just how important moving around the country was for a
medieval Scottish monarch is clear from a comparison of James III (1460-1488), who

100
See ch.7, section iii. The development of a central location for Scottish government is also discussed
in Oram, ?Community of the Realm?.
101
J. Steane, The Archaeology of the Medieval English Monarchy (London, 1993), 83; M. Hicks, English
Political Culture in the Fifteenth Century (London, 2002), 93-4.
102
Atlas of Scottish History to 1707, (eds.) P.G.B. McNeil & H.L. MacQueen (Edinburgh, 1996), 172-175.
For Robert II and Robert III, many of the locations from which they issued charters were part of the
Stewartry territory, the traditional centre of their lordship (14 and 15 locations respectively). This may be
reflective of their periods of political exile and the greater attachment which they felt to this region. James
I?s movements suggest very little attachment to this area. The 14 locations for James I were Edinburgh,
Perth, Stirling, Aberdeen, St Andrews, Inverness, Linlithgow, Melrose, Falkland, Ayr, Holyrood,
Dunfermline, Auchterhouse and Brechin. Significantly, with the exception of Auchterhouse, all of these
locations are royal and/or ecclesiastical sites, suggesting that James I did not engage in spontaneous gift-
giving and also that he made his subjects come to him for patronage. This is entirely in keeping with the
lack of patronage given by James during his reign and also his general pattern of attempting to create a
more monarchy-centric political climate in Scotland.
51
had a majority lasting nineteen years, and James IV (1488-1513), whose majority lasted
for eighteen years. While Edinburgh was the most common place from which a royal
act was issued, the unpopular James III issued acts from only fifteen different places
while his son issued from fifty-seven locations.
103
Indeed, this contrast is evident even
by comparing James II to his father. Between 1450 and 1460, James II issued 823 acts
from thirty-three places, implying that he was much more active than his father.
104
This
is quite likely to be one of the reasons for James II?s relative success during his personal
rule when compared to James I.
105

Yet evidence from the Exchequer Rolls does highlight that James visited other
locations during his reign although he did not issue charters there, suggesting that he was
more active than a charter survey suggests. Between his coronation on 21 May 1424
and the commencement of parliament on 26 May, James resided at Dundee, for which
?37 was paid out for his expenses.
106
Additionally, the audit of 1425 reveals that a
payment was made for transporting James?s silver cups to Glasgow indicating that the
king was present there in that year.
107
Inverkeithing was also visited by the king, the
Exchequer Rolls for 1428-9 recording a payment for the hire of boats to transport him
there from Leith, along with the Queen and two of his daughters.
108
James also appears
to have visited Inverkeithing again in 1434-5, as the 1435 audit records that horses were
acquired for the king to go from Inverkeithing to Perth.
109
James also visited
Haddington in 1427-8 and again in 1428-9. In the latter year, James was also at

103
Ibid., 180-1.
104
Ibid., 179.
105
It is worth noting that James II?s success may not have been so clear had he not emerged triumphant
from his conflict with the Douglas family in the 1450s.
106
ER, iv, 383.
107
Ibid., 398.
108
Ibid., 482.
109
Ibid., 618.
52
Coldingham and Dunbar for a day of truce.
110
The summer of 1429 saw James in the
north of his country again for a battle against the Lord of the Isles and his forces at
Lochaber on 23 June.
111
Michael Brown states that the king was present at Dingwall
and Urquhart Castles and also visited Darnaway and Spynie at this time.
112
The king
also made a trip to Ayr in 1433-4 and to Kildrummy in 1436, and visited Linlithgow and
Perth numerous times throughout the reign without issuing charters.
113
However, while
these places do add considerably to the list of locations visited by James, the majority of
these journeys took place in the first half of his reign. Furthermore, of those places
visited outwith the area south of Perth, the visits appear to have been of limited duration
and frequency. Indeed, as regards Dingwall, Urquhart, Darnaway and Spynie, these
visits appear to have been confined to the brief period during which James was
personally involved in campaigning in the Highlands. It would thus seem that James
was relatively inactive during his reign, a fact that perhaps proved unpopular or at least
failed to win him support. This seeming inertia on James?s part is highlighted by the
distinct contrast between his recorded movements and those of his son, although many
of James II?s movements were due to political or military necessity.
James was also concerned with centralising authority in and around the person
of the monarch and not just centralising bureaucracy in one location. The different
situation in Scotland did mean that the king?s personal household was far more closely
linked to the business of government than would have been the case with a separate

110
Ibid., 441, 466-7.
111
Brown, James I, 102; Chron. Bower, viii, 263.
112
Brown, James I, 103, 108n. ER, iv, 509-10 records that malt and meal were delivered to Dingwall and
Inverness Castles in the year 1429-30 and salt purchased for the king?s larder at Inverness, Darnaway and
Spynie in the same year.
113
ER, iv, 570, 390, 449, 450, 485, 513; ER, v, 60.
53
capital. It is thus entirely plausible that James saw the reorganisation of his household
as a means to display his superior position. It had certainly been the case in England
during the thirteenth century that this need had led to a growth in the size of a ruler?s
household and this continued thereafter. Given-Wilson has estimated that by the end of
the 1300s, most English earls would have had around eighty to one hundred people
staffing their households.
114
James, as a king, would have been anxious to compete with
this as far as his resources would have allowed, particularly as his own nobles, such as
the Earl of Douglas, were developing such structured households.
Aside from the general reorganisation, James?s use in particular of a Clerk of
Spices, was surely meant as a means of displaying royal status, given that spices were
expensive and exclusive in the Middle Ages.
115
If the point of this officer were not to
somehow boast of James?s royal position, then surely he would have chosen a different
name. Furthermore, there already existed a position in the household that could take
charge of spices, namely the Clerk of the Wardrobe. The Scottish King?s Household
lists the keeping of spices among that clerk?s duties.
116
There is no mention of the
Wardrobe Clerk in the rolls for James?s reign. However, there is reference to Lewis, the
Queen?s Wardrober, in 1435. This indicates that there may still have been such an
officer employed by the king and also highlights that the king and queen had separate
households to an extent, further suggesting that James was seeking to create a more
elaborate royal household.
117
Even if the pragmatic explanation is taken, that James
purchased so many spices he had need of a dedicated clerk, this would beg the question

114
Given-Wilson, The Royal Household and the King?s Affinity, 259.
115
Ditchburn has emphasised this point by showing that merchant guilds and burgess-ships sometimes
used spices as the entry price; Ditchburn, Scotland and Europe, 157.
116
Bateson, ?The Scottish King?s Household?, 41.
117
ER, iv, 622.
54
why buy so many spices if not to make a statement about disposable income? Still,
James does indeed seem to have had an interest in food, as by the end of his reign James
could be described as ?oppressed by his excessive corpulence? by Aeneas Sylvius
Piccolomini, later Pope Pius II.
118
This is hardly the image of an athletic and energetic
monarch as painted by Bower.
It is apparent that as well as the circumstances of his reign, his early childhood
and period in captivity influenced James?s actions in this area to some extent. As well as
gaining first hand exposure to the English way of government, James?s captivity
removed him from effective political power. Referring to Henry V, Allmand has
suggested that living in style was an important function of the heir to the throne, a way
of reflecting his status in society.
119
James?s status before his coronation was that of a
prisoner dependent on the goodwill of the English king for his sustenance and would
have been in marked contrast to the lifestyle of Henry V before and after his accession to
the throne. Surely, this must be at least a partial motivation for James?s changes to his
household after 1424, just as his extended absence from power pushed him to stamp his
authority so strongly on his nobles. His memory of the early years in his father?s court
may also have been an influence in this regard.
120
Robert III had only periodic authority
and James, given his exposure to English government, would have been anxious not to
become trapped in a similar situation.
121


118
Aeneas Sylvius, ?Scotland: It?s Climate, its People and their Habits? in P. Hume Brown (ed.), Early
Travellers in Scotland (Edinburgh, 1978), 25.
119
Allmand, Henry V, 17.
120
Balfour-Melville, James I, 28. Records suggest that James was in his father?s court for the first ten
years of his life.
121
There is some suggestion to the contrary on this point, specifically Robert III?s creation of a regality for
James in 1404, which encompassed a huge area in the south and west of the country, including the lands
and the earldom of Carrick. This suggests a degree of power being regained by Robert and also
corresponds with the point raised in regards to the lifestyle of the heir to the throne. However, the lengthy
55
iv: Conclusions
Clearly, much could have motivated James?s reorganisation of the royal
household after 1424. The opportunity afforded him by the breakdown in royal
administration in the preceding years was important but was not in itself the impetus to
reform. Rather, it was James?s exclusion from power during his captivity, combined
with the knowledge he gained of the English system and how it linked to the strength of
the English monarch that played a leading role. A large household was an important
status symbol for any ruler, and James would have wished to act swiftly to impose his
authority on a kingdom and nobles accustomed to life with an absentee monarch. The
household also provided him with a ready source of support, both political and, perhaps,
military, crucial for a king in this period and especially so for James given the strength
of the great noble families in Scotland. It also gave him a ready means to reward good
service, as will be shown in the following chapters. Clearly, James?s household was
influenced by his childhood, the political background of his reign, and was expected to
fulfil a variety of functions. However, it is also evident from the patterns of
reorganisation that James failed to develop fully whatever ideas he returned to Scotland
with. While the first years of his reign suggest a king full of enthusiasm, ready to
implement new ideas in an effort to raise royal prestige, evidence from the latter years
suggests just the opposite. From the early 1430s it is possible to detect a reduction in the
king?s interest in completing his reforms. The use of ad hoc officers and the absence of
auditors for the latter accounts suggest, perhaps, that James was more interested in
getting and controlling money than in completing a full restructuring of his household,

period of captivity is likely to have negated the effect of this to a significant extent. See Boardman, The
Early Stewart Kings, 281-282.
56
and also prevents a full understanding of the specific duties that his officers were to
provide. It is these officers, the men who populated his court and household, that will
form the subject of the next two chapters.
57
Chapter 3: The Greater Nobility ?at Court? and in the Royal Household

i: Introduction
An examination of the personnel of James I?s reign must include a survey of
those who may have comprised the king?s regular council after his return from England.
In order to do this, witness lists of surviving royal charters have been utilised in order to
discern who was with the king at any given time, and how often. J.S. Hamilton has
argued that during the reign of Edward III in England, the presence of a name on a
witness list was not necessarily evidence that the particular individual was present at the
granting of the charter, only that they were present at the Chancery when the charter was
lodged.
1
Professor Duncan also states that witness lists are not always reliable as a
record of court attendance for the reign of Robert I so some caution must be exercised.
2

However, Duncan further asserts that witness lists are generally reliable for tracking an
individual?s location on a given date. This would be particularly true for Scotland in the
medieval period, where government administration was less centralised than in England,
which meant that the location of the household was more closely tied to the location of
the king. Additionally, Bruce Webster argues that for the reign of David II, witnesses to
charters rarely seem coincidental. As there is little evidence to suggest that witness lists
for James I?s charters are in any way fictitious, it is likely that they are a fairly accurate
representation of who was in attendance at James?s court.
3
Thus the 198 acts with
witness lists currently known for James?s reign can be used to give a fairly reliable

1
J.S. Hamilton, ?Charter Witness Lists for the Reign of Edward III?, in N. Saul (ed.), Fourteenth Century
England I (Woodbridge, 2000), 1-20.
2
A.A.M. Duncan (ed.), RRS, v, pp.110-118.
3
B. Webster (ed.), RRS, vi, 9.
58
indication of his council, as there do not appear to be instances of the same witness
appearing on different charters in different places on the same day.
The 198 witness lists equate to approximately two-thirds of surviving royal
documents issued during James?s reign. The RMS for James I lists seventy-six different
witnesses. This compares to 201 for James II, 152 for James III and 120 for James IV.
It should be noted that there is some repetition in these lists as they often give the same
person under a different designation. There appears to be sixty-four individuals
appearing as witnesses in the case of James I. A closer examination would be required
to establish the precise number of individuals concerned for the later reigns.
However, witness lists give a fairly restricted view of who was with the king
and who was important in his reign. This is particularly true for James I, for whose
reign there is a limited number of extant charters. The last charter recorded in the RMS
is dated March 1432, some five years before the end of James?s reign, although there are
a number of extant charters for the latter years of the reign that do not appear to have
been registered. Still, the total number available for these latter years is lower than the
total number that appear in the register for the period 1424-1432. 200 charters appear in
the RMS alone, which covers registered grants to 31 March 1432, while for the latter
years approximately forty charters represent the extant record of royal grants. It is
impossible to tell if this apparent decline is due to fewer charters being issued or down
to a lack of survival. Still, the editors of the Register make no mention of lost rolls for
James?s reign, so it is possible that the reduction is partly due to fewer charters being
produced. Additionally, Bruce Webster has highlighted that charters were usually
recorded in the Register at the insistence of the recipient of the grant. This may suggest
59
that some grantees were less concerned with gaining the royal seal of approval in the
later years of James?s reign.
4
However, the disparity in the numbers is so great that it
must indicate that there has been a significant loss of royal charters for the latter years of
James?s reign.
The problems with extant charters make it necessary to use other sources to
provide a clearer picture of the royal affinity. Chronicles provide significant information
regarding the men who were attending the king, particularly as there is a contemporary
chronicle written by a member of James?s own fiscal administration, Walter Bower.
Furthermore, it is possible to collect information regarding the role and importance of
several of the household officers from the records of the Exchequer audits. It is also
possible to determine whether the various officials and nobles who attended James had a
long-standing relationship with him, dating from the years of his captivity, by utilising
records such as the Rotuli Scotiae and the Calendar of Documents Relating to Scotland.
These help to reveal those who visited James in England. Clearly, it is necessary to use
a wide variety of sources in order to create as accurate a picture as possible of James?s
personnel. In order to do this, the key groups of men around James will be examined in
turn so that their relative importance can be established.
It will not be possible to examine in detail every individual who appears in the
records in this way but it is hoped that by covering those people who occur on a regular
basis or who may be considered of significance in some other way, it will be possible to
reveal something of James?s intentions during his reign, as Jean Dunbabin has argued it

4
B. Webster, Scotland from the eleventh century to 1603 (London, 1975), 147-8.
60
is possible to do studying the thirteenth century household of Charles I of Anjou.
5

Dunbabin had suggested that a new ruler?s entourage was intended as a political
statement and that knowing something about a ruler?s personnel and favourites can
reveal his awareness of the political climate during his reign. Dunbabin is dealing with
the specific example of a ruler taking command of an area that he had just conquered
rather than the more peaceful return of James to Scotland. However, a similar argument
can be used in the context of James?s reign, as the personnel of his court and household
may reveal his awareness of the political realities facing him upon his return.

ii: Earls
The first group of individuals to be considered here are the earls, that is,
identifying the earls who appear to be at court and the regularity with which they appear.
It is particularly important to examine this group in the present context, as Michael
Brown has suggested that within a few years of James?s return, the royal court had
become a renewed focus of magnate activity.
6
Alexander Grant, in his study of the acts
of the fourth Earl of Douglas (d.1424), has suggested that charter witnesses may be
ascribed to inner and outer circles of that earl?s affinity according to the frequency with
which they appear in witness lists, a frequency of 10% or more of charters witnessed
being required for allocation to the inner circle.
7
Present on surviving witness lists for

5
J. H. Dunbabin, ?The Household and Entourage of Charles I of Anjou, king of the Regno, 1266-85?,
Historical Research, vol.77, no.197 (August 2004), 313-336. Furthermore, as S. M. Mitchell has stated,
court life cannot be separated from government and politics and it is thus essential to look at the personnel
of the court as well as the household in order to more fully understand the politics of James?s reign, S.M.
Mitchell, ?Some Aspects of the Knightly Household of Richard II? (Unpublished University of London
PhD thesis, 1998), 87.
6
Brown, James I, 113.
7
A. Grant, ?Acts of Lordship: the Records of Archibald, Fourth Earl of Douglas?, in Freedom and
Authority: Historical and Historiographical Essays Presented to Grant G. Simpson (East Linton, 2000),
61
James?s reign are the Earls of Atholl (with a frequency of 8%), Douglas (5%), Orkney
(4%), Angus (4%), Mar (3.5%), Crawford (0.5%) and March (0.5%).
8
From Bower can
be added the earl of Moray, who is included amongst those at St Andrews with James in
1425.
9
This is a fairly small number of earls in attendance at court. From witness lists
alone, around double this number appear in the reigns of James II, III and IV although it
should be noted that the contrast may be distorted by the creation or revival of a number
of earldoms in the reigns of James II and James IV.
10
However, it is still a fairly striking
difference and the fact that James I did not use earldoms as a form of patronage in the
manner of his successors is also potentially significant.
11
Additionally, of those earls
who appear on witness lists, three (Atholl, Douglas and Angus) were closely related to
the king, being an uncle and nephews respectively, and two (Mar and Crawford) were
cousins, although Mar was illegitimate, indicating that James was relying on his
extended family to a great extent.
12

It should be noted, however, that there were a limited number of adult earls in
Scotland at this time anyway. Atholl, in addition to this earldom, also held Caithness

249. Grant states that 92 complete acts survive, with 23 others surviving in note form, making this earl?s
tenure one of the best documented of the medieval period according to Grant. Ibid. 235.
8
The Table of witness lists for RMS, ii, identifies Alexander earl of Angus and William earl of Angus as
being witnesses to charters of James I. Since there was no Alexander as an earl of Angus, and this name is
given only once, it is most likely an error for William or possibly for Alexander earl of Mar. The table
also identifies Henry earl of Orkney as a witness on 4 February 1425. However, Henry died in 1418 so
this is probably an error for his son William, who is found as a witness to charters of James I. The Earl of
March appears only on the foundation charter for the Perth Charterhouse, dated 31 March 1429. This
charter is not recorded in the Register for the reign of James I but appears in a confirmation charter of
James V dated 7 March 1538/9, RMS, iii, no.1928. March?s appearance in this instance perhaps says more
about James I?s desire to have as many notable men as possible as witnesses to this foundation than about
cordial relations between the king and the earl.
9
Chron. Bower, viii, 257.
10
RMS, ii, passim. A more detailed study would be needed to determine the frequency with which these
earls appear in each case.
11
It should be noted that earls and other nobles had a number of local responsibilities that may have
prevented them from being regularly in attendance at court. See for example, Grant, Independence and
Nationhood, ch.5. However, there is still a striking difference between the level of noble attendance at
James I?s courts as compared to those of David II and James III that needs to be explained.
12
Brown, James I, 87.
62
and Strathearn, the latter as tutor to its heir, Malise Graham, although this was granted to
Atholl in life-rent in 1427.
13
The Earl of Sutherland was a hostage from 1427 until the
1440s.
14
Fife and Lennox were annexed to the crown following the king?s destruction
of the Albany Stewart family and the Earl of Buchan died at the Battle of Verneuil
(1424), whereupon James interfered to prevent the earl?s brother inheriting.
15
The
earldom of Ross was claimed by the Lord of the Isles, a man with whom James was in
conflict for the majority of his reign.
16
It thus appears that of those earldoms in
possession of an earl resident in Scotland during James?s reign, most are represented on
James?s

witness lists.
There appear to be several different explanations behind noble attendance at
court. For instance, the Earl of Douglas?s appearance on 27 July 1429 at Inverness
indicates his presence on campaign rather than just a presence at court, and this appears
to be true also of the Earl of Crawford who was also present on this date, especially as
Crawford would have had a specific interest in the pacification of the Highlands.
17
Of
Douglas?s remaining occurrences, several were at areas in which the earl had a landed
interest, for instance at Melrose on 12 October 1424 and four at Edinburgh, three of
which were in August 1429 and one in January 1430.
18
This implies that the court?s
proximity to his location was of importance rather than that he made a particular effort
to attend the king. However, it should be noted that Douglas?s main lands were still in
the south-west, with the residences at Bothwell and Threave being those most commonly

13
Balfour-Melville, James I, 149; Brown, James I, 86. Graham was given the earldom of Menteith in
compensation and promptly sent to England as a replacement hostage for the king?s ransom
14
Balfour-Melville, James I, 294.
15
Brown, James I, 57.
16
See Brown, James I, passim.
17
RMS, ii, no.127.
18
RMS, ii, nos. 11, 128, 129, 130, 142; Rose of Kilravock, 129-30.
63
utilised. Nevertheless, it is possible that Douglas inherited an interest in Edinburgh
following from his father?s time as keeper of Edinburgh Castle and role as ?principal
protector? of Holyrood Abbey.
19
Another appearance by Douglas at Perth, 6 October
1429, can easily be explained by the holding of a parliament in that burgh in that month,
and this also accounts for the Earl of Orkney?s appearance on the latter date.
Furthermore, a majority of Sinclair?s appearances occur in Edinburgh, which further
highlights that the king?s proximity to an earl?s landed interests could be an influencing
factor.
20
In fact, the only earl to appear with any regularity outwith his area of territorial
interest was the Earl of Atholl, whose appearances occurred mainly in Edinburgh, with
twelve of his seventeen appearances taking place there, and the remainder at Perth. This
is perhaps not surprising as he was the king?s uncle and thus had more reasons than the
purely political to be in attendance, unlike other earls. This would appear to support
Michael Brown?s suggestion regarding James?s attempts to create a royal kindred as a
wider su

pport base.
21

There are thus clear reasons for earls being at court that appear to have little to
do with them actually wanting to be there for non-political reasons. This picture also
emerges from the information given by Bower. Also in St Andrews at Christmas 1425
were Flemish ambassadors, in Scotland to discuss the restoration of trade links and it
may have been the desire to establish or reaffirm links with these foreign visitors that
was the attraction.
22
There may also have been individual agendas. For instance, in the
case of the Earl of Moray, he may have been hoping for some sign of favour from

19
Brown, James I, 27.
20
RMS. nos.9, 10.
21
Ibid. 87.
22
Balfour-Melville, James I, 129.
64
James, as the earl would have been fairly newly returned to Scotland following his year
as a hostage in England as security for James?s ransom.
23
James may also have wished
to enlist the aid of this earl in securing the northern portion of his kingdom, perhaps as
an alternative source of authority to the Earl of Mar. However, Brown asserts that
Moray lacked the resources to be truly effective in this arena.
24
If indeed James was
seeking to cultivate Moray in the early years of his personal reign, it perhaps suggests
the king?s lack of awareness of the political realities he was facing. Additionally, it is
possible that Bower was exaggerating noble attendance at the royal court in order to
educate James II as to what the composition of the monarch?s court should be and that
the earls specifically named by Bower were in fact the limit of noble turnout. As
Bower?s assertion of James being attended by ?nearly all the princes and magnates of the
kingdom? does not correspond to the charter evidence it does seem reasonable to
conclude that Bower?s statements in this area are fictional to some extent.
25
A similar
chronicle picture of nobles at court can be found in Andrew of Wyntoun?s work,
suggesting that this was a normal picture to give of a monarch. This chronicler gives a
picture of Robert II at Dunfermline with his magnates, where he received messengers

23
Grant includes proposed hostages for the fourth Earl of Douglas in his analysis of the earl?s inner circle.
Grant, ?Acts of Lordship?, 249. This probably does not apply to James, as it would have been more
difficult for these men to say no to the king?s request that they serve as a hostage, regardless of how
closely they were allied to him. Four earls do appear as hostages for James, namely the Earls of Moray
and Crawford amongst the first list in 1424 and the Earls of Sutherland and Menteith in the exchange of
October 1427. Also, the heir of the Earl of March was sent as a hostage in the August exchange of 1425.
Of these, only Crawford appears as a witness to any royal charters, as discussed above. None of these
men received any significant grant from the king during the reign and therefore it is difficult to suggest
that they were part of any royal affinity. Indeed, Malise Graham?s loss of the earldom of Strathearn to the
Earl of Atholl (1427) and the forfeiture of the Earl of March (1435) are well known. Brown, James I, 85-
6, 156.
24
Brown, James I, 81. Also, Steve Boardman states that in the later years of the 14
th
century, the earldom
of Moray was held by men with few ties to Gaelic society, whose political interests lay mainly in the
southern half of the kingdom. Boardman further states that both John and his son Thomas ?displayed a
rare talent for leaving Moray totally unprotected at critical junctures?. Boardman, The Early Stewart
Kings, 88, 260
25
Chron.Bower, viii, 257.
65
from France, perhaps reflecting that kings should present a grand court to foreign
visitors.
26
Another idealised image of attendance at James?s court can be found in the
fresco commissioned in Sienna by Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini, who visited Scotland in
1435. The image shows James as a venerable old man, surrounded by his courtiers, and
is at odds with the impression gained from the documentary evidence but may represent
what Piccolomini observed during his visit.
27
However, Piccolomini makes no
comment on court attendance in his written account of his Scottish travels, implying that
the fresc

o is a rather contrived picture.
It is evident from this survey that no major earl, other than the king?s uncle the
Earl of Atholl, can reasonably be said to be in regular attendance at court and even then
Atholl?s attendance appears limited. Indeed, no earl appears as a witness at all after 30
May 1432.
28
This is somewhat unusual for the Scottish court, in contrast to earlier and
later reigns. Even just utilising charter data, it is possible to ascertain that earls were in
much more frequent attendance at court in other reigns. In Michael Penman?s study of
witnesses to charters of David II (1329-1371), for example, earls appear with much
greater frequency.
29
At least one earl, usually more, appears in every year for which
witness lists survive, and each earl nearly always witnesses at least 10% of charters in
any given year, often more. Looking towards the end of the fifteenth century, T.
Chalmers has identified a greater frequency of appearance by earls between 1463 and
1490, when again at least one earl appears in every year. Furthermore, in the later

26
Chron.Wyntoun (Laing), bk.9, ll.1033-1044.
27
See appendix 3.
28
C. Innes (ed.), Genealogical Deduction of the Family of Rose of Kilravock, Spalding Club (Edinburgh,
1848), 129/30.
29
M. Penman, ?The Kingship of David II, 1329-71? (Unpublished University of St Andrews PhD thesis,
1999), ?appendix 2?.
66
period, earls are often found witnessing up to 100% of charters for which there are lists
surviving. However, it is interesting to note that the most frequent witnesses in this class
were also named in household office.
30
Other earls, not named in office, are sometimes
less evident in witness lists for this period. For instance, the Earl of Atholl in 1487 only
appears on 7% of lists and even in his capacity as chamberlain the Earl of Buchan
appears on only 6% of lists in 1480. However, taken as a whole, it is clear that in this
later period, earls generally appear more often and more regularly than is the case in the
reign of James I. Interestingly, Chalmers? data also reveals that more significant
magnates are to be found in household office than was the case in the earlier part of the
century. James I?s choice of household officers and their role in the king?s affinity shall
be discu

ssed in a subsequent section.
As regards those who were knighted by the king at his coronation celebrations,
Bower does list several earls as receiving this honour at this time, namely the Earls of
Douglas, Angus, and March and possibly also the Earl of Crawford.
31
According to
Watt, Wigtown (Douglas) was almost certainly a knight already by this point and March
was too old for knighting in 1424.
32
Furthermore, Crawford was a hostage in England at
the time of the ceremony, and was deleted from some versions of the manuscript,

30
For instance, Colin, earl of Argyll, witnessed a high proportion of charters between 1463 and 1482, his
lowest proportion being 71% in 1464, but during this time he held the office of Master of the King?s
Household. From 1484, Argyll, as Chancellor, is found as a witness on 100% of charters, except for a
brief period in 1488. T. Chalmers, ?Daily Council from RMS testation, 1463-1513? in ?The King?s
Council, Patronage and the Governance of Scotland, 1460-1513? (Unpublished University of Aberdeen
PhD thesis, 1982). 12 different earls appear in the witness lists for James III?s charters as given in RMS,
ii. 13 earls appear in the lists of James II and James IV respectively.
31
Chron. Bower, viii, 243. D.E.R. Watt states that the naming of Archibald, earl of Douglas is an error for
the earl of Wigtown.
32
Ibid. editor?s notes, 352. In some of these examples it may have been the heirs to the earldoms who
were knighted. Certainly, Crawford?s heir, David, was of age to be knighted and was a knight by 17
November 1425. Angus?s heir, James, succeeded in 1437 although it is not entirely clear how old he was
in 1424. It should also be noted that Katie Stevenson has recently suggested that despite the usual age for
knighting being around 16 to 20 years of age, there was no set age for knighting and examples of men
being knighted into their 30s and older can be found. Stevenson, Chivalry and Knighthood, 17-19.
67
making his knighting at this point doubtful. This really only leaves one earl who may be
said with any certainty to have been knighted by James at his coronation. At the
knighting ceremony accompanying the baptism celebrations for his twin sons in 1430,
the closest James came to knighting an earl was the heir of the Earl of Douglas.
33
It
would appear from a variety of sources, then, that there is little evidence of earls forming
a regular
same year the earldom of Menteith was granted to Malise Graham, for reasons that have

or important part of the king?s affinity in this period.
This does raise the question, though, of why Bower felt the need to, at best,
augment the lists of those men who were present at court on different occasions. It is
perhaps the case that Bower was seeking to obscure the fact that James had largely
ignored his great nobles. It is well known that James was parsimonious with the
granting of patronage, with Grant identifying only five crown grants of land during the
reign, and suggests that the underlying circumstances of these grants mean that they are
not actually that significant.
34
Of these five, two were to family members, his sister
Margaret, widow of the fourth Earl of Douglas, and his uncle Walter, earl of Atholl.
35
A
further two can clearly be seen to have been motivated by political expediency. In
January 1427 Alexander, earl of Mar was granted the lordship of Badenoch, no doubt in
recognition of the role the earl would play in controlling the Highlands, and later that

33
Ibid, 263.
34
Grant, ?Service and Tenure in Late Medieval Scotland?, 170.
35
RMS, ii, nos.47 & 93. Margaret received a grant of the Lordship of Galloway for her lifetime, placing a
significant Douglas family territory outside of the immediate control of the fifth earl of Douglas. Michael
Brown states that, although not specified in the charter, the lordship would likely have passed to the earl
on his mother?s death (Brown, James I, 78). However, given James?s actions regarding the lands of other
nobles, it is entirely possible that he intended for the lordship to come into royal hands upon his sister?s
death. It should be noted that in the mid-1300s, the lordship was essentially split, with the sector west of
the Cree becoming part of the earldom of Wigtown. Atholl received the earldom of Strathearn for his
lifetime, again indicating that James intended to acquire this earldom for the crown after Atholl?s death.
68
already been mentioned.
36
It may be that some of the household reorganisation that took
place after 1424, as discussed in the preceding chapter, was intended by James to offer
patronage without the expense of large royal grants, as it allowed those who had offered
loyal service to be rewarded with household office. However, this still ignored the great
nobles and actively changed the role they had held in the household pre-1424,
particularly with reference to the office of Chamberlain, as mentioned in the previous
chapter. In this context, it is not surprising that James would seek to reduce their
influence in this area.
Additionally, there is not a significant amount of evidence to suggest that
household officers received much in the way of patronage over and above their offices,
although some exceptions are discussed below. For instance, there is nothing in the
surviving Exchequer Rolls to suggest that household officers or others regularly received
grants of robes or livery, although it should be noted that payments may have been made
in years for which records no longer survive. The only indications of such patronage are
a payment of ?21 20d for nineteen robes to the keepers of the Queen?s horses for
accompanying her to Inverness and a payment of ?371 7s 10d for cloth for the use of the
king and his servants.
37
These are significant sums and do suggest that a large number
of outfits were produced. In the first instance, the sum allows for just over ?1 per robe, a
not unreasonable allowance if the servants are not of a particularly high status.
38
For the
larger sum, this would have allowed for a significant number of officers to receive gifts

36
RMS, ii, 76; Red Book of Menteith, ii, 293. The exchange of these two earldoms also brought the
wealthier earldom back into the male line of royal Stewarts, Walter being the younger brother of David,
earl of Strathearn (d.1389x90).
37
ER, iv, 473, 575-6. The proportion of the latter sum allocated to the king?s servants is not recorded.
38
In England in the later thirteenth century, robes could cost between ?5 7s for the controller of the
wardrobe and 5s for lower classes of huntsmen. F. Lachaud, ?Liveries of Robes in England, c.1200-
c.1330? in English Historical Review (April, 1996), 289.
69
of cloth.
39
Thus, while James does seem to have been generally disinterested in
patronage, there are instances when he did give gifts.
There do appear to be political motivations behind these examples, however.
Obviously, in the case of the robes given to the keepers of the Queen?s horses, James
hoped to create the impression of a striking royal household to the northern nobles at
Inverness. Lachaud suggests that as robes could be used as a reward for service, they
could be used by a lord to increase the size of his retinue for a specific occasion.
Lachaud also states that this was done by Edward I for a parliament at which a formal
judgement was to be passed against William Wallace.
40
In the case of the larger sum in
James?s reign, the amount is recorded in the account for the year 1433-34, the same
account in which payments for James?s tournament are recorded. It is possible that this
payment was intended to provide new clothes for the household in order to make a
statement about its power and unity to others attending the event. This may not have
been popular with his subjects, particularly towards the very end of James?s reign,
especially after an account was given of the money the king was spending in Flanders to
purchase luxury goods for himself and his wife. This was possibly given extra impetus
as a large proportion of what the king spent came from the money raised to pay his
ransom. Additionally, it may well be that different members of the household were to be
dressed differently, providing visual confirmation of the hierarchies the household
contained. Such a hierarchy of differential clothing was something that was of concern
to James, as evidenced by the parliamentary acts passed in 1430 stipulating the manner

39
Again, a comparative figure for England suggests that the highest sum received by an individual in any
year for robes was around ?10 at the end of the thirteenth century. Even allowing for changes in currency
and for exchange rates, ?371 Scots would have allowed for new clothing for at the very least the chief
members of the royal household. Lachaud, ?Liveries of Robes?, 289.
40
Ibid., 285.
70
in which people of different income levels should dress.
41
This question of liveries or
robes does indicate that Grant?s method of identifying James?s court circle only gives
part of the picture.
However, there are further indications besides the picture given from witness
lists that James did not have a particularly cordial relationship with his earls. Bower
relates a tale of ?a certain great nobleman, a near relative of the king? (not named
although the Earl of Douglas is clearly intended), who, having struck another man
(again, not named but is most likely John Kennedy, the king?s nephew) was exiled from
the court for a period. James initially tried to have the stricken individual stab the great
man through the offending hand with a knife, but was supposedly prevented from doing
so by the intervention of the queen, her ladies and clerics present at court.
42
There is
further indication in Bower?s work of unpleasantness between Douglas and Kennedy.
Bower relates that in 1431 ?for certain reasons? the two men were arrested, with Douglas
kept in custody in the Castle of Loch Leven and Kennedy at Stirling Castle. Douglas
was released later that year ?while Kennedy was kept still in custody?.
43
The reasons are
unclear, although Brown?s suggestion that the arrest was related to renewed tensions in
the south-west, particularly in Carrick, does seem reasonable.
44
Writing in the 1440s,
Bower may have been offering instruction to the young James II on a more appropriate
way to treat his great men, in order to avoid the fate that had befallen his father.
45
There
is also an intriguing comment by the sixteenth century writer Hector Boece who states

41
APS, ii, 18.
42
Chron. Bower, viii, 321.
43
Ibid. 265.
44
Brown, James I, 133-4.
45
M. Brown, ??Vile Times?: Walter Bower?s Last Book and the Minority of James II?, SHR, vol.lxxix
(Edinburgh, 2000), 165-188.
71
that ?King James?past oft tymes as ane privatt man amang his lieges, specialie amang
his merchandise, because thair howsis war biggitt with mair magnificence than vtheris?,
suggesting that the king preferred the company of lesser men.
46
However, it should be
noted that this was written some time after James I?s death, and is thus likely to be
unreliable to a great extent. Additionally, the image of a king passing among his
subjects privately was a common literary motif, further hindering the dependability of
Boece?s comment. However, the latter part of this statement does offer some insight
into how James I was viewed by later generations, that is, as someone interested in being
surrounded by wealth.
It is important to try to understand why the earls should have played such a
seemingly limited role in James?s circle. That they were still a politically important
group is undoubted, especially given Michael Brown?s examination of the politics of
James?s reign. It therefore needs to be determined why they appear to have played such
a small role in court life, especially given the disparity between this reign and the earlier
period under David II, Robert II and Robert III, and also with the latter half of the
fifteenth century, as discussed above.
47
One possible explanation may be that James did
not want them at court. As discussed previously, James wished to reduce the influence
of the great nobles in household government and it may be that he was seeking to restrict
their political role by limiting their appearances at court, attendance at which in the
medieval period was one of the chief means for a noble to obtain influence with the

46
Chronicles of Scotland compiled by Hector Boece, translated into Scots by J. Bellenden, 1531, Scottish
Text Society (Edinburgh and London, 1941), 3rd series, ii, E. C. Batho and H. W. Husbands (eds.), 394.
It is possible that if James was presenting himself as a private man, he may not have dressed in his royal
finery and thus his social status may not have been so visually evident. It is also possible that Bellenden
may have been thinking more of James IV so care should be taken using this later evidence.
47
For earls in the reigns of Robert II and Robert III, see Boardman, The Early Stewart Kings, passim. As
discussed below, pg.79, n.56, many of Robert II?s sons gained earldoms.
72
monarch. It may also be that James was deliberately seeking to hide the mechanics of
government from his great nobles. As suggested in the previous chapter, James may
have been trying to conceal his financial management from parliament and it is possible
that he was doing a similar thing in this instance with non-financial matters and that this
is behind the limited use of earls as witnesses to royal charters. Yet, it should also be
noted that Alexander Grant has suggested that in the reign of David II, earls were able to
maintain a presence at court despite royal indifference.
48
If correct, this would suggest
that there was in fact little desire on the part of the earls of James I?s reign to be at court
on a regular basis and their apparently reduced presence at court during James?s reign
was not simply down to James?s wishes.
It is difficult to determine precisely why this distancing took place, due to the
nature of the surviving evidence. It is possible that the Scottish nobles did not approve
of the style of court that James was fostering. As discussed throughout this thesis, James
appears to have been introducing a much different style of court life than what had come
before, that is, it was much more English in style, with a high level of expenditure going
towards luxury items such as jewels and tapestries. For the eighteen years of James?s
captivity there had been no royal court in Scotland. Additionally, both Robert II and
Robert III experienced periods where they effectively lacked political control and were
both more plain in their courts than James was seeking to be.
49
Although magnificence
was expected of a medieval monarch, it is possible that the Scottish nobility disapproved

48
Grant, Independence and Nationhood, 176, quoted in Penman, ?The Kingship of David II?, appendix 2.
49
There is some indication that royal court life did not cease to exist entirely during the reigns of the first
Stewart kings. The reign of Robert II saw the commissioning of one of the finest works of medieval
Scottish literature, John Barbour?s Bruce while tournaments appear to have taken place during Robert III?s
reign. Indeed, while still earl of Carrick, Robert II utilised the court to establish his position, as
subsequently did Robert, earl of Fife. These aspects of court culture are discussed in more detail in
subsequent chapters. For this period see Boardman, The Early Stewart Kings.
73
of their king spending such a high proportion of his limited income on such items.
There is no conclusive evidence to support this, although the fact that James was not
using the money to provide patronage for his nobles is unlikely to have been welcomed.
James is well-known for having cancelled a large number of crown annuities and having
failed to offer any significant new grants.
50
Furthermore, James was effectively
spending his nobles? money, which was supposed to have gone to England to pay his
ransom, on extravagant items for the court that were not generally benefiting the country
as a whole. Additionally, in their own localities, earls were used to occupying the
highest position and may have been unwilling to attend a royal court where they would
have been forced to adopt a subservient status.
51
This could have been unwelcome to
men who had little experience of this. Interestingly, the only man who would have had
knowledge of a ?proper? royal court in Scotland would have been Atholl, the earl
appearing most frequently at James?s court. It is therefore possible that James?s earls
had simply become used to remaining in their own local spheres of influence and were
disinclined to attend court, despite any efforts by James to attract them.
52

What also appears to be the case is that James was only interested in his earls
when they were of use to him politically. For instance, James showed some interest the
Earl of March for the role he could play in the south. However, the eleventh Earl of
March was forfeited in 1434 on the grounds that his father?s (the tenth earl?s)
reinstatement to the earldom in 1409 (following from his forfeiture in 1400) was

50
Grant, ?Service and Tenure in Late Medieval Scotland?, 170.
51
Brown, James I, 88.
52
It should be noted that the Earl of Douglas would probably have been aware of the French royal court
from his time on the continent and from his father?s promotion to the Duchy of Touraine. However, it
should be noted that this would have been different to the Scottish court in terms of the resources available
to the French king.
74
invalid.
53
For so long as March could be an antidote to Douglas authority in the South,
James was prepared to tolerate him. Yet, when March?s strength in this area became
more of a threat, the king did not hesitate to take advantage and remove a powerful
magnate and simultaneously add to his own revenues. This seems to imply that James
lacked an ability to understand the long-term impact of his plans. The king?s fear that
the March earls would ally themselves with England came true following this forfeiture,
an eventuality that may have been averted had James shown a little more favour to this
southern magnate. It is possible that James was influenced by the actions of the tenth
earl, who was one of those to whom James wrote in 1412 regarding efforts to obtain his
release.
54
As there is nothing to suggest that the earl made any real effort in this
direction, it is possible, but not certain, that the king harboured some resentment over
this, which was directed at the eleventh earl, although economic concerns were a clear
motivation for James?s actions in this instance.
55

Indeed, such lingering resentment may provide an explanation for James?s
attitude towards his earls generally. James had only limited personal contact with this
group during the years of his captivity, and what contact there was is unlikely to have
left a positive impression on the young king. The fourth Earl of Douglas had been
captured by the English in 1402 following the Scottish defeat at the battle of Homildon
Hill. However, by 1407, Douglas had managed to obtain his release, leaving James in
England while he himself returned to Scotland. Henry Sinclair, earl of Orkney (d.1418)
was in England with James for the first years of his captivity, having been captured
along with the king in 1406. However, he too left James to return to Scotland. There is

53
Brown, James I, 155.
54
W. Fraser (ed.), Red Book of Menteith, vol.1, 285.
55
Brown, James I, 154-6.
75
nothing to suggest that beyond this James had any significant contact with any major
noble, with the exception of Murdoch, son and heir of Robert, duke of Albany, who was
governing Scotland in James?s absence. The fact that Albany managed to obtain
Murdoch?s release but not James?s is unlikely to have left the king with a positive
attitude towards his greater nobles, who could not (or perhaps in his view would not)
effect his release. It is interesting to hypothesize that James resented this class of his
subjects for effectively abandoning him to English captivity until such time as it was
politically expedient for their own purposes to work for his release.
56
Even when the
Earl of Douglas did begin to pursue negotiations for James?s liberation, the earl?s
preoccupation with military matters in France meant that the bulk of the contact between
himself and the monarch took place through the earl?s household, the men who would
later be absorbed by James into his own royal household after 1424.
James?s distrust of his earls is evident not only in their general absence from his
court but also in the fact that he did not create any new earldoms as patronage for his
key supporters. Robert I and David II established the earldoms of Moray, and Douglas
and Wigtown, respectively, while Robert III elevated David Lindsay to the earldom of
Crawford and also created the dukedoms of Rothesay and Albany for his son and brother
respectively. Robert II?s accession to the crown also saw a strengthening of power for
some earls, as the king?s sons secured numerous earldoms for the royal family.
57

Significantly, several earldoms were established during the reign of James?s son, James
II. For example, the earldoms of Argyll, Rothes, Marischal and Errol all date to this

56
Ibid. 23, 26-7.
57
The earldoms of Carrick, Fife, Menteith, Buchan, Strathearn, Atholl and Caithness were held by sons of
Robert II in the latter 1300s. See Boardman, Early Stewart Kings, passim.
76
reign.
58
The latter two are particularly significant, as the families who were thus
promoted were important hereditary officers distinctly ignored by James I during his
reign.
59
Additionally, although James II would have had little input into the decision
personally, James Douglas of Balvenie was created Earl of Avondale just months after
the death of James I. The large number of earldoms created after February 1437
suggests that there was a hunger among the higher levels of the nobility for this level of
patronage and indicates that there was a desire for a resurgence in the power of this class
of noble. This may have been due in part to the distinct lack of adult earls in Scotland
by 1437, resulting in a striking lack of political leadership during the minority of James
II. However, this was to some extent a situation of James I?s making through, for
example, his annexation of the earldom of Mar to the crown and the forfeiture of March.
The king?s reluctance to part with earldoms when they came into his possession and his
failure to reward supporters with new creations does imply that James I had at best an
ambivalent attitude towards earls. What appears to be the case is that while James was
willing to use them when it was politically expedient, he did not have a personal liking
for this group and was reluctant to award it any more authority than it had come to
possess by 1424.
This pattern can also be seen with James?s actions regarding the earldom of
Mar. Following the death of Alexander Stewart in 1435, James absorbed Mar as a
possession of the crown, rather than granting it out. Robert Erskine had a strong claim
to the earldom and this was supported by numerous northern lords such as Alexander
Forbes, yet James ignored this. Although the king did attempt to give the Earl of

58
McGladdery, James II, 79, 104, 109.
59
The Marischal and the Constable are discussed in more detail in section iii below.
77
Orkney some authority to replace Mar as his lieutenant in the north, as a primarily
southern magnate, despite the indications of his title, Orkney had little real claim to be a
leader of men in the north. Erskine at least had a legitimate claim to lordship.
60
James
preferred to bolster his own coffers rather than fill the power vacuum left by Mar?s death
and the consequences of this for the position of the Lord of the Isles can be seen
throughout the fifteenth century. Additionally, the fact that Fife and Lennox were
annexed to the crown rather than being granted out further suggests that James was
seeking to improve his own financial position at the expense of his nobility. This can
also be seen in the grant of Strathearn to Atholl in life-rent. Atholl was by this point
elderly, and was presumably not expected to live much longer, giving James the
opportunity to add another earldom to the royal collection. Even when earldoms were
granted out, for example the grant of Menteith to Malise Graham, much of the wealth of
the earldom was retained by the crown. On one level, this was a sensible policy for
James, as by increasing the number of crown lands in his possession, he was increasing
royal revenues and this would have helped him and subsequent monarchs to ?live of
their own?, rather than having to seek taxation from their subjects or appropriate money
from the customs for ordinary household expenditure. However, the way in which
James pursued this strategy was clearly unpopular.






60
Brown, James I, 156-60.
78
iii: Barons and Knights
In addition to the earls, there are a number of ?lesser? nobles and knights who
appear as witnesses on James I?s charters and these must also be examined.
61
Grant?s
methodology can again be used to make a determination regarding their place within the
king?s regular council. There are thirty men from this group whose names appear on
witness lists for this reign, not including appointed officers of the king?s household,
(who shall be dealt with in a subsequent chapter). The most frequent appearance is by
John Seton, knight, who witnessed nine charters on a total of four days. This equates to
around 4.5% of the total, which, according to Grant?s approach, means that no member
of this group can be said to be part of the king?s regular or close council. However,
there is still important information to be gleaned from a closer study of these men, as it
may reveal something of James?s geographical interests. Furthermore, by examining
precisely when these men can be placed at court, it may be possible to understand more
about what was drawing them to the king?s presence.
John Seton was a member of what Grant terms the ?inner circle? of the affinity
of the fourth Earl of Douglas, witnessing fifteen of the earl?s charters, significantly
higher than the number of times he appeared as a witness on royal charters, and being
named as a hostage for the earl five times, as well as receiving a grant of land from the
earl.
62
Seton was also originally designated as one of the hostages for James but was not
one of the finalised list of those who were actually sent to London.
63
Seton also
represented the Lothian area in geographical terms, his lands being concentrated in the

61
The term ?lesser? is used to denote that these men were lower in rank than the earls, and is not
necessarily a reflection of their landed status or political power.
62
Grant, ?Acts of Lordship?, 246.
63
Brown, James I, 42.
79
sheriffdoms of Edinburgh, with four baronies in Haddington Constabulary and one in
that of Linlithgow.
64
For James, Seton thus no doubt represented both a connection to
the Black Douglas family and a potential agent in the Lothian area. As the Douglas
family were particularly powerful in the southern area of the kingdom it was particularly
important for James to form a connection with the new earl, the south being the
wealthiest area of Scotland and the newly returned king being eager to take control of
the kingdom?s finances. However, from the evidence of surviving witness lists, Seton
made only four appearances at court, all of them between 10 July and 25 October 1424.
The penultimate appearance by Seton took place on 12 October 1424, at Melrose Abbey.
While there, one of James?s deeds was to confirm the new Earl of Douglas in his
position, the fourth earl having been killed at the Battle of Verneuil in August of that
year.
65
It may be that Seton was present more due to the wishes of the new earl than to
attend the king and his final appearance, at Ayr on 25 October may be for similar
reasons. On his first appearance, on 10 July, Seton can be found witnessing five
charters. However, these were all confirmations of grants to John Forrester of
Corstorphine in Midlothian, who was also a member of the affinity of the fourth Douglas
earl, and one of these charters was originally granted by John Seton.
66
Forrester was
also the Chamberlain, and he shall be discussed in more detail below. Seton?s only other
appearance, on 26 July when he witnessed two charters, could perhaps be explained by
proximity, his lands being near to Edinburgh as already discussed.
67
Thus it is possible
to explain nearly all instances of Seton?s appearances as a witness to royal charters as

64
A. Grant, ?The Higher Nobility and Their Estates, c.1371-1424? (Unpublished Worcester College PhD
thesis, 1975), appendix 2, 365-369; Atlas of Scottish History to 1707, 204.
65
Brown, James I, 53.
66
RMS, ii, nos. 4-8; Grant, ?Acts of Lordship?, 246.
67
RMS, ii, nos. 9-10.
80
being for reasons other than a wish to be at the royal court. It should be noted that as
Brown points out, it was not insignificant that Seton was released from the obligation of
serving as a hostage and suggests that James was showing some favour to this man.
However, it was perhaps his connection to the powerful Douglas family and James?s
desire not to alienate this important faction that motivated him. As Brown also
highlights, relatively few Douglas adherents were sent to England.
68

Thomas Somerville of Carnwath was the next most frequent of the signatories
in this category, with seven appearances on three days, representing approximately 3.6%
of the total. Somerville is also placed by Grant within the affinity of the fourth Douglas
earl, though in the outer rather than the inner circle.
69
As with Seton, Somerville?s
landed interests lay in the southern half of the kingdom with two baronies in the
sheriffdom of Lanark, one in the sheriffdom of Roxburgh and one in that of Stirling,
again areas where James was keen to establish his own authority and men such as Seton
and Somerville would be an important source of information regarding events in those
areas.
70
Additionally, Somerville was a former councillor of David, duke of Rothesay
(d.1402), James?s brother, suggesting, according to Brown, that James was looking to
men known to him from his youth to assist him in the early part of his reign.
71
Certainly
Somerville?s last appearance as a witness took place on 24 April 1426, placing his
importance at the beginning of the reign.
72
Relying on men with whom he was already
familiar was not an unreasonable course of action for James. In England, for example,
Henry IV relied mainly on men who had served him during his exile before he claimed

68
Brown, James I, 42.
69
Grant, ?Acts of Lordship?, 247.
70
Grant, ?The Higher Nobility and their Estates?, 383, 394, 397.
71
Brown, James I, 51.
72
RMS, ii, no. 45.
81
the throne.
73
As with Seton, most of Somerville?s appearances can be attributed to other
factors. His three appearances as a witness on 4 February 1425/6 were for two
confirmation charters to John Forrester of Corstorphine, another member of the Douglas
affinity as mentioned above and one to Forrester?s daughter and her husband which was
originally made by Somerville. His three occurrences as a witness on 7 March 1425/6
may also be due to similar circumstances, with the three charters in question being
grants and confirmations to James Douglas of Balvenie, brother of the fourth Earl of
Douglas. Only his single instance as a witness on 24 April 1426 could potentially be
linked to a desire on his own part to be at court.
74
The concentration of Somerville?s
appearances in the early years of the reign may be due to his age. Born c.1370, he
would have been in his early to mid 50s at the start of James?s personal rule, which may
have prevented him from playing a significant role. However, Somerville did not die
until 1444 and in 1433-4 was Justiciar south of the Forth, indicating that he was still
active despite his age.
75
Clearly, Somerville was politically important during James?s
reign, gaining a significant show of trust from the monarch. Yet this was not enough to
ensure his presence at court throughout the period.
Balvenie himself also witnessed seven of James?s charters. The first of these
was 3 June 1424 at Perth, following the coronation and first parliament of James upon
his return, when Douglas was styled James Douglas of Abercorn in Midlothian. The
next three of his appearances were on 4 February 1424/5 in Edinburgh and may be due
to similar reasons as described above for Somerville on this date. On 8 January 1426/7
Balvenie witnessed two charters, both in Edinburgh, but his presence can perhaps be

73
Rogers, ?The Royal Household of Henry IV?, 465.
74
RMS, ii, nos. 15-17, 38-40, 45.
75
Scots Peerage, viii, 7-9.
82
explained by the fact that just a few days earlier he himself had received a grant of lands
in Lanark, resigned by Elizabeth Murray and was in receipt of another confirmation on
12 January.
76
Balvenie?s final occurrence as a witness on 4 February 1430/1 was again
to a charter of John Forrester of Corstorphine.
77
As brother to the fourth Earl and uncle
of the fifth Earl of Douglas, Balvenie was a man of great influence in fifteenth century
Scotland. As Grant has shown, Balvenie possessed a significant amount of land in both
the north and south of the country, with lands in Banff, Aberdeen, Inverness, West
Lothian and Lanark. Grant describes these possessions as ?worthy of an earl?, which
Balvenie indeed became in 1437, after the death of James I, with his creation as Earl of
Avondale, and he later inherited the Douglas earldom following the execution of the
young sixth earl and his brother.
78
This wide powerbase would make him an attractive
potential ally for James. Balvenie also appears as a witness in a greater number of years
than many others in this group, despite a low number of instances as a witness (he is
present at the beginning of 1424/5, 1426/7 and 1430/1). This perhaps suggests that he
was more willing to be at court, although as already stated these instances can be
explained by other factors. It is thus possible that it was Balvenie?s ambitions for his
own status that motivated him, realising the political advantages that could be acquired
through the court milieu, rather than a personal fondness for James and his court. To
these appearances should be added the four days when he was present receiving grants
or confirmations of earlier grants, three on 7 March 1425/6, one on 18 April 1426, one
on 5 January 1426/7 and one on 12 January 1426/7.
79
This places Balvenie at court on

76
RMS, ii, nos. 72, 74, 75, 77.
77
Ibid. no. 186
78
Grant, ?The Higher Nobility and their Estates?, 224-5.
79
RMS, ii, nos.38, 39, 40, 43, 72, 78.
83
several more occasions to which can also be added the baptism of James?s twin sons in
1430 at which Balvenie?s heir was knighted.
80
It should perhaps be borne in mind,
however, that royal confirmations were an important part of possession in the medieval
period and necessity may well have drawn Balvenie to court. Furthermore, all of these
confirmations took place in Edinburgh, so Balvenie did not have to go out of his way to
reach the king, as he had lands at Abercorn, a few miles from Edinburgh. This can also
be seen in the instances in which Balvenie appears as a witness. Balvenie?s limited role
in James?s reign, and the fact that he had to wait until after the king?s death for
promotion, was no doubt evidence of the king?s lingering distrust for the role Balvenie
had played in the killing of David Fleming in 1406; Fleming had at that time been
James?s custodian.
81

Somerville and Balvenie do have in common, however, the fact that they were
among the greater barons in the country in c.1424 and beyond.
82
This would surely
have meant that James would be pleased to have them at his court, whatever the reason,
as it would have given him the opportunity to build a relationship with two important
men from the south of the country, an area that he was seeking to increase his own
power in, and hopefully attract them to his court on a more regular basis. However, the
infrequency of appearances by these most frequent of witnesses would tend to suggest
that James failed in the latter of these objectives. As should become evident throughout
the present work, this was perhaps due to the style of court life that James was
developing after 1424.

80
Chron. Bower, viii, 263.
81
Brown, James I, 16.
82
Grant, ?The Higher Nobility and their Estates?, 37.
84
Alexander Forbes of Forbes appears as the next most frequent in this group,
with five witness lists bearing his name, representing 2.6% of the total. It should be
noted, though, that all of these occur in August 1426, with two instances occurring at
Aberdeen (12 August), reflecting Forbes? landed interest in the north, and one at
Auchterhouse (21 August), probably as a result of Forbes accompanying James on his
return to Edinburgh. Alexander?s barony of Forbes was located in the sheriffdom of
Aberdeen, on the border between the Earldom of Mar and the lordship of Garioch,
which helps to explain his appearances as a witness in Aberdeen.
83
Forbes did return to
Edinburgh with the king, to appear twice as a witness there on 28 August. Of the two
appearances on 12 August 1426, one involved a confirmation of a grant by Alexander,
earl of Mar, of lands in the sheriffdom of Aberdeen.
84
This perhaps suggests that Forbes
was primarily concerned with local rather than national politics and service to the king.
Michael Brown argues that Forbes was a close councillor of the king and was an
important link between James and Alexander, earl of Mar and it was Forbes? influence
with the king that was crucial for Mar being able to retain his position in the period
immediately following James?s return.
85
There is some suggestion that Forbes was a
close adherent of the king as he had served in James?s military retinue in France in 1421
and he had a grant from the king on 6 October 1430 of the barony of Forbes, to him and
his wife Elizabeth, a granddaughter of Robert III (and therefore a niece of James
himself).
86
Forbes was also referred to as ?the king?s knight? and ?our dearest bailie?
when James appointed two men to act as Forbes? deputies in his position as bailie for the

83
Atlas of Scottish History to 1707, 203.
84
RMS, ii, no.56.
85
Atlas of Scottish History to 1707, 49-50.
86
Brown, James I, 24; Antiquaries of the Shires of Aberdeen and Banff, iv, 391-2.
85
lands of the bishopric of Moray in May 1426.
87
Furthermore, Forbes had strong links to
the Earl of Mar, serving with him at Harlaw, and maintaining this link throughout the
reign, so Brown?s suggestion has significant merit.
88

However, by the mid 1430s, James had failed in his efforts to control the
Highlands, as shown in his inability to permanently suppress the Lord of the Isles, and it
is possible that Forbes felt that the king was no longer a reliable prospect for preserving
his own interests in the north.
89
That local concerns were much more important to
Forbes than serving the king is shown by his support of Robert Erskine in the latter?s
attempts to gain the earldom of Mar following Alexander Stewart?s death in 1435.
90

Brown attributes this to the unpopularity of James?s annexation of the earldom to the
crown but it may be that James?s other actions throughout his reign contributed to the
alienation of an apparently loyal supporter. Furthermore, the king?s spending habits
would have been increasingly apparent, although a full accounting of his spending in
Flanders was not rendered until 1436. That James was diverting a significant amount of
resources towards luxury items at the expense of sustained patronage and controlling a
problem area may well have been resented by men such as Forbes, particularly given
Michael Brown?s suggestion that nobles expected to be rewarded for their service.
91

These men were the most frequent of witnesses among the ?lesser? noble group
and as can be seen there is often a rational explanation for their attendance at court that
did not include them being attracted to a revived and spectacular royal court. There are

87
?noster miles balliuus consanguienei nostri?; Antiquaries of the Shires of Aberdeen and Banff, iv,
Spalding Club (Aberdeen, 1862), 389-90.
88
Brown, James I, passim.
89
Ibid, 160.
90
Ibid, 159.
91
Ibid, 112.
86
twenty-five other men who may be placed in this group who appear as witnesses to royal
charters, six witnessing three, eight witnessing two and the remaining eleven witnessing
only one each.
92
At 1.5% of the total for those witnessing three charters, clearly these
men cannot be placed among the king?s regular council, according to the methodology
employed by Grant. There is perhaps one of this group who may be considered,
however, namely John Semple of Eliotstoun. With only three appearances on witness
lists, all of which occurred on 7 March 1425/6 there may appear to be little reason to
include him in any potential royal affinity.
93
However, Semple is referred to as the
king?s esquire and is present in Edinburgh, not an area close to his lordship of Largs in
the sheriffdom of Ayr or to Renfrew of which he was sheriff.
94
Furthermore, the
previous year, Semple had been involved in the siege of Inchmurrin Castle, being held
by supporters of James Stewart, son of the Duke of Albany.
95
The fact that James I
himself had been granted the lordship of Renfrew in December 1404 probably also
helped to forge a closer relationship between the two.
96
However, the few instances of
Semple appearing as a witness would suggest that he was not a regular member of
James?s court, despite his usefulness as a political ally. Indeed, even his only day as a
witness could simply be due to his being present at Edinburgh on his way to Perth for
the parliament that would be held there a few days later, although this would have
required Semple to deliberately detour east.
97
Brown states that the main purpose of this
particular parliament was to discuss raising money to pay the king?s ransom, so it is not

92
One of these is described as James Douglas, knight, and may or may not correspond to James Douglas
of Balvenie.
93
RMS, ii, nos.38, 39, 40.
94
Atlas of Scottish History to 1707, 205; Grant, ?Higher Nobility and their Estates?; Brown, James I, 67.
95
Brown, James I, 67.
96
Ibid, 13. James was given this lordship, along with many other Stewart lands, as part of his entry into
political life following the death of his elder brother, the Duke of Rothesay.
97
APS, ii, 9.
87
unreasonable to expect that Semple would be in attendance. James may have wished to
apprise supporters of his plans prior to the parliament which could explain Semple?s
attendance in Edinburgh in the first instance, making political expediency a strong
explanation for this man?s appearances at court. This could also apply to other witnesses
on this occasion. It is thus becoming apparent that James, despite his apparent efforts to
establish a luxurious royal court, was either failing to appeal to his subjects and draw
them to his court on a regular basis or that he did not particularly want them there on a
regular basis.
98

There is a possibility that James simply did not want his noble subjects at court
on a regular basis. James may have distrusted his nobles, resenting at least some of
them for not securing his release from England more quickly. That it was the Douglas
family which was instrumental in gaining James?s release and Douglas men who
subsequently came to dominate the royal household would tend to suggest that events of
James?s captivity continued to have a strong influence on the king.
99
Certainly his
attack on the Albany Stewarts may be connected to this and collusion with the governor
may have been cause for suspicion of others. However, James maintained a connection
with the Earl of Douglas and his family, suggesting that this could be overcome. Yet, it
should be noted that with the death of the fourth Earl of Douglas, his heir was perhaps
free of the taint of association with the Duke of Albany. Additionally, James would not
have been able to destroy the Albany Stewart family so comprehensively without

98
James?s efforts in architecture, literature and religion are discussed in more detail in subsequent
chapters. The king?s spending spree in Flanders is well known and is recorded in ER, iv, 672-685 and is
discussed in Brown, James I, 112-3 and Nicholson, Later Middle Ages, 319. The ER, although
incomplete, records further purchases of wine, food, cloth and other luxuries for the royal family.
99
Brown, James I, 76.
88
powerful help, which came in the form of the Douglas family and their adherents.
100

Furthermore, having spent so much time in England it is unlikely that James would have
been unaware of the important political role of the court. Having been absent from his
country for so long, James could not have afforded to discourage his nobles from
attending him at court, not least because it was to their noble subjects that all princes
looked to control their kingdoms. It is most likely the case, therefore, that James had
failed to draw his nobles to court unless they had something specific to gain from it, as
in the case of Forbes looking to protect the interests of the Earl of Mar or in the case of
Balvenie as discussed above.
It is also interesting to note the general timing of appearances by nobles at the
royal court. The appearances of these men as witnesses tend to be very much
concentrated in the first few years of the reign, declining substantially, if not altogether
disappearing in the later years. It appears that not only were these men not attracted to
James?s court but they were actively alienated from it. As already noted, James?s lack of
effective patronage may have played a part in this. Initially, men would have attended
the king hoping for some favour from him, but when this failed to materialise they
became disenchanted and absented themselves from court. This, combined with the
failure of James?s Highland policy, his mismanagement of the ransom money and
offensive forfeitures would no doubt have estranged many of his subjects, resulting in
their absence from court.
Generally absent from the events of James?s reign are Robert Keith, the
Marischal, and William Hay of Errol, the Constable, two hereditary officers historically

100
At least 12 and as many as 18 of those who sat on the assize that passed a guilty verdict against the
Duke of Albany can be connected to the Douglas family. W. Stanford Reid, ?The Douglases at the Court
of James I of Scotland? in The Juridical Review (1944), 83.
89
of great significance in the royal household.
101
Their apparent disappearance during the
reign of James I needs to be explained. The same is true for the Steward in this reign.
Aside from the fact that he was sent to England as one of the initial hostages for James?s
ransom, where he stayed 1424-5, the Marischal does not appear to play any significant
role in the king?s administration or indeed in the politics of the reign generally. The
only noteworthy appearance by him was as an attendee at parliament on 10 March 1430,
although he also appears in a charter dated 21 August 1426, confirming a charter made
by him on 1 April.
102
Keith?s attendance at parliament does suggest that he retained
some political role, but it is revealing that James was willing to forsake a key military
household officer as a hostage, although by this time the office was largely a ceremonial
title. Furthermore, the Marischal played no major role in any of the military campaigns
of the reign, either in the Highlands or in the ill-fated 1436 siege of Roxburgh. Instead,
on the latter campaign, Robert Stewart, grandson of the Earl of Atholl, was apparently
placed in charge. The Dethe of the Kynge of Scotis cites Robert as being a servant of
James?s Chamber and whom the king appointed as ?constable of al his oost at the seege
of [Roxburgh]? on account of ?the tender love that he [James] had to him [Robert]?.
103

Perhaps the fact that the position was still hereditary motivated James, it proving easier
to sideline the position rather than attempt to remove a long-entrenched family from the
office, in an effort to staff his household with men guaranteed to be loyal to the king and
to follow James?s own policies and strategies. That this was an error of judgement on
James?s part is perhaps evidenced by James II?s elevation of the Keith family to an

101
The traditional duties of the main household officers are discussed by Bateson, ?The Scottish King?s
Household?.
102
CDS, iv, nos.970, 973 & 983; Rot. Scot., ii, 242; APS, ii, 28; RMS, ii, no.57.
103
Shirley, ?The Dethe of the Kynge of Scotis?, 32, 37; Brown, James I, 164.
90
earldom, named after their hereditary household position. Christine McGladdery
suggests that Keith was promoted to comital rank as a reward for loyal service to James
II, indicating that Keith was willing to support royal interests.
104
However, that no
opportunity to earn such a reward appears to have been available to the family under
James I may be significant. In any case, it is unlikely that Keith would have gained such
a promotion under James I, since that king had shown a distinct unwillingness to offer
significant patronage as discussed above.
105

The Marischal was nominally subordinate to another officer, the Constable,
who was traditionally responsible for commanding the king?s knights and keeping order
at court. Hay does not appear to have been sidelined in the way that the Marischal was.
The Constable was among those stated by Bower to have been knighted at the king?s
coronation, though the unreliability of Bower?s list has already been discussed.
106

Additionally, Bower names Hay as one of the men sitting on the assize responsible for
the trial of the Duke of Albany and his kinsmen.
107
This would perhaps indicate that
James intended for the Constable to continue carrying out his traditional role. This is
further supported by the suggestion that Hay was with James for the Inverness
parliament and that he was appointed to be one of the March wardens in 1430.
108

However, Hay does not appear to have played a significant active role in any of the
military campaigns of the reign, indicating that his position was intended to be purely
symbolic, although the fact that he was not involved in command at the later campaign

104
C. McGladdery, James II (Edinburgh, 1990), 109.
105
See pg.65 above.
106
Chron. Bower, viii, 243.
107
Ibid. 245. Bower actually names Gilbert Hay, but his editors state that this is most likely an error for
William, whose heir, Gilbert, was a hostage in England.
108
Brown, James I, 96; Scots Peerage, iii, 562-3.
91
at Roxburgh may well be due to the fact that he died some time in 1436.
109
The fact that
Hay retained some level of importance in James?s reign is perhaps because he was a
relative of the king, being a nephew of Robert III, James?s father.
110
Returning to
Scotland after an eighteen year absence, James was entering a country and political
climate that was essentially foreign to him. Thus he was perhaps willing to retain the
Constable close to him, believing that a family member was more likely to be loyal to
him. This did not save the Albany Stewarts, although Hay?s less powerful position and
the fact that he was not accused of working against James during the latter?s captivity
apparently acted in the Constable?s favour.

iv: Conclusions
What this survey appears to suggest is that James?s court failed to attract the
greater Scottish nobles on a regular basis. The king?s earls appear at court only rarely
and apparently not at all in the later years of the reign. A similar pattern is evident with
the greater barons and knights. Thus, the group who would normally be expected to
make up the larger proportion of the king?s social affinity are absent from the royal
court. The system used to great success by the Burgundian dukes, that of making the
court a place of entertainment and patronage to draw the nobility to court and thus
engender noble support, does not seem to be one that James was able to implement.
111
It
also appears that James?s court and household was, militarily speaking, rather weak.
Although Bower does have James knighting a large number of men, the conferring of
knighthood did not necessarily mean that these men had the military skills and

109
Scots Peerage, iii, 562-3.
110
Ibid.
111
Dickens (ed.), The Courts of Europe, 58.
92

capabilities of a knight. This, plus the marginalisation of the Marischal and Constable,
may help to explain the eventual failure of the Highland campaign and the collapse of
the siege at Roxburgh, as James?s household knights did not have the practical military
capabilities that were of such use to Edward I, Edward III and Henry V.
112
Of course,
the royal household was not the only component in military operations. The Highland
campaigns were led by the experienced Earl of Mar and the siege of Roxburgh was a
national endeavour. However, the military capabilities of the household were of great
importance, as they provided both a nucleus for the national host and evidence of the
military skills of the king. This may also partially account for James?s lack of interest in
tournaments, discussed in chapter six. Alternatively, James?s lack of interest in
tournaments may have meant that he had little regular use for the Marischal and
Constable. This failure may also have contributed to the assassination of James. In
peacetime, the household provided the king?s bodyguard, but this appears to be lacking
for James. Shirley describes James as being in the company of ?the queene?other
ladiez and gentillwemmen? when he had retired for the evening and not trained guards, a
fact of which Bower is critical as already discussed.
113
James failed to utilise the full
potential of the royal household as a military unit. This led to his failure in one of the
key features of military kingship, that of being an effective military leader, and also
contributed fairly directly to his death in that he failed to protect himself with a
sufficient number of skilled men. The skilled men that he did employ are discussed in
the next chapter.

112
Prestwich, ?The Place of the Royal Household in English History?, 37-52; Catto, ?The King?s
Servants?.
113
Shirley, The Dethe of the Kynge of Scotis, 38; Chron. Bower, viii, 329.
93
Chapter 4 - Officers and Administrators

i: Lay Household Officers
Although an examination of the magnates and nobles who were present at
James I?s court does suggest much that is of significance, it is also necessary to look
at those men who formed his household government. These men formed the core of
the royal court, being those men who were in most regular attendance with the king.
They also carried out the administrative duties associated within the court and also
within government in general, the two still being closely associated in Scotland in
this period. Scotland had not yet developed a centralised bureaucracy as had arisen
in England with the growth of Westminster as the centre of administration.
Furthermore, as mentioned in chapter one, the household had a number of other
functions in this period, including military service, being involved in embassies, and
more generally, providing a means for the king to display his status. It is thus crucial
to study those men who performed these duties for James I throughout his reign. A
similar methodology to the preceding chapter will be used, looking at the frequency
with which these men appear as charter witnesses, and also at any patterns that may
be evident in this concerning their initial appearances or any absences that occur
throughout the period. Also, other duties with which they were involved will be
examined, for instance, identifying as far as possible how the Scottish household
operated in diplomatic and military terms and whether this corresponded to the
English and Continental courts of the day as outlined in chapter one. By identifying
these men and establishing the role they played in James?s reign it is hoped to add to
the knowledge of this period gained in earlier sections. As well as their duties, it is
also necessary to ascertain the backgrounds of these men as this will aid in
94
determining the geographical and social composition of the court and household.
This will help in determining what political aims James had in mind and may help to
explain other events that occurred during his reign.
A particularly close councillor of James was John Forrester of Corstorphine,
a member of an Edinburgh burgess family. Prior to 1424, Forrester held the position
of Deputy Chamberlain to the Earl of Buchan, the Duke of Albany?s son. James
promoted Forrester to Chamberlain following the death of the earl at Verneuil
(1424).
1
The fact that Forrester was an important part of the pre-1424
administration, and thus had ties to the Duke of Albany, appears to have been
outweighed by his experience in government. The absence of Buchan on the
Continent meant that Forrester effectively already held the position of Chamberlain
and was responsible for this office for some time before James officially promoted
him. This would have helped James to maximise customs revenue and presumably
Forrester?s mercantile background also gave him a good level of financial knowledge
and experience. In the course of the reign, Forrester appears as a witness on a
striking 86.5% of surviving lists, again suggesting that he was a particularly close
councillor of the king. Unlike many of the nobles whose appearances tended to
cluster in the 1420s, Forrester?s, like John Cameron?s (discussed below) are spread
throughout the entire reign, indicating that he remained in favour with the king and
that he was willing to remain with James. Unlike many of James?s subjects,
Forrester was fortunate enough to receive some patronage from the king, though not
any major grant. Forrester received his lands of Corstorphine back from the king as
a barony in February 1431 and early in the reign received confirmations of a number
of grants made to him, including lands in Kincardine resigned by the Earl of Orkney

1
Forrester is first found as Chamberlain as a witness to a charter dated 8 January 1425 and also
appears as such in the exchequer account of 1425. RMS, ii, no.13; ER, iv, 380 onwards.
95
and lands in the sheriffdom of Edinburgh resigned by the Earl of Douglas.
Forrester?s relations also received confirmations from James, for instance, his son
Henry received a charter in October 1425 confirming a grant of lands made to him by
Robert Cunningham.
2
Indeed, members of the Forrester family appear relatively
often in this position during James?s reign, indicating that James looked upon his
Chamberlain with some favour. That James trusted Forrester is further suggested by
his employment of the Chamberlain as an ambassador to talk with the English in July
1429 and December 1430 when he was chosen by James as one of four special
envoys to discuss an extension to the truce and to seek a final peace.
3
James?s
connection to this burgess family may help to explain Boece?s otherwise unfounded
claims in the sixteenth-century regarding James?s relationships with merchants, as
already discussed, although this is speculation.
4

Possibly this close relationship began while James was still captive in
England as Forrester visited England as part of the campaign to secure the release of
the Scottish king, having a safe conduct to negotiate the release of James on 26 April
1416 and again in February 1422/3.
5
Furthermore, Forrester had another safe
conduct to go to Pontefract with James in May 1423 and to go to Durham to meet
James after his release from captivity.
6
Also, in June 1424 Forrester was selected to
be an ambassador to Rome though it is uncertain whether he actually went.
7

However, it was shortly after this, in July, that he received several charters from
James and was promoted to Chamberlain in August of that year. This strongly

2
RMS, ii, nos.4-8, 16-17, 23, 25-6, 33, 35, 74, 121.
3
CDS, iv, no.1037.
4
Chron. Boece, 394.
5
Rot. Scot., ii, 217, 234-5.
6
Ibid. 236, 244; CDS, iv, no.941.
7
Rot. Scot., ii, 248; CDS, iv, no.962; Scots Peerage, iv, 82-4.
96
suggests that Forrester owed his position to proven good performance in the king?s
service.
His position may also have owed something to his connections. As already
mentioned Forrester had received lands resigned by the Earls of Orkney and
Douglas, suggesting a link to these nobles. This is further indicated by a loan of 300
English nobles made by Forrester to Orkney in 1407 to allow the latter to pay his
ransom.
8
This point also indicates that Forrester was fairly wealthy, a factor that
may have contributed to James?s interest in this individual. Furthermore, Forrester?s
second wife was a daughter of Henry, earl of Orkney.
9
Also, Grant places Forrester
within the inner circle of the fourth Earl of Douglas?s affinity, witnessing eight
charters and being referred to as ?kin? of the earl.
10
This would have made Forrester
an attractive vehicle for creating links between the king and two significant nobles.
Additionally, Forrester had a kinship link to William Lauder, James?s first
Chancellor, which James may have felt would allow for greater efficiency in
government and would have strengthened the household as a unit.
11
Allmand
suggests that one of the criteria important to Henry V when choosing his officers was
that they be known to each other in order to facilitate their working as part of a team
and James may have been mimicking this to some degree, English practice being that
with which he would have been most familiar by 1424.
12

Also witnessing 86.5% of charters for which lists survive was Walter
Ogilvy, who initially held the position of Treasurer and was later Master of the
King?s Household. Ogilvy also appears throughout the reign, first appearing as a

8
Balfour-Melville, James I, 39.
9
Scots Peerage, iv, 82-4.
10
Grant, ?Acts of Lordship?, 246.
11
Lauder?s cousin was married to Forrester?s daughter. Brown, James I, 27, 37.
12
Allmand, Henry V, 355. It should always be borne in mind that by the time of his return to Scotland
in 1424, James had spent considerably longer in England than he had in his own kingdom.
97
witness on 10 July 1424 and finally on 30 January 1433/4.
13
As with Cameron and
Forrester, Ogilvy?s status as a trusted servant of James is highlighted by his role as
an envoy for the king. On 8 June 1424 a safe conduct was issued for Ogilvy and
others to go to Flanders/Rome.
14
It was the following year that Ogilvy was
appointed to the household, first appearing as Treasurer in the witness lists on 8
January 1424/5.
15
Another safe conduct was issued for him on 24 January 1429/30
as one of the Scottish commissioners to meet with the English and on 11 December
1430 letters patent of James appointed him one of his special envoys (named as
Master of the King?s Household) to discuss a final peace with Henry VI.
16
Walter
Bower further lists Ogilvy as one of those accompanying the king?s daughter,
Margaret, to France in 1436 for her marriage to the Dauphin.
17
Additionally, Ogilvy
was one of those serving on the assize at the trial of the Albany Stewarts in 1425.
This clearly indicates that Walter Ogilvy was a trusted member of James?s circle for
the duration of the reign. The link would have been beneficial for the king, as his
connection to the Ogilvy family is the only strong indication that James was trying to
establish a tie with a family outwith the Central and Lothian areas, albeit in a limited
way. The Ogilvies were based in Angus, just north of Dundee.
18
This was as far
north as any major household officer originated from, clearly outlining the
geographical limitations of James?s household, which no doubt goes some way
towards explaining the king?s lack of success in trying to combat the power of the

13
RMS, ii, no.4; NAS Inventory of family papers and charters from Haddo House, GD33/11/1.
14
Rot. Scot., ii, 248a states Flanders; CDS, iv, no.962 states Rome.
15
RMS, ii, no.13.
16
Rot. Scot., ii, 269; CDS, iv, nos. 1032 & 1037.
17
Chron. Bower, viii 249.
18
The actual seat of the Ogilvy family is unclear. Airlie certainly became the chief lordship, but it is
not certain when this occurred. Walter Ogilvy may have initiated this, seeking a licence to crenellate,
raising the status of his tower at Airlie. However, his father is often given the designation ?of
Auchterhouse?, suggesting that this was the chief lordship. More work needs to be undertaken to
properly understand the complexities of this family. I am grateful to Professor Richard Oram for this
information.
98
Lord of the Isles in anything more than the short term. While it is true the support of
the Earl of Mar would have alleviated this for part of the reign, the fact that the king
had done little to gain support in the north meant that after the earl?s death in 1435,
there was no-one in a position to check the Lord of the Isles.
19

Again, this close relationship with Walter appears to have originated prior to
1424. On 26 April 1416 a safe conduct was issued to commissioners treating for the
release of James from English captivity and these included Walter Ogilvy, with a
further issue naming Ogilvy on 21 February 1422/3 and also on 18 May 1423.
20

James would no doubt have been inclined to look favourably post-1424 on someone
who had been active in attempting to obtain his release and on someone who had
proven diplomatic credentials. Interestingly, also named among the commissioners
on 26 April was John Forrester of Corstorphine. This adds to the impression that
James was seeking to populate his household with men already known to each other
as suggested above. Ogilvy also provided connections to other nobles, an advantage
to a king largely inexperienced in the ways of local politics in his country. In 1414,
Ogilvy received the barony of Lintrathen in Angus from the Earl of Douglas, giving
a connection to this powerful family.
21
However, he was also the second son of
Walter Ogilvy of Auchterhouse, making him uncle to Patrick Ogilvy, sheriff of
Angus, an important connection for James to the northern portion of his kingdom.
22

Also, the Ogilvies provided James with a link to the Earl of Mar, the Ogilvies being
vassals of this earl. For instance, Walter is found as a witness to a charter of the Earl

19
James?s relationship with the Earl of Mar was somewhat complicated, with the king distrusting Mar
due to his actions during the king?s captivity. It took some time for the earl to win any sign of favour
from James and then it was only after the king had eroded the earl?s powerbase to such an extent that
the earl was compelled to attend James. As Brown points out, this highlights James?s inability to
realize the long-term consequences of his actions. See Brown, James I, passim.
20
Rot. Scot., ii, 217b, 235b; CDS, iv, no.927.
21
Scots Peerage, i, 111-12; Grant, ?The Higher Nobility in Scotland?, 376. This does not appear to be
recorded in The Douglas Book.
22
Scots Peerage, i, 108-9.
99
of Mar on 1 January 1417/18 and Patrick and his wife Christian were given rights to
the salmon fishing belonging to the barony of Mountblairy in Banffshire by the Earl
of Mar in October 1422.
23
Mar was the most important northern noble during
James?s reign and was the king?s chief agent in the north in his efforts to control the
Highlands. Walter Ogilvy was thus a skilled and well-connected man, making him
an attractive ally for the king. Walter also appears to have continued in government
for a time after the death of James I, as he acts as a witness to a charter of James II
on 1 June 1437, although he is named as Treasurer which he had ceased to be in the
early 1430s.
24

Walter?s loyalty no doubt partially stemmed from the patronage he received
from James. Bower lists Ogilvy as one of those knighted at James?s coronation, as
incidentally was Patrick Ogilvy.
25
There is of course some doubt as to the accuracy
of Bower?s list, as explained earlier, but the most recent editors of this chronicle do
not appear to doubt the validity of the inclusion of these two men on the list. While
largely symbolic this was still a fairly significant mark of favour from the king to this
family. Furthermore, James granted to Walter on 1 May 1431 the right to erect his
tower of Airlie into the form of a castle, a rare mark of favour from this king.
26

Walter also had his Forfarshire baronies of Formal and Lintrathen regranted to him
after he resigned them for new infeftment in February 1429, in which charters he is
described as ?our dear and faithful Walter Ogilvy of Lintrathen?.
27
Furthermore, he
had his establishment of two chaplains at the church of St Mary of Auchterhouse for

23
Brown, James I, 80; Antiquities of the Shires of Aberdeen and Banff, iv, 142; Antiquities of the
Shires of Aberdeen and Banff, iii, Spalding Club (Aberdeen, 1857), 578-9.
24
W. Fraser (ed.), The Melvilles, Earls of Melville and Leslies Earls of Leven, iii, (Edinburgh, 1890),
23. It is possible that Ogilvy was temporarily re-employed in this position during the turbulent period
immediately following James I?s assassination.
25
Chron. Bower, viii, 243. Pluscarden follows Bower, 279.
26
NAS Papers of the Earls of Airlie GD16/1/1. Scots Peerage states 1432.
27
The entry reads ?dilecto et fideli nostro Waltero de Ogilvy de Lintrethin?.
100
celebrating for the salvation of the king and queen and of his own family confirmed
in February 1426/7.
28
Ogilvy also received a grant of lands in the earldom of
Menteith in May 1432.
29
From a king well known for his lack of generosity in the
area of patronage, this does constitute considerable partiality towards Walter. It
should be noted that Patrick Ogilvy was also in the king?s service, holding the
position of sheriff of Angus, as well being Justiciar north of the Forth by 1427.
Patrick also acted as an ambassador for the king, going to France in 1425 and was
appointed to be constable of the Scots in France in 1429 but died shortly thereafter.
30

However, he only witnessed three charters in the course of the reign, on 8 January
1426/7, 26 May 1427 and 17 July 1428, suggesting that he was not a close daily
councillor of the king as his uncle was, although his absence from Scotland in the
later years of the reign must also be borne in mind.
31

John Spens, a burgess of Perth, needs to be considered within the household
category, despite the fact that he was not a frequent witness. In fact, Spens is found
as a witness only twice in the whole reign. On 31 March 1429 he was a witness to
the foundation charter of the Perth Charterhouse and again on 15 May 1430 he
witnessed a charter to Alan Stewart. By the time of the later charter, Spens was
certainly serving in the household as Comptroller, a position he held at least between
1429 and 1431.
32
In this capacity, Spens was responsible for fairly large sums of
money, often being paid for the expenses of the king and receiving foodstuffs for the
king as well. For example, in 1430, ?15 of dried fish was delivered to Spens and
?122 4s 8d was paid to him for the king?s expenses at Linlithgow.
33
Spens would

28
NAS GD16/3/11, GD16/3/10.
29
NAS GD16/3/12.
30
Scots Peerage, i, 109.
31
RMS, ii, nos.73, 88, 108.
32
RMS, ii, 152; ER, iv, 465-553, passim.
33
ER, iv, 512, 513, 519.
101
have to have been considered a trustworthy individual as a receiver, particularly as it
seems to place him close to the household and the royal family. This is further
evidenced by the fact that Spens later became Steward of the household of James?s
heir, the Duke of Rothesay, some time between 1431 and 1434.
34
Obviously, James
was unlikely to entrust the wellbeing of his heir to someone who did not have his
complete confidence. Furthermore, Spens was among the nine chosen at parliament
in January 1435 to carry out the judicial work of the parliament.
35
Michael Brown
suggests that Spens owed his position in government to his relationship with the Earl
of Atholl, of whom he was a loyal and long-standing adherent.
36
This is not
unlikely, as there is nothing to suggest a relationship between the king and Spens
prior to James?s return, although Spens undoubtedly had to prove himself in service
to maintain his position. Brown further states that it was his prior loyalty to Atholl
that led to Spens? apparent involvement in the plot to assassinate James.
37
Again,
this is quite plausible, but as Spens had benefited quite well from his service to the
king, more explanation is perhaps needed. It is possible that James?s actions during
his reign, particularly in the latter years, had prevented the king from winning Spens?
full loyalty, despite the patronage that Spens received. In addition to household
offices, Spens also received a grant of lands in the earldom of Menteith (in 1426) and
lands in the earldom of Fife (in 1433).
38
As discussed in preceding chapters, James?s
financial mismanagement, his attacks on powerful nobles and his lack of military
success in the north, as well as a lack of proper patronage, combined in the 1430s to
isolate the king from his subjects and this may have influenced Spens as well.

34
Spens is found as Comptroller in 1431 and as Steward of the Duke of Rothesay in 1434. There are
no extant accounts for the intervening period. ER, iv, 537, 544, 553, 603, 622.
35
APS, ii, 22-3.
36
Brown, James I, 86, 185.
37
Ibid, 185-6.
38
RMS, ii, no.45; NAS GD1/1042/3.
102
The Clerk of Spices was another officer who may be considered in this area.
This office first appears in Scotland, perhaps based on the English office, in the year
1424-5, when it was held by John Livingston.
39
Livingston held this office until
around 1427, as Nicholas Kirkdale is found in this position for the exchequer account
for the period 1427-8. This Clerk first received ?540 on behalf of the Chamberlain
but was thereafter responsible for sums he received.
40
However, the largest sum
received by this clerk after 1425 occurred in 1430, totalling ?388 17s 8d.
41
There is
a further payment in 1435, however, made to William Norville, styled Clerk of
Spices, of ?23 8s 8d, for which he is responsible. Although the sums received by this
clerk were not normally particularly large, he was still of importance in the financial
aspects of the reign. Furthermore, at least one and perhaps two of the men who held
this position had connections to the Douglas family. In 1417-18, Livingston was
Steward of the Household of the Earl of Douglas and a possible local origin of the
surname Kirkdale is Kirkcudbrightshire, an area associated with the Black
Douglases.
42
This again highlights the prevalence of Douglas men in the royal
household that is evident amongst the men discussed in this chapter. Although not
acting as witnesses throughout the reign, the men holding this office were clearly
important to James, both through their financial role and through the further
connection they may have provided to the Douglases.

ii: Clerical Household Officers
In addition to lay subjects, James employed a number of clerics in his
household. The principal household officer in Scotland at this time was the

39
Ibid; As already noted, this office was established in England by the fourteenth-century.
40
ER, iv, 381-391; Murray, ?The Comptroller?, 7.
41
ER, iv, 499-515.
42
G.F. Black, The Surnames of Scotland, (New York, 1962).
103
Chancellor, of which James had two, William Lauder, until his death in 1425,
followed by John Cameron for the remainder of the reign. Both men held the
position of Bishop of Glasgow while holding the office of Chancellor. This may be
significant in itself, as James may have wished to avoid including the Bishop of St
Andrews in his administration, despite the fact that Henry Wardlaw had been his
guardian for a time before 1406 and that it was Wardlaw who crowned James in
1424.
43
This would perhaps have made Wardlaw a logical choice for James, being
an experienced man and holding the premier bishopric in the country. However,
Wardlaw was also influential in the University of St Andrews, which James wished
to move to Perth, causing discord between the king and this bishop. Also, as
Balfour-Melville has stated, James was distrustful of Wardlaw, viewing him as too
Papalist.
44
As evidenced by the anti-barratry legislation introduced by James, the
Scottish king was seeking to limit the influence of the Pope in Scotland and would
not have wished to have a papal supporter in such an influential position in his
government. However, Cameron was obviously favoured by James before his
promotion to the bishopric, and it is possible that he became Chancellor and Bishop
of Glasgow as a reward for good service, the positions being conveniently vacated by
the death of Lauder. There is also the fact that James may simply have considered
Wardlaw too old to be actively involved in government on a regular basis; Watt
places Wardlaw in his 60s by the later 1420s.
45

Lauder was initially appointed Chancellor by Murdoch, duke of Albany,
which would appear to make his adherence to James I somewhat incongruous, given
James?s attack on that family after his return to Scotland. However, Lauder was
closely involved in seeking the king?s release from captivity, efforts which no doubt

43
Chron. Bower, viii, 61, 221.
44
Balfour-Melville, James I, 129.
45
D.E.R. Watt, A Biographical Dictionary of Scottish Graduates to A.D. 1410 (Oxford, 1977), 564.
104
endeared him to the king and helped him to retain his position after 1424.
46
Lauder
is found several times as one of the Scots? commissioners for talks with the English
and as the recipient of safe conducts allowing him to go to England. For example,
Lauder is named as a commissioner on 24 September 1411 and received a safe
conduct to go to England to treat for James?s release on 17 February 1422/3.
47
This
close and relatively regular contact between James and the bishop no doubt helped
the Chancellor to avoid being tainted by his association with the Albany Stewart
family. It was surely Lauder?s willingness to seek James?s release that salvaged his
position. That James was familiar with Lauder through the latter?s efforts would also
have helped to maintain Lauder?s importance after 1424 as it provided James with a
skilled and supportive Chancellor to help him in running the country at a time when
he himself lacked experience in government, having had little opportunity to actively
participate in this area either during his time in Scotland or his period of captivity in
England.
48
The fact that Lauder was a close councillor of James in the period
immediately following the king?s release is evident from his appearances on witness
lists. Even in the short period between the return of the king and his own death,
Lauder appeared on 12.9% of witness lists that exist for the whole reign more than
any earl managed in the whole course of the reign. This equates to 96% of lists for
the duration of Lauder?s life. Furthermore, Lauder appears to fit with the general
pattern of James favouring Lowland men, the Lauder family being primarily

46
Brown, James I, 27; Rev. D. Shaw, ?The Ecclesiastical Members of the Lauder Family in the
Fifteenth Century? in Records of the Scottish Church History Society, vol.xi (Glasgow, 1955), 163-4.
47
Rot. Scot., ii, 197b, 234b.
48
Until the death of his brother, Rothesay, just before his 8
th
birthday, James was simply the heir to
the throne. Even after Rothesay?s death, James had little opportunity to be involved in politics due to
the dominance of his uncle, Robert, duke of Albany. See Brown, James I, 9-39 for James?s
experiences before the commencement of his personal rule.
105
associated with the Lothians and Borders area, having lands in Midlothian, Pebbles
and Lauderdale.
49

Lauder?s successor as Chancellor, John Cameron, was already a part of
James?s administration by the time of his promotion to the Chancellorship and
Bishopric of Glasgow, initially appearing as Secretary to the King and Keeper of the
Privy Seal before taking over Lauder?s role. Cameron first appears as a witness to
five charters on 10 July 1424, with his final appearance on 4 September 1431. This
relatively early disappearance is explained both by the decreasing number of extant
charters in the latter part of the reign and by Cameron?s absence on the Continent
after 1434. However, during his time in the king?s service, Cameron witnessed a
total of 88.6% of charters for which witness lists are extant. This is a significant
proportion and indicates that Cameron was in very close contact with the king,
although, as mentioned above, the Scottish household was still peripatetic in this
period, so it is not particularly surprising to find the Chancellor, and indeed the other
household officers, witnessing a high proportion of royal charters as they would have
been convenient witnesses for the king. In the latter part of the fifteenth century, the
Chancellor can also be found witnessing a high proportion of charters, usually 100%
in any given year.
50
However, in that later period, the Chancellorship was usually
held by a secular individual as opposed to a cleric, with Andrew, lord Avondale and
later Colin, earl of Argyll, most regularly holding this office, although John Laing
bishop of Glasgow, James Livingstone bishop of Dunkeld and William Elphinstone
bishop of Aberdeen did respectively hold the position in 1482, 1483 and 1488. Yet
Elphinstone is only found as such in two charters of April that year.
51
It is thus
perhaps not appropriate to consider these bureaucrats as part of James I?s social

49
Shaw, ?Ecclesiastical Members of the Lauder Family?, 160.
50
T. Chalmers, ?Daily Council from RMS testation, 1463-1513?.
51
Ibid.
106
affinity in the way that earls and other nobles would traditionally be viewed.
Nevertheless, the lack of great nobles at James?s court does suggest that, by default,
his household officers were the men with whom the king would have spent much of
his leisure time.
Nonetheless, it is still important to consider these men as the very fact that
they were in such close and continual contact with the king can aid an understanding
of the wider politics of the reign; these men were in a particularly advantageous
position in regards to having the opportunity to influence the king. Furthermore,
James chose these men to aid him in the business of government and so a study of
them can perhaps be used to reveal James?s beliefs and intentions in relation to what
he hoped to achieve in his personal reign. These points shall be returned to in more
detail below.
Like Lauder, Cameron probably had a Lothian origin, his surname most
likely indicating a connection to the village of that name outside Edinburgh, although
it could also suggest a link to Cameron parish near St Andrews.
52
Furthermore,
Cameron had a connection to the Douglas family, serving as secretary to the Earl of
Wigtown before entering the king?s service post 1424.
53
This was an important link
for James as Wigtown became Earl of Douglas after the death of his father at
Verneuil. Having Cameron as such a close advisor would perhaps have provided the
king with a strong conduit for communication between himself and the earl. As well
as being a close daily councillor of the king, Cameron was also involved in other
duties aside from those associated directly with the Chancellorship. Cameron served
several times as an ambassador to England, in 1429, 1430 and 1431, receiving

52
Balfour-Melville, James I, 138.
53
Ibid., 138-9; Brown, James I, 51; Douglas Book, iii, 51-2, 414.
107
several safe conducts for this purpose.
54
This raises the possibility that Cameron was
in England attending James prior to 1424, although the fact that he only graduated in
1419 may preclude this. However, he was secretary to the Earl of Wigtown by 1423,
and may have been utilised by the earl?s father in his efforts to secure the king?s
release. That Cameron was a particular favourite of James is indicated not only by
his active role in government but also by the events surrounding his elevation to the
bishopric of Glasgow, a position to which he was raised by James himself, despite
the Pope having the right to select the new incumbent to that see. The fact that
James persisted in promoting Cameron in the face of papal resistance is indicative of
the favour the king showed to this cleric, and also of the strained relationship
between the Scottish king and the papacy.
55

Another clerical figure who is worthy of note in James?s reign is Master
William Foulis, Keeper of the Privy Seal. Foulis was the most frequent witness after
Forrester, Ogilvy and Cameron, appearing on just under 54% of surviving witness
lists. He first appeared as a witness, already holding his office, on 1 September 1426
and was present, as far as can be determined, for the duration of the reign.
56
That he
was in the king?s service before commencing his role as a regular councillor to James
is exemplified by his presence on an embassy to Norway in the summer of 1426 in
order to discuss matters concerning the Hebrides.
57
Foulis continued to serve on
embassies throughout the reign, evidence suggesting that James often chose him as a
Scottish representative in talks with the English, for example in July 1429 and
December 1430.
58
Michael Brown also suggests that Foulis, along with John

54
Bishops of Scotland, 319-22; CDS, iv, nos. 1030, 1032, 1037, 1041; Rot. Scot., ii, 265-272.
55
Balfour-Melville, James I.
56
RMS, ii, no.60.
57
Scots Peerage, iii, 57; Chron. Bower, viii, 319.
58
CDS, iv, nos.1030, 1032, 1037, 1041. See also Rot. Scot., ii, 266, 269, 272.
108
Winchester, bishop of Moray, took over Cameron?s role while the Chancellor was
absent on the Continent.
59
Clearly Foulis was a trusted advisor.
As with many of the other officers so far discussed, this relationship began
during James?s imprisonment. Safe conducts were frequently issued to allow Foulis
to visit England in the early 1420s, for example on 12 July 1423, to treat for the
release of the Scottish king.
60
Additionally, Foulis also provided yet another link
between James and the Earl of Douglas, as Foulis had previously been secretary to
the earl and was promoted to chancellor of the earl as a result of his efforts.
61
Again,
James is evidently relying on men from a limited group. James also petitioned the
Pope for Foulis?s provision to the perpetual vicarage of the parish church of St Giles
in Edinburgh before he even returned to Scotland, a petition that was granted on 28
March 1424 and that the Earl of Douglas later requested be made for life on 14 April
1424.
62
A distinct pattern appears to be emerging of James looking to men post-
1424 with whom he had become familiar before his release. This implies that James
maintained a distinct level of distrust towards many of his subjects throughout his
reign, especially toward those who had not proven themselves concerned for his
welfare during his captivity and who had not appeared to actively seek his release.
The men James chose as his household officers were of course agents for the Scottish
nobles who had the power to work for James?s release and it would perhaps be
expected that James?s gratitude would be directed towards their masters. However,
James?s perceptions may have been influenced by the fact that it was these officers,
and not their lords, with whom he had the greatest level of contact during his
captivity. There is also a very strong impression of James seeking to employ men

59
Brown, James I, 195.
60
Rot. Scot., ii, 233/4, 235, 238; CDS, iv, nos. 915, 919.
61
Brown, James I, 37; Grant, ?Acts of Lordship?, 248; Copiale Prioratus Sanctiandree, J.H. Baxter
(ed.) (Oxford, 1930); CSSR, ii, A.I. Dunlop (ed.) Scottish History Society (1956), 55.
62
CSSR, ii, 55, 63.
109
who could link him to the powerful Douglas earl. As an added bonus, these men
would have been highly trained providing James with a cadre of seasoned
administrative officers with whom he was familiar and comfortable.
However, James was not above appointing his own relations to household
office. In 1432, Walter Stewart, dean of Moray, James?s half-uncle, was appointed
to the position of Treasurer. He is first found in this office as a witness to a royal
charter to John Ogilvy on 1 September 1432.
63
He was not in the position long, as
he was dead before 9 January 1433/4.
64
However, in this short time he still managed
to appear on five witness lists representing about 2.6% of the total. The timing of the
dean?s appointment is significant as it follows a period of particular turbulence for
James. With most, if not all, of the money raised to pay his ransom having been
spent, James was forced to seek financial aid from parliament in October 1431, and
the estates made their distrust of the king clear by insisting that any money raised be
kept locked in a kist, so that James could not spend it without approval.
65
There is
also a statement by Bower regarding a tax in 1433, which James ordered to be
returned after ?the people began to mutter against the king?, complaining that they
were being taxed too highly, although the idea of James returning money once
collected does not seem particularly credible.
66
James was clearly distrusted in
financial matters. Furthermore, James had seen the defeat of royal forces under the
Earl of Mar at Inverlochy a short time before the 1431 parliament. Also, James was
at odds with the country?s most powerful noble, the Earl of Douglas, as his arrest of
this earl illustrates. Significantly, Douglas gained his release in time for the October
parliament where James ?at the urging of the queen, bishops and prelates, earls and

63
Douglas Book, iii, 419.
64
Fasti Ecclesiae Scotincanae Medii Aevi ad Annum 1638, Revised edition, D.E.R. Watt & A.L.
Murray (eds.), Scottish Record Society (Edinburgh, 2003), 286.
65
APS, ii, 20.
66
Chron. Bower, viii, 241.
110
barons? forgave Douglas.
67
It thus makes sense that James would turn to a family
member, whose loyalty he could presumably count on. Incidentally, the timing of
Walter Stewart?s death may account for why there is no named Treasurer for 1434,
and why John Winchester, later bishop of Moray, is found as an ad hoc financial
officer for that year.
Winchester is another officer frequently employed by James in diplomatic
matters although he was not a regular witness to royal charters, his name appearing
on around 4% of charters throughout the reign. However, it is necessary to also
consider household officers who do not appear on witness lists, or who appear on the
lists only a few times, as they could still be expected to have some contact with the
king and also were sometimes utilised in ways other than as daily councillors.
Winchester was a bachelor of Canon Law, and was at various times, Chancellor of
Dunkeld, a Canon of Glasgow, a Canon of Aberdeen, and was also the King?s
Secretary and Clerk of the Keeper of the Privy Seal in 1426.
68
Also, in a charter
dated 14 April 1435 Winchester is referred to as Clerk of the Rolls and Register.
69

Clearly this was a man with considerable administrative experience which would
make him useful to James. By continuing his loyal service, Winchester was able to
win favours from the king. This is evident in James?s request that Winchester be
allowed to hold benefices in plurality in August 1426 and again in October 1430.
70

Winchester was also present at Basle in December 1431 and at Rome in the early
1430s, and later received a payment for his expenses while carrying out the king?s
affairs in Rome on the same day that he was provided to the Bishopric of Moray

67
Ibid. 265.
68
Fasti, 10; RMS, ii, nos.1-200, passim; Calendar of Papal Registers, Letters, viii, 423; CSSR, ii, 144;
CSSR, iii, 143; ER, iv, passim.
69
Historical Manuscripts Commission, Sixth Report, MS of Sir Robert Menzies,
70
CPR, vii, 437-8, 467; CSSR, ii, 144; CSSR, iii, 143.
111
early in 1436.
71
The connection to Moray and Aberdeen may have been attractive to
James as he sought to gain connections with the northern territories of his kingdom,
particularly in later years when it was becoming evident that royal policy was not
having success in that region. However, Michael Brown states that Winchester was
recruited from service in the Black Douglas household, providing yet another link
between the king and this family.
72
A number of factors clearly influenced
Winchester?s inclusion in the royal household.
Another household officer closely linked to James was Thomas Myrton, a
member of the Crail (Fife) family of that name, variously described as the King?s
Clerk and Chaplain of James I.
73
Myrton also held the position of Treasurer by late
1430, though is described as ?alleged Treasurer of James king of Scotland? in a
petition to the Pope regarding the deanery of Aberdeen in November 1429.
74
During
the reign Myrton witnessed around 13.5% of charters, a small amount compared to
other officers, but still significant and more than any person outwith the household.
Myrton was also employed by James in diplomatic endeavours, for instance, a safe
conduct was issued for him to go to Rome in June 1424 and again in December
1425.
75
Myrton did indeed go to the Papal court and is found there petitioning the
Pope in June 1426, and in August 1426 is referred to as having been ?recently sent to
the Pope as ambassador of James, king of Scotland?.
76
Also, he was one of those
listed in January 1429/30 to be a Scottish commissioner for talks with England.
77
As
with other officers, this appears to be a relationship that began during James?s
imprisonment. In January 1421/2, a safe conduct was issued to ?Master Thomas

71
Balfour-Melville, James I, King of Scots, 199, 238.
72
Brown, James I, 79.
73
Watt, Scottish Graduates, 394-8.
74
CSSR, iii, 50-1.
75
CDS, iv, nos.962, 988; Rot. Scot., ii, 248a, 253a.
76
CSSR, ii, 137; CPR, vii, 167/8.
77
CDS, iv, no.1032; Rot. Scot., ii, 269.
112
Mirton, chaplain and servant of James I to go to Scotland and return to his master?,
and again on 24 November 1423 for ?Thomas Mirton, clerk to the King of Scots to
go to Scotland with four servants and return to England?, suggesting that Myrton
stayed with James during his time in England.
78
There is a further record of a safe
conduct issued to Myrton as James?s chaplain going to join him in France.
79
This
suggests that there was particularly strong relationship between James and Myrton,
with the added attraction of Myrton being able to act as a messenger for James while
the latter was in England. It would have provided James with a valuable source of
information regarding events in Scotland and again adds to the very clear impression
that James was highly inclined to employ in his personal reign those men who had
proven their allegiance prior to 1424.
Another Glasgow cleric to serve James was Master John Scheves, canon of
Glasgow. Scheves appears on only three witness lists, but was also active in royal
administration. In 1426, he is found as Clerk Register and an auditor of both the
Exchequer and of the Chamberlain?s account.
80
Scheves is also described in witness
lists as Clerk of the Rolls.
81
He is found as an auditor again in 1428, 1429, and 1431
and appears to have held the office of Clerk Register until November 1452.
82

Furthermore, Scheves was appointed to be an auditor of the tax raised for James?s
ransom, indicating that he was a widely trusted individual.
83
Bower further states
that Scheves was an auditor for the 1433 tax, which was apparently returned

78
CDS, iv, nos.912, 936.
79
Rot. Scot., ii, 233.
80
ER, iv, 400, 428. A position at this level was more likely to be chosen by the Chancellor rather than
the king directly, although given James?s desire to increase his own authority it is unlikely that he did
not at least give a final approval of the decision, particularly as he utilized Scheves in other areas.
81
NAS GD16/3/140, GD16/3/12.
82
ER, iv, 432, 465, 525; Watt, Scottish Graduates, 480-83.
83
APS, ii, 5.
113
following complaints.
84
Scheves was also trusted enough by James for him to be
chosen as an ambassador for the Scots several times, firstly in June 1425, when a
safe conduct was issued for him to go to Rome, although Watt suggests that he
probably did not go on this occasion.
85
Scheves is found in a similar capacity on two
further occasions, in June 1429 and January 1430, suggesting again that he was a
trusted and skilled individual. Combined with the longevity with which he served in
the household, it is clear that Scheves may have been a close adherent of the king,
and this despite his earlier service in the administration of the Duke of Albany.
86

This indicates that James was willing to overlook an Albany Stewart connection, at
least in some officers, in order to perhaps preserve some level of continuity within
the household, despite changes in most of the major offices. The fact that Scheves
held a relatively minor office possibly helped as well, as it did not give him too much
power.
Master John Benyng may also be considered within this group. Benyng
witnesses only two charters, in December 1429 but as secretary to the king, a
position he held from at least 1426 until 1430 and most likely until his death
sometime before September 1432, would probably have been in fairly close contact
with James on a regular basis.
87
That Benyng was important to James is indicated by
the support the clerk received in his efforts to gain patronage at Rome. In May 1426,
Benyng was granted permission to hold benefices in plurality, a not insignificant
mark of favour.
88
Among the benefices held by Benyng were the perpetual vicarage
of the parish church of Lintrathen, St Andrews diocese, and the vicarage of

84
Chron. Bower, viii, 241. The tax was ordered to raise funds for an embassy to discuss the marriage
of Princess Margaret to the Dauphin.
85
Rot. Scot., ii, 253; Watt, Scottish Graduates, 480-83.
86
Watt, Scottish Graduates, 480-83; Papal Letters to Scotland, 1394-1419, 375.
87
ER, iv, 681; CSSR, ii, 142; CSSR, iii, 117, 132, 146, 251.
88
CPR, vii, 437-8; CSSR, iii, 126.
114
Kilpatrick, Glasgow diocese. Lintrathen was a free parsonage as late as 1274 and by
1431 had been annexed to Inchmahome, possibly by royal grant and as a result of
James?s control of the earldom of Menteith. This suggests a fairly strong connection
between Benyng and the king. Kilpatrick probably refers to the vicarage in Lennox,
the parsonage being annexed to Paisley Abbey, another Stewart connection. Benyng
was also a canon of Moray, holding the prebend of Duffus.
89
Additionally, in 1430
through a petition by James, Benyng was granted the parish church of Linlithgow, a
place that held particular significance in James?s reign as the site of his newly built
Linlithgow Palace, as will be discussed in chapter five.
90
There was some dispute
regarding the vicarage of Linlithgow. A John Feldeu, stated to be a chaplain of
James I, argued that he had been granted this vicarage by Bishop Henry Wardlaw of
St Andrews, and that Benyng intruded himself into this benefice.
91
Perhaps James?s
support of Benyng in this benefice was a symptom of his tense relationship with the
Bishop of St Andrews.
92
It is apparent that although he was fairly insignificant as a
witness to royal charters, John Benyng was fairly close to the king, thus making him
a relatively important individual in the reign before his death in the Roman Court
sometime by 7 September 1432.
93

In addition to these men, there is another officer who must be considered to
be of importance in the reign but who does not appear at all on witness lists. The
first man to hold the new position of Comptroller was David Broun, Canon of the
Chapel Royal. Broun would probably have been in a position to have fairly regular
contact with the king. He appears to have held the office of Comptroller until 1429,

89
CSSR, ii, 142; CSSR, iii, 117, 251; I.B. Cowan, The Parishes of Medieval Scotland (Scottish Record
Society, 1967), 49, 108, 133.
90
CSSR, iii, 117.
91
CSSR, iii, passim; CPR, Letters, viii, 399-400.
92
See Balfour-Melville, James I, and Brown, James I, for James?s relations with Wardlaw.
93
Benyng is referred to as having died in a petition of Thomas Grenlaw given on this date. CSSR, iii,
251.
115
although in this year John Spens is also found in this office.
94
His attainment of the
position of Chancellor of Glasgow from 1428 may account for his departure from the
office of Comptroller for a time.
95
Broun returned to this office in 1434 and is also
found in this position for the exchequer account of 1435, the last full account
surviving for the reign.
96
Broun does not appear to have lost his position at the
Chapel Royal when gaining the Chancellorship of Glasgow.
97
James may have
asked Broun to return to the household as he was looking for support at this time, his
actions in the preceding years having done little to improve his popularity. The king
may have felt that he would gain more loyalty from someone who had been part of
his administration in the early years of his reign. Although there is little direct
evidence of the role played by Broun beyond that in a financial capacity, it is
possible to infer from his offices that he was a fairly significant individual. The
Comptroller was an important financial officer in James?s reign. As discussed in
chapter two, the Comptroller was initially subordinate to the Chamberlain, but
thereafter became an important, independent financial officer.
98
Money management
was a significant concern for James throughout his reign, so the fact that Broun was
entrusted with such large sums, as discussed in chapter two, is an indication of the
level of trust placed in him by the king. Significantly, the largest sums received by
this officer occur during Broun?s tenure, with the amounts being much reduced when
Spens held the position, and increasing again once Broun returned to the office. This
indicates that perhaps James trusted the person more than the office itself, although
Spens did become Steward to James?s heir after he left the position of Comptroller.
Benyng?s transfer to the office of Chancellor of Glasgow would have allowed

94
ER, iv, 379-484.
95
Fasti, 209.
96
ER, iv, 557-637.
97
CSSR, iii, 97-8.
98
See ch.2.
116
contact between these two men to continue, through James?s Chancellor, John
Cameron, bishop of Glasgow. An individual clearly did not have to be a witness to
be of importance.
A final entrant in this category is Edward Lauder, possibly a nephew of
William Lauder the bishop, who is found in a minor household office during James?s
reign. He appears as a witness to six royal charters, representing just over 3% of the
total.
99
This is a small proportion but Edward was clearly trusted by the king in the
1420s. Safe conducts were issued to him in June 1424 and June 1425 as one of those
selected to go to Rome, that of June 1424 specifically identifying him as an
ambassador for James I.
100
Walter Bower also names Edward as one of those chosen
as an ambassador to the king of France in July 1428 (although he misdates it to
1425), to discuss, among other things, the marriage of James?s daughter Margaret to
the Dauphin.
101
This was a particularly important issue and Edward?s inclusion in
this embassy clearly highlights that he held a position of trust with the king.
Furthermore, in the latter half of 1429, Edward is found as procurator of James I at
the Roman Court.
102
Edward was apparently an important part of James?s
administration but died before August 1430.
103
It seems likely that had he lived, he
would have continued to serve the king. In addition to his being a member of the
powerful Lothian Lauders, Edward was linked to the Douglas family, as he is found
as chancellor to the Earl of Douglas in May 1426.
104
Interestingly, he is also found
in the king?s household in February 1426, serving as Clerk of the King.
105
This

99
Edward refers to himself as William?s nephew. Shaw, ?Ecclesiastical Members of the Lauder
Family?, 160.
100
CDS, iv, nos.962, 979.
101
Chron. Bower, viii, 247-9.
102
CPR, Letters, viii, 155; CSSR, iii, 46, 54, 58.
103
Edward is stated to be deceased in a petition of a Simon Bowmaker dated 8 August 1430, CSSR,
iii, 125.
104
CSSR, ii, 130.
105
RMS, ii, nos.32-35.
117
would seem to suggest that there was little conflict in Edward serving both the king
and the earl at the same time, and perhaps indicates why James was keen to employ
Edward, as it provided him with another connection to both the Lauders and Douglas
in one go. Clearly, despite his lack of appearances as a witness to royal charters,
Edward Lauder was an important part of James?s household in the early years of his
reign.

iii: Lay Administrators
In addition to those employed in a specific household office, James was
served by a number of other men in various administrative capacities. One notable
example of this is Robert Lauder of the Bass, who was a frequent witness to royal
charters, appearing on just over 37% of extant witness lists, far higher than any of the
earls or other nobles managed in this period, indicating that he was a close councillor
of the king. Lauder also held the positions of Justiciar south of the Forth and also for
a time immediately following James?s return was joint keeper of Edinburgh Castle,
an important royal residence. Lauder was also sheriff of Lothian and kin to Bishop
Lauder of Glasgow. This obviously made him an attractive ally for the newly
returned king, giving him yet another associate with knowledge of and ties to the
Lothian area and another tie to his Chancellor. Brown also suggests that Lauder?s
status as a former retainer of James?s deceased brother the Duke of Rothesay was a
factor in his position as a councillor in the first years of the reign.
106
This would
certainly have been logical for James, as he would have been looking to men with
proven loyalties to his family, particularly immediately following his return to
Scotland. Furthermore, Lauder had contact with James during the latter?s time in

106
Brown, James I, 51.
118
England. In May 1423 he and others were issued a safe conduct for going with
James to Pontefract and he was a member of the commission appointed by the Duke
of Albany in August 1423 to discuss James?s release.
107
Lauder first appears as a
witness late in 1424, and is named as southern Justiciar from May 1425. His last
recorded appearance as a witness is on 4 February 1430/1.
108
Significantly, it is
about this time that Lauder was replaced as keeper of Edinburgh Castle by William
Crichton, suggesting that Lauder was somewhat alienated by his loss of position,
though old age may have contributed to his disappearance from James?s
administration; Lauder was old enough to have taken part in, and been taken prisoner
at, the battle of Nisbet in June 1402.
109
Any alienation was perhaps exacerbated by a
lack of patronage directed towards Lauder, as he received only one charter, of his
lands of the Bass and Edrington, in December 1425.
110
This would appear to fit with
the pattern seen above for the nobles, whose attendance seems to be concentrated in
the 1420s, with many outside of the household staying away from court in the 1430s.
William Crichton of Barnton and Crichton (essentially making him a close
neighbour of John Forrester and James Douglas of Balvenie) was not a frequent
witness for the duration of the reign, appearing on only 6.7% of witness lists, placing
him outside the king?s inner circle according to Grant?s methodology. His first
appearance is not until 27 July 1429, though he is there with some regularity
thereafter.
111
Crichton, however, is a further example of James?s reliance on men
from the south of the country, the family name being derived from lands in
Midlothian, and this is reflected in his subsequent appointment to the positions of

107
Rot. Scot., ii, 236a; CDS, iv, no.932.
108
RMS, ii, no.186.
109
Chron. Bower, viii, 43-5; Balfour-Melville, James I, 22.
110
RMS, ii, no.29.
111
Ibid. no.127.
119
sheriff of Edinburgh and Keeper of Edinburgh Castle.
112
Crichton was in the king?s
service prior to becoming a regular councillor, as he was appointed with William
Foulis to go on the embassy to Norway in 1426.
113
He also appears as one of those
knighted at the king?s coronation in 1424.
114
This may have been due in part to his
being one of those who went to Durham to meet James upon his release from
captivity, a safe conduct being issued to him for this purpose in December 1423,
James looking favourably on a man who knew that the way to improve his position
was to seek the good favour of the king.
115
Later in the reign, Crichton was
appointed, in January 1429/30, as one of the commissioners for talks with England
and was sent by James with the Earl of Angus and Adam Hepburn to take Dunbar
Castle in 1434.
116
Crichton seems to have had ties to the Earl of Angus, the Red
Douglas, acting as a witness to a confirmation charter of the earl dated 20 February
1434/5, a time when Crichton was very much part of the royal administration.
117

Brown has suggested that Crichton was aware that he owed his position to
royal favour and there does appear to be a correlation between his service and his
growing status throughout the reign. For instance, his appointment as keeper of
Edinburgh Castle appears to follow from his acting as a daily councillor and as an
ambassador to England and it is following this in the latter half of 1432 that Crichton
is first found as Master of the King?s Household, replacing Walter Ogilvy who had
previously held this office.
118
Furthermore, Crichton?s heir was among those
knighted at the baptism celebrations for James?s twin sons in 1430.
119
This indicates

112
Scots Peerage, iii, 57-61.
113
Chron. Bower, viii, 319.
114
Ibid. 243.
115
Rot. Scot., ii, 244.
116
CDS, iv, no.1032; Chron. Bower, viii, 291; Brown, James I, 154.
117
Douglas Book, iii, 421-2.
118
Ibid. 419.
119
Chron. Bower, viii, 263.
120
that Crichton was able to make the switch from a general administrative position to a
high household position and gain fairly significant favour from the king. It is worth
highlighting that the loss of the position of Master of the King?s Household does not
appear to have alienated Ogilvy, as he did not cease to be a witness and continued in
the king?s service as illustrated above. Crichton?s adherence to the queen in the
period following the murder of James I is perhaps further testament to his awareness
that he owed his position to royal service.
120
It should also be noted that Crichton
had links to the Earl of Douglas, Grant placing him within the outer circle of the
earl?s affinity.
121
This is not a particularly close link, but is again another example of
James employing men with some connection to the Douglas earl, and the Douglas
family in general.
One factor that is evident here is the seeming lack of sheriffs utilised by
James in his household. Caroline Shenton highlights the fact that in the reign of
Edward III, between 1327 and 1345, one fifth of all sheriffs appointed were members
either of the household or of the royal family, most being appointed after 1341.
122

Additionally, Richard II followed a policy of appointing his household knights to
various sheriffdoms in order to improve his control of the country, by putting trusted
men into locally powerful positions. However, this did prove to be unpopular and
Mitchell suggests that this played a part in the king?s eventual dethronement.
123

Mitchell further asserts that Richard?s use of household men in the localities was
increased following the Appellant crisis of the later 1380s, with thirteen household
knights appointed to peace commissions in formerly Appellant counties, as he sought

120
Brown, James I, 198-9.
121
Grant, ?Acts of Lordship?, 247.
122
C. Shenton, ?The English Court and the Restoration of Royal Prestige 1327-1345? (Unpublished
University of Oxford PhD thesis, 1995) 36.
123
S.M. Mitchell, ?Some Aspects of the Knightly Household of Richard II? (Unpublished University
of London PhD thesis, 1998), 217.
121
to regain control. Nonetheless, this did not avert his eventual displacement from the
throne.
124
In contrast, only three, Robert Lauder, William Crichton and Patrick
Ogilvy, sheriff of Angus can be seen to have played any significant role in the
James?s household, and this amounts to only one tenth of the total number of sheriffs
in the kingdom. Of course, it should be noted that sheriffs did play an important
political role in the reign generally. For example, Hugh Fraser, sheriff of Inverness
after 1429, was a key ally of the Earl of Mar in resisting the Lord of the Isles, and
John Lumsden, sheriff of Fife, was significant in helping the king to gain control in
that area after he annexed the earldom to the crown following the execution of the
Duke of Albany.
125
However, the fact that James did not utilise such a useful group
for creating links between his household and the localities is striking.

iv: The King?s Confessor
The king?s confessor was an important office, as by its very nature the
holder would have had close contact with the king. Notably, James?s choice of
confessor, John Fogo, abbot of Melrose, provided another link to the Douglas family:
Fogo had previously been confessor to the fourth Earl of Douglas.
126
There is also
an indication that Fogo remained close to the fifth earl, as he is found as a witness to
a Douglas charter in February 1433, although this was a grant to the Perth
Charterhouse, so may be equally representative of his tie to the king.
127
As well as
spiritual counsel, Fogo was involved in the more political aspects of the reign. On 9
June 1425, Fogo was among those for whom a safe conduct to go to Rome was

124
Ibid., 190.
125
Brown, James I, 74, 102, 104.
126
Brown, James I, 52; CSSR, i, 102.
127
Douglas Book, iii, 420-1.
122
issued, though it is not clear if he actually went.
128
Later in the reign, in November
1432, a further safe conduct was issued for Fogo to travel to Basle with Walter
Ogilvy and Master Alexander Lauder.
129
Fogo was a well-respected individual, to be
selected for these ambassadorial duties, and this is further suggested by comments by
Bower, who refers to Fogo as ?a most worthy master of theology? and as the ?most
worthy abbot of Melrose?.
130
Additionally, in 1433 when the English were making
proposals for a final peace, Fogo was the one to support the pro-English position in
the debate about the proposal.
131
As Brown has suggested, Fogo?s position as
confessor to James makes it likely that he was in fact espousing James?s own
position.
132
Bower also presents James as an observer in this debate, with Brown
suggesting that James was attempting to win support by prolonging the discussion. It
would also have had the benefit of distancing the king to an extent from a proposal
that was unlikely to gain a great deal of support among his subjects.

v: Conclusions
This survey clearly highlights the importance of the household and its
personnel in the medieval period. Not only was a lavish household an important
means of display, but its members obviously influenced and were influenced by the
politics of the reign, allowing a deeper understanding of this area to be achieved. By
identifying the personnel who attended James, it is possible to add to existing
knowledge of the political atmosphere at the Scottish court and in the country in
general during his reign. It is evident that despite the large amounts of money James
was spending on his court (as will be discussed in more detail in the following

128
CDS, iv, no.979; Rot. Scot., ii, 253a.
129
Rot. Scot., ii, 280b.
130
Chron. Bower, viii, 89, 289.
131
Ibid. 289.
132
Brown, James I, 153.
123
chapters), the Scottish king was failing to attract a wide range of subjects to his court
on a regular basis. This would imply that either the type of court he was creating
was unattractive to his subjects or that he was not actively trying to attract them at
all. It does seem unlikely that James did not want his nobles at court, as he would
have been aware of the important political role of the court from his time in England.
The court was an important place for important men to come together to discuss
politics and strategy and to influence and be influenced by the king. However, it is
possible that by 1424, Scottish nobles did not know how to work within the context
of a royal court, having operated successfully without one since at least 1406, and
arguably since the 1380s. Additionally, as is apparent from the foregoing discussion,
James appears to have had an almost neurotic reliance on men with whom he had
contact prior to 1424, indicating that few men were permitted to enter the king?s
close political circle. This may not be the only explanation, however, given Grant?s
contention regarding David II?s nobles as outlined above. Therefore, it appears that
James had also failed to create an atmosphere at his court that was appealing or even
acceptable to his nobles. As will be apparent throughout this thesis, James was
introducing to Scotland a brand of royal court that was largely alien to his people (an
example of this with regards to the household was his introduction of English
offices) and this may well have estranged at least some of his nobles; only his
household officers, men essentially paid to be at court, were with the king with any
regularity. However, these men did gain importance from their association with the
king, as is clear from the above discussion. Another factor that is evident from the
above data is the general reliance by James on men from the Douglas affinity. This
may perhaps be due to the experience these men would have gained serving in the
household of a great noble. Nonetheless, the sheer volume of Douglas men in the
124
household would seem to imply that other factors were important.
133
For instance, it
is Douglas men with a stronger link to Central Scotland (with connections to
Glasgow or the Lothians) rather than those from the Borders who appear to be
particularly favoured by the king. This is perhaps because James felt these men were
more likely to support a pro-English policy than those with a history of more direct
cross border conflict or those who had been more closely tied to the fourth Earl of
Douglas?s active support of the French war effort against England. Although
agreeing a treaty with the French that involved the marriage of his eldest daughter
Margaret to the Dauphin, James was not fully committed to this policy and sought to
prolong peace with England, despite diverting much of the money raised for his
ransom towards the purchase of luxury items for his own use. The death of the
fourth earl may have meant that men previously in his employ were more easily
drawn into royal service, not having the same links with the fifth earl as they had
with his father, and were perhaps looking to advance their own positions through
royal service. Additionally, this focus on men from a limited geographical area very
probably contributed to James?s failure to gain control of the entirety of his kingdom,
particularly the north, as he would not have the extensive connections that were
required for him to be well informed about the local politics of the region. Nor had
James cultivated a loyal following from that area that he could trust to carry out royal
instructions, although James clearly had made some effort in this area with his
inclusion of the Ogilvies in his household. Indeed, following the death of Alexander
Stewart, earl of Mar, James missed an opportunity to gain a loyal lieutenant in the
north by granting the earldom to Robert Erskine who had been campaigning for this

133
The distinct lack of opportunities for men who had experience of other households is significant.
For instance, there is little to suggest any large-scale rehabilitation of former Albany-Stewart men,
although some instances can be discerned, despite the fact that this was also a premier family pre-
1424.
125

for some time.
134
James instead worsened the situation by annexing Mar?s estates to
the crown. This is in direct contrast to the actions of his predecessors who showed a
much clearer awareness of the need for geographical diversity amongst their
supporters. For example, Robert I created the earldom of Moray both as a reward for
Thomas Randolph, giving the king a staunch supporter in the north and to fill the
power vacuum left by the destruction of Comyn power in the area. Even James?s
supposedly less astute father, Robert III, showed more appreciation of this issue with
his patronage towards the Lindsay family in the north east, particularly in the
creation of the earldom of Crawford. Indeed, Caroline Shenton has argued that
mismanagement of this issue led to Edward II, Henry VI and Richard III losing their
thrones.
135
James?s fate may have been influenced in part by his own
mismanagement. James obviously had some notion of the importance of the
household and of appropriate personnel and in the early years of his reign appears to
have made a concerted effort to reform the royal household along English lines in an
attempt to enhance its power and thus its usefulness to him. However, James lacked
the detailed knowledge and political skill to have this institution and its men work
efficiently to the royal advantage and this failure to grasp the wider implications of
his actions is a theme that permeated his entire reign.

134
Brown, James I, 156-60, 200.
135
C. Shenton, ?The English Court and the Restoration of Royal Prestige 1327-1345? (Unpublished
University of Oxford PhD thesis, 1995), 36, 89.
126
Chapter 5 ? The King?s Works: Architecture

i: Introduction
The ?building of elaborate manor-houses? was an integral part of court life in
this period, making a study of the building projects undertaken by James during his reign
essential in the present study.
1
Buildings were visible symbols of the power of the ruler
and as A.A. MacDonald has noted, the Stewart monarchs of the fifteenth and sixteenth
centuries utilised architectural display as one means of reflecting their growing political
authority.
2
Other authors, for example, A.G. Rutherford and Simon Thurley, have noted
the symbolic importance of buildings. Rutherford argues that castles are a ?vital element
in the material world of medieval Scotland?, each building being a visual statement by
its owner, regardless of the size of the structure, while Thurley notes that royal houses
were the political power centres of the kingdom.
3
Thus it is clearly necessary to
examine the type of buildings James was constructing and the locations that his court
was visiting in order to determine something of the nature of his court life. The
favouring of large, formal residences may perhaps indicate a preference for a formal
court life, for instance, since Nigel Saul has noted that it is not possible to hold elaborate
ceremonies in cramped conditions.
4
However, given the more limited nature of Scottish
resources and the smaller size of the household and higher nobility in relation to
England, it is possible that the situation in Scotland was different to that in the southern

1
Chron. Bower, viii, 255.
2
MacDonald, ?The Chapel of Restalrig?.
3
A.G. Rutherford, ?A Social Interpretation of the castle in Scotland? (Unpublished University of Glasgow
PhD Thesis, 1998), 15; S. Thurley, The Royal Palaces of Tudor England: Architecture and Court Life,
1460-1547 (New Haven & London, 1993), 1
4
Saul, Richard II, 338.
127
kingdom. Furthermore, an examination of James?s architectural surroundings in relation
to Saul?s approach may help to expand knowledge regarding James?s reign as a whole.
The editors of Courts and Regions in Medieval Europe have noted, for example, that
ritual, and the way in which buildings were designed for its performance, were central to
the exercise of power.
5
Thus it may be possible to reveal further information about the
politics of James?s reign and the style of his rule. There are numerous topics within this
subject that need to be examined in order to accomplish this. The importance of
building to contemporaries must be established. It is important to know how James?s
subjects would have viewed his building programme in order to determine its impact on
the reign. It is also necessary to provide some background as to the general symbolism
of architecture in the medieval period. Possible influences on James and his architects
and masons will also be discussed. An examination of James?s expenditure will follow
this and, while the focus of the discussion will necessarily fall on Linlithgow Palace due
to the surviving nature of the buildings themselves, some effort will be made to
extrapolate what James may have been doing elsewhere from amounts recorded in the
Exchequer Rolls. Possible decorating schemes will also be appraised, as will the
presence of gardens at royal residences. Religious patronage, chiefly the king?s erection
of the Carthusian monastery at Perth, will also form part of the discussion. Throughout
this chapter, comparisons will be made with contemporary structures both in Scotland
and elsewhere.
Around 1470, Sir John Fortescue wrote in his political treatise The Governance
of England, that a king should have ?such tresour, as he mey meke new bildynges whan
he woll, ffor his pleasure and magnificence?, highlighting one of the chief reasons for

5
Jones, Marks & Minnis (eds.), Courts and Regions in Medieval Europe, x.
128
monarchs to institute building programmes.
6
This argument is also used earlier by
Roger Dymock in Liber contra XII errors et hereses Lollardorum, which states that
among other things, ?a king should be in possession of sumptuous and beautiful
buildings?.
7
The concept of Magnificence was central to medieval political ideology. A
prince had to emphasise his high status with visible displays of wealth that surpassed
those of his subjects. Professor Malcolm Vale highlights this in The Princely Court, for
instance, when discussing courtly expenditure at the Flemish court, which accounted for
44.3% of comital income. Vale states that despite this high level, it would have been
?unthinkable? for spending to be reduced, as display was a vital expression of authority.
8

Failure to adhere to this concept could have serious political consequences. Henry VI, a
king who did not do so, was generally disparaged for his ?grete pouertie?.
9
However,
Henry VI did spend lavish amounts of money on his ecclesiastical foundations at Eton
and King?s College, Cambridge.
10
Between 1437 and 1461, at least ?15,000 sterling
was spent on Eton alone, yet this was criticised by the lay Commons in 1451. This
would suggest that it was not just how much that was spent that was important but how
and where it was spent.
Another motivation behind building was a need for the lord to establish himself
in a particular locality. By constructing a residence in a particular location, the lord
caused himself to be associated with that area. Indeed, Rutherford suggests that it was
through the castle that a place became strongly linked with an individual and their

6
Quoted in Thurley, The Royal Palaces of Tudor England, 11.
7
Quoted in Saul, Richard II, 356.
8
Vale, the Princely Court, 93.
9
Thurley, The Royal Palaces of Tudor England, 12.
10
The foundation of these institutions are discussed in B. Wolffe, Henry VI (London, 1981), 135-145.
129
family.
11
Rutherford further suggests that this was the reason why many chose to build
on the site of earlier castles, as a means of proclaiming the change yet continuity in
lordship. He suggests that the Campbells, for example, rebuilt what is now Castle
Campbell near Dollar in order to establish a power base in the Lowlands, away from the
traditional Campbell centre around Loch Awe.
12
The family inherited the castle and
lands here in the 1460s through the marriage of Colin Campbell, first earl of Argyll
(d.1492) to Isabella Stewart of Lorn. The castle?s real importance lay in its relative
proximity to Stirling, giving the earl a base near the royal castle at a time when his
prominence at court was rising.
13
However, the renaming of the castle in 1489 from
Castle Gloom to Castle Campbell certainly had symbolic significance, and was surely
designed to impress upon local inhabitants that it was Campbell, rather than Stewart,
who was now the local lord.
The Haliburton family used a similar method to proclaim their own position,
instituting a building programme at Dirleton, but incorporating the thirteenth century
towers as a symbol of continuity, visually legitimising their lordship by associating it
with the past.
14
Charles Coulson further suggests that ?great lord triumphalism? should
be considered as a factor when examining the building programmes of medieval
monarchs.
15
These ideas shall be discussed in more detail below in order to gain a fuller
understanding of the motivations behind James?s expenditure on building, how this

11
Rutherford, ?A Social Interpretation of the Castle?, 108.
12
Ibid. 89. See also S. Boardman, ??Pillars of the Community?: Clan Campbell and Architectural
Patronage in the Fifteenth Century? in R. Oram & G. Stell (eds.), Lordship and Architecture in Medieval
and Renaissance Scotland, (Edinburgh, 2005), 123-160, for the Campbells? use of architecture generally.
13
The history of the Campbells is discussed in S. Boardman, The Campbells, 1250-1513 (Edinburgh,
2006). For the first earl see especially 166-255.
14
Rutherford, ?A Social Interpretation of the Castle in Scotland?, 143.
15
C. Coulson, ?Fourteenth-century Castles in Context: Apotheosis or Decline??, in N. Saul (ed.),
Fourteenth Century England I (Woodbridge, 2000), 133-151. Essentially this refers to the role that
buildings played in celebrating and representing the successes of their owners.
130
related to contemporary situations within and outwith Scotland and what impact this had
on his reign.

ii: Architectural Inspiration
To aid the discussion, it is perhaps helpful to first look at possible influences
that acted upon James during his reign. James?s childhood, both the time spent in
Scotland and in captivity in England, is crucially important in this area, as is his
relationship with his queen and nobles. The aim here is to build a picture of
contemporary architectural endeavours that may have had an impact on James. The first
years of his life were spent in Scotland and records indicate that for at least some of this
time he was at court with his father.
16
Robert III was a rather reclusive king who spent
much of his time at less central locations such as Rothesay, where he died. In this he
was similar to his own predecessor, Robert II, who had died at his south-western castle
of Dundonald. It should be noted, however, that these kings were not necessarily
reclusive by choice. Both Robert II and III were removed from political power and
effectively sidelined in favour of the Earl of Carrick and the Earl of Fife respectively.
17

These kings did not always have free choice in where they resided. James?s own
buildings can thus be seen as something of an advertisement that he did not intend to
allow a similar fate to happen to himself.
Also, in his youth, James was in the care of Henry Wardlaw, bishop of St
Andrews. Walter Bower refers to the bishop as ?that lavish spender?, and certainly he

16
ER, iii, 617.
17
For the politics of this period see Boardman, The Early Stewart Kings. Fife later became the Duke of
Albany and was to govern Scotland during James?s imprisonment in England.
131
lived in an elaborate residence, St Andrews Castle.
18
While Wardlaw does not appear to
have conducted much work at the castle himself, he benefited from the extensive
remodelling undertaken by the previous bishop, Walter Traill (d.1401). Bishop Traill
renovated the Fore Tower to create a four-storey private residence and was the first
bishop to introduce the tower house at his residence.
19
The tower house was a key
feature of several important secular residences at this time and a striking example is
Threave Castle, built by Archibald, earl of Douglas, in the later fourteenth century.
20

The royal example of David?s Tower, begun before Threave, also needs to be considered
in this context. Traill?s mimicry of these residences can be seen as an effort to advertise
his own position in the social and political hierarchy of the period. Although subsequent
adaptations and ruination disguise what James would have seen it is possible to gain a
strong impression of the residence as it was in the early fifteenth century and there are
several aspects that are of particular interest for the present discussion.
The thirteenth-and fourteenth-century main entrance to St Andrews Castle lay
in the Fore Tower but was relocated c.1400 to a position in the south-west curtain wall
of the courtyard (the present one in the south-west range is a sixteenth century addition
in front of the late fourteenth-century gateway). The earliest gate was on the ground
floor and was served by a drawbridge, with evidence of a portcullis having been
present.
21
This possibly dates to the rebuilding of the castle conducted by the English in
1336, the Fore Tower comprising the remnants of the building following its destruction

18
Chron. Bower, viii, 61.
19
R. Oram, ?Prelatical Builders: a Preliminary Study, c.1124-c.1500? in Lordship and Architecture, 7-8.
20
C.J. Tabraham, ?The Scottish Medieval Towerhouse as Lordly Residence in the Light of Recent
Excavation? in Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 118, (1988), 267-276.
21
RCAHMS Eleventh Report with Inventory of Monuments and Constructions in the Counties of Fife,
Kinross and Clackmannan, (Edinburgh, 1933), 252-4.
132
by Moray in 1337. This was perhaps less imposing than a first-floor entrance but its
projection from the curtain wall would have alleviated this defect, particularly as the
ground at the base of the tower fell away, accentuating its height. The castle was
furnished with a Great Hall on the east side of the castle, now sadly lost, though Richard
Fawcett suggests that it would have rivalled that at Linlithgow or Stirling.
22
This is
quite likely given that the bishop of St Andrews was the premier ecclesiastic in the
country. That St Andrews was considered a suitable venue for entertaining the
Burgundian embassy, which was in Scotland by Christmas 1425, is perhaps indicative of
this building?s status.
23
However, it should be noted that St Andrews may have been
chosen in this instance due to a lack of suitable accommodation elsewhere.
Connected to the Hall was the kitchen tower. The kitchen itself was on the first
floor, above two vaulted cellars that date to the fourteenth century, with accommodation
for guests and members of the household above.
24
Interestingly, the fact that the kitchen
was at this height suggests that the hall was also, and this is similar to the arrangement
of the court kitchen and great hall at Linlithgow Palace. Furthermore, the chapel at St
Andrews formed a link between Bishop Traill?s private apartments in the Fore Tower
and the hall block in the east quarter of the Castle. Again, this is similar to arrangements
at Linlithgow Palace in the later-fifteenth century and may be suggestive of James?s
eventual plans for his Palace. The castle was, of course, also equipped with prison
accommodation. The exercise of justice was an essential function of local lords and

22
R. Fawcett, St Andrews Castle (Historic Scotland, 2001).
23
It is not clear precisely when the embassy arrived, just that they were in Scotland by Christmas 1425
and the king?s location after 13 August 1425 until Christmas is unclear. It is possible that James wanted
to entertain the embassy at St Andrews to emphasise the connection the two areas had through that saint.
James also spent Christmas at St Andrews in 1425. Brown, James I, 112.
24
Fawcett, St Andrews Castle, 7.
133
their residences formed an important arena for this, as shall be discussed in more detail
below. St Andrews Castle was thus a very grand example of a noble residence, the
home of a powerful man. It is difficult to believe that the young James?s outlook was
not in some way influenced by his time there, particularly when his experience in
England is considered.
During his eighteen-year captivity, James had ample opportunity to experience
English royal residences and observe English attitudes towards them and the monarch.
James was held at various times at the Tower of London, Nottingham Castle, Stratford
Abbey in London, Pevensey Castle in Sussex, Kenilworth Castle in Warwickshire,
Westminster Palace and Windsor Castle.
25
These were among the grandest residences
in England at that time and it may be helpful here to look at some of these buildings in a
little more detail. Pevensey Castle was not an especially important building by the time
of James?s captivity, having fallen into disrepair after the mid-thirteenth century. It had,
however, played a role in past events, being held by John of Gaunt in 1381 and in 1399
was held for Gaunt?s son Henry against the army of Richard II by Lady Joan Pelham,
wife of the constable. Kenilworth Castle was a favoured residence of Henry V and had
been in existence since Norman times. Kenilworth is particularly significant in this
context as it has a certain similarity to James?s own Palace of Linlithgow, the two being
constructed next to a body of water, that at Kenilworth measuring about half a mile long
and a quarter of a mile wide.
26
The Great Hall has some of the finest windows in
medieval England, with fine carved stonework. Westminster was by this time the seat of

25
Balfour-Melville, James I, 38-105, passim.
26
The loch at Linlithgow is natural ? it is the llyn from which the full form of the town of Lithgow?s name
derives. The lake at Kenilworth was a mere formed by the damming of a small stream and the flooding of
the shallow valley through which it had flowed. My thanks to Professor Oram for this information.
134
English government, which may have given James the opportunity to become familiar
with the English offices that he was to institute upon his return to Scotland. Writing in
the thirteenth century, Matthew Paris described Windsor Castle as ?the most beautiful
castle? and further asserted that there was ?no more splendid castle in all of Europe?.
27

Although perhaps something of an overstatement, this does give some indication of the
international perceptions surrounding Windsor. English kings had used Windsor as a
pleasure retreat since Norman times, taking advantage of the extensive park and
woodland for hunting although it had fallen into some disrepair by Edward III?s time.
28

Windsor was largely rebuilt by Edward III, who seems to have been aiming to create one
large palace that contained both the state apartments for official and ceremonial business
as well as the King?s and Queen?s own private apartments in a single unified
residence.
29
Windsor was also Edward?s choice for the home of his newly constituted
order of knighthood, the Order of the Garter.
30
It was certainly a grand structure,
containing many chambers and having a striking unified facade.
31
Even assuming
Matthew McDiarmid is correct in his assertion that James was kept in rather spartan
conditions during his confinement, which is by no means certain, he would surely have
gained some, if not considerable knowledge as to the layout and style of these buildings
from his companions, visitors and servants.
32


27
L. Keen, & E. Scarff, Windsor: Medieval Archaeology, Art and Architecture of the Thames Valley
(Leeds, 2002), preface.
28
C. Hibbert, The Court at Windsor: a Domestic History (London, 1964), 12; W.M. Ormrod, ?For Arthur
and St George: Edward III, Windsor Castle and the Order of the Garter? in N. Saul (ed.), St George?s
Chapel Windsor in the Fourteenth Century (Woodbridge, 2005), 12-34.
29
J.M Robinson, Windsor Castle: the Official Illustrated History (London, 2001), 21.
30
Ormrod, ?For Arthur and St George?, passim.
31
C. Wilson, ?The Royal Lodgings of Edward III at Windsor Castle: Form, Function, Representation? in
Keen & Scarff, Windsor, 79.
32
McDiarmid , The Kingis Quair, 42-3.
135
James was also in France on campaign with Henry V, giving him the
opportunity to gain knowledge of French buildings.
33
This would have been augmented
by the fact that the Duke of Orleans was also a captive in England from 1415 and it is
possible that there was some contact between the two men, even if only through
servants. James would have been aware of the status of the French monarchy in any
case, but such personal experience may well have been amalgamated into his own
perceptions of royal building practice. Michael Brown does suggest that James?s
building programme was generally influenced by his experiences in England and France,
positing that Henry V?s Sheen or the French Vincennes was the model for Linlithgow in
terms of the ideas James was incorporating into his palace.
34
Ian Campbell proposes the
French ch?teaux of Pierrefonds and La Fert?-Milon as exemplars, not an implausible
suggestion given they were constructed by the Duke of Orleans, although any inspiration
James received from this source is likely to have been limited.
35
However, further
examination is necessary to fully understand why James built what he built, though it
will doubtless not be possible to say with any certainty that James was copying any
particular building. Nonetheless, Fawcett is quite correct to suggest that James?s
obvious desire for more luxurious accommodation than his predecessors possessed was
stimulated by what he experienced during his captivity.
36
It is the only rational
explanation for the different styles of James and Robert II and Robert III.

33
James was at Abb?ville, Amiens, Beaugency, Boulogne, Calais, Dreux, Melun, Montereau, Montreuil,
Paris, Rouen, Sens, and Troyes at various times in the early 1420s. Brown, James I, 22.
34
Brown, James I, 115.
35
Campbell, ?Linlithgow?s ?Princely Palace? and its Influence in Europe?, 2. Brown suggests that Orleans
influenced James?s literary tastes. If this is the case, it is possible he influenced the Scottish king in other
areas as well. Brown, James I, 20. However, direct contact between the two prisoners may have been
extremely limited.
36
Fawcett, The Architectural History of Scotland, 301. Dunbar also suggests that James received some
inspiration from the Duke of Albany?s castle at Doune and also perhaps from Sheen Palace in England.
136
It is also necessary to consider the role played by James?s queen, Joan
Beaufort. Joan was certainly influential in the reign as a whole but what part did she
play, if any, in directing the design of Linlithgow and other building works?
37
The
nature of surviving sources prevents a full understanding of the Scottish queen?s
patronage in this area. However, Joan was an important part of James?s life and as
Fiona Downie has shown, James did seek to accord her an important political role, so
her influence in this area of James?s reign must be considered. Furthermore, there is the
fact that Joan was a member of one of England?s most prominent families, a niece of
Henry Beaufort, bishop of Winchester (later a Cardinal) and Thomas Beaufort, duke of
Exeter. This in itself would surely have meant that some building work would have to
be undertaken upon James?s return in order to provide accommodation suitable for a
grand English lady. This gives Joan at least a passive influence in determining the
direction of James?s building programme. Added to this is the knowledge that Bishop
Beaufort has been described as one of the greatest English builders of the age.
38
In
looking at Linlithgow and in speculating about other building works it is thus clearly
necessary to give full consideration to English examples.
The spur provided by James?s own nobles, however, should not be overlooked.
Despite the fact that Duke Robert had died in 1420 and the Albany Stewart family was
swiftly destroyed upon James?s assumption of personal rule, the imposing Doune Castle
remained. Doune was built by Duke Robert and is an impressive structure that reflected

Dunbar further posits that James may have been influenced by Episcopal Palaces, gaining knowledge
particularly from his connection with Cardinal Beaufort. Dunbar, Scottish Royal Palaces, 8.
37
See F. Downie, ??Sche is but a Womman?: the queen and Princess in Scotland, 1424-63? (Unpublished
University of Aberdeen PhD thesis, 1998), passim.
38
Dunbar, Scottish Royal Palaces, 9; T. B. James, The Palaces of Medieval England, c.1050-1550.
Royalty, Nobility, the Episcopate and their Residences from Edward the Confessor to Henry VIII (London,
1990), 141.
137
in architecture the power and status of its owner. It was, as Fawcett asserts, much more
indicative of what was expected of a member of the royal family in this period than the
more subdued Dundonald, although the latter occupied a more prominent position in the
landscape, Doune being somewhat more secluded in its location. It should be noted,
however, that towers such as Dundonald were not as austere as their remains suggest and
this shall be looked at below.
39
In this aspect, Linlithgow can perhaps be said to be
similar to Albany?s castle, as it, too, was in a less prominent location than other royal
residences such as the castles of Edinburgh and Stirling, which can both be seen for
many miles around in all directions. In terms of grandeur, Doune was more similar to
two other substantial castles of this period, St Andrews and Tantallon. The latter was
built by the Earl of Douglas, but had passed into the hands of the Red Douglas earls of
Angus whose influence lay in the southern half of the country, precisely where James
was looking to establish himself. This would perhaps have compelled James to build
bigger and better than this family in an effort to stress his royal status.

iii: Architectural Expenditure
An important consideration in this architectural study is the level and frequency
of James?s expenditure on his building programme and the particular sites on which he
concentrated. As is well known, the focus of James?s efforts in this area was Linlithgow
Palace. It is possible that a royal residence had existed at Linlithgow since the reign of
David I but there was certainly a structure there by the beginning of the fourteenth
century, as it was fortified by Edward I following his conquest of Scotland. This
structure was made largely of wood and appears to have consisted of a stockade, behind

39
Fawcett, The Architectural History of Scotland, 8.
138
which was a gatehouse with towers at either end. No visible remains of this earlier
structure now exist as the manor house and much of the burgh was destroyed by fire in
1424. The earlier building may not have been a particularly impressive structure, as
during the reigns of Robert II and Robert III it is described simply as ?domus regis? and
during Albany?s governorship it is referred to as the ?manerium? of Linlithgow.
40
The
destruction in 1424 gave James the opportunity to begin construction of the present
palace.
41

As it now exists, Linlithgow Palace is a quadrangular building, surrounding a
central courtyard. James I constructed what is now the east range, which includes
storage space, the kitchens and the great hall, as well as the rather flamboyant original
entry gate. The first significant financial outlay on this project occurred in the period
1425-6, when ?76 6s 6d was spent on stones, lime and the making of a park and
fishponds there, although ?10 for stone had been given out the previous year.
42
In the
next year for which records survive, 1427-8, the amount spent on Linlithgow rises
sharply to a total of ?606 8s 1d, including ?6 for tiles.
43
In addition, thirty-five perches
of land were purchased on the east side of the lodging at a cost of ?19 17s 8d.
44
The
specific purpose of the land is not stated in the accounts, though the most likely
explanation is that it was to allow the creation of a new approach road to the Palace,
directing visitors to approach from the east rather than the south, thus enabling James?s

40
ER, ii, passim; ER, iii, passim; ER, iv, 1-378, passim.
41
Dunbar, Scottish Royal Palaces, 5.
42
ER, iv, 391, 415.
43
ER, iv, 434, 449, 450, 451.
44
ER, iv, 450.
139
entrance to have a fuller impact.
45
It would be most interesting to have the intervening
year to observe how the scheme was stepped up, but this is one of the years that are
lacking in the accounts.
This level was maintained for several years thereafter with ?753 13s 2d in the
year 1428-9, the sum including payments to masons and carpenters, ?637 6s 3d in 1429-
30 and ?642 18s 11d in 1430-1, which included ?197 7s for stones, wood, boards and
iron and ?64 6s for lime.
46
The next exchequer audit took place in June 1434, covering
the period from May 1433. Additionally, there are accounts of the Masters of Works for
Linlithgow covering an eighteen-month period from June 1433 to December 1434.
These accounts are divided into several different reports. From the printed rolls, a sum
of ?1386 10s 2d is achieved from the custumar account for Linlithgow for the year to
1434, and from two accounts of the work at the Palace, one from Robert Wedale
covering the period from June to November 1433 and the second by Robert Levingstoun
covering the period from November 1433 to December 1434.
47
John Waltoun also
renders an account as master of the works at Linlithgow, which covers from May 1433
to June 1434.
48
This deals with the expenditure of ?166 8s 10d on the works of
Linlithgow, which includes ?37 16s on colours for the king?s painter at Linlithgow,
although precisely what was painted is a matter of speculation.
49


45
Dunbar, Scottish Royal Palaces, 6. As it is not entirely clear from the records what the purpose of the
land was, it is impossible to be certain about the use to which it was put. Dunbar?s suggestion does appear
to be the most logical idea.
46
ER, iv, 486, 513, 524, 529, 530.
47
Ibid, 554, 555.
48
Ibid, 579-80.
49
It is sometimes possible, where documentary evidence and surviving images can be combined, to come
to an understanding of the type and appearance of images that may have graced medieval royal residences,
as Paul Binski has done in relation to the Painted Chamber at Westminster. However, Dr Binski is dealing
with a greater archival record than is the case for Linlithgow Palace and other Scottish residences of this
period, so performing a similar exercise for James I?s reign is impossible. It may, however, be potentially
140
The final payment recorded for James?s reign is the ?740 6s 5d for the year
1436-7.
50
This gives a total for the work on Linlithgow of ?5039 6s. This averages to
around ?560 for each year of account, suggesting that up to ?7300 could have been spent
on this single work. While John Dunbar is correct to point out that this is not on a par
with English expenditure, these figures clearly show James?s commitment to this
project.
51
Alexander Grant estimates that the royal income was between ?6000 and
?8000 per year in this period.
52
Thus, James?s expenditure represents about a year?s
income and about 10% of his annual income during his reign. Spending remained
consistent throughout the reign, with the lag in the early years easily explained by
James?s need to plan the building and organise its financing. A more simple explanation
may even be that James needed these early years in order to reorganise royal finances
following his long absence and to make arrangements for the payment of his ransom.
However, while the well-preserved ruins of Linlithgow make it easy to
concentrate on this aspect of the king?s architectural endeavours, there were noteworthy
sums applied elsewhere, most significantly at Edinburgh and Stirling Castles. J.G.
Dunbar states that James undertook no major work at Stirling.
53
However, at least ?574
was spent on Stirling during the course of the reign, representing a substantial outlay for
a cash-strapped monarch.
54
Furthermore, this is only what is specifically stated in the
accounts to have been spent at Stirling. There are several payments for items that could

rewarding to consider English examples in an attempt to suggest a range of images that may have
interested the Scottish king. As Dr Binski highlights, the d?cor favoured by Henry III and Edward I in the
Painted Chamber are in keeping with their historical reputations as kings. See P. Binski, The Painted
Chamber at Westminster, Society of Antiquaries Occasional Papers, no.9 (London, 1986).
50
ER, v, 11.
51
Dunbar, Scottish Royal Palaces, 6.
52
Grant, Independence and Nationhood, 164.
53
Dunbar, Scottish Royal Palaces, 39.
54
ER, iv, passim; ER, v, 4.
141
conceivably have been used in construction for which no purpose is openly given, for
example, ?5 10s for boards in 1426 and ?3 4s for iron for the king in 1428.
55
Also, the
gaps in the accounts distort the picture somewhat. In the accounts of 1426, 1428, 1429,
1430 and 1431, at least ?70 per year is spent at Stirling, again representing a sustained
level of commitment, although it is unclear if this sum was used for general watches and
maintenance or to build something new. While this certainly does not match the
amounts spent on Linlithgow, it should be remembered that with Linlithgow, James was
starting from scratch rather than working with an established building complex, which
would have undoubtedly required a greater outlay. Also, ?574 would surely allow for
the building of at lest one substantial room, if not more. Recent archaeological work at
Stirling has suggested that more work was undertaken at this castle in the pre-1424
period than previously thought and it may be that James did not need to spend a great
deal at Stirling to have the residence meet his expectations.
56
?735 was enough in the
1434 account to allow for the building of a barge and a Great Chamber for Edinburgh
Castle.
57
Even half the total spent at Stirling would surely allow for new building or
refurbishment of some status, with the remainder allowing for the existing structures to
be kept in good repair.
Dunbar does suggest that defence was the primary consideration behind the
greatest single outlay at Stirling, which occurred in the final year of the reign, ?176 4s
4d being spent in the year to July 1437. There is no specific information on precisely

55
ER, iv, 413, 443.
56
Excavations in Stirling Castle: 1992-1997, revised text, Kirkdale Archaeology for Historic Scotland,
13, 17.
57
ER, iv, 579.
142
how the money was expended and it may represent general repairs.
58
Certainly Dunbar
may be correct to argue that unsettled conditions in the southern part of the country were
behind this sudden surge in outlay. The failure of James?s Highland campaign was one
symptom of James?s increasingly fragile control and this was exacerbated by the death
of his agent in the north, the Earl of Mar in 1435. Increasingly strained Anglo-Scottish
relations in the latter years of the reign, culminating in the confrontation at Roxburgh in
1436, compounded this. James was also clearly concerned with increasing the military
readiness of his country, as evidenced by his orders that castles should be repaired and
that his subjects should practice with weapons.
59
There is also the ?590 Flemish
(around ?1000 Scots) spent on the building of bombards and war machines, recorded in
the Turyne Account of 1436.
60
The expenditure at Stirling may, in part, have
represented an outlay for suitable accommodation for the king?s Flemish artillery.
Earlier records suggest that a keeper of guns was to be found at Stirling Castle and
James may have continued this practice.
61
Exchequer records for James?s reign indicate
that armour could be stored in several locations, as money was paid for the carriage of
military items to both Perth and Edinburgh, from Dundee, Kinghorn and Inverkeithing,
so it is not certain that Stirling was the location of James?s new cannon.
62
However, the
established royal castles of Edinburgh and Stirling are perhaps the most likely places for
artillery to be housed. This does not appear to be the only explanation, however.
63

General maintenance is still an equally plausible explanation for this level of

58
ER, v, 4.
59
APS, ii, 13.
60
ER, iv, 677.
61
D. H. Caldwell, ?The Scots and Guns? in A. King & M. Penman (eds.), England and Scotland in the
Fourteenth Century: New Perspectives (Woodbridge, 2007).
62
ER, iv, 482, 470, 491, 680.
63
Dunbar, Scottish Royal Palaces, 39.
143
expenditure. As already shown, work continued at Linlithgow until the end of the reign
at a high level. Furthermore, the 1435 account shows an outlay of ?199 13s 11d on the
king?s house at Leith. Payments for both of these projects cannot satisfactorily be
explained by defensive needs, so James was clearly continuing his programme despite
political uncertainty. There is no reason to assume that at least a proportion of the final
year?s spending at Stirling is not simply a continuation of the level of interest shown by
James in the earlier years of the reign. Additionally, payments for Inverness only total
?60 1s in the exchequer accounts that survive, mostly involving the carriage of lime to
that castle. While more was almost certainly expended on this building, it seems
difficult to tally this lesser amount spent on a castle that was in the front line of
hostilities with the Lord of the Isles with the argument that the greater sum spent on
Stirling in the final year was due totally to defensive considerations. Clearly, James
spent considerable sums on building, adapting, maintaining and decorating suitable royal
residences and this was a primary consideration throughout the reign. However, while
these statistics are of interest on their own, they do not in themselves provide an insight
into James?s motivations. It is necessary to examine this programme in the context of
the reign and to look also at what James built and where, not simply the sums expended.

iv: Linlithgow Palace
The only significant survival of James?s building programme is Linlithgow
Palace and this will be the focus of the next portion of the discussion.
64
The following
will look more closely at what James perhaps hoped to achieve with this building and
will place it in the context of the reign as a whole. Linlithgow was, in a sense, the

64
See appendix 4 for illustrations of Linlithgow Palace and comparators.
144
perfect place for James to institute his new style of royal residence. The destruction by
fire of the earlier royal manor house in 1424 meant that a new building was needed to
replace the old, allowing James to start from scratch rather than working around pre-
existing structures. The king visited Linlithgow soon after his return, the Exchequer
account of May 1425 recording a payment of ?22 13s 4d for his expenses there.
65

Although the precise date of this is not known, the fact that it took place so near the
beginning of the reign does indicate an early interest in the area. James may also have
held some personal affection for Linlithgow, records showing that he spent time there
between July 1404 and March 1406.
66
Additionally, tradition may possibly have been a
strong motivator for James to choose to construct a new manor here. As Keith Brown
has noted, structures such as castles and other buildings were a visible symbol of noble
authority, the means of reinforcing the continuity of a noble lineage and its association
with a given location.
67
Rutherford also points to this aspect, citing several examples of
castles where the presence of an earlier structure appears to have been the primary
consideration in the choice of those locations for new residences. Castle Campbell has
already been referred to, but to this Rutherford also adds Craignethan Castle and
Dirleton, the latter of which was located on the site of an earlier castle of the de Vaux
family, though defence may have been an equally strong factor in this case.
68

A particularly significant example of this is Archibald Douglas?s construction
of Threave in Galloway. The name, derived from the P-Celtic tref meaning a high status
homestead, suggests that perhaps this location had connections with a much earlier

65
ER, iv, 390.
66
ER, iii, 617.
67
K. Brown, Noble Society in Scotland. Wealth, family and Culture from Reformation to Revolution
(Edinburgh, 2000), 205.
68
Rutherford, ?A Social Interpretation of the Castle in Scotland?, 332-3.
145
centre of lordship for this area. The fact that no qualifying term is applied to this site in
an effort to differentiate it from other tref sites further emphasises its prominence. There
are references to a residence on the ?island of De? as early as 1174 although no physical
remains of this have been found.
69
However, it appears as though this location was
deliberately chosen by Douglas as a means of asserting his control over the area, having
acquired the lordship in 1369, by associating himself with a traditional centre of power
for the region. Threave is also important as it provides an example of the type of
residence that James would be competing with in his own building programme.
Although tower houses have traditionally been viewed as rather austere
structures, recent work has caused this belief to be re-evaluated.
70
Threave was a five-
storey structure and although only the tower itself now remains, it was originally only
part of a complex of buildings that would have provided a residence entirely in keeping
with Douglas?s status as a powerful noble and would have provided ample
accommodation for his household and visitors. As initially constructed, Threave
perhaps bore more of a resemblance to, for example, Craigmillar, probably built in the
early 1400s.
71
James would have been well aware of Threave, not only from his
connections to the late Douglas earl during his captivity, but also through his connection
to John Cameron. Cameron was originally secretary to Archibald, earl of Wigtown,
grandson of the Archibald who constructed Threave and after James?s return he quickly
promoted Cameron into his own household, making him chancellor and bishop of
Glasgow after the death of William Lauder. Indeed, Cameron?s own building work on

69
Tabraham, ?The Scottish Medieval Towerhouse as Lordly Residence in the Light of Recent Excavation?
in Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, vol.118 (1988), 267-276.
70
See for instance, Tabraham, ?The Scottish Medieval Towerhouse?.
71
Fawcett, The Architectural History of Scotland, 252.
146
his castle in Glasgow was most likely inspired by Threave.
72
David?s Tower at
Edinburgh Castle would also have provided an example of this type of residence, and
would have been particularly significant as a royal example. David?s construction
would have symbolised the military role of the king, as it formed part of the defences of
the Castle and at the same time, it provided a comfortable residence for the king and his
court.
73
Additionally, as it was so prominent in the burgh landscape, the Tower would
have served as a visual reminder of the presence and power of the king.
The continued occupation of a site was an important way of linking the present
to the past. By continuing to occupy the traditional manor house site at Linlithgow
James was symbolically associating himself with earlier monarchs and by doing so was
emphasising his royal status and also the legitimacy of his position. Mary Whiteley has
suggested that Charles V of France?s continued use of old Capetian buildings was an
attempt to emphasise continuity. The Valois dynasty based their claim to the French
throne on descent from the Capetians and by retaining the buildings of the older dynasty
the new one made a highly conspicuous link between the two.
74
This is perhaps of
particular significance in relation to Robert III. James?s father issued more charters
from Linlithgow than any other single location, fifty-five in all.
75
Furthermore,
Linlithgow was favoured largely during the last few years of Robert III?s reign. Steve
Boardman states that after 1404, Robert?s court was almost permanently located in either

72
Oram, ?Prelatical Builders?, 9.
73
The initial discovery and excavation of David?s Tower is described by W. T. Oldrieve, ?Account of the
Recent Discovery of the Remains of David?s Tower at Edinburgh Castle? in Proceedings of the Society of
Antiquaries of Scotland, (1914), 230-271. More recent archaeological work is discussed in S.T. Driscoll
& P.A. Yeoman (eds.), Excavations Within Edinburgh Castle, 1988-91 Proceedings of the Society of
Antiquaries of Scotland (Edinburgh, 1997).
74
M. Whiteley, ?The Courts of Edward III of England and Charles V of France: a Comparison of their
Architectural Setting and Ceremonial Functions? in N. Saul (ed.), Fourteenth Century England
(Woodbridge, 2000), 158.
75
Boardman, The Early Stewart Kings, 285.
147
Edinburgh or Linlithgow, and this was the period during which James was at court with
his father. Significantly, this period also saw something of a return to power for
Robert.
76
This would imply that Linlithgow was an important and favoured location for
Robert during his periods of political dominance. This prominence of the two locations
in the last period before his enforced absence from Scotland may have left a permanent
impression on the young James. Only three of James?s surviving charters are dated at
Linlithgow, however, and one Exchequer audit was held there in 1434. This apparent
lack of use appears to suggest that James did not in fact favour this residence. However,
as the focus of this activity takes place in the 1430s, this may be explained by the fact
that prior to this the building was not in a complete enough state to conduct any
significant business. However, further information from the Exchequer Rolls indicates
that James visited his new residence on a fairly frequent basis. In 1425, ?22 13s 4d was
paid for the king?s expenses in the burgh and in November 1427 James visited
Linlithgow again for a week.
77
Another visit was made mid-March 1428 and again for
four days, with the household, in June of that year and again the following month.
James also appears to have stopped in Linlithgow in December 1428 on his way to
Stirling. Twelve days were spent at Linlithgow by the king and queen in January 1430
and the royal couple were at Linlithgow a further seven times between April 1429 and
March 1430. They were also there again some time in 1430-1, as a payment is made for
their horses there, although the exact date and length of their stay is not known. This
would indicate that Linlithgow was indeed a favoured residence for James and his
queen, but that he perhaps viewed it as a retreat rather than a place of business.

76
Ibid, 278-297.
77
ER, iv, 390, 449, 450, 484, 485, 512, 513, 529.
148
Although Linlithgow was not a primary seat of the Scottish monarchy, the fact
that Linlithgow had been important in the last years of his father?s reign may have
caused James to view Linlithgow in a similar light, using it to emphasise the continuity
between his own reign and that of his father, offering a sense of continuity. It was
crucial for James to bolster his rather tenuous position as he had been absent for eighteen
years and was returning to a country where the nobles were accustomed to limited royal
intervention in their lives. Continuity is not the sole explanation, however. If this were
the case then Stirling, Edinburgh and perhaps even Dunfermline would have been more
obvious choices. It is possible that James wanted to establish himself somewhere that
did not have such strong associations with powerful noble families, Stirling and
Edinburgh Castles having been in the hands of the Duke of Albany and Earl of Douglas
respectively for many years. James may have felt safer upon his return building his new
Palace in a location that did not have this potential drawback. This suggestion should
perhaps not be stressed too greatly, as James had already returned Stirling and
Edinburgh Castles to royal hands. Yet, the returning monarch was also keen to establish
a new style of monarchy, based on the English example to which he had been exposed
during his captivity, particularly in that he wanted the king to be the focus of political
life. In order to do this, James had to assert his position and the construction of a new
palace was a highly visible and tangible means of announcing his arrival on the scene.
A further explanation for the choice of Linlithgow as opposed to either Stirling
or Edinburgh may be the military connotations of these castles. In 1382, payments are
recorded to an artilarius in Edinburgh Castle and to a carpenter active in making engines
throughout the 1380s. Additionally, in 1384 an ?instrument called a gun? was bought for
149
the castle, along with ingredients necessary for firing the gun.
78
Stirling also had such
associations, Maurice the Gunner being based there in the 1380s and also Alan, keeper
of crossbows.
79
That these associations were continued into James?s reign is suggested
by a record in the Turyne Account of 1436, for the carriage of armour to the armoury at
Edinburgh Castle.
80
Thus James?s choice of Linlithgow was an effort to have a
residential location without an overt military purpose, somewhere that could be used
purely for court life but that was still in the wealthy southern part of the kingdom.
The overall impression of Linlithgow Palace is one of beauty and elegance, as
well as functionality. This suggests that the king was looking for something of a retreat.
This impression is given in the fresco of James in his court commissioned by Aeneas
Sylvius Piccolomini in Sienna. Although fanciful, the image shows James in a grand
open space, surrounded by courtiers, with gardens and a body of water showing through
the windows.
81
The architectural features are all factors present at the Palace as will be
shown below. The rural setting idealised in the fresco is in contrast to the dirtier and
more urban sights and sounds which would no doubt have been present in Edinburgh
and perhaps also at Stirling, although the open area that is now the Castle Esplanade
would have provided a buffer for the inhabitants of the castle. Similarly, at Stirling, the
open ground between the edge of the burgh and the outerworks of the castle would have
served as a barrier for the inhabitants. Additionally, Linlithgow was located near to
lands held by several members of James?s household, including James Douglas of
Balvenie who had lands at nearby Abercorn and John Seton. John Forrester, the

78
ER, iii, 672.
79
Caldwell, ?The Scots and Guns?, 7.
80
ER, iv, 680.
81
See appendix 3.
150
Chamberlain, was also a relatively local landowner, his estates centring on Corstorphine,
a few miles west of Edinburgh. A similar pattern is evident in relation to William
Crichton, an important member of the household in the latter years of the reign.
Crichton held lands just west of Edinburgh, with a tower at Laurieston, near
Corstorphine, and was building his new castle, Crichton Castle, on lands to the south of
the city. This does seem to suggest a correlation between the choice of Linlithgow and
the location of the power bases of men whom James trusted. There were also several
members of the household who had influence in the Lothian area, such as Robert Lauder
who was sheriff of Lothian and also keeper of Edinburgh Castle for a time. James?s
desire to be surrounded by men loyal to him is also suggested by his efforts to establish
John Benyng in the vicarage of Linlithgow, despite John Feldeu?s prior claim.
82

Fortunately, the location for the new palace was strategic as well as symbolic.
Roughly equi-distant between the royal castles of Stirling and Edinburgh and close to
the harbour of Blackness and the ferry crossing at Queensferry, it meant that defence did
not have to be a primary consideration in the design, as the king could easily withdraw
to one of his castles should the need arise. There are numerous references in the
Exchequer Rolls to payments for little ships and barges, suggesting that travel by
waterway was not uncommon for the royal family.
83
There is even a specific reference
for the year 1428-9 to the king, queen and two of their daughters travelling from Leith
(where the king was building a house) to Inverkeithing.
84
Additionally, the Exchequer

82
See chs.3 & 4 for James?s court and household personnel. Additionally, James seems to have taken care
to ensure that he continued to be surrounded at Linlithgow by trustworthy men. Crichton?s cousin,
George, received royal favour and became sheriff of West Lothian and also lord of Blackness, the port for
Linlithgow. Brown, James I, 132.
83
ER, iv, passim.
84
Ibid. 482.
151
Rolls have James in Linlithgow and in Stirling on 17 December 1428, perhaps
suggesting that the king travelled by boat along the River Forth, although this may also
be an error in the records.
85
However, Linlithgow was on the main route between the
strongholds of Edinburgh and Stirling as can be seen from invasion plans and
descriptions given by an anonymous English writer in 1295.
86
The proximity to Stirling
and Edinburgh may have been one reason why Linlithgow was preferred over
Dunfermline despite the fact that it was on a potential invasion route, as it gave James a
choice of two fortified strongholds to retreat to in times of trouble. James and Robinson
suggest that this practice of choosing comfort over fortification was commonly the case
in England, where the monarch relied on the authority of the crown for defence rather
than on heavily fortified residences. Sheen and Westminster were undefended, as were
smaller hunting lodges such as Cheddar, although the fact that hunting lodges were
unfortified is not particularly surprising.
87
The English kings could simply retreat to a
castle if necessary, as James could have done at Linlithgow. John Steane does argue that
defence was a paramount consideration at Linlithgow, pointing to the fact that the palace
sits on a natural hillock that extends on a promontory into the loch and also highlights
that the site was used as a military base for Edward I.
88
While this is certainly true,
other reasons could be just as important in choosing a building site as has been shown.
The actual building suggests that defence was not considered important by James when
building Linlithgow Palace, as it gives no appearance of being able to withstand

85
Ibid. 467, 485.
86
P. Hume Brown, Early Travellers in Scotland (Edinburgh, 1978). The location of Linlithgow on this
route was not coincidental as it lay on the main land route from Edinburgh to the lowest bridging point on
the Forth. My thanks to Professor Oram for the clarification.
87
T.B. James & A.M. Robinson, Clarendon Palace: The History and Archaeology of a Medieval Palace
and Hunting Lodge (Society of Antiquaries of London, 1988), 2.
88
Steane, The Archaeology of the Medieval English Monarchy, 86.
152
concerted attack. Ian Campbell argues that the absence of windows on the ground floor
indicates that security was an issue, but this could have easily been determined by cost
considerations as well.
89
However, the design may have been a deliberate attempt to
draw attention to the first storey of the building, where the hall, the ceremonial heart of
the building, was located.
There is also possibly a case for stating that a lack of obvious defensive
structures was a defence in itself. Coulson has suggested that deterrence was effected by
ostentatious displays of wealth and power, which effectively advertised the lord?s ability
to resist attack by making known the level of his wealth.
90
This is in stark contrast to
the situation at Threave, for example, where the tower house comprising of thick walls
with narrow windows facing the landward approach provided a defendable residence,
enhanced by the addition of artillery fortifications in the mid-fifteenth century.
91
The
fact that this side also faced the hall and chapel complexes probably also made large
windows impracticable. It should be noted that the other sides of the castle possessed
large windows, giving clear views all around, suggesting that defence was not the only
consideration at Threave. A large structure also required a large workforce to construct
it. Thus, by building an elaborate residence a lord was proclaiming his ability to
command such a force.
92
By building such an impressive structure as Linlithgow Palace
James may have hoped to fortify his position through a flamboyant display of wealth.
Unfortunately, it was a rather false impression in his case, the financial history of his

89
Campbell, ?Linlithgow?s ?Princely Palace??, 2.
90
Coulson, ?Fourteenth century Castles in Context?, 147; Rutherford also expresses the view of building
as a conspicuous display of wealth, 335.
91
C.J. Tabraham & G.L. Good, ?The Artillery Fortification at Threave Castle, Galloway? in D. H.
Caldwell (ed.), Scottish Weapons and Fortifications, 1100-1800 (Edinburgh, 1981); C. A. McGladdery,
?The Black Douglases, 1369-1455? in Lordship and Architecture, 161-187.
92
C. Coulson, Castles in Medieval Society: Fortresses in England, France and Ireland in the Central
Middle Ages (Oxford, 2003), 68.
153
reign belying the image presented by the Palace. Certainly, James managed to increase
the royal income by acquiring lands for the crown, for example, through the forfeiture of
the Duke of Albany and also by appropriating a large proportion of the money raised for
his ransom to his own personal use. Yet these were methods of increasing income that
would not prove popular with his subjects and as already stated, the king?s subjects
clearly did not trust him in financial matters.
93
Still, it was essential to give the
appearance of wealth in a society that was immersed in the use of visual culture and
symbolism.
The symbolism of some of the key features of Linlithgow Palace needs to be
examined in this context. The aspects that have been chosen are the entrance, the Great
Hall, the kitchen block and the prison, as these features have been shown in other
contexts to have strong symbolic as well as practical functions. The first thing that any
visitor would have seen approaching the palace would have been the imposing entrance
in the east range of the palace. The gateway itself survives, although now unused, but
the drawbridge that serviced it is gone. From the outside, the entrance appears to be at
first-floor level, however, this is a misleading impression given by the fact that land has
fallen away from the side of the building and makes the gateway appear higher than it
would have been during James?s reign. The appearance of the entrance was crucial also.
Rutherford submits that this was the most immediate way for a lord to communicate the
intentions behind the structure.
94
The drawbridge, combined with the height of the entry
way would have communicated immediately to the medieval visitor the idea that the
owner of this building was of superior status. Even a drawbridge appears to have been

93
Brown, James I, 139.
94
Rutherford, ?A Social Interpretation of the Castle?, 246.
154
able to convey something of this idea on its own. At Tulliallan, which had three ground-
floor entrances, the main entrance, for use by guests, was possessed of a drawbridge that
had no practical function. The impressing of visitors would appear to be the only other
explanation for its presence.
95
An impressive entrance was central to a building, as it
marked the transition between the two spaces, giving it, according to Rutherford, almost
ritual significance. The entrance separated the lord from those entering, made the visitor
aware that they were entering another?s space. Scottish examples of this are not hard to
find. Although different in design to Linlithgow, the entrance to Doune Castle
highlights the theatrical nature of the entranceway. The long, dark passage, barred by
several doors and gates, takes the visitor from the outside into the spacious courtyard,
although in medieval times it would have been less open than today as timber structures
would have occupied some of the space. This was also the case at Tantallon where
timber buildings have left their trace on the inner face of the east wall.
96
However, it
would still have been an impressive moment. Even the modern visitor has the
impression of entering the personal arena of a powerful individual, and this would surely
have been amplified for the medieval caller, no doubt conversant with the language of
the building and having knowledge of the power of the Duke of Albany. Doune Castle
was an example that James would have been well aware of and would have seen that this
was what was expected of a powerful noble of the period, and that this was something
that he, as king, would need to surpass. This may account for some of the similarity
between the two buildings and was one of the reasons why James kept the castle as a
royal possession after he had Duke Murdoch executed. It also helps to explain why

95
Ibid, 247.
96
RCAHMS Eighth Report with Inventory of Monuments and Constructions in the County of East Lothian
(Edinburgh, 1924).
155
James lodged his heir there for a time. The latter action would also have had the effect
of replacing Albany Stewart associations with the castle with royal ones. Linlithgow?s
entrance was also segmented by several doors and a portcullis, emphasising, as at
Doune, that the visitor was entering a private space. This would have been compounded
by the rather circuitous route that visitors were required to take to reach the entrance.
Originally, guests approached from the south before diverting past the site of the church
(it had burned down in 1424 at the same time as the original manor house) and then
approaching the main gateway of the Palace.
97
After 1430 and the acquisition of new
land to the east of the palace, visitors approached from this direction, allowing James?s
new fa?ade to have a greater visual impact. The east entrance was designed to be
viewed from a significant distance, not just from close up. This perhaps implies that
James was seeking to stamp royal authority over the surrounding countryside, not just
visitors who had arrived at the Palace. Additionally, Dunbar notes that ground level to
the east of the palace was lower than elsewhere around the palace.
98
Thus visitors to the
palace would have seen the king?s new residence from a significant distance and as they
drew closer would have had to raise their gazes up to the level of the entrance. This
would have been a powerful visual symbol of James?s view of his own position,
emphasising his desire to be seen as a superior lord.
The location of the east entrance to the palace is also interesting. At Doune, for
instance, the entryway is positioned off-centre in the wall. However, at Linlithgow,
James had the gate placed in the centre of the east wing. There are not a significant

97
RCAHMS Tenth Report with Inventory of Monuments and Constructions in the Counties of Midlothian
and West Lothian (Edinburgh, 1929), 220. It is possible that some of the funds directed to construction at
Linlithgow were utilised in the rebuilding of the parish church.
98
Dunbar, Scottish Royal Palaces, 6.
156
number of contemporary comparisons for this within Scotland at this time, although the
castles of Tantallon and Craigmillar do seem to have a similar design. There are some
English examples, for instance Bodiam and the Percy possession of Warkworth, where
the entrance is located in the centre of the western curtain wall. James may have
become familiar with this during his time in captivity. However, French influences
should also be considered within this context. The French royal residence of Vincennes
also had a centrally positioned entrance. This example may also have been familiar to
James through his association with the Duke of Orleans during his time in England as
stated above and also from the time he spent in France in the early 1420s.
99
It is perhaps
more likely that James had the French example in mind when designing Linlithgow,
since this was a grand, royal example of this style. The symbolism of this is unlikely to
have been lost on the king?s Scottish subjects who had been fighting in France for some
time.
The decoration applied to the entrance of Linlithgow Palace was significant as
well. Heraldry was an immediate way to proclaim ownership of something in a largely
illiterate age, so the presence of the royal arms above the entrance was James?s way of
making his ownership of the building and its surrounding lands clear.
100
This practice
became common in Scotland by the sixteenth century.
101
The style of this armorial
work is interesting and perhaps indicates that James did have English models in mind.
Richard II?s work at Westminster included the introduction of carvings of the royal arms

99
For James in France see Balfour-Melville, James I, 81-2, 87-91 and Brown, James I, 22-4.
100
See for example A. Ailes, ?Heraldry in Medieval England: Symbols of Politics and Propaganda? in P.
Coss & M. Keen (eds.), Heraldry and Social Display in Medieval England (Woodbridge, 2002), 83-104;
and in the same volume, M. Keen, ?Introduction?, 1-16.
101
Rutherford, ?A Social Interpretation of the Castle in Scotland?, 90.
157
supported by angels, just as is the case at Linlithgow.
102
James would certainly have
been familiar with the design of Westminster, having been lodged there during his
captivity and most especially from having participated in the coronation banquet of
Henry V?s queen held in the great hall there. Denys Pringle suggests that the niches
flanking the royal arms at Linlithgow were intended to hold statues of St Andrew and St
James. This would certainly make sense within the context of an uncertain monarch
attempting to assert his position as the association of the national saint with the royal
arms and the saint sharing James?s name would have been a means of visually allying
the king with the nation, of binding the two together in the public imagination. This
would have helped to reinforce James?s position as monarch, promoting the idea of a
God-supported monarchy. However, another alternative might be St Michael, which
would ally the new Palace with the Parish church of Linlithgow, thus associating the
royal with the religious. It is also possible that John the Baptist may have been chosen
due to James?s interest in this saint, as discussed in chapter seven.
The size of the armorial panel at Linlithgow is also worth noting, being the
largest example of such work in Scotland at this time and obviously designed to be
viewed from a distance. James was clearly making a statement with his new
construction, using it to blatantly advertise his royal status. The exaggerated scale of the
armorial suggests that James was perhaps insecure about his position, as such a large
armorial had not previously been seen in Scotland, particularly not one with such
extravagant symbolism highlighting the idea of god-supported monarchy. It is possible

102
J. Watts, ?Looking for the State in Later Medieval England? in Heraldry and Social Display in
Medieval England, 248. Angels also appear on Richard II?s Wilton Diptych which, if he was aware of it,
may have helped to emphasise to James the association of royal and religious imagery and its use as a
means of promoting his kingship.
158
that James felt a need to drive home to his nobles that the king had returned home and
intended to return to power as well, although this is simply conjecture. This insecurity is
also evident in James?s reliance on a limited group of men, as discussed in chapters three
and four. The use of architectural development to advertise status also appears to have
been utilised by Walter Ogilvy, initially James?s treasurer and later Master of the King?s
Household. In 1431, Ogilvy was granted a charter allowing him to erect his tower at
Airlie in the form of a castle, indicating an awareness of the symbolism of architecture
and a need for his residence to reflect his status.
103
The practice of using architecture to
reflect status may also have been followed by William Crichton, who expanded Crichton
Castle following his promotion to Chancellor under James II.
104

The fact that a charter was granted in Ogilvy?s case also reflects the king?s
desire to control noble residences as far as possible in order to ensure that his subjects
were not surpassing him in their building projects. The licence to crenellate was a
defining characteristic of kingship, and James?s participation in this area reflects his
desire to emphasise his status over that of his nobles. James?s efforts in this area met
with little success, however, as there appear to be only three instances of men being
granted such a licence, although there is a possibility that men applied for licences and
were rejected. In addition to Ogilvy, James Dundas, esquire of the king, and William
Borthwick were the only men to receive such grants.
105
Dundas does not appear to have
played a significant role in James?s reign, although his designation does imply that he
was close to the king. However, Borthwick served on the assize that convicted the Duke
of Albany in May 1425, was a hostage for two years from 1425, and his son and heir

103
NAS Papers of the Earls of Airlie, GD16/1/1.
104
Rutherford, ?A Social Interpretation of the Castle?, 108.
105
RMS, ii, nos. 1, 157.
159
was among those knighted at the baptism celebrations for James?s twin sons in 1430. It
is difficult to make any firm conclusions from such limited evidence. Nonetheless, there
is a hint that it was only men with close links to the king who participated in this
procedure, embracing the king?s courtly values. It is perhaps the case that James was
seeking to use the licence to crenellate to create a new group within the nobility, loyal to
him, and who were set apart from the rest through the design of their residences.
The Great Hall was probably the most important room in James?s new Palace.
The hall was the focus for the ceremonial life of the court, the place where the king
could see and be seen by the greatest number of courtiers, where feasts could be held
and entertainment provided. The hall could also provide sleeping accommodation as
well as a venue for business. Although the hall was gradually receding in importance in
this period as lords sought the greater privacy of their chambers, or separate halls such
as the Duke?s Hall at Doune, it was still an important venue and, of course, continued to
hold a symbolic meaning.
106
The hall at Linlithgow was not by any means the largest
known at the time, being 9m x 30m. That at Clarendon in England was 25m x 15.9m
and this was smaller than at Westminster.
107
However, it must continually be born in
mind that the Scottish king was working with much less money than the English
monarchs were used to commanding. Nevertheless, Linlithgow?s hall was much larger
than the 8m x 17m hall at Dirleton and the 7m x 20m hall at Tulliallan.
108
Tantallon,
one of the grander Scottish residences with which James was competing, had two halls,
the lower and great, the latter being on the floor above the former and both were 7m x
17m, again smaller than that at Linlithgow, as was that at Bothwell, approximately 19m

106
See for instance Thurley, The Royal Palaces of Tudor England, 113-4.
107
James & Robinson, Clarendon Palace, 10.
108
Rutherford, ?A Social Interpretation of the Castle in Scotland?, 169, 254.
160
x 7.6m. However, the hall at Darnaway was slightly larger at 26.6m x 10.7m.
Linlithgow?s Great Hall had a high timber roof, the impression of which remains in the
west gable end and there is some evidence of a good-sized window at the east end of the
Hall, overlooking the close. This would suggest that the dais end where the lord would
sit was here, with the window lighting the high table. The dais is also placed in front of
the great fireplace and the doorway behind it leads into the private royal chambers,
further emphasising that this was the lord?s position. For James to adopt a more formal
court style, he would require the appropriate setting, which in the first half of the
fifteenth century still meant a great hall. That this is what James built would suggest
that he did desire to institute a more formal atmosphere at the Scottish royal court,
although it must be noted that there is little evidence to suggest that James regularly
utilised Linlithgow for formal court occasions. It has been said of Richard II that his
?refashioning of the secular ceremonial centre of the English crown was part of an
attempt to establish an absolute monarchy? and while it is perhaps going too far to
suggest that James I wanted to be an absolute monarch, it is clear from his efforts
throughout the reign that he was keen to elevate the status of the Scottish monarchy.
109

The hall was literally elevated, being another level up from the entrance. Not all halls
were on this level, the English examples of Westminster, Winchester and Eltham all
having ground floor halls, although these are much earlier structures.
110
However,
ground floor halls continued to be built in Scotland throughout the Middle Ages, such as
that at Spynie Palace for the Bishop of Moray c.1500. As well as being practical,
allowing for greater security, the placing of the hall on the first floor had a symbolic

109
Alexander & Binski, Age of Chivalry, 206, quoted in Steane, The Archaeology of the Medieval English
Monarchy, 76.
110
Steane, The Archaeology of the Medieval English Monarchy, 97.
161
function as the visitor had to rise up a level to reach the ceremonial heart of the building.
Since halls were associated with the noble owner, the added height again emphasised the
superior position of James as king. James may have been influenced by his experience
at Windsor Castle in this instance, Edward III?s Hall at Windsor being unusually located
on the first floor as opposed to the ground, as well as the example of St Andrews as
already mentioned.
111

While the service areas of the palace were obviously there due to simple
necessity they could also add to the prestige of a building. The kitchen was a large
department within the service branch of the household, many people being required to
handle the baking and cooking, to look after the larder and pantry, the cellars and to take
care of the washing up. The larger the kitchen area, by implication the larger the staff
that filled it and again this reflected on the ability of the lord to finance the workforce
and to provide provisions for them, much in the way the size of the building did itself as
suggested above.
112
Rutherford suggests, quite convincingly, that a vast kitchen/service
area was a visual expression of a lord?s wealth and the hospitality of the lord. As it was
essential for lords to show good hospitality in this period, in the form of food, drink and
entertainment, a large kitchen and cellar would indicate their willingness to participate in
this behaviour. A later description of the Earl of Huntly showing Mary of Guise around
the cellars of his castle suggests that lords would display these areas of their residences
to visitors, making it crucial that they reflect the image that the lord wished to present to
the world. The service area of James?s Linlithgow does appear to have been
commensurate in standing with the rest of the palace. Comprising a larder, brewhouse,

111
Robinson, Windsor Castle, 21.
112
Stell, ?Architecture?, 157.
162
lower kitchen, pantry and a court kitchen that serviced the great hall, the rooms reflect
the royal status of the building?s owner.
113
Some effort also appears to have been made
to ensure that the palace was properly provisioned. Although records are sparse, a
payment for the creation of a park and fishponds at Linlithgow is recorded for the year
1425-6.
114

The presence of a prison may at first seem an incongruous addition to a palace,
which tends to have residential, elegant connotations as opposed to the functionality of a
castle. However, the exercise of justice was a vital function of a lord in any locality and
this would have been intensified in James?s case due to the fact that he was king and was
responsible for law-keeping in the country as a whole. Bower certainly praised James?s
efforts in this area. His epitaph for James describes the king as ?a most weighty deviser
of law? and states that ?the law was available to all while he was alive?.
115

Parliamentary records support Bower?s view, with James passing a statute in July 1427,
for example, requiring judges to try cases within the law and to be impartial.
116
James
also instituted a Court of Session that is sometimes regarded by historians as the
foundation of the College of Justice, to sit three times a year to hear cases that did not
require to be heard by parliament, thus making the judicial process somewhat easier.
117

These two examples show that James was indeed interested in the proper exercise of

113
D. Pringle, Linlithgow Palace: A Historical Guide to the Royal Palace and Peel (Historic Scotland,
1989, 1998), 2-3.
114
ER, iv, 415. The park would have provided an enclosure for controlled hunting, providing fresh meat
for the Palace. The fishponds were almost certainly created to ensure a supply of fresh fish.
115
Chron. Bower, viii, 335.
116
APS, ii, 14.
117
The session has its roots in James I?s reign and eventually became formalised in the reign of James V
with the foundation of the College of Justice in 1532. Oram, ?Community of the Realm?, 63. Nicholson
states that James?s actions comprised the origins of the Court of Session, The Later Middle Ages, 311.
Grant also suggests that James?s reforms eventually led to the Creation of the Court of Session,
Independence and Nationhood, 150. This does perhaps represent a tendency to read history backwards, as
it is by no means evident that James had such an outcome in mind or that such an outcome was inevitable.
163
justice within his kingdom. It is not surprising that this should be reflected in his new
building programme, which was designed to emphasise his royal status. The elaborate
entrance to the palace may also in part be explained by the need to advertise a
willingness to exercise judicial authority. Rutherford states that the gates of castles were
often the site of the barony court, leading to the gatehouse becoming a symbol of the
lord?s judicial authority.
118
Although very different in design to a castle, it may be that
this concept was carried over to the palace, leading to the necessity for an imposing
entryway

.
This interest in justice also supports the idea that James was seeking to
centralise authority in his own person. For the eighteen years of the king?s absence the
country had been ruled by a noble governor and prior to that the kings Robert II and
Robert III were not discernibly different to their nobles.
119
Indeed, the greater families
tended to be stronger than the monarch. Returning from such a long period in England
where the monarch was indeed the central focus of political life, it is entirely
unsurprising that James would have been eager to develop a similar style of monarchy in
order to differentiate his personal reign from the powerless years of his captivity and
make it clear to his subjects that he intended to be an active king. It has been suggested
that those at the lower end in the power hierarchy often tried to alter the dominant
material culture in an attempt to improve their position.
120
It would seem that James,
aware of the tenuousness of his position, took advantage of his title and the resources
that it allowed him to control, in order to begin to transform the material culture of

118
Rutherford, ?A Social Interpretation of the Castle in Scotland?, 166.
119
Brown, James I, 17.
120
J.C. Barrett, ?Fields of Discourse: Reconstructing a social archaeology? in Critique of Anthropology, 7,
5-16, referenced in Rutherford, ?A Social Interpretation of the Castle in Scotland?, 45.
164
Scotland?s kings. James no doubt hoped to set himself apart from his nobles in a visible
way. The very fact that from 1431 the residence at Linlithgow was specifically referred
to as a palace indicates that James was seeking to do something new, something
different to what had come before in the country of his birth.
121
In England only one
royal residence, Westminster, was referred to specifically as a Palace, other royal
residences simply having the designation ?king?s domus?.
122
It is possible that James
hoped to create a similar aura of exclusivity for his construction at Linlithgow, in
mimicry of English practice. The instances related by Bower of James personally
issuing judgements upon his courtiers, although possibly conventional and stage-
managed, also reflect the idea of the king as a dispenser of justice. The arrest of
Archibald, earl of Douglas, and Sir John Kennedy in 1431 and the possibly fictional
incident in which James threatens to cut off the hand of a courtier who had struck
another, are two such examples.
123

v: Othe

r Building Projects
While it is tempting to dwell only on Linlithgow Palace, it is necessary to
discuss the other buildings that were recipients of James?s attention. Although this is
difficult due to the fact that nothing substantial survives of these works and the records
are less than forthcoming with information about the projects there are still things that
can be inferred simply from the choice of works themselves. The building of a new
house at Leith, for instance, has several possible motivations. It provided James with
somewhere suitable for him to stay while visiting the port. Also, it was close enough to

121
ER, iv, 529.
122
Steane, The Archaeology of the Medieval English Monarchy, 87.
123
Chron. Bower, viii, 265, 321.
165
Edinburgh to provide a retreat from the pressures of government in that city without
having to travel the distance to Linlithgow. James could of course use Holyrood, and
one charter is issued from that monastery.
124
Holyrood was also the place where
James?s twin sons were born in 1430. However, as Leith was an important port, it is
interesting to speculate that the presence of a royal residence there could be seen as
symbolic of James?s attempts to associate himself with the nation, with a permanent
presence in an important economic venue, although this is simply conjecture. This
particular project may also partially explain the later chronicle suggestion already noted
that James often resided ?specialie amang his merchandise?.
125
The amount spent on
Leith was not insignificant, and included ?199 13s 11d for the year 1434-5.
126
It is, of
course, much lower than the amounts spent by English monarchs, a suite of rooms at
Conwy Castle in Wales cost ?320 Sterling in 1283, but is a significant outlay for a
Scottish monarch, particularly in the context of the financial difficulties James was
facing by this point in his reign.
127
Most of the money raised from the contribution for
his ransom had gone and parliament was obviously distrustful as evidenced by their
insistence on retaining control of funds raised for a northern campaign. This is
particularly striking as it is in these later years that large sums are expended on the new
chamber at Edinburgh Castle. 1433-4 saw ?735 13s 4d spent on walls, timber, a barge
and a great chamber at Edinburgh, and it is likely that the bulk of this sum was directed
to the Edinburgh project; ?122 the following year was enough for a barge, which, if this
sum is deducted from the 1434 figure would leave around ?600 for the chamber at

124
18 July 1425. RMS, ii, no.23.
125
Boece, ii, 394.
126
ER, iv, 626.
127
?330 sterling relates to a modern purchasing power of around ?179, 695, while ?199 Scots only comes
to around ?41, 486. http://www.measuringworth.com/ppoweruk/
166
Edinburgh.
128
This is only a possible deduction, but it is doubtful that much more would
have been required for the barge, and even assuming that twice the possible sum was
diverted, this would still leave around ?500 for the chamber. This chamber is described
in the exchequer accounts as a ?magne camere? which implies that it was to be a
substantial private room, somewhere for the king to have greater privacy. Indeed, recent
work on Edinburgh Castle has suggested that this chamber evolved into the Palace Block
on the east side of Crown Square.
129
It also denotes, perhaps, that James was seeking to
add comfortable living quarters to the castle, in contrast to the more militaristic
connotations of the past such as those discussed above. The timing of the construction
at Edinburgh also appears to be significant as it was 1435 that saw the visit of the French
embassy to finalise the transfer of Margaret to France for her marriage to the Dauphin.
The continued construction of a substantial building would have been an impressive
sight and would have been a way for James to emphasise his position to these visitors,
acting as an indication of wealth. Not only were they given the opportunity to see what
James had already built by a stopover at Linlithgow but they could see that he was
wealthy enough to continue grand building programmes. This may help to account for
the fact that this embassy was not entertained for any significant time at Linlithgow but
was instead conducted to Edinburgh for the talks.
130

As already noted, the other main recipient of funds was Stirling Castle. Again,
it is difficult, if not impossible, to say specifically what James did here, other than on the

128
ER, iv, 579, 625-7.
129
Driscoll & Yeoman, Excavations Within Edinburgh Castle, 234.
130
Balfour-Melville notes that the ambassadors were greeted by Bishop Crannoch of Brechin, who had
himself often acted as an ambassador for the Scottish king. It is possible that the ambassadors may have
stopped at Linlithgow to see Princess Margaret, as it may be that Linlithgow was utilised as a royal
nursery. However, there is no firm evidence to support such a supposition for this period.
167
rare occasion when precise mention is made, for example, repairs to the stables in 1433-
4.
131
It is possible that the money was simply granted to pay to keep the castle in good
repair. The castle had been out of royal hands for many years and may have required
significant refurbishing. However, as suggested above, recent archaeological work
suggests that a significant amount of work was undertaken there in the years before
1424. Furthermore, between 1406 and 1421, ?168 12s 5d was spent on repairs to
dwellings and the construction of two new chambers at Stirling Castle.
132
It thus seems
unlikely that the bulk of the regular allocation during James?s reign was for repairs and
increases the likelihood that most of the money was given over to at least one new room,
perhaps more. There was certainly a complex of separate chambers for the king and his
lords at Stirling, so perhaps some of the funds went to build or develop this. There is a
reference in the Exchequer Rolls to litter (that is, straw or rushes) being sent to Stirling
for the chambers of the king and lords there in the year 1433-4.
133
It is not clear
precisely what form these chambers took, whether they were sleeping chambers or
formal reception rooms, although the timing of this payment suggests that it may have
been related to the parliament held at Stirling in March 1434.
134
The ?Lords? may also
refer to those men appearing as witnesses in this period. There are only around seven
witness lists for 1433-4, but among those named are William Crichton, John Forrester,
William Foulis, Walter Ogilvy, Walter Stewart and John Winchester, all of sufficient
status within James?s household to merit special accommodations.
135
The fact that there

131
ER, iv, 565.
132
Ibid. 45-338 passim.
133
Ibid., 593.
134
APS, ii, 22.
135
HMC, 11
th
Report; HMC, 7
th
Report; Douglas Book, iii; NAS GD1/1042/3; GD16/6/3; GD33/11/1;
GD198/11.
168
is specific mention of these rooms would seem to suggest that an increasing desire for
privacy was a feature of noble life in this period, and James may have been imitating
English practice where royal business was increasingly conducted in the Privy Chamber
and this rather than the hall was becoming the hub of government. Richard II, for
example, built separate royal lodgings at Sheen in order to obtain greater privacy.
136

Henry V had a similar arrangement at Kenilworth, where he built a ?Plesaunce? in an
isolated spot approached only via the lake that the residence was located beside.
137

While this is rather more elaborate than what is suggested for Stirling, it does highlight
the growing trend towards more private accommodation. Separate chambers for the
household and visitors are something that can be seen at Tantallon, the Lothian castle
built in the 1370s by the first Earl of Douglas, indicating that the trend had reached
Scotland by the time construction was begun at Linlithgow.
138
James would surely have
been interested in having the most modern arrangement possible in order not to be
viewed as backward or out of fashion. The provision of luxurious quarters for courtiers
does appear to have been considered a prerequisite for lordly residences. Chaucer?s The
Book of the Duchesse describes the ideal lodgings as highly decorated, with glazed
windows and a comfortable bed.
139
There is some evidence in the accounts that these
items were found in James?s residences. For instance, there is a payment of 12s in the
account of 1431 for glass for the Queen?s chamber at Perth, presumably referring to the
royal residence in the friary there.
140
Furthermore, a sperver and two sheets were

136
Mathew, The Court of Richard II, 34.
137
James, The Palaces of Medieval England, 138; Steane, The Archaeology of the Medieval English
Monarchy, 121.
138
Fawcett, The Architectural History of Scotland, 17.
139
Referenced in Mathew, The Court of Richard II, 35.
140
ER, iv, 533.
169
purchased for the king?s bed from Flanders.
141
The issue of d?cor is one that shall be
returned to below.
Reference in the Exchequer Rolls for 1434 to the chamber of the Duke of
Rothesay at Edinburgh further indicates that Scotland was also leaning towards separate
accommodations for the various members of the household, or at least for its most
important members. Unfortunately there is little detail regarding this chamber, only a
record of delivery of endive for the chamber.
142
Interestingly, however, there does not
really appear to be any such arrangement at Linlithgow outside of the royal apartments.
Of course, it is difficult to discern given the extensive remodelling that the palace has
undergone since James I?s time, and it is possible that the rooms in the upper stories of
the north-east and south-east towers were intended to provide at least some
accommodation for high status guests. It is also possible that Linlithgow was taking the
search for privacy to extreme measures, with lords expected to find lodgings in the town,
with only a select few actually being accommodated in the palace itself. This does not
necessarily have any negative implications for attendance at court, however, as Rita
Costa Gomes has shown for the Portuguese court that nobles did not have to be in the
same building in order to be considered ?at court?.
143
Certainly later Scottish nobles had
residences within towns in the sixteenth century, such as the Earl of Argyll?s lodgings in
Stirling and Edinburgh, so the lack of accommodation for the nobility within the royal
residence was perhaps not a hindrance to large court gatherings. Additionally, the design
of Linlithgow may have been intended to expand to include accommodation for

141
Ibid., 682.
142
Ibid., 603.
143
R. C. Gomes, The Making of a Court Society: Kings and Nobles in Late Medieval Portugal, trans. A.
Aiken (Cambridge, 2003), 340.
170
courtiers or, as already noted, have been designed to give the king and his family some
private space where they could relax in the company of their closest associates. This
would also probably have been the same at Perth, where James would reside in the royal
apartments at the Blackfriars monastery and his nobles or other guests would seek
accommodation elsewhere. Shirley relates that at the end of an evening occupied by
reading, singing and playing chess and other games ?euere man departid and went to
rest? leaving James alone with the queen and her ladies.
144

That James chose to spend money on these residences as opposed to others is
also significant. Stirling and Edinburgh were traditional royal centres that had been out
of royal hands for some time. Architectural display was a means of exhibiting
ownership of a property or area. Thus, by investing money in these residences, James
was proclaiming his ownership of them. As previously discussed, lords used building
programmes to proclaim their arrival in a particular area, but these programmes did not
need to consist of entirely new structures such as Linlithgow. The retention of older
buildings on a site could also be a powerful symbol of continuity, perhaps more so than
simply building on a traditional site, as was the case with the Haliburton family
discussed above. James may well have been cognisant of this concept and so directed
efforts to traditional centres. Also, it was important to regain these sites to emphasise
his return to the political stage. Had these traditional royal castles remained in noble
hands, it would have been a detriment to the king?s authority and this could not be borne
by a king as insecure as James.

144
J. Shirley, ?The Dethe of the Kynge of Scottis?, 36-7.
171
The fact that James continued to divert money to building programmes even in
the later years when money was less abundant deserves some consideration.
145

Rutherford has suggested that the material expressions of lordship were especially
important when that lordship was threatened.
146
Since architecture was perhaps the
most obvious material expression available, it would make sense for James to continue
to build even when his rule was showing signs of unravelling. In addition to financial
difficulties and the distrust of parliament, James had seen the failure of his Highland
policy by the mid-1430s, compounded by the death of the Earl of Mar, his agent in the
north. Also, uncertain foreign policy regarding England and France was not settled until
Margaret was finally sent to France in 1436. However, the fact that James continued to
fund his architectural schemes despite these issues was perhaps unpopular. T.B. James
points to resentment over the increasing proportion of national revenue diverted to
building work by Henry III as one of the underlying causes of the barons? war of 1258-
65.
147
A similar theme may be perceived in James?s reign. The Scottish king was not
noted for being generous with patronage to his nobles and the knowledge that he was
ploughing relatively large sums into building work may well have displeased this class
to a large extent, providing further impetus to the assassins who would take his life. It is
worth noting in this context that after James?s death there appears to have been a
moratorium on building work until the mid-1440s, at least as far as Edinburgh,
Linlithgow and Stirling are concerned. For example, a payment for lead for the roof of
the great chamber in Edinburgh was made in 1438, however the fact that a further
payment was made for the roof in 1445 suggests that work remained incomplete during

145
The pattern of expenditure has been noted above.
146
Rutherford, ?A Social Interpretation of the Castle in Scotland?, 175.
147
James, The Palaces of Medieval England, 72.
172
the intervening period.
148
Additionally, following the account of the master of works of
Linlithgow given in 1437, there is no further record of work undertaken there until
1446.
149
The political turmoil of James II?s minority no doubt had much to do with this,
but it may be the case that there was distaste amongst those in power for continuing
James I?s lavish spending in this area.

vi: Decoration
The manner in which James?s residences were decorated is also of interest.
Although some mention has already been made of this, it is beneficial to discuss d?cor in
more detail here. Unfortunately, there is again limited information on this topic for the
reign but by examining amounts recorded in the Exchequer Rolls and by looking at other
royal decorating schemes it is possible to offer some speculation. As already mentioned,
there is some evidence of glazed chambers at Perth. Glass was a rare commodity, so this
would have had a strong symbolic function, showing that James was able to afford and
obtain this item. In 1458, even the windows of the great hall at Edinburgh had to be
repaired with canvas, emphasising the rarity and expense of glass.
150
Also, in contrast to
the impression gained from existing ruins, the residences occupied by James would have
been quite highly decorated. The ?37 spent on paint for Linlithgow in 1433-4 would
have provided a substantial amount of paints. In The Hague, ?20 spent on paints
included 7lbs of green, ?lb of purple and 2,100 pieces of gold leaf.
151
Even allowing
that the Scottish currency may not have stretched this far, it still allows for a good

148
ER, v, 66, 180. Exchequer accounts are available for 1438, 1440, 1441, 1442, 1443 and 1444. They
may not be a complete record of all royal/government expenditure for the period.
149
Ibid. 5, 21, 224.
150
Dunbar, Scottish Royal Palaces, 119.
151
Vale, The Princely Court, 275.
173
supply of materials for Matthew, the king?s painter. Some of this paint may have been
used to decorate the statues and other carvings above the entrance to Linlithgow Palace
described above, adding to the imposing nature of the fa?ade. Rutherford states that
later accounts of Masters of Works highlight that the exterior of buildings were often
highly decorated in the medieval period, forming a striking contrast with the surrounding
landscape. This, he suggests, would have been an important visual symbol.
152
This is
surely a valid point, as it would have made buildings highly visible and would have
added to their imposing nature. An example of this is the lime-wash used by James IV
(1488-1513) on his great hall at Stirling Castle, a feature of the medieval castle that has
now been restored and allows the hall to be seen from several miles away.
Undoubtedly some of Mathew?s paint was also used in the interior of the
building, both in the private apartments and in the Great Hall. There are numerous
examples of extravagant decorating schemes employed in English residences, not least
of which was Henry III and Edward I?s Painted Chamber at Westminster, described by
T.B. James as one of the finest decorating schemes ever executed in England and the
details of which are outlined by Paul Binski. Additionally, at Clarendon several
chambers were elaborately painted, including the Antioch chamber and the King?s
chamber.
153
The themes of these schemes may offer some clue as to what James
commissioned. At Westminster, Henry III had images of Edward the Confessor painted
around the state bed, physically identifying the king with the royal saint while his son
Edward I commissioned images from the Old Testament for the Painted Chamber.
154


152
Rutherford, ?A Social Interpretation of the Castle?, 107.
153
James, The Palaces of Medieval England, 75; James & Robinson, Clarendon Palace, passim; Binski,
the Painted Chamber at Westminster, passim.
154
Binski, The Painted Chamber at Westminster, passim.
174
Religious imagery was also incorporated at Clarendon, where representations of
Margaret the Virgin and the Four Evangelists were commissioned in the mid-thirteenth
century.
155
As religious imagery seems to have been popular, it is possible that James
had representations of particular saints painted in either his hall or private chambers,
perhaps of the same saints who guarded the entrance, perhaps even of Scotland?s own
royal saint, Margaret. St Michael may also have been used, being a particularly
appropriate choice for Linlithgow Palace, as Linlithgow parish church was dedicated to
St Michael.
The theme of royal imagery may have been continued in another form,
mimicking in paint Richard II?s scheme for the Great Hall at Westminster of statues
representing kings of England going back to Edward the Confessor. James could have
sought to surround himself with the representations of such figures as Alexander II,
Alexander III and Robert I, associating himself with kings of times past as a means of
cementing the legitimacy and status of his kingship, although this is conjecture.
However, James did seek to mimic earlier kings, such as when he arranged for his heart
to be sent on pilgrimage after his death, probably following the example of Robert I.
156

James may even have chosen a series of paintings forming a life of one of these kings,
mimicking Edward II?s commissioning of such work representing his father Edward I in
the Lesser Hall at Westminster, next door to the Painted Chamber.
157
James may also
have chosen to have himself and Queen Joan depicted in the images in order to highlight
their relationship and the political role he wished Joan to play in the kingdom. The royal

155
Steane, The Archaeology of the Medieval English Monarchy, 73-5; James, The Palaces of Medieval
England, 79.
156
James?s interest in Robert I is examined more closely in ch.7, section v.
157
Binski, The Painted Chamber at Westminster, 112.
175
arms may also have been used in the d?cor. For example, royal badges were used to
decorate the windows in Henry IV?s study at Eltham. As already mentioned, James used
the royal arms at Linlithgow, indicating that he was interested in using such imagery.
Additionally, the royal arms also formed the theme of a tapestry acquired by James from
Flanders, further suggesting that this type of symbolism was favoured by the king.
158

In addition to permanent artwork, James?s homes would have been furnished
with a variety of movable goods that would have added to the ambience and there are
records of purchases for such items as a worsted bed, pewter pots, brass candelabras, and
seats for the queen.
159
Tapestries were also purchased for use in the king?s homes. In
1434 tapestries were purchased for Linlithgow from Robert Levingstoun?s allowance,
though the amount is unknown, as is the design, although as with the painted images,
royal or saintly images are both possibilities.
160
Additionally, the Turyne account
records tapestry purchases in Flanders, with a payment of ?7 Flemish to Giles for
weaving a tapestry and the purchase of two tapestries woven with the royal arms, which
are included in a list of goods worth over ?200 Flemish.
161
Tapestries were a common
feature of medieval residences, adding colour to a room but having the advantage of
being movable, so that they could be taken from one residence to another as the king
required. In the first year of his reign Henry IV purchased rich embroidered cloths and
tapestries for Westminster ?for the advantage and accommodation of the Lords and the

158
James, The Palaces of Medieval England, 137. Chivalric motifs were a popular type of decorating
scheme in England. A striking example of this is the Antioch Chamber at Clarendon, which contained
scenes from the third Crusade, and similar subjects were found in chambers at Westminster and the Tower
of London. However, as discussed in ch.7, James does not appear to have had a significant interest in this
area, implying that such images would not have been widely utilised by him.
159
CDS, iv, no.967; Rot. Scot., ii, 262, 270.
160
ER, iv, 556.
161
Ibid., 678, 680.
176
nobility? who were at Council.
162
That tapestries could be and were moved from place
to place is evidenced by an example from Henry V?s reign. In July (1415 or 16) ?20
was paid for the carriage of tents, Arras and other hangings to Calais for the king.
163

Kings were careful to present the correct image of magnificence even when living in less
than royal accommodations. There is some limited evidence that James also moved
items around the country according to where he was staying. In the exchequer account
of 1426 there is a payment of 2s for the transport of silver cups and jewels from Stirling
to Glasgow and in 1429, featherbeds were conveyed to Dunbar from Haddington and
back for the day of truce to be held at Coldingham.
164
Such portable items would have
provided James with a relatively simple way to advertise his status and in the case of any
religious designs would have acted to enhance the devotional atmosphere at court and to
indicate to his subjects what saints were favoured by the king. Thus, although it is
difficult to form a precise picture from the nature and extent of the surviving evidence, it
does appear as though James was making some effort to ensure that his surroundings
were appropriate to his position, and could be used to emphasise his royal status.

vii: Gardens and Surroundings
The grounds of royal residences also received attention during James I?s reign,
with attempts to beautify the areas surrounding the residence itself. At Linlithgow, as
has already been mentioned, a park and fishponds were constructed quite early in the
project. Rutherford has suggested that parks and gardens had a powerful symbolic

162
F. Devon, Issues of the Exchequer: Being a Collection of Payments Made out of his Majesty?s Revenue
from King Henry III to King Henry VI inclusive (London, 1837), 274.
163
Ibid, 347.
164
ER, iv, 398, 477.
177
effect, as they acted to differentiate the lord?s space from the surrounding area,
emphasising the superior status of the lord and his control over the landscape.
165

Rutherford also suggests that the presence of trees in the garden would have added to
this, as it emphasised the lord?s control over timber, an important commodity. As an
extension of this, it is possible to suggest that a fishpond had a similar effect. As well as
being practical in that it ensured a supply of fresh fish for the residents of the palace, it
also acted to highlight James?s control of the food supply, again an important factor in a
time when famines and starvation were relatively common. There was evidently such an
arrangement at Stirling, as well as at Linlithgow, as a payment of 15s is made in 1433-4
for a net for the pond there and at Doune a fisher received a fee of 20s.
166
Rutherford?s
suggestions are perhaps a little excessive, and may owe more to theoretical ideas of
kingship, representing ideal images rather than reality.
167
Nonetheless, James?s efforts
in these areas may represent his attempts to raise the level of his kingship, highlighting
his royal status over the status of his nobles and also that he was attempting to place his
kingship on a par with European rulers.
On a more basic level, parks and gardens provided recreational space,
somewhere for the lord and his companions to enjoy their relaxation time. The park at
Linlithgow may have been designed with this in mind, permitting James and his queen
and a few companions to escape from the pressures of government business in
Edinburgh or Stirling, without being too far away, by riding in the park perhaps. There
is even some suggestion that James enjoyed gardening. Bower relates that James

165
Rutherford, ?A Social Interpretation of the Castle in Scotland?, 108, 289.
166
ER, iv, 593.
167
A similar idealised picture is evident in the Sienna Fresco, commissioned by Aeneas Sylvius
Piccolimini.
178
sometimes applied himself to ?herb-gardens and to the planting and grafting of fruit
trees?.
168
Linlithgow may have been more suited to this than many other royal
residences; being newly constructed it could take such issues into account from the start.
Also, although an important burgh, Linlithgow would have provided a quieter, more
rural location than, say, Edinburgh, giving the king more scope for developing this
hobby. Additionally, James?s poetic work the Kingis Quair refers to gardens. The
narrator of the poem relates that while alone in his chamber ?despeired of all joye and
remedye?, he would go to his window and look out over the ?gardyn faire? with its
?herbere grene? in the corner and enjoy the sights, smells and sounds that it provided.
169

It is also in the garden that the narrator first sets eyes on the beautiful woman who would
lead to his freedom and whom he describes as ?the fairest or the freschest young
floure?.
170
This would suggest that gardens held pleasant memories for the Scottish
king, prompting his interest in this area, although these are common literary images in
the medieval period.
171
While there is no documentary evidence to suggest the type of
plants that were present in the Scottish royal parks and gardens, and archaeological
evidence is not available, some suggestions can be made. Among the plant purchases of
Edward I were pear trees, rose trees, lily bulbs, cherry trees, willows, sage and fennel.
172

It is possible that some or all of these species were present in the grounds of Linlithgow
Palace. It would surely have been a beautiful area. The apparently strong fascination of
the king for gardening is interesting, as it is suggestive of a very private individual,

168
Chron. Bower, viii, 309.
169
Kingis Quair, st.30-35.
170
Ibid. st.40.
171
For example, Geoffrey Chaucer uses garden imagery in The Parliament of Fouls, as does John Lydgate
in The Complaint of the Black Knight.
172
Steane, The Archaeology of the Medieval English Monarchy, 118.
179
being something of a solitary pursuit. This almost reclusive image is something that can
be perceived in other areas of James?s court life, as there is little suggestion that the king
actually staged regular, grand public occasions, although as the evidence regarding his
tournament indicates, James was not averse to occasional events. Indeed, the design of
Linlithgow Palace indicates that James may have intended to hold such occasions more
regularly than was eventually the case. It is possible that this is symptomatic of the
years James spent in captivity, the limited household he had during those years perhaps
leaving him ill-prepared to contend with the bustle of a full royal court, although this is
speculation. This may well have alienated his nobles, as they would have had little
opportunity to participate in court life if James was more interested in domestic, solitary
activities. The failure of the king to win the loyalty of his nobles is one factor in James?s
eventual fate, in addition to the political factors emphasised by Brown.
The grounds received attention at other residences as well. At Edinburgh in
1435, ?8 was paid out for the completion of a herbarium at the Castle.
173
This may well
have focused on herbs for use in the kitchen as opposed to a pleasure garden, although
there is no reason why it could not have functioned in both capacities, as the garden is
likely to have provided a quiet, private area. The herbs would also have provided a
pleasant smell, which no doubt accounts for the construction of an herb garden beneath
the king?s chamber at Clarendon.
174
It also appears that there was a garden at Doune
Castle, a gardener of that castle receiving a fee of 13s 4d for 1433-4.
175
This is perhaps
surprising given Steane?s contention for England that gardeners were only employed at

173
ER, iv, 623.
174
Steane, The Archaeology of the Medieval English Monarchy, 117-8.
175
ER, iv, 593.
180
residences that were frequently occupied for long periods.
176
Although Doune Castle
was for a time the residence of James?s heir, it does not appear to have been a favoured
lodging for the king himself. However, it may be that Doune provided a recreational
retreat for the royal family, thus making the presence of a well-kept garden a desirable
feature. The fact that even the rather remote residence of Dundonald received money to
repair its associated park perhaps indicates the importance of this feature of the royal
residences. James does not seem to have been a frequent visitor to this castle, yet it was
still considered important to keep the park in good condition.
177
Of course, the park was
important as a hunting ground and this was a popular activity amongst the nobility in
this period. It would have been important for James to keep his own hunting grounds in
a state of readiness to avoid accusations of neglect.
178


viii: The Perth Charterhouse and Religious Residences
In addition to the residential works undertaken by James, there was another
significant project that should be considered, namely the foundation of the Carthusian
monastery at Perth. James spent a total of around ?550 on this endeavour.
179
Patronage
of the Carthusian order was particularly fashionable in the later fourteenth and early
fifteenth centuries, with many powerful families founding Charterhouses. Philip the
Bold, duke of Burgundy, for instance, founded a Charterhouse at Dijon for twenty-four,

176
Steane, The Archaeology of the Medieval English Monarchy, 121.
177
ER, iv, 401.
178
James?s interest in hunting is discussed in more detail in ch.6. For hunting in the medieval period
generally, see J. M. Gilbert, Hunting and Hunting Reserves in Medieval Scotland (Edinburgh, 1979).
179
ER, iv, passim. The precise amount in ?Scots is not known as several sums allocated to this project are
recorded in nobles, as they came from the ransom contribution and so have had to be converted into
?Scots using John M. Gilbert ?The Usual Money of Scotland and Exchange Rates Against Foreign Coin?
and exchange rates were not stable throughout the reign. The figure of 1 noble = 13s 4d Scots has been
chosen for the conversion as this was the rate c.1430, by which time the bulk of the contribution had been
collected and construction had begun on the monastery.
181
as opposed to the usual twelve, Carthusian monks.
180
Of greater interest, perhaps, is the
fact that two figures with the chance to have great influence on James were also patrons
of this Order, namely Henry V and Joan Beaufort, though in the later case it could more
accurately be said that her family were patrons. On 1 April 1415, the foundation charter
for a Charterhouse to be founded near the royal residence of Sheen was sealed.
181
The
choice of location was symbolically significant but this point shall be discussed below.
On a more prosaic note, the location linked the Carthusians to the Beaufort family, this
establishment falling within the diocese of Cardinal Beaufort. Furthermore, the house of
Mountgrace in Yorkshire, which oversaw the foundation of James?s Charterhouse at
Perth, was itself established in 1398 by Thomas Holland, duke of Surrey and later
favoured by Thomas, duke of Exeter, maternal and paternal uncles of Joan Beaufort.
182

It is quite possible that Joan herself strongly influenced James?s decision to found a
Carthusian monastery as opposed to one of another Order. The Carthusians are also one
of the strictest Orders within the Catholic faith, which is a possible reason for their
popularity. Vale has suggested that the display of wealth and its denial (at Lent for
instance) formed the qualifications for virtuous and pious rulership.
183
Vale posits that
this is why confessors and chaplains of medieval rulers were often drawn from the
Cistercian and Dominican Orders, but the same could possibly apply to the interest in
the Carthusian Order. If one was going to go to the expense of founding a monastery,
why not gain all the symbolic value possible and go for the most austere available?

180
R. Vaughan, Philip the Bold: the Formation of the Burgundian State (London, 1962, 1979), 202.
181
Allmand, Henry V , 273.
182
Downie, ?Sche is Bot a Womman?, 173.
183
Vale, The Princely Court, 169.
182
By publicly associating himself with a religious foundation, a lord also
symbolically associated himself with God. Rutherford has suggested this in his
examination of castles, arguing that the combination of a castle and church was
symbolic of the lord?s authority over all aspects of life in the barony, spiritual as well as
secular.
184
T.B. James also advocates this idea, pointing to links between royal
residences and monasteries, such as the royal palace and abbey of St Denis, the
residence and abbey at Dunfermline and the palace and abbey of Holyrood.
185
This
appears to have been typical throughout medieval Europe, Gomes noting a similar desire
to be near monasteries among the rulers of Portugal.
186
James may have taken this
association to an extreme level, as he often chose to reside within a religious foundation,
even when an alternative was available, for example, he preferred Holyrood to the castle
when in Edinburgh.
187
Indeed, his twin sons were born in the former, and his
predilection for the Blackfriars? house in Perth is well known, James choosing to spend
significant amounts of time there and it was there, of course, that he died. The
association of Linlithgow Palace with the parish church there would have acted in a
similar vein, reinforcing the link between the king and God. An abortive attempt to
found a college of canons within the parish church must also be viewed in this light.
188

Yet there does seem to be something of a contradiction between the building of a grand
courtly building such as Linlithgow Palace and a distinct preference on the part of James
for more domestic residences such as the Blackfriars in Perth and Holyrood.
Furthermore, in the case of Dunfermline, James does not appear to have had much

184
Rutherford, ?A Social Interpretation of the Castle in Scotland?, 109.
185
James, The Palaces of Medieval England, 20.
186
Gomes, The Making of a Court Society, 325-6.
187
Brown, James I, 114.
188
Stell, ?Architecture?, 172
183
interest in this royal centre, despite the fact that he was born there, although it should be
noted that Dunfermline had become less popular during the fourteenth century. There is
virtually no record for building work carried out here, except ?2 15s 4d for work at the
monastery in 1428-9.
189
Still, Dunfermline did not fall completely out of favour as a
royal home in James?s reign, as there is a payment in the Exchequer Rolls for the
expenses of the king?s daughter being at Dunfermline in 1429-30.
190
Despite this, it
appears that Dunfermline had not been a highly-favoured residence for some time.
David II did spend some time at Dunfermline in the early years of his reign, celebrating
his eighteenth birthday there as well as Christmas in 1342.
191
However, Robert II issued
only 11 of his 397 charters from there and Robert III 15 of 271 and neither king was
buried in the abbey.
192
Robert II did receive French and English ambassadors there in
summer 1389 but there is little further indication that Dunfermline was special to either
of these kings.
193
Dunfermline also appears to have fallen out of favour as a royal burial
place by James?s reign. The fact that James himself was born there and that he lodged
his children there for a time suggests that Dunfermline was viewed more as a nursery
than as a residence for the king, although as Boardman points out the evidence for the
use of Dunfermline in this manner is limited.
194





189
ER, iv, 482.
190
Ibid., 508.
191
M. Penman, David II, 1329-1371 (East Linton, 2004), 88, 98.
192
Boardman, The Early Stewart Kings, 93, 285.
193
Ibid. 167-8.
194
On Dunfermline as a royal burial ground see S. Boardman, ?Dunfermline as a Royal Mausoleum? in R.
Fawcett (ed.), Royal Dunfermline, Society of Antiquaries of Scotland (Edinburgh, 2005).
184
ix: Conclusions
There are clearly a number of factors that have to be considered when assessing
the building work undertaken by James throughout his reign. The amount of money he
spent, where he spent it and what he chose to build can all be seen to be important
aspects of this area. From examining the extant exchequer accounts for the reign, it is
clear that James spent significant amounts of money on his residences in the course of
his reign and this highlights that James was determined to provide himself with lavish
residences commensurate with his view of himself and his kingship. As noted above,
this was expected of medieval kings. James also directed his money towards somewhat
conventional locations, Stirling, Edinburgh and to a slightly lesser extent Linlithgow, all
having royal pasts. However, what he built was perhaps less conventional, Linlithgow
Palace being a departure from the usual style of lordly residences in Scotland at this
time. Indeed, the Palace is full of symbolism designed to emphasise James?s royal
status. This may not have been popular with his noble subjects, given that they were
long-adapted to functioning without the presence of the monarch and may have seen
James?s changes as a threat to their own status. The level of James?s expenditure on
architectural projects, sustained at fairly significant levels throughout the reign, may also
have proved unpopular, particularly as the king was raising money through dubious
forfeitures and taxations. The contrast between this and the distinct lack of patronage
the king gave to his subjects would no doubt have been distasteful to his nobles,
particularly as it would have appeared that the king had little intention of reducing his
activities in this area. Evidently, James was attempting to replicate something of what
he had seen while he was in England, attempting to emphasise that his position was
185
higher than that of his subjects and to convey the message that he intended to be the
centre of power in his kingdom. What actually emerged from James?s building projects
and living arrangements were two contrasting images, each equally unattractive. From
Linlithgow came the image of a formal, aloof monarch, concerned with elevating
himself above his subjects. This would have been anathema to nobles used to a much
less formal arrangement between themselves and their king. James?s preference for
living in monastic houses would have been no more welcome, as it suggested a monarch
who much preferred to spend time with a limited entourage in private surroundings.
James?s goals and the manner in which he pursued them were foreign to his Scottish
subjects, indicating that this was another area that helped to create the circumstances that
led to his assassination.
186
Chapter 6 ? Literature in Court and Household

i: Introduction
Given Walter Bower?s assertion that James ?applied himself with eagerness
sometimes to the art of literary composition and writing?, an assessment of the literature
of his court is essential.
1
Richard Kaeuper has noted that literature, if used carefully,
can be an important historical source, supplementing information obtained from
government records and chronicles.
2
As L.A. Montrose further states, literature ?creates
the culture by which it is shaped?, highlighting that not only did literature reflect the
particular courtly ethos of the environment in which it was written but that it could also
serve to influence that environment by promoting ideals for princes to adhere to.
3
Thus,
by looking at the ideals and themes occurring in the works available in Scotland, it is
possible to gain some insight into the ideals and aspirations held by the monarch and
contemporary society. Furthermore, literature was a means by which the medieval
community could be educated and entertained. Conduct books, for instance, instructed
the members of the court in proper etiquette and the provision of entertainment was a
prerequisite for any princely court in this period.
4
Literature played an important role in
this, providing both group recreation and the opportunity for solitary reading. Literature
could also act as a form of propaganda, both in terms of the narrative itself and the
physical article of the book that contained it. Again, this was a crucial feature in the
medieval period when princes relied on such measures for displays of power and to

1
Chron. Bower, viii, 309.
2
R. Kaeuper, Chivalry and Violence in Medieval Europe (Oxford, 1999), 33.
3
L. A. Montrose, quoted in Aldo Scaglione, Knights at Court: Courtliness, Chivalry and Courtesy from
Ottonian Germany to the Italian Renaissance (Oxford, 1991), 3.
4
D. Burnley, Courtliness and Literature in Medieval England (London and New York, 1998), 131.
187
propagate their values. A non-courtly instance of this can be seen in Middle Dutch
urban literature of the period c.1350-c.1550. According to Herman Pleij, towns used
literature to promote and legitimise their growing influence, using tales such as the Land
of Cockaigne to advocate middle-class urban ethics of hard work and polite behaviour
by ironic treatment of the opposite.
5
One Scottish instance that may be considered in a
similar vein is The Buke of the Howlat, composed for the Countess of Moray, in the
early 1450s. This is a clear example of a propaganda work which sought to emphasise
Douglas family eminence in the face of James II?s opposition to that family.
6

Clearly, an examination of the court of James I would not be complete without
an exploration of the literature of this period. However, this is somewhat difficult to do
for the early fifteenth century, as very few Scottish works survive. The principal work
for the royal court of this period is perhaps James?s own composition, The Kingis Quair.
However, there is no body of work to point to that can be shown to be a product of
James?s court, and even The Kingis Quair may be considered to be a work of the English
court as will be discussed below.
7
In addition, there is no inventory for this period to
suggest books that might have been in James?s possession, as is the case for several
European princes and for later Scottish monarchs. For example, an extensive list of
books owned by Philip the Bold of Burgundy survives as does an inventory of those

5
H. Pleij, ?The Rise of Urban Literature in the Low Countries? in E. Kooper (ed.), Medieval Dutch
Literature in its European Context (Cambridge, 1994). The tale survives in three versions in Middle
Dutch.
6
Nicholson, Later Middle Ages, 367; Brown, Black Douglases, passim.
7
D. Fox, ?Middle Scots Poets and Patrons? in V.J. Scattergood & J.W. Sherborne (eds.), English Court
Culture in the Later Middle Ages (London, 1983). Other authors also accept that the Quair was composed
pre-1424, when James was still resident in England. However, there are arguments supporting its
composition post-1424 when James had returned to Scotland. See especially W.M. Mackenzie, The
Kingis Quair. Edited from the manuscript with introduction, notes and glossary (London, 1939);
McDiarmid, The Kingis Quair.
188
owned by Mary, Queen of Scots.
8
Some suppositions regarding works available in
Scotland may be possible, however, by examining internal evidence of later works and
by looking at evidence contained within printed volumes from the later fifteenth and
sixteenth centuries.
9
It is further hoped that by examining royal collections in other
realms, namely England, France, and Burgundy with some reference to the court of
Holland, it will be possible to supplement the conclusions gained from the Scottish
evidence.
Initially, it may be of some use to expand upon those statements made above
regarding the value of a study of literature. As stated, several historians have noted that
literature reveals information about contemporary attitudes, an area that is poorly
illuminated by official records.
10
A particular example cited by both Richard Kaeuper
and Malcolm Vale is the need for personal prowess in battle.
11
Vale, for instance,
argues that chivalric literature of the period was greatly concerned with the idea that
knights and princes had to confirm their nobility through honourable acts in war and
peace. It is certainly well-known that medieval princes were expected to be superior war
leaders and it is interesting to note that James I?s rule was at its peak during the period in
which he had military success against Highland dissent, c.1429-30, and ended shortly
after his disreputable flight from the siege of Roxburgh. Obviously literature was not

8
M.J. Hughes, ?The Library of Philip the Bold and Margaret of Flanders, First Valois Duke and Duchess
of Burgundy? in Journal of Medieval History, vol.4, no.2, June 1978, 145-187; J. Durkan, ?The Library of
Mary, Queen of Scots?, in M. Lynch (ed.), Mary Stewart, Queen in Three Kingdoms (Oxford, 1988).
9
A.S.G. Edwards, ?Contextualising Middle Scots Romance? in L.A.J.R. Houwen, A.A. MacDonald &
S.L. Mapstone (eds.), Palaces in the Wild: Essays on Vernacular Culture and Humanism in Late-
Medieval and Renaissance Scotland (Copenhagen, 2000), 61-74, discusses some of the later romance
works circulating in Scotland and highlights some of the difficulties in using these and other works to
make a determination regarding other pieces that may have been produced or available in Scotland.
10
In addition to the works by Kaeuper and Scaglione already mentioned, see also the collection of essays
by Maurice Keen in Nobles, Knights and Men-at-arms.
11
M. Vale, War and Chivalry. Warfare and Aristocratic Culture in England, France and Burgundy at the
end of the Middle Ages (London, 1981).
189
the only factor in promoting the idea of the king as a military leader as James would also
have been aware of the achievements of his Scottish subjects in France in the years
preceding his return to Scotland. These included the appointment of the Earl of Buchan
as Constable of France following the Battle of Baug? (1419) and the award of the Duchy
of Touraine to Archibald, fourth earl of Douglas (d.1424). The fifth Earl of Douglas
also had military achievements in France when still Earl of Wigtown, fighting with
Buchan at Baug?. However, literature provides an important source for understanding a
period more fully and can be used to place events within the context of ideals held at the
time. Additionally, it is a source that has largely been marginalised for medieval
Scotland, certainly in terms of a study of the court culture of the period.
Literature was not just an influence on the more martial aspects of life in the
medieval period. It could also affect the physical surroundings of the court. Muriel
Hughes, for instance, states that most tapestries at the court of Philip the Bold of
Burgundy (1363-1404) were reflections of books held in the ducal collection, for
example, the Roman de la Rose, histories of King Arthur and the Life of St Anthony.
12

This helps to reflect the extent to which the ideas contained within the literature of the
period permeated other aspects of the court. In addition, Geoffrey Chaucer?s (c.1340-
1400) The Book of the Duchesse describes a courtier?s ideal lodgings as being highly
decorated, with glazed windows and a comfortable bed.
13
As noted in chapter five, the
building of elaborate residences was a feature of the period, one that James participated
in with the building of Linlithgow Palace, which contained separate chambers for the
king and queen. It appears to be the case that literature reflected the ideals of medieval

12
M. J. Hughes, ?The Library of Philip the Bold and Margaret of Flanders, 145-187?.
13
Quoted in Mathew, The Court of Richard II, 35.
190
courtly society and it is hopefully the case that a closer examination of Scottish literature
of this period, and literature available within Scotland, may help to reveal some of the
ideals to which James may have been exposed.

ii: Literature and Education
A key aspect of literature in this period was its didactic function, and the
education of princes in particular was a popular genre. The chansons de geste were
concerned to establish that knights should be educated, being instructed in writing,
sciences and Latin.
14
This point was emphasised by the Dutch poet, Dirk of Delft who
stated that ?an uneducated king is like unto a crowned ass?, a sentiment that is also found
in the introduction to the anonymous poem in the later fifteenth century Pluscarden
chronicle.
15
Vale also argues that nobles were being encouraged to improve their
education in order to prevent being misguided by their advisors.
16
The fifteenth-century
writer Christine de Pizan (c.1364-c.1430) would have agreed with this point as she
stated in her Livre du Corps de Policie that skill in speech was necessary for a successful
ruler ?for there is hardly such great hardness of heart that it may not be softened by fine
speech?.
17
James I certainly demonstrated that he was skilled in the art of eloquent
speech with his poetic composition the Kingis Quair.
18
Additionally, Bower?s assertion

14
See for instance, the discussion of the chanson by Gautier in Chivalry.
15
Quoted in F. P. Van Oostrom, Court and Culture: Dutch Literature 1350-1450, trans. by Arnold J.
Pomerans (Berkley, Los Angeles & Oxford, 1992), 30; Lyall, ?Politics and Poetry?.
16
Vale, War and Chivalry, 20.
17
Quoted in Burnley, Courtliness and Literature, 115.
18
While there is no concrete evidence to support James?s authorship of this work, literary scholars are
generally agreed that it is his work. See for example, S. Mapstone ?Kingship and the Kingis Quair? in H.
Cooper & S. Mapstone (eds.), The Long Fifteenth Century. Essays for Douglas Gray (Oxford, 1997), 51-
70; Louise Olga Fradenburg, City, Marriage, Tournament: Arts of Rule in Late Medieval Scotland,
(Madison & London, 1991); Lois A. Ebin, ?Boethius, Chaucer and The Kingis Quair? in Philological
191
that James composed in Latin during the Inverness parliament of 1428 would seem to
indicate that he conformed to the literary ideal of an educated prince.
19
This would have
been of important propaganda value for a king keen to establish himself on the
international scene, particularly given the reputation of some European princes.
Christine Pizan wrote of Charles V of France?s skill that
He had a good pace, a good, manly tone, and indeed, in addition,
with his good speech so ordered and with such a good style, lacking
any prolixity of words, that I do not think that any rhetorician
whatsoever in the French language would know how to improve
it in any way.
20

James does appear to have been educated in the manner of other medieval
princes. According to Bower, James was skilled in physical arts such as wrestling,
archery, jousting and was a fast runner. However, these comments should be contrasted
against those of Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini who found James by 1435 to be ?robust of
person, and oppressed by his excessive corpulence?, hardly the image of an athletic
prince, even if he was middle-aged by time of Piccolomini?s visit.
21
James could also
apparently play several musical instruments, such as the fiddle, the organ, the flute and
the drum ?attaining the highest degree of mastery?. Bower further asserts that James had

Quarterly, vol.53, (1974), 321-341; G. Kratzmann, Anglo-Scottish Literary Relations, 1430-1550
(Cambridge, 1980).
19
While this conformity is suspicious, recent work by Katie Stevenson has highlighted that several of
these ?ideals? as described by Bower are probably a fairly accurate representation of James?s abilities. K.
Stevenson, ??Recreations to refresh the spirits of his followers?: Walter Bower?s revelations on cultural
pursuits at James I of Scotland?s court? in Recherches Anglaises et Nord Americaines (2007), vol.40, 197-
214.
20
Quoted in ibid. 103.
21
P. Hume Brown (ed.), Early Travellers in Scotland (Edinburgh, 1978), 25.
192
a ?love of learning? and was ?gifted in moral philosophy?.
22
Physical activity was
recommended by medieval educational writers, as was training in music.
23
However, it
is the king?s musical abilities that Bower appears to emphasise most. This may have
been a deliberate attempt on the part of the chronicler to draw parallels between James
and Henry V, in an effort to establish that James was on a par with other European
princes, thus promoting his status.
24
This is also an area where James may have been
influenced by his father, as there are records of payments to minstrels performing at
exchequer audits during Robert III?s reign.
25
However, as the last such payment is
recorded in 1400, it is difficult to determine how far this predisposed James to an
interest in this field. It should always be borne in mind, however, that Bower was
writing to educate James II in the qualities expected of a good king, and may not always
represent the reality of James I?s accomplishments.
Interestingly, neither Henry IV nor Henry V appears to have had any significant
knowledge of Latin. Nicholas Orme suggests that there is no evidence to indicate that
either of these kings had a good understanding of this language, nor did many of the
nobility as a rule.
26
This could suggest that James was more highly educated in this area
than his English counterparts. Furthermore, if this was the case, it would have served to
distance James from some of his key noble subjects, as it would be unlikely that they

22
Chron. Bower, viii, 305, 313. In the medieval period, moral philosophy, or ethics as it is often referred
to, was concerned with the human soul and the role of individual choice verses God?s power in the role of
decision making. B.B. Price, Medieval Thought: An Introduction (Oxford UK & Cambridge USA, 1992),
176-7.
23
N. Orme, From Childhood to Chivalry: the Education of the English Kings and Aristocracy, 1066-1530
(London & New York, 1984), passim.
24
Ibid. 166; Devon, Issues of the Exchequer, 367. Henry V was a keen harp-player. Music was also
important at the courts of the Burgundian Dukes. Philip the Bold enjoyed court minstrels and Philip the
Good followed this. See Vaughan, Philip the Bold, 197 and eidem, Philip the Good, 160. Vaughan states
that music was an essential part of court life and that most 15
th
century rulers and noblemen learned to
play an instrument.
25
ER, iii, passim.
26
Orme, From Childhood to Chivalry, 153.
193
would have had an advanced knowledge of Latin, although this is conjecture. Indeed,
the only group likely to have a detailed understanding of this language would be the
clergy. Thus, they would have been the only group to readily understand James?s
celebratory composition at Inverness in 1428. If this event actually took place, it would
seem to be another example of the king?s efforts to differentiate himself from even his
great nobles as a way of emphasising his royal status.
27
However, it would also have
presented James as distant and aloof, something that would not aid his efforts to enhance
his prestige amongst his nobles. The use of Latin would have been particularly
alienating at a Highland gathering where Gaelic would have been a more appropriate
choice, or at the very least English. This gives some indication that James was more
interested in amusing himself and displaying his own prowess than he was in creating a
court with a wide-ranging appeal. The fact that Latin was still the language of law at
this time may also be significant. Charters were still issued in Latin, including those of
the Lord of the Isles who might be expected to use Gaelic, the native language of their
territories. Additionally, despite an increase in the use of Scots, parliamentary records
were still sometimes kept in Latin. James?s use of Latin thus made a conspicuous
connection between himself and the law, emphasising that the crown was successfully
exercising its powers in this area. However, it should be noted that the vernacular was
more frequently used by James, for instance in composing the Kingis Quair and also in
the letters he wrote to his subjects while in captivity.
28


27
It is possible that this episode is apocryphal rather than a description of actual events and is an effort by
Bower to promote the Scottish king and to emphasise ideal qualities to James II. However, Sally
Mapstone suggests that it is quite credible that the thought of imprisoning some of his subjects should
remind James sufficiently of his own captivity to produce this ?businees-like epigram?. See Maptstone,
?Kingship and the Kingis Quair?, 67.
28
Red Book of Menteith, vol.1, 284-287. It may be that in the case of the letters to his nobles, James chose
the vernacular as the recipients may not have known Latin.
194
It should also be noted that there is little in the English sources to substantiate
the argument that James received an appropriate education during his time in English
captivity. Matthew McDiarmid is thus sceptical of Bower?s lofty claims regarding
James?s accomplishments.
29
Certainly, the lack of evidence does mean that Bower?s
statements must be treated with some care. However, it is unlikely that James, as a king
(albeit a captive one) did not receive some level of education while in English captivity,
even if it was only through observance of other members of the court during those
periods in which he travelled with the royal household. Additionally, as he had reached
the age of twelve by the time of his captivity in 1406, it is almost inconceivable that
James had not received some form of education appropriate to his status during his years
in Scotland, particularly after he became heir to the throne following the death of the
Duke of Rothesay in 1402. While the Scottish sources are almost equally silent on the
topic of James?s education, it is not impossible that he benefited from his time in the
household of Henry Wardlaw, bishop of St Andrews, in whose custody the young prince
was for a time from 1404.
30
Also, later Scottish monarchs appear to have had
appropriate educations. James V, for example, though by no means a highly educated
prince, had a tutor in the person of Gavin Dunbar until James was at least thirteen, and
may well have received training in music, dancing and games, as well as enjoying more
martial pastimes such as riding and archery.
31
There is thus little reason to assume that
James I was not well educated, at least as much as any other member of his social group.



29
M. McDiarmid (ed.), The Kingis Quair of James Stewart (London, 1973), 42-3.
30
Chron. Bower, viii, 61.
31
A. Thomas, Princelie Majestie: the Court of James V of Scotland, 1528-1542 (Edinburgh, 2005), ch.4.
195
iii: James I, The Bruce and Royal Prestige
The image of James as a poet, as suggested by Bower and by James?s
composition of the Kingis Quair, had a political value in that it placed him in the
paternal role of storyteller. This is similar to John Barbour?s account of Robert Bruce,
written in the 1370s, relating the story of Hannibal and Rome in order to illustrate how
mighty kings could be overthrown by a smaller force.
32
Whether or not this was an
intentional imitation by James would probably be impossible to say. However, James
was no doubt familiar with Barbour?s work, as the Exchequer Rolls for his reign
continue to mention an annuity paid to the Dean and Chapter of Aberdeen for Barbour?s
anniversary, which from 1428 onwards make reference to him as ?qui compilavit librum
de gestis illustrissimi principis quondam domini regis Roberti Bruys?.
33
It is perhaps
reading too much into bureaucratic terminology to note that while the annuity first
appears in 1396, allusions to the Bruce only appear from 1428, but it may be that James
was actively seeking to highlight this work and associate himself with it. Clearly, this
suggests that James would have had some knowledge of this poem and would not have
been ignorant of the value of equating himself, even in a small way, with Scotland?s
heroic king, an issue that also influenced James?s devotional behaviour as will be
discussed in chapter seven. Barbour?s description of Robert Bruce also provided James
with a domestic example of ideal kingship, which may have put increased pressure on
the latter to live up to this image.
34
In this work, Bruce is represented as a skilled and

32
W.F.H. Nicolaisen, ?Stories and Storytelling in Barbour?s Brus? in J.D. McClure & R.G. Spiller (eds.),
Bryght Lanternis: Essays on the Language and Literature of Medieval and Renaissance Scotland
(Aberdeen, 1989), 63.
33
ER, iv, 397, 423, 457, 490, 520, 550, 586, 636.
34
L.A. Ebin, ?John Barbour?s Bruce: Poetry, History and Propaganda?, in Studies in Scottish Literature
vol.IX, no.4, April 1972, 218-242.
196
brave military leader. Bruce is depicted showing intense courage in combat such as in
the description of him single handedly fighting several hundred Gallovidians who were
attempting to attack him and his small band of men (VI, ll.1-372).
35
Further courage is
shown by Bruce in the famous scene in which he engages in single combat with Henry
de Bohun just prior to commencement of battle at Bannockburn (XII, 25-72), where the
Scottish king dispatches his opponent with a single blow. This would certainly seem to
be in keeping with interests of European chivalric literature outlined above. Bower does
not relate similar details regarding Bruce?s exploits. However, this is because, Bower
states, Barbour has already ?made the case adequately?about his [Bruce?s] several
deeds with eloquence and brilliance, and with elegance too?, further suggesting a general
familiarity with Barbour?s work in the fifteenth century.
36

It is also worth noting that The Bruce would have provided James I with
another model in the character of James Douglas, who is presented as an ideal knight.
37

The fact that one of the characteristics of this ideal was loyalty to the monarch may have
encouraged James I to promote this literary work. Having been unable to perform the
functions of a king for the duration of his captivity, James was anxious to raise his own
prestige and assert his royal authority and would have hoped that his subjects would
follow this model. However, some noble families were accustomed to being the
political and cultural focus within Scotland and would perhaps have been unwilling to
relinquish this position and the authority which accrued from it. The Douglas family in
particular remained a rival for the king?s prestige in this regard well into the fifteenth

35
J. Barbour, The Bruce, A.A.M. Duncan (ed.) (Edinburgh, 1997). All references are to this edition.
36
Chron. Bower, vi, 319. It should perhaps also be noted that the chronicler Wyntoun simply skips the
years 1306-29 altogether.
37
Barbour?s presentation of Douglas is discussed in McKim, ?James Douglas and Barbour?s Ideal of
Knighthood?.
197
century until their destruction by James II in 1455.
38
Of the third earl (d.1400), Bower
writes that he ?surpassed almost all other Scots of his time in worldly wisdom, resolution
and daring? and of the fourth earl (d.1424) that he was a ?most renowned?fighting
man?.
39
Unfortunately, James was unable to replicate either Robert I?s or the Douglas
family?s military successes. James had only limited involvement in military campaigns
in 1429 and 1436. In the former instance, at Lochaber against the Lord of the Isles,
James was effectively denied battle as two Clans in the opposing force fled at the sight
of the royal banner. At the siege of Roxburgh in 1436 the king left the field before the
campaign had even fully begun. That James desired to surpass the Douglases in military
reputation perhaps helps to explain why the king chose to appoint a member of his own
household, Robert Stewart (who was also James?s first cousin, once removed), as leader
of the host at Roxburgh.
40
The Douglas family had long considered themselves to be
guardians of the Scottish Border and the fifth earl, as a March Warden, may have
expected to receive this position rather than the inexperienced Robert.
41
This would
seem to be an area in which James?s desire to attain the ideals of medieval kingship
blinded him to the political realities of his kingdom. Denying Douglas a position he no
doubt felt to be rightfully his would have given the earl no incentive to support the
king?s campaign, limiting the chances of success. Additionally, it may have contributed
to the atmosphere that allowed the king?s assassins to believe they could get away with
murdering the king.

38
The Douglas family and its reputation is discussed by M. Brown, ??Rejoice to Hear of Douglas?: the
House of Douglas and the Presentation of Magnate Power in late medieval Scotland? in SHR, vol.lxxvi,
1997, 161-184.
39
Chron. Bower, viii, 35, 59.
40
J. Shirley, The Dethe of the Kynge of Scotis, 32.
41
Brown, James I, 164.
198
It is possible that it was a desire to promote his own prestige that encouraged
James?s interest in literature. The idea that poets could advertise the status of an
individual prince (and thus their court and country) has been touched upon briefly with
the example of Christine de Pizan?s contemporary writings on Charles V, and it is an
issue developed in modern times by, for example, Otto Cartellieri?s discussion of the
court of the Burgundian dukes.
42
It is clear that English nobles were equally cognisant
of the value of literature to this end. Humphrey, duke of Gloucester (b.1390-d.1447),
leader of the pro-war faction at the court of Henry VI, was careful to foster the ideal of
princely magnificence through acts of literary patronage, favouring Italian scholars and
humanist texts.
43
Henry VI?s rival and successor, Edward IV, used books themselves,
rather than the literary work, as a form of propaganda. The Yorkist king purchased
numerous texts from Flanders, lavishly decorated with badges representing the York
dynasty and, as C.M. Meale suggests, the pristine condition of these works indicates
they were intended as visual symbols of the family, a means by which the king could
display his wealth and power to his subjects and other visitors to the royal court and
promote the Yorkist dynasty.
44
In France also, an awareness of this is evident in Charles
V?s efforts to develop the library there. Clearly, medieval rulers were conscious of the
fact that significant prestige could accrue to them through association with poets and
works of literature, making it necessary to determine how far James participated in this
endeavour. Equally, it is important to establish how far literature at the Scottish court,
particularly with reference to the Quair, was a reflection of James?s personal ambitions

42
Cartellieri, The Court of Burgundy, 18.
43
C. M. Meale, ?Patrons, Buyers and Owners: Book Production and Social Status? in J. Griffiths & D.
Pearsall, (eds.) Book Production and Publishing in Britain, 1375-1475 (Cambridge, 1989), 204.
44
Ibid. 205.
199
as opposed to those of his subjects, though this does not necessarily mean that the two
were mutually exclusive.
The level of interest in vernacular works should be gauged also, given the
propaganda value of writings in the native tongue, which could be recited as well as
read, and the growing significance of vernacular works in Europe in this period. Werner
Prevenier has pointed to a shift towards the vernacular in the Low Countries from the
middle of the thirteenth century. He suggests that this was a conscious political decision
by the leaders of the courts of Flanders, Brabant and Holland in order to persuade the
bourgeois political elite, who were growing in importance in the Low Countries at this
time, that the rulers were attuned to the needs and desires of this social group. He
further suggests that the use of the vernacular worked to idealise the prince in the eyes of
all sections of the population.
45
F.P. Van Oostrom also takes a similar view, arguing
that a division between the language of the ruler and that of his subjects could cause
discord, as with the dominance of French at the court of Holland under the Hainault
line.
46
This is particularly relevant given that the Quair was composed in the vernacular
as opposed to Latin, which James seems to have had knowledge of.
47
There is,
however, a question over which vernacular is represented in the Quair. Denton Fox has
questioned whether The Kingis Quair may be regarded as Scots or English.
48
However,
as Gregory Kratzmann points out, a pervasive English influence in the language is
attributable to the fact that James was a captive in England for eighteen years.
49


45
W. Prevenier, ?Court and City Culture in the Low Countries from 1100 to 1530? in Kooper (ed.)
Medieval Dutch Literature in its European Context, 16-23.
46
Van Oostrom, Court and Culture, 11.
47
See pp.187-90 for James?s knowledge and use of Latin.
48
Fox, ?Middle Scots Poets and Patrons?, 111.
49
Kratzmann, Anglo-Scottish Literary Relations, 36.
200
Regardless of how ?English? or ?Scottish? the language is in the Quair, the fact remains
that it would have been easily accessible to many at both the English and Scottish courts,
certainly more so than scholarly Latin. Scots nobles would be more than familiar with
the English vernacular, due to the long-standing links between the two countries, both
diplomatic and recreational. The reverse would also be true and thus James?s choice of
a vernacular dialect simply reflects his desire to obtain as wide an audience as possible
for his work. Additionally, it is possible that the choice of the vernacular was more in
keeping with the theme of love that is central to the Quair.
50
It may also have made for
more pleasurable entertainment for the king and his close companions and may suggest
that James?s own composition was among those works being read at Perth shortly before
the king?s assassination, although this is merely speculation.
51
However, while the
language may have been inclusive, the topic of James?s work may have had the opposite
effect. As it was very personal to the king, the Quair may well have appeared to be an
exclusive, private work, preventing the king?s subjects from participating in its ethos, as
they would have been able to do with, for example, any chivalric works.

iv: Entertainment in the Court and Household
While much of the emphasis thus far has been on the symbolic or didactic value
of literature there is a further important issue that should not be overlooked, namely, the
role of literature as entertainment. As noted above, courts were required to provide
entertainment for those in attendance on the prince and the reading of both prose and

50
It should be noted that the vernacular could also be used for other, more complex issues, such as its use
by Richard Rolle, Walter Hilton and Nicholas Love in their works of contemplative literature in the later
14
th
century. See J. Catto, ?The Burden And Conscience Of Government in the Fifteenth Century? in
Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 6
th
series, 17 (2007), 83?99.
51
Shirley, The Dethe of the Kynge of Scotis, 36.
201
poetry aloud was an important part of this. Glending Olson argues that this is an aspect
of the study of medieval literature that has been largely ignored in favour of more
theoretical aspects such as narrative structure and rhetorical influence.
52
While these
aspects are important, the use of literature to entertain must be considered, particularly in
light of the fact that, as Olson shows, medieval commentators themselves were aware of
the need to make narratives enjoyable. Olson cites, for example, Richard de Bury
(1287-1345), who states in his Philobiblon (1345), that pleasure is necessary in literature
as it leads people to the allegorical meanings. Granted, this relates pleasure to learning
from instructional works, but it does indicate that the medieval world was interested in
gaining entertainment from literary compositions. James?s court certainly did not fail to
participate in this convention as Shirley has James?s courtiers, including the Earl of
Atholl and his grandson Robert Stewart, occupied ?in reding rommaunse?, among other
activities, shortly before the king?s assassination.
53
The incident of James composing in
Latin to entertain his entourage at Inverness appears to adhere to this convention as well,
although the limitations of such a suggestion have already been discussed.
Another aspect of courtly entertainment closely linked to literature was drama.
Again, there is nothing to suggest that James actively commissioned dramatic works for
his court, and no manuscript evidence for medieval plays survives in Scotland until
David Lindsay?s Ane Satire of the Thrie Estaitis, first produced in 1535 and performed
at court in 1540 and now preserved in the Bannatyne Manuscript.
54
However, James did
hire ?stageplayers? to come to his court from Flanders, indicating that he wished to

52
G. Olson, Literature as Recreation in the Later Middle Ages (Ithaca and London, 1982), 35.
53
Shirley, The Dethe of the Kynge of Scotis, 36.
54
R. J. Lyall, ?The Lost Literature of Medieval Scotland?, in Bryght Lanternis, 34; R.J. Lyall (ed.), Ane
Satire of the Thrie Estaitis (Edinburgh, 1989).
202
provide this distraction at court. ?50 was given out on uncertain dates for hiring and
clothing the Flemish players, and a further ?5 18s was spent in 1434 for ?the king?s stage
players?.
55
Actors were a normal presence at the English court, suggesting that James
may have developed an interest during his time in England. In a plot against Henry in
the Christmas and New Year period of 1413/14 the potential attackers were planning to
gain access to the court by posing as actors, indicating that the presence of such
entertainers would not have aroused undue suspicion.
56
There is a possibility that James
encountered stage players before leaving Scotland, as there is a record of a payment of
20s to mimes in 1399.
57
Still, as James would have only been around five years old and
the mimes were present at the exchequer audit, it is unclear whether he would have
gained much exposure to them at this time.
It may also be possible to suggest that evidence is lacking due to the fact that
the Scottish court was less well developed as a literary centre than other courts during
this period and thus there was less produced. Joachim Bumke has suggested that there
were certain conditions necessary for a court to become a literary centre, namely the
creation of a permanent residence and the formation of a chancery.
58
Poets were
attracted to courts where they were likely to find the prince in residence, not something

55
ER, iv, 603, 678. Precisely what is meant by these terms is difficult to ascertain due to problems in
terminology as well as record keeping. Entertainers in this period ranged from those with little skill who
performed in their localities to those who made their living by this means. What evidence there is
suggests that most entertainers would have a fairly well-rounded repertoire. As James?s players came
from Flanders we may presume that they come from the more highly-skilled end of the spectrum and
would no doubt have been able to perform scenes from some of the more famous literary works of the
time as well as various religious plays or farces. For a fuller discussion of this area see ?Actors and
Acting? and ?Travelling Players? in R.W. Vince (ed.), A Companion to the Medieval Theatre (New York
& London, 1989).
56
Allmand, Henry V, 10, 298.
57
ER, iii, 484.
58
Referenced in Van Oostrom, ?Middle-Dutch Literature at Court (with special reference to the court of
Holland-Bavaria)? in Medieval Dutch Literature in its European Context, 37.
203
that was possible when the king was still peripatetic.
59
Certainly Van Oostrom suggests
that for Holland, it was only when the Bavarian counts came to power that the Dutch
court developed along these lines, the Bavarians developing a settled residence in The
Hague. The Scottish court did not have a permanent residence in this period, but James
was certainly more likely to be found in a settled, and accessible, area of his kingdom,
namely around Perth or Edinburgh, and did begin to build Linlithgow Palace, the
purpose-built court venue.
60
As to the need for an established chancery, the fact that
several poets, for example, Chaucer and Dirk Potter (d.1428), were part of the
administration in England and Holland respectively, suggests that having a stable pool of
clerks could be an advantage to literary progress. James did make attempts to develop
the Scottish bureaucracy, as outlined in part one of this thesis; however, it was still
embryonic at this time. Furthermore, as the bureaucrats were as mobile as the king, this
may have left less time for the composing of literary works. This is perhaps a tenuous
supposition but should be borne in mind when comparing James?s literary endeavours
with those of his European contemporaries. It is possibly significant that James?s Quair
was produced during his time in captivity, when he would have been without the
distraction of having to rule his kingdom.
It is also worth noting Sally Mapstone?s eminently logical suggestion that the
Scottish monarchs of the fifteenth century had more pressing concerns than the
commissioning of literary works. Prolonged absences or minorities meant that the
Stewart kings were too preoccupied with reasserting royal authority to be overly
concerned with literary patronage, preferring the acquisition of land as a means of

59
Van Oostrom, Court and Culture, 8.
60
The building of Linlithgow Palace is more fully discussed in ch.5.
204
displaying power.
61
The use of visual images may have been preferred, and this may
factor into James?s choice of such a grandiose coat of arms to grace the gateway to
Linlithgow Palace, a topic examined in chapter five. Additionally, the fact that James
found the time and money to build his new palace, conduct building works at other
locations and also establish a Carthusian monastery, does indicate that he was both
interested in tangible expressions of royal authority and willing and able to invest
resources in cultural areas. While the lack of surviving evidence does give merit to this
argument, it is perhaps reasonable to suggest that the formal patronage of literary works
and the interest in literature itself can be considered as separate issues. There is also the
probability that works from this period have been lost, a topic examined by R.J. Lyall.
62

There is certainly enough information to indicate that James was interested in the
composition of literary works and it is perhaps something of a disservice to his interest
to become too focused on a lack of surviving manuscripts, as there are many reasons
why fragile texts may not survive through time. The fact that Bower was a part of
James?s administration may indicate some semblance of a literary atmosphere at the
king?s court, or that at least the talent to produce literary works was in evidence at court
during James?s reign. Also, poetic works were produced during the reigns of both James
III and James IV, both of whom were still peripatetic, though James III less so than his
son. For example, Robert Henryson, although not a court poet in the traditional sense,
was active during the reign of James III and William Dunbar during the reign of James
IV, in whose court he resided and about which he wrote on several occasions, for
example, Thir Ladyis Fair and As Yung Awrora with Cristall Haile. Dunbar also

61
S. Mapstone, ?Was There a Court Literature in Fifteenth-century Scotland?? in Studies in Scottish
Literature, vol.xxvi (1991), 410-422.
62
Lyall, ?Lost Literature?, passim.
205
composed the magnificent Quhen Merche Wes with Varian Windis Past (better known
as The Thrissill and the Rois) to commemorate the marriage of James to Margaret Tudor
in 1503. Additionally, John Ireland dedicated The Meroure of Wyssdome to James IV.
63

Clearly literature could flourish without the monarch being permanently resident in one
location so there needs to be a more detailed explanation of why it appears not to have
done so during James I?s reign.
Additionally, Sally Mapstone has argued that the role of the court was more
usually to provide a venue for dispersing literary works rather than the commissioning of
original pieces.
64
This was an area in which James does not appear to have excelled. As
already stated, there is a suggestion that James sometimes used Latin in composing for
the wider court, limiting the number of attendees who could appreciate it, although it
should be borne in mind that James was also able to compose in the vernacular as
evidenced by his Kingis Quair. Shirley?s description of James?s court does seems to
imply, however, that literature was something reserved for private recreation, when
James was alone with a select group of companions and not at a general gathering of his
greater subjects. Literature would appear to be an area in which James failed to fulfil the
generally held expectations of a medieval prince, preferring a more insular experience.
The oral tradition of medieval literature may also play a role in this area. It is
perhaps going too far to suggest large-scale commissioning of oral works but the fact
remains that just because numerous written works have not survived does not mean that
works were not composed in the court for the amusement of James and his entourage.
William Dunbar in The Lament for the Makars names several poets for whom no work

63
Mapstone, ?Was There a Court Literature?, 413.
64
Ibid. 422.
206
and no biographical details survive, so it is not outwith the realms of possibility that
there were at the court of James I, men who composed poetical works that, for numerous
reasons, have not survived or were never written down in the first place.
65
Van Oostrom
has noted with reference to the Low Countries that literary life could bypass the written
word, as people were able to listen to reciters.
66
Furthermore, as Paul Zumthor has
noted, ?every medieval ?literary? text?was designed to be communicated aloud to the
individuals who consisted its audience?.
67
The importance of oral traditions in Scottish
literature is highlighted, for example, in Barbour?s use of phrases such as ?I heard tell?
and the reoccurrence of the verb ?say? in the Quair.
68
Therefore, the fact that no
evidence survives to point to the royal court as a significant patron of literature in this
period or that points to the purchase of manuscripts by James does not negate the
potential for there being a distinct literary atmosphere at court. The importance of oral
communication leaves open the possibility that among James?s entourage were persons
able to recite known works from memory or skilled enough, like James himself, to
compose shorter works for the amusement of court.

v: Court Heralds
The presence of heralds is another aspect that may imply a more active literary
atmosphere at James?s court than other sources suggest. There is a record of three
payments being made to ?Dragance Pursuivant? in the Exchequer Rolls for James?s

65
W. Dunbar, ?I that in Heill Wes in Gladnes (The Lament for the Makars)?, in J. A. Tasioulas (ed.), The
Makars: the Poems of Henryson, Dunbar and Douglas (Edinburgh, 1999), 476-480.
66
Van Oostrom, Court and Culture, 31.
67
P. Zumthor, ?The Text and the Voice? in New Literary History, 16, 1984-5, 67.
68
A.A.M. Duncan (ed.), Barbour?s Bruce (Edinburgh, 1997), 15; Kratzmann, Anglo-Scottish Literary
Relations, 32.
207
reign, totalling ?30 13s 4d.
69
A key function of these officers was to act as messengers
on behalf of the king. Indeed, Dragance Pursuivant was sent on diplomatic missions,
English records noting that the pursuivant was in England in February 1434 having
delivered letters from James to the English council and was thereafter sent to the Duke
of Burgundy.
70
Another Scottish herald, referred to as ?Snawdoun? was in England in
November 1433 in order to renew a recent truce.
71
This name implies a connection with
the legendary British king, Arthur. ?Snawdoun? has been argued to be a variant of
?Sinadon?, a place associated with Arthur and his Round Table.
72
This would have
connected James to this heroic figure, who was utilised by many Scottish writers,
including Barbour and Blind Hary, to emphasise the attributes of their own heroes,
namely Robert the Bruce and William Wallace respectively.
73
However, it may also
have had another use. From the mid-fourteenth century, ?Snawdoun? is identified as
Stirling, an idea first recorded by the French chronicler Froissart.
74
This association
may have aided James in his efforts to emphasise Stirling Castle as a royal residence,
wiping away associations with the Duke of Albany, in whose possession Stirling had
been for many years prior to the king?s return.
75
James also created a Marchmont herald
to coincide with his Roxburgh campaign in 1436, allying royal prestige to the outcome

69
ER, iv, passim.
70
CDS, iv, nos.1072 & 1077.
71
Ibid. no.1067.
72
R.S. Loomis, ?Scotland and the Arthurian Legend? in Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of
Scotland, 1955-56, 1-21.
73
Nicola Royan explores the portrayal of Arthur in some fifteenth century works in ?The Fine Art of Faint
Praise in Older Scots Historiography? in R. Purdie & N. Royan (eds.), The Scots and Medieval Arthurian
Legend (Cambridge, 2005), 43-54. Royan highlights how different authors were able to incorporate the
Arthur legends into their writings without giving way to claims of English superiority over Scotland
sometimes implied in Arthurian writings.
74
Loomis, ?Scotland and the Arthurian Legend?, 15-17.
75
James?s efforts in this area are more fully discussed in ch.5.
208
of this campaign.
76
As these heraldic officers appear to have participated in the martial
and diplomatic duties associated with heralds, it is possible that they also took part in the
more literary aspects of this office. Gerard Nijsten argues that heralds, as announcers of
ceremonies and messengers sometimes presented their news in poetic form, a short step,
he argues, from the composition of chivalric and other poetry.
77
Nijsten offers Claes
Heynensoon as an example of this. Heynensoon produced some of the earliest surviving
literary works from the court of Guelders from the later fourteenth century and also held
the position of Gelre Herald.
78
It is therefore possible that the heraldic officers at
James?s court were also involved in producing literature in some form, or perhaps
purchasing such works while abroad on diplomatic assignments, although the lack of
surviving evidence means that this must remain supposition. Furthermore, it has already
been stated that James hired Flemish actors to perform at his court and this may also be
taken as evidence for the oral tradition of literature at the Scottish court.

vi: European Connections
In order to further determine the significance of literature and books in Europe
in the period in question, the courts of England, France, and Burgundy need to be
examined in more detail. Aspects of the discussion will include topics such as the
development of libraries, patronage and the type of works that appear to have been

76
Brown, James I, 163. Marchmont was a name applied to Roxburgh Castle and the creation of a herald
with this title clearly shows that James was allying this campaign to his own military prestige: he
expected to win. James may have been hoping to succeed in retaking Roxburgh in contrast to the efforts
of the fourth Earl of Douglas who set out to retake it in 1417 while the Duke of Albany besieged Berwick.
According to Bower, both men ?returned home in disgrace? and James may have hoped that a success
where Douglas and Albany had failed would help to increase his status. Chron. Bower, viii, 87.
77
G. Nijsten, In the Shadow of Burgundy: the Court of Guelders in the Late Middle Ages, trans. by T.
Guest (Cambridge, 2004), 177-8.
78
Ibid. 176-7.
209
preferred. It is hoped that this will throw light on the surviving evidence for Scotland,
an examination of which will follow below. Regarding royal libraries, there is
considerable evidence for the development of these for England, France and Burgundy.
For the latter two cases, formal inventories survive from the end of the fourteenth
century onwards. Separate accounts were made of the Louvre library in 1373, 1380,
1411, 1413 and 1424, when John, duke of Bedford as regent of France, acquired the
books.
79
As previously stated, Charles V of France, who was responsible for building
the royal collection, was much concerned with enhancing his own and his country?s
prestige in opposition to the English. Carol Meale argues that he was successful in this,
citing the eagerness of the Duke of Bedford to obtain the collection in 1424 and this
would seem a logical supposition.
80
Charles?s brothers, Jean, duc de Berri (1340-1416)
and Philip the Bold of Burgundy (1342-1404), also possessed collections, though less
extensive ones than that of the king. Clearly, there was a tradition of book acquisition in
the French royal family. Muriel Hughes argues, however, that Philip the Bold?s library
was somewhat lacking in content, despite being larger in scale than most other
aristocratic libraries of the period.
81
Hughes suggests, for instance, that the library of
Italian ruler Giangaleazzo Visconti (1351-1402) had a better collection of Classical and
Italian works, while Charles V?s collection was superior in French vernacular volumes.
The interest in vernacular works may have been a propaganda issue with the French
king, embroiled as he was in the war with England during the period. However, a list of
books included in Philip?s library does support Cartellieri?s claim that the Burgundian

79
J. Stratford, ?The Royal Library in England Before the Reign of Edward IV? in N. Rogers (ed.), England
in the Fifteenth Century: Proceedings of the 1992 Harlaxton Symposium (Stamford, 1994), 188.
80
Meale, ?Patrons, Buyers and Owners?, 204.
81
Hughes, ?The Library of Philip the Bold and Margaret of Flanders?, 166.
210
Dukes were bibliophiles with varied interests.
82
Religious books were the most
prominent in terms of numbers, not unexpected given the period and the fact that the
ducal couple were devoutly religious. James I is known to have purchased some books
with a religious theme, a record from October 1424 listing two books for the chapel and
a bible among a catalogue of items being transported from England to Scotland for
James?s use.
83
The titles of the two books are not recorded but they may have been
Psalters, books of hours or perhaps one was the life of one of the saints venerated by
James, as discussed in chapter seven. Isabella, James?s second daughter, is known to
have possessed or had associated with her, four Books of Hours following her marriage
to the Duke of Brittany in 1442. Also after her marriage, she commissioned a copy of
the thirteenth-century text the Somme le Roi, which dealt with the seven sins and seven
virtues.
84
Fragments of a version of this text also survive in Scots transcription,
suggesting a Scottish as well as Continental interest in it.
85
It is possible that Isabella, as
one of James?s older children, may have been partially influenced by him in her literary
interests.
It was not just religious works but also chivalric works that were popular at the
Burgundian court, reflecting general European trends. Classical works and chronicles
also feature in the inventory. To provide just a few examples, works included
Boccaccio?s De claris mulieribus; Gace de la Buigne?s Deduit de la chasse offering
instruction in hunting, the arts and virtue; Lancelot de Lac et de Saint Greal; Le romant

82
Cartellieri, The Court of Burgundy, 164.
83
CDS, iv, no.967. There is no detail about the content of the books other than this though it is possible
that as they came from England they followed the standard Sarum liturgy that predominated there and
which was also commonly used in Scotland in this period.
84
P. Bawcutt & B. Henisch, ?Scots Abroad in the Fifteenth Century: the Princesses Margaret, Isabella and
Eleanor? in E. Ewan & M. Meikle (eds.), Women in Scotland, c.1100-c.1750 (East Linton, 1999), 49.
85
MS Laing II.318, Edinburgh University Library; MS Rawlinson Q.b.4, Bodleian. Quoted in Lyall,
?Lost Literature?, 35.
211
de la rose; Les chroniques de Flandres; Aristotle?s Etiques et pollitiques and works by
Christine de Pizan.
86
Clearly, Philip the Bold had a diverse library, and, whatever its
supposed shortcomings, it would have provided a significant level of prestige and
supplied the strong foundation upon which the later dukes built.
English monarchs also appear to have been enthusiastic about collecting books.
There is some debate as to the dating of the foundation of the library there, but Jenny
Stratford?s assertion that it should be placed in the early fifteenth century during the
reigns of Henry IV and Henry V appears to be a valid one. Janet Backhouse, by
contrast, follows the traditional line that Edward IV was the founder, yet while the
library under Henry IV and Henry V was not as developed as it would be under the later
Yorkist king, it still existed in embryonic form.
87
Kate Harris cites the fact that servants
are recorded as Keepers of Books during these reigns, Ralph Bradfelde under Henry IV
and John Burnham under Henry V.
88
Furthermore, in his will, Henry V left books to his
son ?pro libraria sua?, which further suggests that the establishment of a permanent,
royal collection was intended.
89
Additionally, Stratford points to payments in 1401-2
for works at Eltham Palace, where a new study was built for Henry IV, containing ?a
great desk made of two stages to keep the king?s books in?.
90
Care and attention was
being given to the creation of a permanent site for the king?s books, which certainly
suggests the creation of a library, even if it could not compare to the three-floored

86
A fuller account is provided in Hughes?s article, appendix II, 173-186.
87
Stratford, ?The Royal Library in England before the Reign of Edward IV?; J. Stratford, ?The Royal
Collections and the Royal Library to 1461? in L. Hellinga & J.B. Trapp (eds.), The Book in Britain, vol.III,
1400-1557 (Cambridge, 1999); J. Backhouse, ?The Royal Library from Edward IV to Henry VII? in The
Book in Britain, 1400-1557.
88
K. Harris, ?Patrons, Buyers and Owners: The Evidence for Ownership and Role of Book Owners in
Book Production and the Book Trade? in Book Production and Publishing in Britain, 1375-1475, 179.
89
Ibid. 193.
90
Quoted in Stratford, ?The Royal Library in England Before the Reign of Edward IV?, 191.
212
building at Vincennes that housed the French collection. While the location of Eltham
may have limited the access that James had to the library, it does not necessarily mean
that he was unaware of its existence. However, there is nothing to suggest that James
followed a similar plan after his return to Scotland.

Additionally, the interest in books of both Henry IV and V suggests a strong
literary atmosphere at the English court at this time, particularly as Henry V is cited as
patron of Lydgate?s Life of Our Lady and his Siege of Troy.
91
This, allied with his later
excursion to France, would have given James ample opportunity to become aware of the
princely interest in book ownership in this period.
92
There is further evidence to show a
long tradition of interest in books among English monarchs. According to Juliet Vale,
there was an extensive collection of books in the privy wardrobe in the Tower of London
during the reign of Edward III, most of which, Stratford states, he inherited from his
father, Edward II. Little is known of these books, but they included sixty-seven
liturgical books, a bible and fifty-nine books and pieces of ?romances?.
93
Titles are not
recorded but it would probably be possible to hypothesise some titles that were
contained within this collection. The numerical breakdown of book by type does seem
to follow the pattern set by the Burgundian library detailed above, and it does not seem
unreasonable to suggest that similar works were present in the English collection.
Almost certainly the more important chivalric and classical works would have been
represented at least, for instance Lancelot de Lac et de Saint Greal, Le romant de la rose

91
A. I. Doyle, ?English Books in and out of Court from Edward III to Henry VII?, in V. J. Scattergood &
J. W. Sherborne (eds.), English Court Culture in the Later Middle Ages (London, 1983), 173.
92
James may of course gained some experience of this prior to 1406, particularly with the circulation of
The Bruce in Scotland. However, James?s own composition does strongly suggest that English influences
were more prevalent and it is the situation in England post-1406 with which James would have been most
familiar.
93
J. Vale, Edward III and Chivalry: Chivalric Society and its Context, 1270-1350 (Woodbridge, 1982),
49-52; Stratford, ?The Royal Collections and the Royal Library to 1461?, 257.
213
and works by Aristotle. Perhaps Boethius?s Consolation of Philosophy was also present.
A list of books in the possession of Queen Isabella on her death in 1352 detailed twenty-
four religious works, including three missals of Sarum use and a work on St. Mary, as
well as ten secular works including Tristan and Isolde and a work on the Trojan War.
94

However, it seems too much to call this collection a library, as most of the volumes
present were dispersed by 1341, having been given as gifts or returned to the families
from which they were confiscated during the latter years of Edward II?s reign and thus
the volumes cannot really be considered a permanent collection.
95

As regards the type of works that would have been available at the English
court in the fifteenth century, there appears to have been a wide range of interests. In
addition to the chivalric works that were no doubt of some interest and religious works,
there were books on hunting, chronicles, works by Christine de Pizan, and, of course, the
works of Chaucer, Lydgate, Gower and Hoccleve would have been known. A 1413 case
brought in the King?s Bench lists two bibles, two Psalters and a work by Gower as
belonging to the king.
96
Christine de Pizan sent several works to Henry IV in an attempt
to retain his favour and gain the release of her son who had been taken to England in
1398 by the Earl of Salisbury.
97
This does not imply that Henry was personally
interested in the works but it does show that Pizan?s writings were in circulation in
England and also further highlights the political uses of literature in this period.



94
Vale, Edward III and Chivalry, appendix 10.
95
Stratford, ?The Royal Collections and the Royal Library to 1461?, 259.
96
Stratford, ?The Royal Library in England Before the Reign of Edward IV?, 192.
97
Downie, ?'Sche is but a Womman', 37-8.
214
vii: Chivalry and Tournaments
Chivalry was an important issue for European nobles in the fifteenth century,
both in real terms and in that it was a popular topic for literary works. Therefore, while
it is not the present intention to suggest that there was a strong chivalric atmosphere in
James?s court, as there was in Burgundy, for instance, the likelihood of there being a
significant level of interest is high. Generally, there was widespread interest in this
theme during the period under examination and Scotland is unlikely to have been wholly
divorced from this, despite Mapstone?s warning that the scholar should not be too quick
to assimilate Scotland into ideas of European ?courtly culture?.
98
From elsewhere it is
possible to discern that James was interested in chivalrous activities. For instance, to
celebrate both his coronation in 1424 and the birth of twin sons in 1430, James held
ceremonies in which a number of nobles were knighted, although significantly fewer
were involved in the later ceremony. Furthermore, while there is no suggestion that
James was greatly interested in tournaments, there is a record in the accounts for 1434 of
?spars? being delivered to Perth ?for the king?s tournament?.
99
It is possible that this was
a continuation of an annual event from Robert III?s time. Bower records that in 1397-8,
an English knight came to Scotland seeking ?the king?s [gold] challenge cup?,
suggesting, perhaps, that there was already a tradition of ?kings tournaments? and that
James?s tournament was an extension of this.
100
The only other suggestion of James?s
interest in this area is Bower?s assertion that James was ?a knowledgeable jouster? and,
as Katie Stevenson suggests, this last could just be an attempt by Bower to attribute a

98
Mapstone, ?Was There a Court Literature?, 414.
99
ER, iv, 561.
100
Chron. Bower, viii, 11.
215
traditional skill to James rather than a statement of reality.
101
It is possible that other
expenditure on the tournament has gone unrecorded or has not been specifically listed in
the accounts as being for this event. For example, ?240 9s 11d was spent on wine in
1434, with ?211 10s 4d spent in 1435. The highest amount spent on wine in any other
year was the ?21 10s expended in 1428, suggesting that the higher amounts in 1434-5
were perhaps for a particular event, though this is merely speculation.
102

This does seem to indicate a rather reduced interest in chivalry when compared
to earlier and later Scottish monarchs. During the reign of David II, for example, there
was clearly a strong royal interest in tournaments, with three payments recorded in 1342
and 1343 for jousting equipment and tournaments were organised for 1364 and 1365
following his return from English captivity.
103
The disparity may be in part a
consequence of the different atmospheres at the English court during David and James?s
respective captivities. Edward III, king of England during David?s time was very
interested in chivalric life, as evidenced most strikingly by his foundation of the Order of
the Garter.
104
By contrast, Henry V was largely disinterested in tournaments, preferring
to utilise his knights? skills in real battle in France. For instance, following his marriage
to Catherine de Valois, Henry declined a French proposal to conduct traditional
celebratory jousts, preferring to have his men lay siege to Sens instead.
105
James was
thus less exposed to this noble pastime during his time in England than was the case
with David II. Henry?s father, Henry IV also displayed little concerted interest in

101
Ibid., 305; K. Stevenson, Chivalry and Knighthood in Scotland, 1424-1513 (Woodbridge, 2006), ch. 4.
102
ER, iv, passim. This dramatic increase in wine purchases is suggestive of an increasingly lavish court
life and given Sylvius? comments regarding James?s appearance it is tempting to speculate that James was
perhaps overindulging on a regular basis.
103
Edington, ?The Tournament in Medieval Scotland?, 53.
104
For a discussion of the formation of this order see D?A. J. D. Boulton, The Knights of the Crown:
Monarchical Orders of Knighthood in Later Medieval Europe, 1325-1520 (Woodbridge, 2000).
105
R. Barber & J. Barker, Tournaments (Woodbridge, 1989), 37.
216
tournaments which would have compounded this. This latter example is perhaps
surprising, given Henry IV?s reputation as earl of Derby, when he took part in the Baltic
Crusade at the end of the fourteenth century. Barber and Barker suggest that Henry?s
lack of interest in tournaments post-1399 may be connected to an assassination plot
against the king and his sons during jousts at Windsor Castle.
106
James may have been
aware of this plot, and it may have helped to influence his attitude towards tournaments,
viewing them as a security risk. However, there is little evidence that James was
concerned for his safety, Shirley?s comments regarding the king?s companions on the
night of his murder highlighting this, as already discussed. What was perhaps more
influential in James?s reluctance to hold tournaments was his fear of being
overshadowed by his nobles in this area. The Douglas family especially had a strong
international chivalric reputation in this period, and the king would probably not have
had the experience to compete with this.
Additionally, other than Bower?s assertion discussed above, there appears to
have been little in the way of tournament activity at the court of Robert III. Carol
Edington identifies two tournaments held late in the reign of this monarch, in 1401 and
1404, although there is little detail regarding these events. Indeed, at only around ten
years of age at the time of the latter event, it is perhaps unlikely that James would have
been more than an observer. Additionally, Edington argues that it is unlikely that these
tournaments were instigated by Robert himself. Another tournament from this period,
held in 1398, is attributed to the efforts of Robert?s queen, Annabella.
107
Edington
suggests that this event was designed to coincide with the entry of David, duke of

106
Ibid.
107
Chron. Bower, viii, 11.
217
Rothesay onto the political stage, thus associating the duke with a revival of a chivalric
court culture.
108
It is perhaps significant that the tournament James held came late in his
reign. Several authors have highlighted the role played by the chivalric tournament in
elevating the national and international prestige of a ruler and it is possible that James
chose 1434 as by this time his position within his own country was beginning to weaken,
with the failure of the Highland campaign and the evident distrust of parliament.
109
That
1434 also saw an increase in Anglo-Scottish hostility is no doubt also significant, as the
tournament would have enabled the practicing of skills necessary for war and, James
probably hoped, would act to unify a distrustful nobility behind royal policy.
Additionally, by this time, James?s court had been visited by several foreign
ambassadors, including representatives from France and Burgundy and it may be that the
lack of tournament activity had been negatively commented upon and James was
seeking to improve his international standing in this area, although there is no direct
evidence for this.
A further area that needs to be considered in this context is recent work by
Katie Stevenson regarding James II?s interest in tournaments and chivalric culture
during his personal rule.
110
Stevenson asserts that James II made a concerted attempt to
win control over chivalric culture within Scotland as part of his efforts to establish royal
authority and to make the Crown the focus of the kingdom both in politics and culture.
That James II went to so much effort to supplant his nobles, particularly the Black

108
Edington, ?The Tournament in Medieval Scotland?, 54. Had James had a longer exposure to his older
brother, it is possible he may have developed a stronger interest in tournaments.
109
For example, see Ditchburn, Scotland and Europe, 96-103; Vaughan, Philip the Good, 146; A.G.
Dickens (ed.), The Courts of Europe, 72.
110
K. Stevenson, ?Contesting Chivalry: James II and the Control of Chivalric Culture in the 1450s? in
Journal of Medieval History, 33 (2007), 197-214.
218
Douglas family, seems to be a strong indication that James I had made little progress in
this area. The fact that there is little concrete evidence for chivalric culture at the court
of James I suggests that this was down to a lack of interest on James?s part. That James
failed to participate in such a popular area of medieval culture is surely significant in his
failure to win the support of his noble subjects.

viii: Literary Works Current in the Scotland of James I
It is possible to make some inferences regarding works current in Scotland
during this period by looking at works that were popular elsewhere in Europe. Hunting
books, unsurprisingly, were of interest, hunting being a favourite past-time of the
nobility in this period. Four treatises survive in Middle English, one of which can
clearly be said to have come from the court as it was written between 1406 and 1413 by
Edward, duke of York, who was Master of Game to his cousin Henry IV.
111
The book is
an adapted translation of Gaston Phoebus, count of Foix?s Livre de Chasse (c.1388). As
well as highlighting the general aristocratic interest in hunting, this also indicates that
works could be known and enjoyed outside of their country of origin. The interest in
hunting texts is borne out by Henry V?s purchase of twelve books for ?12 8s in 1423.
112

Unfortunately, there is no clear evidence to suggest that James was particularly
interested in hunting. However, as it was such a popular noble pastime it is perhaps
unlikely that he did not engage in this activity at some point during his reign,
particularly as he would surely have been exposed to it in England given his southern
counterpart?s interest in this area. Certainly James?s immediate royal predecessors

111
Burnley, Courtliness and Literature in Medieval England, 132.
112
Issues of the Exchequer, 368.
219
participated in this activity. Both Robert II and Robert III appear to have been keen
hunters.
113
However, neither charter evidence nor the exchequer accounts are explicit
on whether James personally took part in any hunts, although it is not impossible that he
did so while visiting areas for another purpose. For example, J.M. Gilbert points out that
hunting could have been undertaken during James?s visit to Auchterhouse in August
1426.
114
Furthermore, Gilbert points out that many of the lands gained by James
through forfeiture throughout his reign included areas that would become hunting
reserves later in the century.
115
Clearly, it is possible that James did hunt during his
reign. However, while the princely court generally was obviously a significant venue
for the acquisition and commissioning of recreational works on topics such as hunting in
this period, it is an area that James I does not appear to have contributed to. There are
no specific references to the king participating in hunting in the accounts for his reign,
although a few items may possibly be connected with this pastime and it is worth
considering them here. For example, wagons were transported to Falkland in 1426 for
the king?s use and there are numerous references to the king?s horses throughout the
accounts. This latter point suggests that James may have had an interest in horses,
suggesting that he possessed at least one of the essential items to participate in hunting
activity, although horses had numerous other functions in this period.
116
There is also a
reference to keeping the king?s horses at Dundonald in 1434.
117
There is comparatively

113
J.M. Gilbert suggests that charter locations and evidence from the exchequer accounts frequently places
Robert II in areas such as Glenfinglas and Kindrochit where he engaged in hunting pursuits. The evidence
for Robert III is less extensive, but this king may have hunted while at locations such as Dundonald and
Strathyre. Gilbert, Hunting and Hunting Reserves, 36-7.
114
Ibid. 39.
115
Ibid. 39.
116
ER, iv, throughout. Falkland forest was certainly a hunting reserve later in the medieval period. It is
discussed in Gilbert, Hunting and Hunting Reserves, 39, 57, 215, 219-221.
117
Ibid. 596.
220
little detail about James?s movements in this year, with no charter evidence between 12
March and 17 September, so it is not impossible that the king journeyed south during
this period and hunted there as Gilbert suggests Robert III did in 1391.
118
However,
there are no references to the purchase or maintenance of other hunting equipment such
as hawks or even arrows. It is possible that this expenditure was simply not recorded or
that it was recorded in years for which accounts are no longer extant. Yet, it is difficult
to support the idea that James had a strong interest in this area that has simply gone
unrecorded. If hunting was a popular pastime at James?s court it would surely appear
more specifically and regularly in the accounts. This appears to be another area that
James neglected and thus missed an opportunity to include his nobles in court life and
gain their cooperation for his rule.
Other genres were also popular during this period. As previously stated, the
only literary work that survives for the reign of James I is the monarch?s own
composition, The Kingis Quair and it is very different in nature to a more prosaic nature
of a hunting treatise, dealing with more amorphous concepts of love and Fortune.
However, the Quair can also be used to provide some indication of other works that
would have been known in Scotland. As R.J. Lyall has shown, it is feasible to look to
internal evidence from surviving works for information regarding what was known at
the time.
119
It is well known that the Quair contains many parallels to the works of
Chaucer (c.1343-1400), for instance. Additionally, later works by poets such as Dunbar,
writing in the early sixteenth century, also contain allusions to the work of Chaucer,
suggesting that the English poet remained known in Scotland throughout the fifteenth

118
Gilbert, Hunting and Hunting Reserves, 37.
119
Lyall, ?The Lost Literature of Medieval Scotland?, 33-47.
221
century.
120
The Quair also refers to The Consolation of Philosophy, written by Boethius
(c.480-524) during his time in captivity, having been imprisoned on suspicion of
disloyal sympathies by the Ostrogothic King Theoderic who ruled in Italy in the early
sixth century. James must have had access to this work either in England or Scotland.
There were certainly several copies of this work available in Scotland in the early
sixteenth century, indicating that it had some popularity.
121
The themes of the Quair
itself, which include fortune, freedom and courtly love, must be examined in relation to
the court itself, not just as parallels to other literary offerings or as simple biographical
details. The Quair perhaps gives insight into the style of court life preferred by James,
an aspect examined briefly by Louise Olga Fradenburg, Gregory Kratzmann and
Alessandra Petrina.
122
As is evident throughout this thesis, James was attempting to
institute a distinctly royal court that would serve to distinguish him from his great
subjects and would help him to establish his authority after an extended absence.
Mapstone?s suggestion that this is one reason for a lack of literary patronage in the early
fifteenth century royal court, that James was more focused on salvaging royal
supremacy, should be borne in mind here.
123
However, it is evident, as discussed above,
that an adroit use of literature, both in terms of the composition and the physical item of
the book itself, could play an important role in promoting and advertising royal prestige.
This is true both of newly commissioned works and through associations with pre-
existing texts. It is possible that James I failed to fully appreciate this, which may help
to explain the lack of evidence.

120
Edwards, ?Contextualising Middle Scots Romance?, 68.
121
J. Durkan & A. Ross, Early Scottish Libraries (Glasgow, 1961), 34, 76, 96, 135, 178.
122
Fradenburg, City, Marriage, Tournament; Kratzmann, Anglo-Scottish Literary Relations; A. Petrina,
The Kingis Quair of James I of Scotland (Padova, 1997).
123
Mapstone, ?Was There a Court Literature in Fifteenth-century Scotland??, 414.
222
French influences should not be overlooked, albeit James had more contact
with the English court milieu. Gregory Kratzmann states that a French influence is
present in earlier Scots poetry, namely Barbour?s Bruce and The Buik of Alexander, the
latter being a translation into Scots of the French works Li Fuerre de Gadres and Les
Voeux du Paon, made c.1438.
124
These French works were independently translated by
Gilbert Hay later in the fifteenth century, published as The Buik of King Alexander the
Conqueror, indicating the general popularity of these French poems.
125
Bower?s editors
also argue that there is a distinctly French bias in the topics covered by this chronicler
due to an extensive use of the French writer Vincent of Beauvais, suggesting a
preference for French over English works.
126
Also, Gavin Douglas?s (c.1476-1522) The
Palice of Honour shows knowledge of various French allegorical poems stretching back
to the thirteenth century, indicating that they remained known in Scotland throughout the
medieval period and thus may possibly have been part of the literary culture of James?s
court.
127
Additionally, the long-standing diplomatic and military links with France,
especially c.1415-24, make it essential that this is considered, as this would have
provided an excellent method of circulation for popular literary works.
It may also be possible to gain insights from manuscripts of a later date or
indeed from printed works. For example, a copy of Caxton?s The Booke of the Ordre of
Chyvalry was in Edinburgh in 1484, the year of its publication, suggesting the enduring

124
R.L. Ritchie (ed.), The Buik of Alexander, Scottish Text Society (Edinburgh, 1925), xxvi.
125
J. Cartwright (ed.), The Buik of King Alexander the Conqueror, Scottish Text Society (Edinburgh,
1986).
126
Chron. Bower, ix. The sources used by Bower are identified and discussed in chapter 18 of this
volume.
127
Kratzmann, Anglo-Scottish Literary Relations, 10. Certainly Douglas himself would have been
familiar with such works, but the fact that he felt comfortable using these sources suggests he felt at least
some of his audience would be familiar with them as well.
223
popularity of such works in the fifteenth century.
128
An examination of works later
printed in Scotland or translated into Scots may also reveal similar works of enduring
popularity. F.P. Van Oostrom, for example, states that several examples of courtly
literature were translated into Middle Dutch.
129
While it is the case that the majority of
Dutch nobles would not have needed a Dutch translation of the French works in order to
enjoy them and so translations may not necessarily have been intended for a courtly
audience, Van Oostrom argues for a tradition of interest in Middle Dutch literature at
court, which blossomed under the Bavarian counts. A Scottish example, cited by Lyall,
is The Buik of Alexander, datable by internal evidence to c.1438 but which survives only
in a unique copy of Alexander Arbuthnot?s edition, printed c.1580.
130
However, the
earlier date of its composition allows for James I having had knowledge of this work.
131

An interest in chivalric works in Scotland is also emphasised by the translations into the
vernacular of Continental works by Gilbert Hay (c.1397- after 1465) in the mid-fifteenth
century, for example, The Buke of Knychthede, which comes, via a fourteenth century
French translation, from Llibre de l?ordre de cavalleria by a Catalan author, Ramon
Llull, written 1274-1276.
132
The Buke of the Law of Armys, also translated by Hay, is a
translation of the French work L?Arbe des Balailles, written by Honor? Bonet in the late
1380s.
133
The translation into Scots verse of a part of the French prose work Lancelot du

128
Ibid. 6.
129
Van Oostrom, ?Middle Dutch Literature at Court?, 31.
130
R.J. Lyall, ?Books and Book Owners in Fifteenth century Scotland? in Book Production and Publishing
in Britain, 1375-1475, 241. This text is also discussed by Edwards in ?Contextualising Middle Scots
Romance?, 64, 66, 69.
131
The editor of the Scottish Text Society?s edition of this work even suggested that the translator of the
work may have been none other than John Barbour, though this opinion is not held by modern scholars.
132
J.A. Glenn, The Prose Works of Sir Gilbert Hay, iii, Scottish Text Society (Edinburgh, 1993).
133
Ibid., ii, (Edinburgh, 2005).
224
Lac also highlights the interest in French works.
134
This strongly suggests that the court
of James I was at the very least familiar with the most popular chivalric tales of the
medieval period, even if James did not own specific manuscript editions. At the very
least, many of the king?s subjects would have been familiar with these French works as
many would have spent time in France as part of the Scottish force there c.1415-1424.
Lyall looks to the fifteenth-century inventories of books in the cathedral
libraries of Glasgow and Aberdeen for clues to those works available in Scotland. It is
likely that similar collections were present at other religious foundations and given the
amount of time James spent at Blackfriars in Perth, this raises the possibility of his
exposure to numerous works other than English literature.
135
Even if this were not the
case, the fact that John Cameron, bishop of Glasgow, was one of James?s most
prominent advisors throughout the reign, suggests that the king could easily have had
access to Glasgow?s library, which unsurprisingly contained many religious items,
including Lives of Saints, including a life of St Kentigern, missals for use at the various
altars within the cathedral, as well as several bibles. The 1432 inventory lists 56 books
associated with the Glasgow choir alone.
136
Further to this, Lyall argues that it may be
taken for granted that most of the important Latin works of the Middle Ages were
available in Scotland, citing the fact that John of Fordun, Wyntoun and the anonymous
translator of the Scottish Saints? lives obviously had access to such works as Voraigne?s

134
The precise date of Lancelot of the Laik is a matter of some debate among scholars but Sally Mapstone
cites an unpublished paper in which Lyall dates it to pre-1460 and possibly as early as the second quarter
of the fifteenth century. Mapstone, ?Was There a Court Literature in Fifteenth-century Scotland??, 419.
135
Lyall, ?Books and Book Owners in Fifteenth Century Scotland? 239.
136
Registrum Episcopatus Galsguensis, ii, Bannatyne Club, (Edinburgh, 1843), 334-339; J. Dowden ?The
Inventory of Ornaments, Jewels, Relicks, Vestments, Service-books etc., Belonging to the Cathedral
Church of Glasgow in 1432?, in Proceedings of the Society and Antiquaries of Scotland, 1899.
225
Legenda aurea and Bede among others.
137
Furthermore, Walter Bower references a
wide range of classical sources, including Aristotle, Boethius, Cicero and Ovid,
suggesting that he had access to at least one fairly well-stocked library.
138
As Abbot of
Inchcolm, Bower would certainly have had access to any books held there but his
ecclesiastical status would almost certainly have allowed access to other libraries at
other religious houses, for example, St Andrews, Glasgow or Dunkeld, all of which
would have been fairly readily accessible, particularly Dunkeld as Inchcolm lay within
this diocese. The later-thirteenth century Registrum Librorum Angliae lists contents of
some Scottish monastic libraries, for instance Kelso, Melrose, Holyrood and St
Andrews, and indicates that despite a lack of survival, medieval Scottish monastic
libraries were fairly well furnished with books.
139
The early fifteenth century Catalogus
Scriptorum Ecclesiae, which also contains entries relating to Scotland supports this
view.
140

Of course, it is not possible to say that James certainly read all or even some of
these authors, although it is well known that he was aware of Boethius?s work, but the
fact that these and other works were available in Scotland for the use of such writers as
Bower, and that they felt comfortable referencing them in their own works, is suggestive
of the fact that the general tenets of these classical creations were known in Scotland, at
least well enough for the audience to understand the references. Works printed by
Chepman and Myllar, the first Scottish printers, working in the early sixteenth century,

137
Lyall, ?Books and Book Owners in Fifteenth Century Scotland?, 239-40.
138
Chron. Bower, ix.
139
Savage, Ernest A., Notes on the Early Monastic Libraries of Scotland (Edinburgh, 1928). The
document gives a total of 454 works in the Scottish houses covered.
140
Ibid. Among the works listed are numerous writings by St Augustine. Saints Ambrose, Anselm and
Jermoe are also represented in the Scottish collections, as are the writings of Seneca and the Venerable
Bede.
226
also offer some clue as to the types of works of interest in Scotland, and particularly
during the reign of James IV, he being the king who granted Chepman and Myllar
permission to print. Poems by Henryson and Dunbar appear, as do works by the English
poet John Lydgate and the Arthurian romance Golagros and Gawain.
141
Also available
is a list of those books in the library of Mary Queen of Scots in the mid sixteenth
century. However, it is of limited use for current purposes, as John Durkan suggests that
the majority of texts possessed by her are not dated early enough to have belonged to the
first James.
142
However, works possessed by Mary did include translations of Livy,
work by the French poet Alain Chartier, who actually visited Scotland as part of the
1428 French embassy, a Life of Alexander the Great, Boethius? Consolation, two
volumes of Lancelot de Laik, and a portion of Froissart.
143
While the editions may be
later than the reign of James I, it does indicate, along with those references above, a
continuing interest in Scotland in Classical literature as well as books of romance.
Interestingly, some of the latter were among those books possessed by James Douglas of
Dalkeith towards the end of the fourteenth century and which he listed in his will along
with grammar books, books of civil law and records of Scottish statutes.
144


x: The Kingis Quair and the Court of James I
No discussion of literature at the court of James I would be complete without an
examination of the king?s own composition, the Kingis Quair. This poem is a highly

141
A. A. MacDonald, ?Princely Culture in Scotland Under James III and James IV? in A.A. MacDonald,
M. Gosman & A.J. Vanderjagt (eds.), Princes and Princely Culture, 1450-1650, vol.1 (Leiden, 2003),
153.
142
Durkan, ?The Library of Mary, Queen of Scots?, 74.
143
J. Sharman (ed.), The Library of Mary, Queen of Scots (London, 1889). Durkan suggests that this work
needs corrections, so its entries should be treated with caution.
144
?Will of James Douglas of Dalkeith, knight, 19 December 1392? in Bannatyne Miscellany, ii
(Edinburgh, 1836), 105-119, 107 & 114.
227
sophisticated work and there have been many studies conducted on it, each highlighting
the skill of the poet and the complex nature of the composition as well as the range of
sources utilised in it.
145
It is well known, for example, that James utilised Boethius?s
Consolation of Philosophy and Chaucerian works such as Troilus and Criseyde. While
Vincent Carretta and Clair F. James suggest that the Quair is intended to be an ironic
poem and thus critical of the actions of the narrator of the work, most scholars agree that
the Quair consciously re-works its sources in order to present a different viewpoint.
Boethius, for example, argues that to curtail the effects of Fortune, man must cease to
pursue worldly goods. Fuog and others argue that in contrast, the Quair reworks this so
that it is not the pursuit of wealth that causes bad fortune, but this quest is instead seen as
a positive thing, that the enjoyment of material goods is not something to be criticised.
In light of James?s spending habits, it is tempting to infer that James was seeking to
ameliorate any criticism that may have been directed towards him. The conscious
reworking of earlier works by James is also seen in a comparison between the Quair and
Chaucer?s A Knight?s Tale, as shown by Lois Ebin. Ebin argues that whereas in A
Knight?s Tale, love is the source of discord between Palamon and Arcite, and that this
leads to the destruction of their friendship, in the Quair, love for his lady is the event
that leads to the narrator?s release and to his becoming less subject to Fortune, that is, to

145
See for instance, the notes to the Scottish Text Society edition, edited by Rev. Walter W. Skeat,
(Edinburgh, 1884), Mathew McDiarmid?s edition and W. Mackay Mackenzie?s edition. See also, J.
Boffey, ?Chaucerian Prisoners: the Context of The Kingis Quair in J. Boffey & J. Cowen (eds.), Chaucer
and Fifteenth-century Poetry (London, 1991), 84-102; V. Carretta ?The Kingis Quair and The Consolation
of Philosophy? in Studies in Scottish Literature, vol.16, 1981, 14-28; L. A. Ebin, ?Boethius, Chaucer and
The Kingis Quair? in Philological Quarterly, vol.53, 1974, 321-341; K. E.C. Fuog, ?Placing Earth at the
Centre of the Cosmos: The Kingis Quair as Boethian Revision? in Studies in Scottish Literature, vol.32,
2001, 140-149; Fradenburg, City, Marriage Tournament, ch.8; Kratzmann, Anglo-Scottish Literary
Relations, 24-55; A. MacColl, ?Beginning and Ending The Kingis Quair? in McClure & Spiller (eds.),
Bryght Lanternis.

228
events beyond his control. This may partially explain James?s desire to give Joan a
stronger political role, as he viewed her as the means by which he escaped captivity.
Sally Mapstone has recently suggested that James?s poem should be viewed within the
?Advice to Princes? tradition of medieval poetry and when these deviations from the
sources are considered in the context of James?s reign, it becomes possible to read The
Kingis Quair as a statement of James?s personal desires for his kingship.
146

Many other ?guides to statecraft? were in circulation in the fifteenth century.
147

Some well-known examples of this genre include De Regimine Principium by Giles of
Rome (c.1243-1316); the pseudo-Aristotelian Secreta Secretorum, which began as an
Arabic text dating from c.941 before appearing in Latin translations from the twelfth
century; the Ludus Scaccorum, a thirteenth century moralising text by the Dominican
Jacobus de Cessolis, translated into Scots in the fifteenth century as The Buke of the
Chess; and Thomas Hoccleve?s (c.1367-1426) Regiment of Princes, addressed to the
future Henry V.
148
De Regimine was translated into English in the early fifteenth
century by John Trevisa (c.1342-1402), suggesting that there was an interest in this text,
although its recent editors do not believe that the translation was widely circulated.
149

The Secreta was undoubtedly well-known and popular within Scotland in the fifteenth
century, as it was translated by Gilbert Hay in 1456 to become his Buke of the

146
S. Mapstone, ?Kingship and The Kingis Quair? in H. Cooper & S. Mapstone (eds.), The Long Fifteenth
Century. Essays for Douglas Gray (Oxford, 1997), 51-70.
147
P. Strohm, ?Hoccleve, Lydgate and the Lancastrian Court? in D. Wallace (ed.), The Cambridge History
of Medieval English Literature (Cambridge, 1999), 640-661, 644.
148
Ibid. 644; Glenn, The Prose Works of Sir Gilbert Hay, iii; C. van Buuren (ed.), The Buke of the Chess,
Scottish Text Society (Edinburgh, 1997).
149
D. C. Fowler et al (eds.), The Governance of Kings and Princes: John Trevisa?s Middle English
Translation of the De Regimine Principum of Aegidius Romanus (New York & London, 1997), ix-xi. The
fact that the translation was not widely disseminated may suggest that there was little need for a
translation as the work was so well known. The editors also suggest that Trevisa?s death before full
completion of the manuscript may have hindered circulation.
229
Governaunce of Princis.
150
Clearly this was a genre that James would have been quite
familiar with and indeed, it is possible that he may have at least had access to, if not
owned at least one of these texts or one of this genre.
As regards James?s decision to alter Boethius in order to make the pursuit of
objects a more positive issue, this may possibly be linked to the efforts the Scottish king
would make throughout his reign to develop the royal court along English lines. As
already noted, some commentators have suggested parallels between the Quair and the
court. Kratzmann, for instance, argues that the Quair reflects James?s desire to
introduce English ideas into Scotland, citing the command of the Goddess Venus that
the narrator of the poem should encourage the spread of ?the songis new, the fresch
carolis and dance?.
151
This is perhaps a tenuous piece of evidence, but when considered
within the poem as a whole and in light of James?s introduction of English-style
household offices, his building projects and his extensive spending on luxury items in
Flanders, it is not difficult to agree that the Quair was acting as a personal statement of
how James intended to conduct his reign. Mapstone further suggests that the poem acts
as a public relations treatise, as it presents the king?s long captivity as a benefit rather
than a detriment. She refers to the penultimate stanza where the experience of the
narrator was ?Causit from hevyn quhare powar is commytt?, and was thus part of God?s
plan.
152
Certainly James would wish to put a positive spin on his long absence from his
kingdom and to show himself as able to govern the country in the face of magnates long
used to absentee or weak kingship. Having had experience of the English court, and no
doubt having some knowledge of its French and Burgundian counterparts, James would

150
Lyall, ?Politics and Poetry?, 17.
151
Kratzmann, Anglo-Scottish Literary Relations, 34. The quote from The Kingis Quair is found in st.21.
152
The Kingis Quair, st.196, l.2.
230
have been well aware of the propaganda value of literature, making it the obvious
medium for him to expound his new ideas. However, it should be noted that the Quair
does not appear to refer directly to the court, suggesting that in this area James was not
using his poetic work as a manifesto for change.
Nevertheless, the idea of The Kingis Quair as propaganda can perhaps be
related to the king?s wife, Joan Beaufort. Louise Fradenburg has suggested that the
Quair celebrates the narrator?s heaven-sanctioned love for Joan as the power that
released him from prison and who inspired him to take hold of the wheel of Fortune.
153

Julia Boffey also points to the connection between the narrator?s release and his love for
his lady.
154
This obviously parallels to the biographical detail that James?s release was
accompanied by his marriage to Joan. Yet, it does not appear as though scholars have
fully explored this relationship within the context of actual events. The explicit linking
by the narrator of his release with his lady can perhaps be taken as a statement by James
of the role he wished Queen Joan to take during the reign. The Scottish queen certainly
had an important political role, albeit normally behind the scenes.
155
However, James
made this more overt in the case of Joan, requiring oaths of fealty to be sworn to her in
parliament in 1428 and again in 1435.
156
The parallel between the insinuation in the
poem that it is the lady who brings the change in fortunes to the narrator and the political
reality of the reign that followed makes it possible to view The Kingis Quair as a public
proclamation of James?s intentions for his queen, directed at the Scottish nobility.
Internal evidence, as well as traditional practice, suggests that the poem would likely

153
Fradenburg, City, Marriage, Tournament, 131.
154
Boffey, ?Chaucerian Prisoners?, 93. See also Ebin?s argument, cited above.
155
For a full discussion of the queenship of Joan Beaufort see F. Downie, She is But a Woman:
Queenship in Scotland, 1424-1463 (Edinburgh, 2006).
156
Ibid., 100.
231
have been read aloud, surely on several occasions such as the anniversary of James and
Joan?s marriage,
157
as the king sought to display his skills. This increases the likelihood
that the poem was intended not only to entertain, but to educate the king?s subjects as to
what they could expect in the coming years. Perhaps James was aware of Richard de
Burry?s thoughts in this area.
158
The idea of the Quair as a work intended to portray the
king?s thoughts has particular resonance in light of the argument that the poem was
actually composed after James?s return to Scotland. Both W.M. Mackenzie and Mathew
McDiarmid argue that the work was clearly composed after 1424.
159
This tends to make
a stronger case for the idea that James was using his poetic work to promote his new
ideas.
It is perhaps telling that just a short time after James?s death Bower wrote
extensively on the qualities to be considered when choosing a wife. Although ostensibly
these pages are connected with David II?s wife Margaret Logie, it is entirely possible
that Bower had a more recent queen in mind, suggesting that James?s reign may have
influenced, to a limited degree, some of the literature that came after his death. That
Bower was writing for a fifteenth century audience must always be borne in mind when
assessing the chronicler?s views on all aspects of Scottish history, particularly when he
was writing on recent events. In describing Margaret Logie, Bower states that David
chose her ?not so much for the excellence of her character as a woman as for the
pleasure he took in her desirable appearance?.
160
If the Quair is to be believed, and
taken as biographical, Joan Beaufort was certainly a beautiful woman, likened by James

157
The exact date of James?s marriage is unknown but it took place in February 1424.
158
See above, pg.198.
159
Mackenzie, The Kingis Quair; McDiarmid, The Kingis Quair. Others suggest a pre-1424 date for the
composition of the Quair, and there are reasonably valid arguments for both positions.
160
Chron. Bower, vii, 333.
232
to several different goddesses, having ?goldin haire and riche atyre?, drawing a parallel
between Joan and Bower?s later description of Margaret whom he sees as a poor choice
for David.
161
However, Bower also relates a vision given to a Scot before the Battle of
Largs (1263) in which another queen, this time St Margaret (d.1093) appears
?resplendent in full royal attire? and the king may have hoped to promote this type of
comparison with the saintly queen.
162
This Margaret?s reputation for piety was
celebrated in her own time, and is presented here as a royal saint, which helps to explain
the lack of criticism directed towards her for her extravagant dress. While Bower was
writing after James?s death, the cleric was part of the king?s administration, raising the
possibility that James was aware of Bower?s views on these two Margarets, which may
also have been generally held views regarding these women at this time.
Bower is somewhat scathing of other women who adorn themselves with
jewels, including this in his list of the characteristics of a ?bad woman?, whom he also
likens to a serpent, this passage following his notation of David and Margaret?s
marriage.
163
Interestingly, James pays significant attention to Joan?s mode of dress,
including her jewellery, highlighting the king?s interest in material possessions,
something that is also evident in the record of his expenditure throughout his reign,
perhaps implying that Bower?s assessment of Margaret Logie is in fact a coded attack on
Joan. The chronicler would have been reluctant to insult Joan openly given that he was
writing in the 1440s, when Joan was the Queen Mother. This is unlikely to have been
popular with the new young king. Among items purchased by James in Flanders were
twenty-four Flemish ells of purple velvet for Joan and gold rings for her worth ?7

161
The Kingis Quair, sts.40-51.
162
Chron. Bower, v, 337.
163
Chron. Bower, vii, 341.
233
Flemish.
164
James also purchased a gold collar, embellished with gems and pearls, as
well as one with a diamond and pearls. Individual pearls were also sent from Flanders,
at least 280 small with fourteen larger ones. These items were sent in a shipment along
with two tapestries, some blue velvet and a gold saltcellar, worth a total of ?219 4s 3d
Flemish.
165
The money for this came from the tax James raised to pay his ransom to
England. The sight of James?s English queen adorned in clothes and jewels purchased
with taxation money would probably not have been popular with the Scottish nobles,
particularly as there is little evidence suggesting that Joan worked for the good of the
kingdom. Indeed, the efforts of James to involve his queen in politics during his reign,
Joan?s actions after James?s death (discussed below) and what was probably a
perception that Joan was promoting the English ideas that James was attempting to
implement in Scotland meant that Joan would probably have been viewed with
suspicion.
Bower is also critical of Margaret Logie?s involvement in the political affairs of
the kingdom. The abbot suggests that it was Margaret?s influence that led to David?s
arrest of his heir in 1368. Bower further points to the strife caused within Scotland by
Margaret?s efforts to contest David?s efforts to divorce her.
166
The idea that women
should not involve themselves in politics appears to be continued in the Auchinlek
chronicle. Referring to Joan Beaufort, the chronicler relates the desire of the political
elites that ?scho suld nocht intromet with his [James II?s] proffettis bot allanerlie with his

164
Account of John Turyne, rendered September 1436, ER, iv, 672-685.
165
Ibid, 680.
166
Chron. Bower, vii, 359; General views on medieval queenship are discussed in Downie, She is But a
Woman, ch.1.
234
person?.
167
Christine McGladdery suggests that this reflects the queen?s political
impotence by the early 1440s. Additionally, Joan?s marriage in mid 1439 to James
Stewart of Lorne is suggestive of her desire to resist both Livingston and Crichton
family power and to protect her own interests, and this was viewed with suspicion by the
political elite of the time.
168

As stated above, James was interested in developing a more magnificent court,
along English lines, as can be seen from the purchase of such luxury items as the
jewellery listed and from the building of Linlithgow Palace (chapter five), as well as the
changes he made to the royal household (chapter two). It has been suggested that this
led to an increase in eminence for Scotland on the Continent, the European marriages of
several of James?s children being cited as evidence of this. However, Fiona Downie has
argued against this, suggesting instead that Scotland?s status has been exaggerated and
instead it was the ability of foreign powers to exploit Scotland that led to these
advantageous marriages.
169
There is a certain logic to Downie?s arguments and
certainly the fact that James was eventually assassinated by his own subjects does
suggest that, at least domestically, his actions were not popular. However, this may
have been due to the fact that his innovations in court and household were more English
in style and, though foreign and unpopular within Scotland, were more likely to win
esteem abroad, helping James to secure international marriages for some of his children.
There is some evidence during James?s reign to suggest that he was not raising
Scotland?s status. The initial embassy that came to Scotland from France included the

167
McGladdery, James II, 19.
168
Ibid. The general medieval aversion to queens remarrying is also discussed here.
169
F. Downie, ??La voie quelle menace tenir?: Annabella Stewart, Scotland, and the European Marriage
Market, 1444-56?, in Scottish Historical Review, vol.LXXVIII, no.206, October 1999, 170-191.
235
Archbishop of Rheims, at that time chancellor of the French king Charles VII, John
Stewart of Darnley, constable of the Scots in France who had won lands and titles from
the French king and the poet Alain Chartier, who was also Charles? secretary. The
embassy was also accompanied by ?a splendid escort?.
170
Bower describes the
archbishop as ?first of his peers?a leading personage both in spirituals and temporals,
and primate under the king in the whole kingdom of France?.
171
Clearly, the Scottish
chronicler was impressed with this French embassy. The embassy that returned to
Scotland in early 1435 attracted much less fulsome praise and consisted of Charles?
ma?tre d?h?tel (though Bower gets his name wrong) and the ?distinguished cleric?
Master Aymer.
172
This would tend to suggest that Downie is correct in arguing against a
substantial increase in status for Scotland in foreign perceptions. However, James had
clearly not abandoned hope of impressing his French counterpart, as evidenced by the
embassy he himself sent to France with his daughter in 1436. According to Bower,
Margaret?s escort included the Earl of Orkney, the Bishop of Brechin, several ?renowned
and famous men-at-arms?, along with 140 ?elegantly dressed? squires and a force of
1000 men in ?three splendid transports and six well-tested barges?.
173
This was an
embassy designed to impress.
xi: Con

clusions
Clearly, there are many problems in trying to assess the role of James I?s court
in literary matters due to the lack of surviving evidence. However, by examining texts

170
Chron. Bower, viii, 247 & 356 n.13.
171
Ibid. 247.
172
Ibid. 249.
173
Ibid.
236
known to be in Scotland later in the fifteenth century and by examining the types of
literature available in England and Europe at this time it has been possible to make some
suggestions regarding this area about the Scottish court during the reign of James I.
From this examination, it has become evident that at first glance, James appears to have
been part of the international scene in this area in terms of the type of works that were of
interest as there is nothing particularly unusual in the genres that appear to have been
favoured at his court. Religious books, romances, works of chivalry and advice texts
can be said with some confidence to have been circulated at James?s court and this is
entirely in-keeping with the general European situation in the early fifteenth century.
James?s education can also be shown to be similar to that of any other medieval prince
and he would thus have been familiar with the most popular genres of literature of the
period. This may have been a result of the large number of leisure hours he would have
had as a captive in England although the limitations of the evidence do not allow any
certain conclusions in this area. Not having a country to run did mean, however, that
James had more time to dedicate to his education and to leisure pursuits than he would
have had he remained in Scotland. Yet while this benefited his education, it may have
created problems for him later on as it reduced his awareness of the realities of
government. James does seem to have had an interest in utilising the propaganda value
of literature, as suggested by the argument regarding some of the subtext apparent in the
Quair. This is also evident in his composition at Inverness to celebrate the capture of
the Lord of the Isles.
However, a more detailed examination of both James?s interest in literature and
how his court compared to the ideals presented in that literature reveals that this was an
237
area in which James failed to excel. While the genres present at court were conventional,
literary works appear to have been something reserved for a select few of James?s
supporters. If Bower is correct that James chose Latin to compose at Inverness, the king
was ensuring that a very limited number, perhaps only his clerical household officers,
would understand and this would serve to emphasise the king?s distance from his
subjects. Even with the Quair, this still suggests a very personal interest in literature.
While in many ways a conventional work, the very personal nature of the subject of the
poem and its rather stylised form implies that even if it was regularly performed at court,
it is unlikely to have enjoyed popularity in the manner of, for instance, The Bruce, which
commemorates a glorious period in the nation?s past and would therefore have been
much more inclusive. Additionally, the only real evidence for the enjoyment of
literature at court comes from Shirley, whose description conjures an image of this as a
pastime for an intimate get-together rather than something carried out at large court
gatherings. This gives a picture of James?s literary and cultural interests as being private
and exclusive, something emphasised by his subject choice for his own poetical work.
The king?s apparent failure to participate in several popular medieval pastimes such as
tournaments and hunting either in reality or in literary terms also suggests that James
was not engaging fully with this aspect of medieval life. This seems to indicate that
while James was cognizant of the importance of literature and chivalric philosophies, he
failed to grasp the importance of including his subjects in these areas at the royal court,
and also failed to sustain the efforts he did make throughout his reign. The king instead
seems to have preferred a highly personal manifestation of this area that distanced him
from his subjects. It is perhaps his failure to fully integrate his subjects into a
238
helped to bring about the climate in which his own subjects decided
to assassinate him.
completely realised royal court and instead to concentrate on less popular and more
private interests that
239
Chapter 7 - Religion and Devotion in the Court and Household of James I

i: Introduction to Medieval Religious Practice
In the medieval period, religion was a crucial part of everyday life. Belief
in the Almighty and in the powers of the saints affected and influenced every level of
society and the royal court was no exception. However, little work has been carried
out to determine the particular way in which this was expressed at the Scottish royal
court in the late medieval period. Some recent work on the fourteenth century has
begun to fill this gap in knowledge but for the reign of James I the subject remains to
be investigated.
1
Michael Brown and E.W.M. Balfour-Melville focus on political
events in this king?s reign, discussions of religion tending to centre on the political
and institutional consequences of relations with the Papacy, reform of existing
religious houses, or on James?s foundation of the Carthusian Priory in Perth.
2
This is
despite the fact that the devotional life of a king can reveal much about his political
objectives and, as it was such a crucial area, may have had a considerable impact on
politics itself. This has been clearly and convincingly shown by W.M. Ormrod in a
study of Edward III.
3
Furthermore, in view of Walter Bower?s (d.1449) statement

1
M. Penman, ?Christian Days and Knights: the Religious Devotions and Court of David II of
Scotland, 1329-71? in Historical Research, vol.75, no.189, August 2002, 249-272; M. Penman, ?The
Bruce Dynasty, Becket and Scottish Pilgrimage to Canterbury, c.1178-c.1404?, Journal of Medieval
History 32 (2006), 346-70; S. Boardman, ?The Gaelic World and the Early Stewart Court?, in D.
Broun & M. MacGregor(eds.), M?orun M?rna nGall, ?The Great Ill-Will of the Lowlander??:
Lowland Perceptions of the Highlands, Medieval and Modern (Web publication, Centre for Scottish
and Celtic Studies, University of Glasgow, 2007).
2
Brown, James I, passim; Balfour-Melville, James I, passim; W.N.M. Beckett, The Perth
Charterhouse Before 1500 (Austria, 1988).
3
Ormrod, ?The Personal Religion of Edward III?. Other works on this subject include M. Prestwich,
?The Piety of Edward I? in W.M. Ormrod (ed.) England in the Thirteenth Century, (Nottingham,
1985); Saul, Richard II, ch.13; R.G. Davies, ?Richard II and the Church? in A. Goodman & J. L.
Gillespie (eds.), Richard II: the Art of Kingship, (Oxford, 1999), 83-106; J. Hughes, The Religious
Life of Richard III, (Stroud, 1997); Vale, The Princely Court, 220-246.
240
that James ?loved knowledge of the Scriptures with incredible zeal?, it is necessary to
investigate just how devout James was.
4

Firstly, it is helpful to summarise in general terms how religion was
practiced in the medieval period and to look at any Scottish peculiarities. Obviously,
the hearing of Mass was a cornerstone of practice in this period, being required of the
laity on Sundays and feast days.
5
Thus the medieval population would have heard
Mass a minimum of once a week, although Duffy has suggested that many of the
laity attended an abbreviated Mass on a daily basis.
6
Again, however, it should be
noted that not everyone adhered to this stricture and there is only limited evidence of
a concerted effort by the Church to enforce this practice.
7
The daily mass would
have been a much shorter ceremony than that of a Sunday or feast day, and would
have been celebrated at the altar with the congregation gathered around rather than
separated from the rituals of the priests by rood screens, as was the case otherwise.
In a ?Sunday? mass, the congregation would have had difficulty seeing and hearing
the ceremony, particularly after the introduction of Low Mass, which was spoken
instead of sung and thus would not have carried around the church in the same way.
8

Attendance at Mass was not just required by the Church, but by society as well.
Duffy has suggested that absence from the Sunday service could be perceived as a
sign of sloth or even heresy, thus making attendance crucial for the maintenance of
social standing. Furthermore, it provided an opportunity for social interaction, the
church being the centre of most communities.
9
Another reason for the importance of

4
Chron. Bower, viii, 309.
5
E. Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars; Traditional Religion in England, 1400-1580, (New Haven and
London, 1992) 11.
6
Ibid. 112.
7
N. Tanner & S. Watson, ?The Least of the Laity: the Minimum Requirements for a Medieval
Christian? in Journal of Medieval History, 32 (2006), 409.
8
B. Hamilton, Religion in the Medieval West, 2
nd
edition (London, 2003), 60.
9
Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars, 126, 12.
241
Mass was that medieval people believed strongly in the power of masses to reduce
the time a soul spent in purgatory, atoning for sins committed during life. Edward III
of England ordered 900 masses in 1337 for his deceased brother John of Eltham.
10

The Scots were no different in this practice, David II paying for masses for his own
brother, also John, in 1342, though his death in infancy would probably have meant
that he needed to atone for few sins.
11
Robert III also followed this practice,
awarding an annuity to the chapel of St Saviour in Dundee to commemorate the
death of his son David, duke of Rothesay.
12

The actual ceremony of the Mass was fairly regularised, beginning with
prayers and a general confession, followed by the Kyrie eleison and the hymn Gloria
in excelsis Deo. Readings and prayers and then the process of the consecration of the
host, the key element of the Mass, would follow this. The consecrated host would be
elevated, allowing the congregation to observe it, the singing of the hymn Agnus Dei,
and the taking of communion. The service would conclude with a prayer of
thanksgiving and a blessing. Part of the Mass did vary according to the season or
particular saint being venerated and this usually consisted of variations in readings,
psalms and hymns, chosen to coincide with the particular sentiments of the feast in
question.
13

The taking of communion was another facet of medieval religious practice.
This was something that was actually only required of the laity once a year, as part of
the festivities relating to Easter. Generally, the individual would attend confession
during Holy Week and would take communion on Easter Day. It was only after this

10
Ormrod, ?The Personal Religion of Edward III?, 855.
11
Penman, ?Christian Days?, 254.
12
ER, iii, 626.
13
Hamilton, Religion in the Medieval West, 58.
242
that they were permitted to end the 40 days of fasting that marked Lent.
14
That the
Church took the fulfilment of this obligation seriously is evidenced by the penalty for
failing to do so; the offender would be excluded from Church and denied Christian
burial.
15
It is unlikely that most of the laity took communion more often than this.
There is no record of how often James I took communion but Duffy relates that Lady
Margaret Beaufort (1443-1509), who took communion monthly, was considered to
be a particularly devout woman, while Margery Kempe (c.1373-1438) provoked a
negative reaction from her community by partaking on a weekly basis.
16
Bower does
hint at the devoutness of James, perhaps suggesting that he partook more frequently
than the annual minimum. Bower asserts that James loved Scripture, as already
highlighted, and further states that an examination of the history of the Carthusian
Order ?make[s] clear the devotion of the king who brought this order to Scotland.?
17

In addition, James?s literary work The Kingis Quair contains several biblical
references such as at stanza 74 where the image of angels at Christ?s nativity is
evoked and in stanza 133 where the sayings of Solomon in Ecclesiastes are
referenced.
18
Ecclesiastes presents itself as being the autobiography of Solomon and
is concerned with, according to Michael Eaton, defending faith in a generous God by
pointing out the bleakness of the alternative possibility.
19
The imagery of angels is
interesting, as angels are a dominant motif in the coat of arms that adorns the original
entrance to James?s palace at Linlithgow. This would appear to reinforce the point
suggested in chapter five, that James was seeking to make strong associations

14
Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars, 93.
15
R.N. Swanson, Religion and Devotion in Europe, c.1245-c.1515 (Cambridge, 1995), 33.
16
Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars, 93.
17
Chron. Bower, viii, 309, 275.
18
The Kingis Quair.
19
M. A. Eaton, Ecclesiastes: An Introduction and Commentary (Leicester, 1983).
243
between the royal and the religious. However, there is no substantial evidence
stating how often James would have engaged in communion.
Almsgiving and gifts to churches and other institutions were also important
facets of the practice of religion in this period, being evidence of the charity of the
giver. This would also have acted to imply that the giver was not accumulating
wealth. Hamilton has argued that medieval people regarded this as spiritually
dangerous as it would suggest that an individual had fallen prey to the sin of
avarice.
20
Edward I gave alms to a large number of paupers, a total of 666 per week
by the end of the thirteenth century.
21
Edward?s grandson, Edward III, also gave
alms, receiving praise for the high level of alms that he granted to widows and
orphans, as well as the various gifts of plate, books, vestments and other items that
he donated.
22
These gifts could represent a significant outlay of expenditure. On
one occasion, Edward gifted five gold ships to various locations, each worth ?53 5s
8?d.
23
There was a strong political motivation behind these objects in addition to the
spiritual benefits. Edward?s growing naval reputation had been commemorated in
new coinage and the gift of objects in the shape of ships was clearly designed to
coincide with this, to represent the English king?s success on the seas. As Ormrod
states, this is a perfect example of how personal piety could be combined with
political motivations for maximum propaganda impact.
24
Richard II was also noted
as an extravagant giver of gifts to religious institutions. An example of this is the
portable silver altar he granted to Westminster Abbey, with the story of Edward the
Confessor, a favoured saint of that king, and the pilgrims enamelled on it. Richard

20
Hamilton, Religion in the Medieval West, 65.
21
Prestwich, ?The Piety of Edward I?, 120-1. The sums distributed totalled around ?700 per year.
Ibid., 122.
22
Ormrod, ?The Personal Religion of Edward III?, 850.
23
Ibid, 860.
24
Ibid.
244
also gave jewellery and several sets of vestments to the monks of the Abbey.
25

However, Richard Davies suggests that an annual total of almsgiving of between
?350 and ?700 was not enough to mark Richard II out as particularly generous in this
area.
26
Earlier kings also made a point of giving elaborate gifts to religious
institutions. Henry III, for example, provided a golden cup worth around ?57 in the
1240s as a vessel to contain the relic of the Holy Blood that he had recently been
given. Henry also gave a cup to the monks of Westminster, as thanks for the return
to life of William le Brown.
27
This practice was continued into the fifteenth century.
Henry V spent ?160 in July of the first year of his reign on a gold ornament in the
shape of a man?s head, adorned with pearls and jewels to be donated by him at the
tomb of Thomas Becket at Canterbury.
28
From these examples, it is possible to see a
mixture of political and pious motives in the arena of alms and gift giving. The same
is true of the particular shrines and institutions that were chosen to be recipients of
such bounty: this is a topic that shall be returned to in more detail below.
The extant records for James I?s reign reveal little concerning the gifts and
alms of the Scottish king, although there are a couple of instances suggestive of this
practice. At some point between 17 May 1427 and 5 May 1428, George Crichton
made offerings of 15s at an unrecorded location in England on behalf of the queen
and the royal couple together offered 15s on Palm Sunday, no doubt as part of the
rituals of Holy Week. The following year, the Exchequer Rolls record the king and
queen offering 5s and 20s respectively at the church of St Michael in Linlithgow at

25
Saul, Richard II, 313.
26
Davies, ?Richard II and the Church?, 84.
27
N. Vincent, The Holy Blood: King Henry III and the Westminster Blood Relic (Cambridge, 2001),
171-2.
28
Devon, Issues of the Exchequer, 321-2.
245
the beginning of April, which may relate to Easter in some way.
29
These may appear
to be small sums, but even 5s would allow for 1d each to be paid to sixty paupers.
For the year 1435, there is a record of Joan paying ?3 (a fairly considerable sum) to a
woman looking after a poor boy, which could be considered an alms payment.
30

These figures are of considerably lower value than many of those offered by the
English king, even lower than might be adequately explained by the lower income of
James and Joan. It is possible, even probable, that the royal couple made other
offerings that have simply not been recorded due to the lower level of bureaucracy or
were made in years for which records no longer survive. Also, there is some
possibility that the lack of record was deliberate. As is discussed in chapter two, it is
feasible that James actively sought to obscure royal expenditure and this perhaps
resulted in limited information regarding the king?s devotional behaviour being
recorded. Furthermore, some payments made by English kings were of lower
amounts, for instance the 6s 8d offered by Richard II to the shrine of Thomas Becket
at Canterbury in 1384.
31
However, as the English examples given above make clear,
there was a significant difference in the recorded alms payments of the English and
Scottish monarchs. It is possible, however, that these larger sums are indicative of
the ?grand gesture? that the English monarchs were able to indulge due to their larger
income and spoils of war while the small sums quoted here are exemplary of the
ordinary, regular almsgiving of a monarch of this period. If so, James?s offerings do
not appear so contradictory. James also participated in the custom of paying for
masses, for example, continuing payments to a chaplain of St Saviour in Dundee for

29
ER, iv, 450, 485. The precise date of Crichton?s offering is not stated in the Exchequer Rolls, but it
is recorded in the Linlithgow account for the period 17 May 1427 to 5 May 1428.
30
Ibid, 627.
31
Saul, Richard II, 317.
246
the soul of his deceased brother, David, duke of Rothesay.
32
Obviously, the religious
life of James I appears little different in expression to that of either his predecessors
or his English counterparts. Thus, it is possible to arrive at a more detailed picture of
the devotional life of the Scottish king by extrapolating from the evidence that does
exist and comparing it to other times and kingdoms.
Masses, alms and gifts were important expressions of faith among kings in
this period as they sought to accrue to themselves the blessings of God and the saints.
This was a particularly important enterprise, as medieval thought seems to have
viewed the king as the conduit through which God?s favour flowed to his subjects.
Certainly, this was the view of one fifteenth-century English preacher.
33
Belief in
the intercessory powers of the saints was as real to the medieval mind as belief in the
power of God and Jesus Christ. There are of course numerous examples of kings,
and indeed nobles, making offerings to saints in return for their help, but one Scottish
instance is perhaps sufficient to illustrate the point. The two explanations commonly
proffered to explain David II?s foundation of St Monans in Fife both relate to the
intervention of that saint in David?s life, one stating that the saint helped remove an
arrowhead from the king?s head after Neville?s Cross and another that the saint saved
David from shipwreck on a crossing from North Berwick to Earlsferry.
34
There is a
problem, though, in determining how far spiritual motives influenced such actions as
opposed to political considerations, but this point shall be explored in more detail
below.
This is not to say that religious belief and practice was static in the medieval
period. Changes did occur, leading in some extremes to beliefs that were considered

32
Ibid. passim.
33
R.M. Raines, ?Our Master Mariner, our Sovereign Lord?: a Contemporary Preacher?s View of
Henry V?, Medieval Studies, xxxviii (1976), 85-96, quoted in Saul, Richard II, 293.
34
Penman, ?Christian Days?, 251.
247
heretical. For the period currently under consideration, Lollardy was the chief
example of this and sought, Saul suggests, not the destruction of the Catholic Church
as would be the case in the sixteenth century, but reform to bring it into line with
changes in the beliefs of the laity.
35
Saul relates that piety was taking on a more
personal and introspective form, with the spread of literacy and increasing use of
confessors among the nobility contributing significantly to this trend. Despite its
heretical nature, Lollardy was not without support at the English royal court of the
fourteenth century. Both the Black Prince and his wife appear to have had Lollard
sympathies, the Princess of Wales nominating as executors of her will the three
knights in her entourage most closely associated with the movement, namely Lewis
Clifford, John Clanvow and Richard Stury.
36
Richard II retained the service of these
men when he acceded to the throne, along with other Lollard sympathisers, giving
them positions in his chamber and granting land and title to some, for example,
Haverford Castle and stewardship of its lordship to Clanvow in 1381.
37
This had
changed by the late 1380s, possibly due to a popular conception that linked Lollardy
to social unrest. Richard enforced anti-Lollard legislation, forcing Stury to swear an
oath renouncing his heresy, for example, and ordering Oxford University to suspend
Henry Crumpe for teaching heretical doctrines.
38

In Scotland, Lollardy does not appear to have gained even this minimal
level of support from the upper levels of society. Indeed, David Ditchburn argues
that none of the major medieval heresies gained much ground in Scotland, with
Lollardy largely nonexistent in Scotland after 1408 and the burning of James

35
Saul, Richard II, 297.
36
Ibid, 298.
37
Ibid, 299.
38
Ibid, 302.
248
Resby.
39
This occurred during the governorship of the Duke of Albany, of whom
Wyntoun states ?all Lollard he hatyt and heretike?, indicating that orthodox belief
was strong in Scotland.
40
Additionally, Albany?s son, Murdoch, was kidnapped in
1415 as part of a possible Lollard conspiracy, and these factors were perhaps
significant in formulating James?s own attitude. It should also be born in mind that
one of the stated reasons for the foundation of St Andrews University was the
resistance of Lollardy. Ranald Nicholson highlights a charter of 28 February 1411
by Bishop Wardlaw, which stated that higher education was of great benefit in aiding
the Catholic faith to resist heresy. Nicholson also relates the fact that in 1417,
graduates of the Scottish university were required to swear an oath to ?defend the
kirk against the attack of Lollards?.
41
Balfour-Melville is no doubt correct to suggest
that James would have been keen to show himself equally against Lollardy,
especially given his upbringing at the Lancastrian court.
42
Indeed, James appears to
have moved quickly to illustrate his anti-Lollard stance upon his return to Scotland.
A parliamentary Act of 1425 required bishops to investigate possible heresies and to
punish Lollards and heretics and this may have discouraged the spread of this
belief.
43
Furthermore, Bower?s reaction towards heretics and the several pages that
he devotes to attacking them gives additional strength to the idea that Jacobean
Scotland was generally anti-heretical.
44
It is not particularly surprising that Scotland
should be little different from the rest of Europe in its reaction towards the spread of
Lollardy. Ditchburn argues quite convincingly that in matters of devotion and
doctrine, the remoter kingdom followed the same pattern as the Continent in this

39
Ditchburn, Scotland and Europe, 39.
40
Chron.Wyntoun (Laing), bk.9, l.2774).
41
Nicholson, The Later Middle Ages, 241.
42
Balfour-Melville, James I, 62.
43
Ditchburn, Scotland and Europe, 40.
44
Chron. Bower, viii, 277-87.
249
period.
45
However, Ditchburn does not contradict David McRoberts? argument that
there was something of a growing nationalism in devotional behaviour in the
fifteenth century.
46
The extent to which this applies to James I shall be examined in
due course.

ii: Religion and Propaganda
As already stated there is some difficulty in separating the pious and
political motives behind religious practices. It may be useful, therefore, to examine
some of the ways in which kings could use religion as a political tool at this time.
The Church was an obvious vehicle for princes to use in attempting to control and
influence the opinions of their subjects. Not only was the Church a powerful force,
but it also had an extensive organisation. As A.K. McHardy has suggested, the fact
that Church organisation reached from the Pope all the way to individual parishes,
even those geographically remote from the usual centres of power, made it a perfect
channel through which to engender unity and loyalty. One of the ways in which this
could be accomplished was the saying of prayers for the royal family. Edward III
certainly made full use of this custom, which was increasing in use in the fourteenth
century, during his campaigns in the Hundred Years War.
47

James also promoted this practice, though obviously not due to the fact that
he was engaged in major military campaigns. Nicholson has suggested that James
wished to cast a spiritual aura around the monarchy and publicise unity with the
Church.
48
This was a perfectly logical step for James to take, as he sought to

45
Ditchburn, Scotland and Europe, 34.
46
Ibid, 52; D. McRoberts, ?The Scottish Church and Nationalism in the Fifteenth Century? in Innes
Review, vol.19, no.1 (Spring, 1968), 3-14.
47
A.K. McHardy, ?Some Reflections on Edward III?s use of Propaganda? in J.S. Bothwell (ed.), The
Age of Edward III (Woodbridge, 2001), 171-192.
48
Nicholson, The Later Middle Ages, 299.
250
establish his authority following his long absence from Scotland. By firmly
associating himself with God, James was making a powerful statement about his
right to rule. James himself made provision for prayers for the royal family. A royal
act of 25 February 1426 provided for ?24 per annum to be paid to three chaplains in
the chapel of St John the Baptist at the church of Corstorphine, celebrating for the
health of the king and queen and for the church?s founder, Adam Forrester of
Corstorphine, father to John Forrester, who was James?s chamberlain.
49
The
Exchequer Rolls do record an annuity paid to this chapel in every subsequent year for
which records are extant except 1431, though the amount noted is ?20 rather than
?24 as stated in the RMS.
50
It is likely that the chapel?s patron saint was the target of
devotion in this instance, as opposed to any other saint who may have been
associated with the structure or who had an altar within it.
James also confirmed two other charters that included provision for
celebrations for the king and queen. One, originally made by John Forrester of
Corstorphine, provided ?6 13s 4d to the church of St Giles in Edinburgh for the
health of the king, queen and Forrester?s parents and wife and was confirmed in
February 1426.
51
On 1 September of the same year, James confirmed a charter
providing a chaplain to the altar of St Mary in the monastery of Holyrood in
Edinburgh.
52
Interestingly this date coincides with the feast day of St Giles, a saint
particularly associated with Edinburgh and which falls between the feasts of the
Assumption and the Nativity of the Virgin (15/8 and 8/9 respectively). The
combination perhaps suggests particular interest in these two holy figures on the part
of James. The king?s apparent interest in the cult of the Virgin is particularly

49
RMS, ii, no.35. This would have averaged at ?8 (or 1920d) per chaplain and would most likely
have allowed for at least one daily mass to be said.
50
ER, iv, 425, 455, 495, 521, 638.
51
RMS, ii, no.34.
52
RMS, ii, no.60.
251
significant as this was among the greatest of the European cults in this period.
53
The
saying of masses was one way in which the king could attempt to link himself and
God more firmly together in the minds of Scotland?s people.
Other forms of propaganda could also serve to link the king and God more
firmly together in the mind of Scotland?s people. Painted images and sculptures,
royal imagery in chapels, and illuminated books could all provide visual testimony to
the special relationship between the king and the Almighty.
54
For instance, two
angels flank the royal arms at Linlithgow with a third supporting them from above.
This is a somewhat grandiose image, being far larger than any other example of
monumental heraldry known at the time and the presence of three angels suggests
that James was seeking to really hammer home the point of his associations with the
religious aspects of lordship. Statues of saints on either side of the arms would have
underlined this. As discussed in chapter five, the saints these statues represented are
not known, if indeed they were saints.
55
However, it is probable that religious
images were chosen to complement the form of the royal arms. As previously
discussed, Saints Andrew, James, Columba, John and of course Michael are all
potential candidates for these positions. The combination of Andrew and James
would certainly make sense within the context of an uncertain monarch attempting to
assert his position. The association of the national saint with the royal arms and the
saint sharing James?s name would have been a means of visually allying the king
with the nation, of binding the two together in the public imagination. However,
Scotland?s ?other? national saint, Columba, may also have been a possibility.
Columba?s relics were carried at Bannockburn (23-24 June), which would perhaps

53
James?s interest in the cult of the Virgin will be discussed in more detail below.
54
Images of saints, their creation and their uses are discussed in J. Higgitt, ??Imageis Maid with
Mennis Hand?: Saints, Images, Belief and Identity in Later Medieval Scotland?, The Ninth Whithorn
Lecture, 16 September 2006.
55
See ch.5, section iv.
252
have made James interested in promoting a connection between himself and
Columba. The idea that James may have been interested in Columba is accentuated
by the fact that the centre of Columba?s cult in Scotland was Dunkeld in Perthshire,
his relics having been moved there in 849.
56
This was an area that James was greatly
interested in during his reign, as evidenced by his attraction to Perth and the ways in
which he interfered with the Earl of Atholl?s landed interests in the area. James also
interfered in the bishopric of Dunkeld, which encompassed much of Atholl?s landed
interests, in early 1437 after Bishop Cardeny died.
57
The use of St Michael would
ally the new palace with the parish church of Linlithgow, thus further associating the
royal with the religious. This would have added to the Michael dedications at Scone
(Michael was an additional dedicatee of the Abbey), Rothesay and Stirling (where
the castles had chapels dedicated to Michael).
58
It is possible that an interest in St
Michael was a way for James to link the royal symbolism at Linlithgow with the
military symbolism of Stirling Castle through these dedications to St Michael. This
may have connected to the king?s attempt to promote the cult of the Duke of
Rothesay, through that parish?s church dedication. Another possibility for the statues
is St John the Baptist, as James had a strong interest in this saint, as will be discussed
below.
James was not the only king to combine religious and royal imagery. At
Westminster Abbey, for example, Richard II had incorporated many royal emblems
into the d?cor and into gifts given by him to the Abbey. For instance, Richard used
the white-hart badge in wall paintings and royal heraldry was incorporated into a set

56
P. Yeoman, Pilgrimage in Medieval Scotland, (London, 1999), 84-5. Yeoman suggests that most
Lowland and eastern Scots would have found it easier to visit Columba shrines in Dunkeld and
Inchcolm rather than Iona, although the later retained importance to those in the north and Western
Isles.
57
Brown, James I, 182.
58
MacKinlay, Ancient Church Dedications: Scriptural, 25-6, 340.
253
of vestments.
59
This imagery was so extensive, Joel Burden argues, that Henry IV
chose to bury Richard at King?s Langley as opposed to Westminster, as the imagery,
allied with the presence of Richard?s body, would have presented an unacceptable
threat to Lancastrian propaganda regarding the validity of Richard?s reign.
60
This
certainly indicates how significant the association of royal with religious symbolism
could be and the effect it could have on the minds of a congregation. Edward III had
earlier utilised such a method. D.M. Palliser suggests that this king was particularly
fond of Westminster Abbey in terms of utilising it as a burial place. A writ of 1339
suggests that Edward wanted to be buried there and John of Reading reiterated this in
1359. Furthermore, he asked that the body of his younger brother, John of Eltham,
be moved to a more prominent position among the other royal burials there.
61

Palliser also seems to argue that Edward had a particular propaganda motive in his
attitude towards the Abbey as a mausoleum. Edward?s own desire for ?a royal tomb
in the church of St Peter among our ancestors the kings of England of famous
memory? does imply, as Palliser suggests, that it was traditional for English
monarchs to be buried there. In reality, Edward III would be only the third since
1066.
62
Logic suggests that the reason for the ?spin? was a desire to enhance his own
status by association with the kings of the past, especially Edward the Confessor and
Edward I due to their considerable reputations. Ormrod highlights that many altar
frontals, vestments, chalices and books used in court rituals were decorated with the
quartered arms of England and France, a powerful propaganda statement regarding

59
J. Burden, ?How do you Bury a Deposed King? The Funeral of Richard II and the Establishment of
Lancastrian Royal Authority in 1400? in G. Dodd & D Biggs (eds.), Henry IV: The Establishment of
the Regime, 1399-1406 (Woodbridge, 2003), 46.
60
Ibid.
61
D.M. Palliser, ?Royal Mausolea in the Long Fourteenth Century, 1272-1422? in W.M. Ormrod (ed.),
Fourteenth Century England III (Woodbridge, 2004), 9; P. Binski, Westminster Abbey and the
Plantagenets: Kingship and the Representation of Power, 1200-1400 (New Haven & London, 1995).
62
Palliser, ?Royal Mausolea?, 10.
254
the worthiness of the cause in seeking the French throne.
63
McHardy adds that
church windows could also be used in this manner, citing as an example the east
window of what is now Gloucester Cathedral.
64
A further significant example of
such religious propaganda is to be found in the Wilton Diptych, commissioned by
Richard II in the late 1390s, which is a portrayal of pious kingship and also
celebrates Richard?s interest in the cult of the Virgin and may also have acted as a
Crusading icon.
65

These were simple, yet effective methods of promoting the association of
the monarch with God to a still largely illiterate population. There were significant
political motivations for this. In discussing the religious life of Richard III, Jonathan
Hughes offers a view of that king as a particularly pious individual in contrast to the
usually condemnatory image.
66
Hughes suggests that it was in part the accusations
against him that influenced his religious beliefs. Thus, it is perhaps possible to
suggest that there was an element of propaganda in this, as Richard sought to
promote a better image of himself, though Hughes does argue quite strongly that
Richard was genuinely pious. This is a particularly interesting point in relation to the
latter half of James?s reign. With the failure of his Highland policy from c.1430
onwards, distrust from parliament that resulted in tax raised for a Highland campaign
being kept out of royal control in 1431, and the failure of the Roxburgh campaign in
1436, James needed to bolster his image. Careful attention to religious matters
would no doubt have been fundamental in this context: he could not afford to
overlook the benefits of a suitably pious image. The propaganda element of religion
is also explored in the medieval text Secreta Secretorum, described by Hughes as the

63
Ormrod, ?The Personal Religion of Edward III?, 867.
64
McHardy, ?Edward III?s Use of Propaganda?, 186.
65
Saul, Richard II, 304-7.
66
Hughes, The Religious Life of Richard III.
255
standard manual for princes of the time.
67
The text states that prayers to God could
deliver a man from danger of death, protect him from the hatred of his enemies and
secure victory in battle. Obviously, these would be things any individual of this
period would wish to secure, but would have been especially important to a king,
particularly one such as James who needed to secure his position within his kingdom.
By portraying himself as a devout monarch, James could promote himself as a good
king, in medieval terms, as he could represent himself as a man to whom God?s
blessings would accrue. The Secreta also could have provided James with
justification for his attack on the Albany Stewart family, as it stated that it was
justice not to spare your enemies. This text was apparently well known in Scotland
in the early fifteenth century, making it likely that James was aware of it. It was
certainly popular enough to warrant a translation into Scots by Gilbert Hay
(b.c.1403) in 1456, known as The Buke of the Gouernaunce of Princes.
68

The decoration of chapels, vestments and so on could also be used to
represent and enhance the king?s piety. However, there is little evidence regarding
this area for the reign of James I. There are not, for instance, any detailed
descriptions of purchases for the royal chapels relating how far royal imagery was
incorporated into them. However, there are recorded a few purchases stated as being
for the chapel. An entry in the Westminster Scottish Rolls records that in October
1424 James purchased a pair of coffers for the chapel, though it does not state which
chapel.
69
It would not have been Linlithgow, the manor there having burned down
and construction had not yet begun on the new Palace. Most probably, the

67
Ibid, 130. The Secreta was a pseudo-Aristotelian Secreta Secretorum, which began as an Arabic
text dating from c.941 before appearing in Latin translations from the twelfth century. Numerous
copies are extant.
68
A. Glenn (ed.), The prose works of Sir Gilbert Hay. Vol. 3, The buke of the ordre of knychthede and
The buke of the gouernaunce of princes, Scottish Text Society (Edinburgh, 1993).
69
CDS, iv, no.967.
256
destination was an established chapel at a royal residence, perhaps Stirling, where St
Michael?s chapel would later be constituted into a Chapel Royal (1509), or perhaps
to St Mary?s in Edinburgh Castle, given James?s strong interest in this saint?s cult.
James was in Edinburgh towards the end of October so this is a strong possibility.
However, the king was also in Stirling later in the year and may have taken delivery
of the items there. Alternatively, the coffers may even have been intended for use at
Perth, given the large amount of time that James would spend there during his reign,
although it is not immediately clear that James intended to spend so much time there
right at the start of his reign. It is also possible that the items may have either been
added to, or constituted the basis of, the king?s travelling chapel paraphernalia. The
same entry also shows that James had purchased two books for the chapel and a
bible. Unfortunately, no price is given for any of these items, though in the later
years of his reign Henry V paid ?3 6s for materials for a bible, so James?s books at
least represented a fairly significant investment, even if they were only standard
rather than personalised texts.
70
Books could serve as propaganda objects as much
as other areas mentioned. A prime, though later, example of this is Edward IV?s
display bible, discussed in chapter six.
71

Further, though still limited, information regarding the decoration of
Scottish chapels is found in the Exchequer Rolls. In the 1428 account, John de
Camera, Clerk of the King?s Chapel received furnishings worth ?11 12s 4d.
72
De
Camera received a further ?9 11s in furnishings the following year.
73
In both cases
the allowance for these expenses was made from the customs of Edinburgh, perhaps
suggesting that the items were destined for the chapel at Edinburgh Castle, although

70
Issues of the Exchequer, 372.
71
See ch.6, section iii.
72
ER, iv, 438.
73
Ibid, 473
257
this is not an accurate way to assess this. Again, there is no detail to these entries, so
it is impossible to know exactly what form these ?furnishings? took. It does not seem
unreasonable to assume that altar cloths and vestments of some kind were in some
way included. The design of these may well have incorporated some form of royal
imagery, as was the case in the reign of Edward III as stated above. It does not seem
likely that James would have missed this opportunity to take advantage of the
benefits that such associations of the royal and religious could bring. As already
stated, James incorporated these motifs at Linlithgow with the use of angels on the
royal arms over the entrance, in a deliberate display of imagery.
Another method by which a king could circulate such an image was by
means of the royal seal. John Steane has argued that Great Seals are an important
source of information regarding medieval concepts of kingship, of which there were
two basic themes, namely the king as provider of justice and the king as a military
leader.
74
Seals could be used for propaganda purposes, as Steane goes on to suggest
was the case for Henry IV, whose seal included images of Saints Edmund and
Edward the Confessor in order to reinforce Henry?s claim of descent from Henry III
who venerated both these saints.
75
It would also have provided a visible link
between the royal and the religious, both due to the association of the king with two
saints, but also because these were royal saints. While not a royal seal, that of the
Perth Charterhouse performed something of a similar function, and is significant in
this instance as James founded the monastery. Walter de Gray Birch states that the
monastery?s seal showed the coronation of the Virgin with an effigy of James I
kneeling on a cushion in worship in the base.
76
The juxtaposition of these images is

74
Steane, The Archaeology of the Medieval English Monarchy, 23-26.
75
Ibid, 29.
76
W. de G. Birch, History of Scottish Seals: Ecclesiastical and Monastic Seals of Scotland (Stirling,
1907), 105. In describing a later fifteenth century version of the Charterhouse seal, Laing states that
258
remarkable, as it visually linked James to one of the most popular saints of the
period, the Virgin Mary. Again, this was making a statement about the spiritual
attitude and behaviour of James I. The image was a visible reminder of the
foundation of the Carthusian monastery by the king.

iii: Royal Piety and Perth
The religious life of the Scottish king can also be more fully understood
through an examination of the foundation of the Perth Charterhouse. The
Charterhouse, as is well known, was the last monastery to be founded in Scotland
and the largest since Sweetheart Abbey in 1273 so it is clearly of crucial importance
in the development of religious ideas within the kingdom generally.
77
The reasons
why James felt it would be beneficial to undertake the expense of founding this
monastery are varied.
78
The following of fashion no doubt played some part in this
scheme as the Carthusian Order received a significant amount of interest throughout
Europe in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. James was keen to establish himself
as the supreme authority in his kingdom and by associating himself with powerful
European princes he was making a statement to his subjects about his view of
himself and how he wished to be viewed. Certainly, there is no shortage of examples
of notable figures establishing Charterhouses. This supports Brown?s contention that
James wanted to associate himself with this trend.
79
In 1377, Philip the Bold, duke
of Burgundy began construction of a Carthusian monastery of Champmol at Dijon

the kneeling figure at the base is a monk, with a crown before him, H. Laing, Supplemental
Descriptive Catalogue of Ancient Scottish Seals, Bannatyne Club (Edinburgh, 1866), 207. Birch also
states that the Dominican friars of Perth used images of the Virgin and Child or of St John the Baptist
and St James, their patron saints. This may help to explain King James?s interest in St John, given his
preference for residing at the Blackfriars when in Perth. Alternatively, he may have preferred to stay
there partly because of his interest in St John.
77
Beckett, The Perth Charterhouse, x.
78
See ch.5, section viii for an examination of the cost of this project.
79
Brown, James I, 117.
259
(its foundation charter was dated 15 March 1385) in honour of the Holy Trinity.
80

The construction cost more than 75,000 francs and was for twenty-four instead of the
usual twelve monks.
81
James may have become aware of this example during his
time in France in the early 1420s or else from the Flemish embassy that visited
Scotland in 1425. The strong economic connections between Scotland and the
Burgundian territories would also have provided the means for this interest to be
communicated. Richard II of England, although not founding a Charterhouse
himself, appears to have taken an interest in the Order. Saul relates that Richard laid
the foundation stone of the church of the house founded in Coventry by William,
Lord Zouche, and granted the priory of Edith Weston in Rutland to the monastery.
82

Of perhaps greater relevance to the current study, are the foundations by relatives of
Joan Beaufort and Henry V. Two of Joan?s uncles, Henry Beaufort, bishop of
Winchester, and Thomas, earl of Exeter, were described as benefactors of the Order
and another uncle, Thomas Holland, duke of Surrey, founded Mount Grace in
Yorkshire in 1398.
83
Further, the Charterhouse established by Henry V at Sheen in
1414 was within the diocese of Henry Beaufort.
84

Furthermore, Ditchburn has argued that religion was the principal bonding
agent of Christian Europe.
85
Thus the founding of a Carthusian monastery, popular
at the time, would have provided a beneficial link to English and European men of
power, by highlighting that the Scottish king was involved in this popular expression
of piety. However, what commentators on James?s reign seem to skim over is

80
Cartellieri, The Court of Burgundy, 29.
81
Vaughan, Philip the Bold, 202.
82
Saul, Richard II, 322.
83
Beckett, The Perth Charterhouse, 2.
84
Downie, ??Sche is but a Womman?, 173; N. Beckett, ?Henry VII and Sheen Charterhouse? in The
Reign of Henry VII, discusses the early foundation of the Sheen Charterhouse. It is not clear if James
actually visited this establishment personally, but he would no doubt have been aware of it.
85
Ditchburn, Scotland and Europe, 33.
260
precisely why the Carthusians were important in this period as opposed to other
Orders. Though there has been some discussion of the foundation elsewhere, most
notably by W.N.M. Beckett, there has been little effort to place the foundation firmly
in the context of James I?s reign. Thus it seems a little inadequate to simply state
that a fashionable impulse motivated James. Determining the precise stimulus will
no doubt be impossible, since no evidence has survived to say exactly why James
took this course of action.
Balfour-Melville suggests that James was carrying out Archibald, fourth
earl of Douglas?s earlier plan of foundation.
86
However, Beckett places the emphasis
on James still being in England at the time when Henry V began work at Sheen and
on the influence of the Beauforts through his marriage to Joan.
87
James?s rather
austere lifestyle during his imprisonment may also have attracted him to an Order
known for its austerity. However, the rather extravagant spending spree that the king
would engage in after 1424 would tend to contradict the idea that James was
rejecting material possessions, although James was perhaps seeking to offer a
contrast to his own acquisitive habits with his association with the Carthusians.
The influence of Joan?s family is particularly relevant given the influence
the queen had with James. In 1428, for instance, nobles were compelled to swear an
oath of loyalty to Joan as well as James, and again had to swear fealty in 1434,
giving the queen a significant political role. Additionally, as Balfour-Melville has
noted, there are several instances in the Exchequer Rolls where the queen?s mandate
was accepted for remissions of customs and she attended the Inverness parliament of

86
Balfour-Melville, James I, 272.
87
Beckett, The Perth Charterhouse, 1, 2.
261
1428 with her husband, though this latter activity may have been designed to draw
the Highland nobles into a false sense of security.
88

Scottish nobles were also showing an interest in this Order. On 5 June
1419, the Pope approved Douglas?s request to build a Charterhouse, as mentioned
above.
89
Although this was never built, it does show that interest in the Carthusians
existed in Scotland prior to James?s return and amongst a family with whom James
had a close connection, both during his captivity and after 1424. The Douglas earl
was a patron of James?s foundation, giving to the house, in February 1434, the
?marches? of ?Scurrikrag? close to Kelso Abbey and Redden and Hadden close to the
Tweed. Balfour-Melville argues that this gift speeded Douglas? release from prison,
implying, it seems, that the gift was motivated by the purely secular consideration of
obtaining the king?s favour.
90
However, the earlier interest in founding a Carthusian
house shown by the family suggests that this was not the case. Further, in July 1439,
when Archibald, fifth earl of Douglas was Lieutenant General, the Pope?s vice-
chancellor approved the gift to the Carthusians of the right of patronage of the parish
church of St Mary in the Forest of Selkirk, worth a total of ?400.
91
It should also be
noted that the number of former Douglas men in James?s household, several of
whom were clerics as highlighted in chapter four, might also have proved influential.
It is possible that they informed the king of the fourth earl?s interest in this order and
this increased royal interest.
Diplomatic contacts with Douglas during his imprisonment, exposure to the
court of Henry V and the conduit of Joan for Beaufort influence can thus all be seen
to have had an impact on James in some way. The earlier examination of the

88
Balfour-Melville, James I, 249.
89
Beckett, The Perth Charterhouse, x.
90
Balfour-Melville, James I, 194.
91
Ibid, 18.
262
household of James shows that James had a significant interest in the Douglas
family, while elsewhere in this thesis it is argued that exposure to the court life of
Henry V led James to emulate this king in an effort to increase his own status.
Furthermore, Fiona Downie has argued convincingly that Joan was an important
figure in James?s life, both in politics and at court. This would have put the queen in
a strong position to influence her husband towards favouring an Order patronised by
her family. Thus, it does not seem likely that any one of these influences was more
crucial than another.
All this assumes, of course, that political considerations were James?s
primary concern. However, motives that are more pious should not be overlooked
and in such a religious time must be judged as at least equal or integral to secular
concerns. The foundation charter of Philip the Bold?s Charterhouse included the
statement that ?for the soul?s salvation nothing suffices like the prayers of pious
monks, who, for the love of God, of their free will choose poverty and shun all the
vanities of the world?.
92
This clearly illustrates the contemporary perception that the
stricter the Order, the more beneficial were its prayers. The Carthusians were
certainly well known for their severity, being regarded as the only Order that had
never had to be reformed as it had remained true to its initial tenets. No Carthusian
monk ate meat, even when ill, whereas other orders did permit this. Further, the
practice of fasting continued, even though this was reduced from four days per week
to once a week at some point in the thirteenth century. Even Bower asks ?Who in his
right mind can doubt the saintly quality of the Carthusian Order?? and states that they
?renounce all vainglory, riches and worldly fame?.
93
Later medieval houses were not
always built in remote areas, however. The Burgundian foundation was in Dijon, an

92
Cartellieri, The Court of Burgundy, 29.
93
Chron. Bower, viii, 273.
263
important town for the Burgundian Dukes, while Henry V?s foundation was at
Sheen, an important royal manor, not too far from London. The Scottish foundation
itself was located adjacent to the important royal burgh of Perth, hardly the
wilderness. However, Glyn Coppack suggests that Carthusian monasteries were
established in royal centres in this period as an expression of royal and national piety
following the outbreak of plague in the fourteenth century. The severity of the
Carthusians made them attractive in this context and medieval rulers viewed them as
an effective means of promoting their own piety, helping to explain the popularity of
this order at this time.
94

In contrast to this austerity, however, their Scottish royal patron was not
known for his material restraint. Among a list of supplications made by James to the
Pope recorded on 20 February 1430 is one in which the king was seeking absolution
from fasting, and that he be allowed to eat ?butter, milk, eggs, cheese and other milk
and flesh foods on the advice of his confessor and doctor?.
95
While the latter part of
this statement may suggest at least a nominal medical reason for seeking this
measure, there is evidence to suggest that James may be accused of gluttony.
Visiting Scotland in 1435, Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini described James as
?oppressed by his excessive corpulence?, suggesting that James had not restrained
himself in gastronomical matters.
96
Indeed, the Exchequer Rolls record numerous
payments for foodstuffs such as salmon and marts as well as apples and cheese.
97

Furthermore, the accounts do not represent the entirety of James?s diet, as foodstuffs

94
G. Coppack & M. Aston, Christ?s Poor Men: The Carthusians in England (Stroud, 2002), 36.
95
CSSR, iv, 78-9. ?Confessor? presumably refers to John Fogo, who is still referred to as the king?s
confessor in a charter of 8 January 1430, Liber Melros, 493. A John Gray is found as physician of
James I in May 1430 (CSSR, iii, 100-101). A James Alamanus, physician, appears in the Exchequer
Rolls, receiving goods purchased for the king and queen in Flanders, though he is not specifically
described as the king?s physician. Alamanus does receive a payment of ?20 for unspecified purposes
in 1431, ER, iv, 541, 679.
96
Aeneas Sylvius, ?De Europa?, in P. Hume-Brown (ed.), Early Travellers in Scotland (Edinburgh,
1891, 1973), 25.
97
ER, iv, passim.
264
would have been sourced from royal lands as well as being purchased. It should be
noted, however, that apples and cheese might have been used for devotional
purposes. Duffy states that apples were offered on St James?s day and cheese was
often given to priests for blessing at Easter during a specific part of the Mass.
98

The Carthusians? quarters were also austere, their churches lacking the
sculptures and painted images of others. The only decoration was a crucifix over the
altar, though the regulations permitted monks to keep images of saints to whom they
were particularly devoted in their private oratories, as they were considered
stimulating.
99
This again contrasts with James?s own residences. Bower does relate
that there was some opposition to the Order, that some decried it as they had heard of
no miracles associated with it.
100
The abbot argues though, that to do so was to
doubt the sanctity of both John the Baptist and Jesus Christ, who both followed an
ascetic lifestyle. That Bower links St John to the Carthusians is particularly
significant in the Scottish context, as this is a saint that James appears to have had a
strong interest in. Jean Gerson also participated in this debate, arguing that miracles
were only reported at saints? shrines where the sanctity of the saint was in question.
Gerson cited Saints Jerome and Gregory the Great who were known to be holy but
had no reported miracles.
101
There certainly appears to have been significant belief
in the sanctity of the Carthusian Order. Furthermore, there seems to have been a
belief that interest in the Order signified a deep piety. Bower certainly felt this, his
views on the matter having already been stated, and Beckett suggests that the

98
Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars, 125.
99
E. M. Thompson, The Carthusian Order in England (London, 1930).
100
Chron. Bower, viii, 269.
101
J. Sumption, Pilgrimage: an Image of Mediaeval Religion (London, 1975), 273.
265
strictness of the order, the fact that it had never been reformed, motivated James?s
interest.
102

David Ditchburn suggests that there were general efforts made in early-
fifteenth century monasticism to combat the growing laxity in monastic life and to
encourage study within monastic communities and it is against this background that
he sets the introduction of the Carthusians to Scotland in 1429.
103
Certainly the
synod of St Andrews around the turn of the century attempted to institute reforms
which would return religious life to a purer form.
104
That James was interested in
this general pattern is evidenced by his letter to the Augustinian and Benedictine
monasteries within Scotland, reprimanding them for their lax observance of their
Rules, particularly regarding their failure to hold general chapters.
105
Reform of
monastic life was something that also concerned Henry V in the latter years of his
reign, the time during which James was most closely connected with the English
monarch.
106
It is thus quite likely that James was influenced to an extent by Henry?s
example, even though the English king?s efforts were not entirely successful. The
Scottish king may have felt that the Carthusians would provide a good example for
the other orders to follow, thus returning them to a more traditional monastic
lifestyle. As discussed earlier in the chapter, James was also concerned to eradicate
Lollardy, taking steps very early in his reign to ensure this belief did not gain a place
in Scotland, further highlighting his interest in orthodox religious belief.
One option that also deserves examination is the possibility that James was
seeking to establish at Perth a complex similar to that at Westminster. In England,

102
Chron. Bower, viii, 275; Beckett, The Perth Charterhouse, 1.
103
Ditchburn, Scotland and Europe, 46-7. Ditchburn points to the examples of Bower and Wyntoun
to support the idea that monastic study was encouraged earlier than previously understood by
historians.
104
Nicholson, The Later Middle Ages, 237.
105
APS, ii, 25-6; Chron. Bower, viii, 317-9.
106
Allmand, Henry V, 277-9.
266
Westminster provided a regular location for parliament and the court as well as a
spiritual role via the abbey all in close proximity. In addition, Westminster was the
coronation church for the English monarchs, which perhaps adds to this supposition,
Perth being close to Scone, the traditional inauguration site of Scottish rulers and
where James himself was crowned. Joel Burden has shown that a ritual occasion
such as a coronation was a powerful way to legitimise royal authority, as it helped
give an appearance of normality.
107
He discusses this in relation to Henry IV, a
usurper king, but it could apply to James equally well. James?s coronation played a
part in establishing his position in a country long used to coping without its monarch.
James was at Perth on many occasions during his reign and the estates met there
fourteen times, with three exchequer audits also held there, although a majority of
royal charters were issued from Edinburgh as opposed to the more northerly burgh.
This is indicative of Edinburgh?s role as the location for the royal chancery and
implies a desire for a separation of public and private matters during James?s reign.
Additionally, James?s plan to move St Andrews University to Perth, although
ultimately unsuccessful, does indicate that the Scottish king wished to make Perth the
focus of his kingdom.
108

Although it cannot yet be claimed that Scotland had an official capital,
never mind that the capital was Perth, James certainly had a particular fondness for
it, suggesting that he could indeed have been following the Westminster model. This
was not altogether an innovation on James?s part, as Scone had long been the
traditional inauguration site and in the fourteenth century was commonly used for
meetings of Parliament, and the comparison with Westminster in this instance is

107
Burden, ?How do you bury a deposed king??, 36.
108
Brown, James I, 117.
267
strong.
109
Richard Oram does suggest that in this earlier period, it is unlikely that
Scottish kings were consciously using Westminster as an exemplar due to the levels
of hostility that existed between the two countries during the Wars of Independence.
However, given James?s extensive experience of England and its government, and
his desire to create a closer bond between the two countries, it is entirely possible
that James was consciously following the Westminster example. It should be noted
that Perth had particular importance for both Robert II and Robert III, with the
former issuing eighty of his 397 charters from Perth and twenty-two from Scone, and
the later issuing forty-two from Perth and twenty from Scone (out of a total of
271).
110
Continuity does seem to have been a consideration in this instance, as with
the choice of Linlithgow as discussed in chapter five. However, the English
exemplar is likely to have been a significant factor, given James?s longer exposure to
England than Scotland.
The use of the Charterhouse as his burial place also needs to be considered
in this context. In contrast to many earlier monarchs, James was buried in his
Carthusian foundation as opposed to Dunfermline, further indicating that James
perhaps intended to create a spiritual and secular royal centre in Perth. No Scottish
king had been buried at Dunfermline since Robert I in 1329 so it is not surprising
that James also chose a more personal location for his burial. James?s wishes may
also have been influenced by the most recent burial of note in Dunfermline, that of
Robert, duke of Albany (d.1420), whom James appears to have held responsible for
Rothesay?s death and the length of his own captivity in England.
111
The choice of
the Charterhouse for James?s burial is particularly interesting as it was still unusual
for secular individuals to be buried in Carthusian monasteries. This is not surprising

109
Oram, ?Community of the Realm?, 37-9.
110
Boardman, The Early Stewart Kings, 93, 285.
111
Boardman, ?Dunfermline as a Royal Mausoleum?, 139, 148.
268
given that the rules of the Order prohibited secular burials.
112
Margaret Thompson
states that it was not until the fifteenth century that the Carthusians began to allow
anyone other than members of the order to be buried in their cemeteries.
113
Philip
the Bold, duke of Burgundy was buried at his Charterhouse, however, so this was not
without precedent.
114
There is evidence to suggest that James fully intended to be
buried within the Charterhouse and that this was not simply a convenient choice
made after his death. A supplication made to the Pope in February 1442 by Charles,
king of France, James II, the Dauphin and James I?s daughter Margaret states that
James founded the house ?wishing to provide a sepulchre for his body when he pays
the debt of nature?, although this was written some years after James?s assassination
and burial.
115
It is possible, therefore, that this represents political spin after the fact.
Yet Paul Binski has suggested that a king?s choice of location for his tomb is
generally a good indication of who they thought they were.
116
He cites, for example,
Henry III?s decision to be buried at what had become the effective centre of English
political power, Westminster, the first king to be buried there since the Norman
Conquest. However, D.M. Palliser argues that Henry III chose Westminster because
of his special affinity for St Edward the Confessor as opposed to a desire to
inaugurate a royal mausoleum, although the political motives implied by Binski were
no doubt as important a consideration as devotional ones.
117
Additionally, it is
possible that had Henry still held control in Anjou, he would have chosen to be
buried at Fontevrault, particularly as there would perhaps have been less impetus to
emphasise the legitimacy of his family?s tenure in England.

112
Becket, The Perth Charterhouse, 5.
113
Thompson, The Carthusian Order in England, 144.
114
Cartellieri, The Court of Burgundy, 35.
115
CSSR, v, 211.
116
Binski, Westminster Abbey,5.
117
Palliser, ?Royal Mausolea in the Long Fifteenth Century?, 4.
269
As is clear throughout this chapter it is difficult to separate pious from
political concerns in this period. Additionally, Joel Burden highlights the case of
Richard II, a deposed king who was buried at King?s Langley as opposed to his own
choice of Westminster.
118
Henry IV made this decision due to the strong
connections between Richard and Westminster in an effort to avoid Richard?s tomb
becoming a focus for dissent and opposition to the new regime and did not want the
extensive Ricardian imagery at Westminster to hinder Lancastrian efforts to cast
aspersions on Richard and his reign. The combination of these factors makes
James?s burial in the Charterhouse an eminently logical action. Known for their
purity, the association of the king with the Carthusians would have been an adroit
way to promote him as a pious and admired king, which James would have been
keen to do in order to promote his own image, even after his death. The incorrupt
reputation of the Carthusians would have been a particular contrast to the reality of
James as an overweight, profligate spender. Furthermore, the queen and her
supporters would have been pleased to carry out this plan after the king?s
assassination as promoting the devout image of James would have been essential in
helping to ensure a stable transfer of power to them. This would have been
particularly helpful given that Perth and its surrounds was an area in which Joan and
her supporters had little influence. That James founded the Charterhouse, giving it
royal connections, would have helped to make it a centre for commemorating the
murdered king. The queen and her supporters may have hoped to increase support
for themselves at the expense of the conspirators, by portraying them as murderers of
a devout king as opposed to loyal subjects removing a potentially dangerous ruler.
The display of James?s body also contrasted with Lancastrian efforts regarding

118
Burden, ?How do you bury a deposed king??, 43-49.
270
Richard II, where the intention was to confirm that the deposed king was dead and
thus curtail support for him.
119
Michael Brown has already highlighted the
propaganda value of the display of James?s corpse to the Bishop of Urbino, who
proclaimed James to be a martyr and an administerer of justice.
120


Perth does seem at first to be a peculiar choice if James?s intention was to
found a royal and religious centre similar to Westminster. Dunfermline had the
association with the royal saint, Margaret, in a similar way to Westminster and
Edward the Confessor, which would appear to make it a more logical choice. It was
also closer to the royal residences of Stirling and Edinburgh than Perth. Dunfermline
was not a particularly significant residence in other ways, however, as it did not hold
the same historical, administrative or economic significance within Scotland that
London had within England.
121
In contrast, Perth had the proximity to Scone, the
traditional inauguration and coronation site of Scottish kings, similar to Westminster,
which had itself started out as a coronation church. Both London and Perth had
similar geographical locations, being sited on major tidal rivers. Perth also benefited
from its central location within the kingdom, having relatively easy access to the
north and south, a main reason why it was a favoured choice of location for
provincial councils of the Scottish Church.
122
Furthermore, the lack of a significant
royal residence nearby may also not have been such a problematic issue. The chief
residence of Walter, earl of Atholl, Methven Castle, lay just a few miles from Perth
and it is perhaps the case that James intended to replace the earl as the focus of
authority in the area. James made several intrusions into Atholl?s lands, annexing
lands in the lordship of Methven, one of Atholl?s territories, in 1434, ostensibly to

119
Ibid. 51.
120
Brown, James I, 194.
121
Boardman, ?Dunfermline as a Royal Mausoleum?, 146.
122
D.E.R. Watt, Medieval Church Councils in Scotland (Edinburgh, 2000), passim. Watt suggests
that a reference in a fifteenth century record to ?the usual place? of meeting meant Perth.
271
settle a dispute between Atholl and the Earl of Douglas.
123
Methven was a wealthy
lordship so it is not unsurprising that James would seek to gain influence there.
Additionally, James?s actions regarding the university of St Andrews further suggests
a distinct plan, as already stated. It is interesting that James abandoned his efforts to
move the university in the latter years of his reign, confirming its charters in 1432.
By this point, cracks were beginning to appear in James?s rule and he could not now
muster the support needed to carry through his plans to their conclusion.
James did not completely ignore other religious foundations, however. That
James admonished the Augustinian and Benedictine Orders over the decline in their
adherence to their Rules is well known.
124
This highlights that James was concerned
generally with the state of monasticism in Scotland, indicating a measure of pious
motivation. Not only was this required of James as a Christian monarch, but as a
descendant of David I, James was actually a patron of many monasteries and
therefore had a further obligation to concern himself with the health of these
foundations. In addition, other Orders and foundations continued to receive
patronage throughout the reign. For example, the Carmelite, Dominican and
Minorite friars continued to receive annuities from the fermes, as did the abbots of
Dunfermline, Scone and Cambuskenneth.
125
The amounts involved were fairly
large, ranging from a total of ?182 10s in 1424-5 to ?337 12s 2d in 1435-6, though
the latter figure is significantly higher largely due to the revaluation of the
currency.
126
However, these were long-standing payments and thus perhaps do not
tell us much about the interests of James himself, although the fact that he later
transferred some of these payments to the Perth Charterhouse suggests that he was

123
Brown, James I, 179.
124
Nicholson, The Later Middle Ages, 298, for example.
125
ER, iv, passim.
126
Ibid.
272
not unwilling to alter the situation according to his desire. Consequently, it may be
possible to say that James was more interested from a religious perspective in those
institutions that retained their annuities until the end of the reign as opposed to those
who were interfered with. In addition, there were a few examples that ceased shortly
after the beginning of the reign and these too may be significant. For example, an
annuity to a chaplain of St Biternanus(?) in the diocese of Brechin made its last
appearance in the 1425 account.
127
James was probably reluctant to keep paying
large amounts of money to religious institutions. It is well known that James
considered David I ?ane sair sanct for the crown? due to the large number of grants
the latter gave to the Church.
128


As with alms payments and monastic foundations, religious patronage of
this nature could have political as well as pious motivations. Giving patronage was a
means of building links between the king and various localities, a necessity in an era
and country where central government was not particularly strong. Religion was a
powerful influence in most people?s lives at this time, so building up connections
with various foundations was a good way of accessing the lives of inhabitants not
under the immediate influence of the monarch or court. This may be why James
chose Perth as the location of his Charterhouse. Although not known for their work
in communities, the Carthusians were still highly admired due to their asceticism.
The presence of this new, royal monastic foundation in an area dominated by the Earl
of Atholl would have been a very visible way for James to promote himself in the
locality, helping him to begin to supplant Atholl as the foremost power in the area.
This may have been a particular goal of the king?s as his deceased brother, David,
had been granted control of the earldom of Atholl in 1398, highlighting David?s

127
Ibid, 399.
128
Boece, vol.2, 185. This statement may reflect early 16
th
century attitudes as opposed to a genuine
sentiment expressed by James I.
273
growing role and status in the political life of the kingdom. James may have been
hoping to effect a return of the earldom, or at least control of it, to royal hands.
In the same fashion, James?s choice of the abbot of Melrose as his confessor
may have been influenced by a desire to improve his own standing in that area over
the Douglas family who had long been patrons of Melrose, which lay within the
sphere of influence of the Earl of Douglas.
129
James also confirmed several grants of
earlier kings to Melrose in January 1430, as well as granting to the abbot and convent
their lands of Ettrick and Rodono in the Marches and lands in the earldom of Carrick
in free regality.
130
This would have had an impact on Douglas?s rights in the central
Borders area, though it may be that Douglas was willing to allow this to happen due
to his family?s long association with the abbey.
131
James may have been following
in the footsteps of his deceased brother in this area. In 1401, Rothesay had declared
Melrose a place secure from the influence of the Black Douglas family, as part of an
effort to reassert royal associations with the abbey while reducing the role of the
Douglas family in the area.
132
Thus James may have been seeking to reinforce the
connection between himself and his ?martyred? brother while replacing Douglas as
the chief magnate associated with this Border house. James showed further
patronage to Melrose in 1431, confirming a grant made by Sir David Menzies, an
adherent of the king and queen, of one third of the lands of Wolfclyde in Lanarkshire
to the monastery.
133
By confirming grants, James could show favour to Melrose at
no cost to the crown.



129
Brown, The Black Douglases, 189.
130
RMS, ii, no.142; Liber Sancte Marie de Melros, ii, 493, 495; The Douglas Book, i, 410.
131
The Douglas Book, i, 410.
132
Brown, The Black Douglases, 190.
133
The ?Red? and ?White? Book of Menzies, 108.
274
iv: The King?s Devotional Calendar: Overview
The particular anniversaries and saints that received attention from James
can also reveal much about the devotional atmosphere at court and the political
objectives of the reign.
134
Although difficult, it is possible to gain some idea of this
area. As Michael Penman has shown for David II (1329-71), a speculative calendar
of ?non-business? days can be compiled by eliminating from consideration those days
on which the king was occupied by official duties, such as parliaments or the issuing
of charters.
135
This then leaves days on which the king could conceivably be
involved in some type of devotional activity. This is a somewhat artificial exercise,
prone to flaws, as the possibility exists that James was involved in non-religious
activities on some of these days or indeed participated in some minor devotional
activity on days that he engaged in official duties. However, the official prohibition
on the laity engaging in work on holy days may have affected the king?s work as
well. In addition, it may be that he was not ?free? on days that appear to be so as
evidence has not survived. This could especially be the case for the latter part of the
reign when there are comparatively few royal acts to utilise in this approach.
Nevertheless, the approach is not without merit. It is possible to corroborate
the likelihood of these ?free? days being used in a liturgical way, that is, being used
to commemorate a particular anniversary or venerate a specific saint, by examining
what is known of the reign in general terms and by logical deduction. It is not
especially likely, for instance, that a saint known to be of restricted popularity or to
have his or her cult centre in an obscure Middle Eastern location was venerated at the
Scottish court. In addition, the Church itself had certain days that were required to
be kept as Holy Days by the laity and this would obviously apply to Scotland as well.

134
See appendix 5 for an extrapolated calendar of devotional dates for James I.
135
Penman, ?Christian Days and Knights?.
275
Sundays were of course kept as the Sabbath and there were additionally the great
feasts such as Easter and Christmas. Eamon Duffy has identified over fifty days in
the year in addition to Sundays that were festa ferianda, days dedicated to saints on
which all but the most essential work was prohibited.
136
The particular saints
venerated would obviously vary from country to country and even within countries
according to location or social status. However, Duffy has again suggested for
England that there were about seventy days in the year on which fasting by the laity,
as well as the clergy, was considered obligatory. Many, if not all of these, appear to
relate to feasts of universal importance such as Lent, Ash Wednesday, Christmas
Day, the Nativity of St John the Baptist and All Saints, to name a few.
137
It should
be noted, however, that some recent work has suggested that many individuals were
exempted from the obligation of fasting.
138
Indeed, James certainly sought freedom
from this obligation, supplicating the Pope for absolution from fasting in 1430.
139

There are some difficulties in corroborating devotional behaviour suggested
by this method. Unfortunately, there is little surviving evidence for this period in
terms of Books of Hours or Psalters used by the royal family.
140
However, some
suggestions may be made from examining contemporary books and mid- to late-
fifteenth century additions to earlier manuscripts. This may give some indication of
the popularity of particular saints among the noble classes. As a further difficulty,
little remains in the Exchequer accounts of the reign to tell of offerings made. Thus,
it is not possible to use the Exchequer Rolls to confirm that James had an affinity for
any given saint. However, what financial records there are can give some indication

136
Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars, 156.
137
Ibid, 41.
138
Tanner & Watson, ?Least of the Laity?, 416-7.
139
CSSR, iv, 78-9.
140
The Eye of the Mind: the Scot and His Books, National Library of Scotland (Edinburgh, 1983); D.
McRoberts, ?Catalogue of Scottish Medieval Liturgical Books and Fragments? in Innes Review, vol.3,
no.1 (1952), 49-63; J. Durkan, ?Early Scottish Libraries? in IR vol.9, no.1 (1958).
276
of James?s attitude to various religious Orders, most importantly of course the
Carthusian Order for whom the king constructed the Perth Charterhouse and this
information can be supported with evidence from other sources such as parliament
records and chronicles. Further, the king?s attitude towards the heretical beliefs of
the period, specifically Lollardy, can be considered as this would show how far
James conformed to the beliefs of his day, as discussed above. Patronage given by
James to particular Orders or religious establishments can also help to determine the
king?s religious interests. All these factors can serve to add to the impression gained
from the calendar method, helping to limit any flaws.

v: Royal Anniversaries
The anniversaries shall be examined first as these can reveal which figures
and events from Scotland?s past the king wished to associate himself with and thus
give some indication of the political climate at the time.
141
In examining the religion
of Edward III, Ormrod has suggested that the English king venerated the
anniversaries of his ancestors in an effort to legitimise his reign following its
somewhat scandalous beginnings.
142
Ormrod believes that by commemorating
earlier successful monarchs, Edward was able to associate himself with them in the
public imagination and thus help the process of re-establishing the status of the
English monarchy, something with which Edward was clearly concerned during his
reign. The particular example given by Ormrod is the anniversary of the death of
Edward I, which was always venerated at court. This is not surprising given the
military successes of the earlier Edward and the military aspirations of his grandson.

141
By anniversaries it is meant dates such as the births and deaths of members of the royal family, and
the commemorations of important events in Scotland?s past, for example, the Battle of Bannockburn.
142
Ormrod, ?The Personal Religion of Edward III?, 868.
277
When looking at James?s ?free? days revealed by the method outlined above,
several anniversary dates relating to earlier kings are evident. The deaths of
Alexander II (8/7) and Alexander III (19/3) are among those that appear always to
have been kept, as no royal business appears to have taken place on those days,
except for one instance of a charter of Alexander, earl of Mar, being confirmed on 19
March 1435.
143
Given the earl?s Christian name, this is perhaps not inappropriate to
the day, assuming the charter was confirmed on the stated date. The inauguration
dates of Alexander II (5/12) and Alexander III (13/7) are also present in the projected
calendar. The deaths of James?s immediate predecessors, Robert II (19/4) and III
(4/4), also appear, though on one occasion, in 1431, James did confirm a charter on
the date of the former at Perth and in 1432 confirmed a charter on the date of the
latter, also at Perth.
144
The coronation date of Robert III (14/8) was also observed,
while that of Robert II (26/3) appears in every year except 1430, when a charter was
issued at Perth.
145
As Robert II was buried nearby at Scone, and both Robert II and
Robert III had been crowned there, it is not impossible that James commemorated
these anniversaries despite issuing a grant on those occasions. It is not hard to
surmise a reason for these kings being of interest to James. The two Alexanders
obviously hark back to the time before the Wars of Independence, to times of relative
peace and stability in contrast to the disruption and hostility of relations with
England that followed. Furthermore, Bower is fulsome in his praise of Alexander II
and III. The ?noble king Alexander II? is lauded as compassionate, generous, pious

143
NAS, Papers of the Erskine Family, Earls of Mar and Kellie, GD124/1/136. Unfortunately, the
location of the confirmation charter is not stated. The appearance of a single charter on the day does
not necessarily invalidate it as a ?non-business? day, as it is often possible to suggest that a charter was
issued as a form of commemoration for the day. If a number of charters are issued, with no apparent
connection to the particular anniversary or feast associated with that day, then it is more likely that
this anniversary/feast was not regularly observed.
144
RMS, ii, no.189; NAS Papers of the family of Fullarton of Kilmichael, Arran GD1/19/3.
145
RMS, ii, no.150.
278
and a giver of justice.
146
Of the ?dearly beloved? Alexander III, Bower is even more
flattering, outlining his qualities as a king at some length.
147
Intriguingly, one of the
qualities these two kings have in common, by Bower?s account, is their interest in
religion. Bower notes that Alexander II had ?a wonderful zeal for the increase of
religion? and that during Alexander III?s reign ?the church of Christ flourished, [and]
its priests were honoured with due respect?.
148
This would make these figures highly
attractive to James as he sought to establish his own rule and reputation. Obviously,
the expression of royal piety was conventional, as it was held to be one of the key
aspects of medieval kingship. However, the fact that it was conventional, was
emphasised so strongly, indicates just how important it was for medieval rulers to be
seen to be pious in their actions. It would thus have been crucial for James to
establish some level of devotional activity at court and to take an interest in religious
matters. Interestingly, the eldest of James?s twin sons was named Alexander and it
was he who would have succeeded as Alexander IV had he not died in infancy. This
may partially explain the lapse in observance of the anniversaries of the deaths of
these two kings in 1431 and 1432, as James now had a more visible link with this era
in the person of his son, with their re-emergence thereafter explained by the death of
the young prince in infancy. This apparent interest in Alexander II and III may also
help to explain the king?s interest in Perth, as the latter king?s heart was apparently
buried in Perth.
149

Norman Reid has suggested that Bower?s eulogies of these kings,
particularly Alexander II, owe more to conventions of medieval chronicles and

146
Chron. Bower, v, 191-2. See also S. Mapstone, ?Bower on Kingship? in Chron. Bower, ix, 321-
338.
147
Chron. Bower, v, 421-29.
148
Ibid. 193, 421.
149
Ibid. 421.
279
kingship than the reality of either king?s reign.
150
Additionally, the fact that Bower
was writing in the turbulent period of James II?s minority does suggest that any
comments he has to make about the strengths and successes of earlier reigns should
be treated with caution in attempting to determine James I?s potential motives in
including these kings in any devotional calendar. However, what Bower?s comments
really highlight is just how important some areas were considered for medieval
monarchs. Furthermore, Bower?s comments also suggest that there was a generally
positive attitude towards these kings in early fifteenth century Scotland. This would
have given further encouragement to James?s celebration of these earlier kings.
More immediately, by commemorating Robert II and III, James was
emphasising the legitimacy of his Stewart reign and establishing a sense of
continuity that was essential following his eighteen-year absence from Scotland.
James faced an immediate need to establish his authority upon his return in an effort
to gain control of his kingdom. It is also interesting to note that James may have had
a very real affection for his father, having spent time at his father?s court before his
English captivity.
151
Bower is generally positive in his view of Robert III, describing
him as a ?wise man? and as having a ?sound conscience? and a ?love of justice?, all
prerequisites for a good medieval king and shows a sense of humility to Robert?s
character that was missing in his son.
152

There is another significant historic personage who appears to have been
honoured by James, namely Robert I, one of the most esteemed monarchs in Scottish

150
N. H. Reid, ??A great Prince, and very greedy of this world?s honour?: The Historiography of
Alexander II? in R. D. Oram (ed.), The Reign of Alexander II, 1214-1249 (Leiden, 2005), 49-78; N. H.
Reid, ?Alexander III: the Historiography of a Myth? in N.H. Reid (ed.), Scotland in the Reign of
Alexander III (Edinburgh, 1990), 181-213.
151
ER, iii, 617.
152
Chron. Bower, viii, 5.
280
history.
153
The birth (11/7), inauguration (25/3) and death (7/6) dates of Robert I are
all apparent in this calendar of significant dates. Day one of Bannockburn (23/6) is
also present in this suggested calendar, reflecting both James?s interest in the earlier
monarch and his interest in commemorating a great Scottish victory. Day two of the
battle, which is also the feast of St John the Baptist, is found every year except 1425
when a charter was issued in Edinburgh.
154
Additionally, James?s confessor was the
abbot of Melrose, where Bruce?s heart was buried. While it is likely that the abbot?s
connection to the powerful Douglas family was a stronger motivator in this instance
than the presence of the Bruce heart it is possible that James looked upon this
connection as a fortuitous benefit, strengthening both his personal interest in the cult
and his visible interest in the cult. Melrose was also the burial place of Alexander II,
perhaps stimulating and strengthening royal interest in the Alexanders as well.
It is not difficult to understand why Robert I should appear in the apparent
list of devotional subjects. Robert I was a hero king, who had defended Scotland
against English domination and who forged a peace treaty with the southern
kingdom, something that would not have been forgotten by early-fifteenth century
Scots. It seems likely that James was seeking to do something similar to what
Ormrod contends Edward III was doing in the fourteenth century, that is, seeking to
enhance his own position through association with glorious ancestors. This perhaps
also explains why there was apparently a less strict observance of dates associated
with Robert II and III than was the case with Robert I, the former two kings having

153
The commemoration of this king in Barbour?s poetic work The Bruce, the discovery of Bruce?s
shirt in the royal treasury in 1488 and the discovery of his sword on the field at Sauchieburn are just
some of the expressions of royal interest in this figure in the late-fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.
154
RMS, ii, no.22. Ormrod has shown that Edward III commemorated different saints at different
times in his reign according to the political climate of the time. Thus, the fact that on one occasion,
early in the reign, this date was not totally free does not necessarily mean that the day was not
considered important. Additionally, there are other factors in favour of the Baptist?s feast being of
importance to James, so at the very least, this saint, if not the Battle, were probably a key part of
devotional life at James?s court.
281
had rather less auspicious reigns than the latter. There is also the fact that Barbour?s
Bruce was still widely known by the 1420s, both Wyntoun and Bower directing
readers to the earlier account for details about Robert?s life. Additionally, James
continued to pay the annuity to the Dean and Chapter of Aberdeen first awarded by
Robert III, as discussed in chapter six. There is of course the possibility that James
commemorated these dates simply because he was expected to by his subjects.
Michael Penman?s study of David II?s religious devotions highlights the
Robert I dates and those of Alexander II and III, as well as the death of David?s
mother.
155
It is probable that James also observed the anniversary of the death of his
own mother, Annabella Drummond, although the exact date for this event is
unrecorded.
156
James did name one of his daughters after his mother, increasing the
likelihood that her death anniversary was kept, and possibly her other dates as well.
It may be that this was standard practice and James was simply adhering to
convention in his remembrance of these figures. Other monarchs also
commemorated ancestors, the example of Edward III having already been given, and
Henry V celebrated the anniversary of Henry IV, paying significant sums of money
for this. It is unlikely, though, that James respected these dates unwillingly, due to
the political benefits that could accrue.
In addition, James appears to have observed some key dates relating to his
own life. The dates of the treaty securing his release (28/3) and his coronation
(21/5), both appear to have been reserved for non-business activities. The date of
James?s capture by the English (22/3) is also present but it is likely that this would be
a date the king would prefer to forget, as it led to his captivity and years of
powerlessness. This does highlight that this methodology is not without problems.

155
Penman, ?Christian Days?, 257.
156
Brown, James I, 12.
282
However, it may be that James remembered this date to act as a contrast between the
then and now. Indeed, James may have held the view that his captivity was part of a
Divine plan and thus the date of his capture would be worthy of commemoration.
There is some indication of this in The Kingis Quair, where James gives thanks to
?the sanctis marciall/that me first causit hath this accident?, March being the month in
which James was captured by the English.
157
As for the release and coronation
dates, these require little explanation, as their celebration was no doubt intended to
act as a reminder that the king had indeed returned and was the legitimate, crowned
monarch. The fact that the date on which the Papal Bull granting coronation and
unction to Scottish monarchs in 1329 (13/6) was also apparently observed may well
be related to this, as it helped to emphasise James?s status as God?s divinely
appointed representative. This would have helped to combat accusations of
inferiority from outwith Scotland and to secure his position against powerful
magnates within. A sense of lineage could certainly inform devotional behaviour.
Saul suggests that it was this that lay behind Richard II?s interest in Edward the
Confesso

r.
158

Of particular significance, perhaps, was 25 and 26 March. In addition to the
former marking the first inauguration of Robert I and the Annunciation of Mary, and
the latter the coronation of Robert II, James?s elder brother David, duke of Rothesay,
died on the night of 25 March and this also marked the medieval New Year.
159

These two dates are unoccupied in every year of the reign except for 1430 when a
charter was issued on 26 March as already mentioned. This may mean that there was
a particularly celebratory atmosphere at court over these two days, commemorating
important dates in Bruce-Stewart family history and associating it with a key date in

157
Kingis Quair, st.191, ll.3-4.
158
Saul, Richard II, 311.
159
Balfour-Melville, James I, 20.
283
the ritual year, as well as the date the signing of the treaty that secured James?s
release from England. Again, this would have had significant political implications.
This would be particularly the case during the times when Rothesay?s anniversary
fell especially close to Easter. In 1429 and 1431, Easter fell on 27 and 28 March
respectively, and throughout James?s reign was no later than 20 April, making this an
especially important time in the devotional life of the king and court. The
juxtaposition of the holiest feast in the Christian calendar with key dynastic dates
would have been highly advantageous in James?s efforts to promote both David and
his own kingship, especially given Nicholson?s argument already stated above that
James was seeking to cast a spiritual aura around the royal family. Furthermore,
Easter, commemorating the Resurrection, would no doubt have had a special
significance for the king; in 1402, the year in which Rothesay died, Easter fell on 26
March.
160
This parallel may well have influenced James in his efforts to promote a
cult around his brother. Steve Boardman has highlighted that those who died on holy
days could be venerated with almost immediate effect.
161
James would thus not have
been hindered by having to wait for extensive reports of miracles or other evidence
of Rothe

say?s saintliness.
James would have been particularly concerned to commemorate the death of
Rothesay. As Michael Brown has noted, Rothesay?s death led to James?s own
eventual succession to the throne. This event may also have helped to stimulate the
king?s hostility towards and attack upon the Albany Stewart family.
162
Brown
further suggests that the later view of Hector Boece that Rothesay died a martyr was

160
It is also interesting to note that in 1424, Easter fell on 23 April, very soon after James?s return to
Scotland. He may thus have felt a particularly strong connection with this festival due to this
coincidence as well as its connection to his brother?s death.
161
S. Boardman, ?David, duke of Rothesay. Political martyrdom and popular sanctity in fifteenth-
century Scotland? paper given at ?The Cult of Saints in medieval Scotland? conference, 8-9 September
2007.
162
Brown, James I, 13.
284
initiated during James?s reign. The observance of the anniversary of his death would
surely have been a valuable tool in this process. Furthermore, a supplication to the
Pope in 1427 made by James and the abbot of St Mary of Lindores, a Tironensian
Abbey in northern Fife, where David was buried, described the deceased duke as ?of
happy memory?, and goes on to claim that Rothesay?s body was considered to be
holy due to the miracles performed at his tomb. This does seem to suggest that
James was attempting to create a cult around his deceased brother.
163
The fact that
this abbey was founded by Earl David of Huntingdon, who originally intended to be
buried there, may have aided James in his efforts to promote his brother?s cult, by
linking him to more illustrious times. Huntingdon was also the royal figure from
whom the Stewarts, via the Bruces, claimed descent.
164
However, these statements
are somewhat in contrast to the way in which chronicles portrayed the duke. John
Shirley describes Rothesay as ?full vicious in his living, as in depucelling &
defouling of yong maydenys & in breking th?ordre of wedloke be his foule
ambycious lust of aduoutrie?.
165
Walter Bower states that the king [Robert III] and
the council felt that Rothesay (who at the time of his death was royal lieutenant)
?engaged too often in unruly games and trivial sports? and although controlled by the
council for a period, ?gave himself up wholly once more to his previous frivolity?
following the death of his mother Annabella.
166
Clearly, these chroniclers, writing, it
should be noted, after James?s death, were less than convinced of David?s saintly
disposition. However, their opinions were likely to be as biased as James?s own
efforts to rehabilitate his brother. Albany and Douglas, as the architects of
Rothesay?s downfall, were not slow in dispersing their own propaganda in order to

163
CSSR, ii, 167.
164
K. J. Stringer, Earl David of Huntington, 1152-1219: a Study in Anglo-Scottish History
(Edinburgh, 1985).
165
Shirley, ?The Dethe of the Kynge of Scotis?, 23-56, 24.
166
Chron. Bower, viii, 39.
285
justify their actions towards the duke. Bower especially is known to be an admirer of
the Duke of Albany so would not be eager to advance a view that essentially had him
acting unlawfully and against the interests of the kingdom. Furthermore, Stephen
Boardman has shown that Rothesay was active in government and was not as
debauched as the chronicles suggest.
167
What the chronicle opinions do seem to
indicate, however, is that James was unsuccessful in rehabilitating popular
perceptions of Rothesay. Nevertheless, for present purposes it was the fact that he
attempte

d to do so at all that is important.
It is likely due to his efforts in this area that James showed an interest in
augmenting Lindores? possessions. Although significant patronage is lacking, James
did petition the Pope to have the church of Creich transferred to the abbey.
168
In the
context of a king who gave very little patronage throughout his reign, this is a good
indication of favour towards Lindores. Additionally, it was probably due to James?s
interest in developing a cult around his deceased brother that he appears to have been
near Rothesay?s tomb at the anniversary of his death. The paucity of source material
does limit the certainty of this but what data does survive shows James almost
certainly being at Perth around this date in 1425, possibly 1426, 1430, 1431, and
1432.
169
Furthermore, the lack of data means that it is possible he was also in Perth
in 1427 (where there is no location data for 16 March to 26 May), in 1433 (when
there is no material for March at all), in 1434 (when he was at Stirling on 16 March
with no further data until May). It is also possible James was there in 1436 when all
that is known is that he was in Dumbarton in the early part of the month dealing with
preparations for his daughter Margaret?s voyage to France.
170
Perth is just over ten

167
Boardman, The Early Stewart Kings, 223-254.
168
Calendar of Papal Registers: Letters, viii, 143.
169
See appendix 6.
170
In 1435 there is a charter issued on 19 March but a location is not given.
286
miles from Lindores, making it entirely possible that James visited the abbey when
staying in the burgh. There is not a great deal of evidence to suggest that James
visited Falkland with any frequency. Only one charter, dated 1 May 1425, was
issued from Falkland and there is one record in the Exchequer Rolls for wagons sent
to Falkland for the king?s use.
171
Falkland was the nearest royal residence to
Lindores so would perhaps have been the most logical place for James to stay when
visiting the abbey. However, James may have felt a reluctance to stay in the place
that was the site of his brother?s death, perhaps foreshadowing the decline in
populari
showed James?s knowledge of and reaction to the rebellion, so it is not impossible

ty of Perth after James?s own murder in that burgh.
In 1428, a charter places James in Edinburgh on 27 March, making it
unlikely that he was still in Perth on 25/26, although he was there for parliament at
the beginning of the month. In this instance, James may have been preoccupied with
diplomatic matters, as the French embassy arrived in the spring of 1428 to conduct
negotiations for an alliance. It is understandable that other matters would have to be
neglected for a while. Additionally, it is difficult to establish James?s whereabouts in
March 1429. Charters place him in Perth on the tenth and thirty-first, but evidence
from the Exchequer Rolls also has him at Haddington, Dunbar, Linlithgow and
Coldingham during this month.
172
James was at the latter location early in March for
talks with Cardinal Beaufort following the recently concluded Franco-Scottish
alliance that stood as a potential threat to England and to Beaufort?s policies.
173

Spring of 1429 also saw the failure of James?s 1428 Highland settlement with the
rebellion of the Lord of the Isles. Brown suggests that a statute of April 1429

171
RMS, ii, no.20; ER, iv, 423. The ER reference probably refers to the same visit as it appears in the
account for the period 1425-6.
172
NAS GD68/1/2; RMS, iii, no.1928; ER, iv, 466, 477.
173
Brown, James I, 111.
287
that the king?s religious devotions at the end of March had to take a different form.
174

Of course, it should be remembered that just because James was not present at
Rothesay?s tomb did not mean that he did not still mark the occasion with the
appropriate masses and prayers.
Veneration of Rothesay may also have served to rehabilitate his reputation
following the explanations used by Douglas and Albany to justify their actions.
Furthermore, it would have been a permanent reminder to Albany Stewart supporters
of the opposition to this family by the king and the promotion of Rothesay as a
victim would have aided James in justifying his own attack on Murdoch and his kin.
James may also simply have wished to remember his brother as an act of piety
outwith the political circumstances. Although not quite eight years old when
Rothesay died, James would have had knowledge of his brother from the duke?s
former councillors Sir Robert Lauder of the Bass and Thomas Somerville of
Carnwath, who James brought into his own retinue in 1424.
175
His continued
payment of an annuity of ?5 per annum to a chaplain in St Saviour?s in Dundee for
Rothesay?s soul would have compounded the effect of the commemoration, acting as
a further reminder of Rothesay?s death and its circumstances.
176
Additionally, it
points towards genuine piety, as this was still an age that believed that saying masses
could speed a soul through purgatory. A final point that should be noted concerning
this issue is that it provides a possible explanation for James?s apparent interest in the
cult of the Blessed Virgin Mary as well as further evidence for it. As already stated,
Rothesay was buried in Lindores Abbey, which had Mary as one of the saints to
which it was dedicated, so James was perhaps keen to venerate the saint that in effect
had the keeping of his brother?s earthly remains. Of course, it was very common for

174
Ibid, 101.
175
Ibid, 51.
176
ER, iv, passim.
288
monastic houses to be dedicated to the Virgin so this may be taking speculation too
far. However, a supplication already referred to states that pilgrims to the abbey
came especially in ?the feast of the nativity of St Mary and the octaves of the same?.
James was attempting to add to this by asking the Pope to grant an indult to the prior
of the convent to hear the confessions of those visiting the abbey in the feast of the
Nativity of St Mary, suggesting that the Virgin was of particular interest to James.
177

The king seems to have been keen to boost pilgrimage related to veneration of the
Virgin, and this is also suggested by indications that he constructed houses for
pilgrims going to the Marian shrine at Whitekirk.
178
Additionally, the other
dedicatee of Lindores was St. Andrew and the combination of Christianity?s most
popular saint, Scotland?s national saint and his brother?s relics may have had
significant resonance for James.
Two other dates of kings were possibly commemorated, namely, the deaths
of Henry IV (20/3) and V (31/8). The former is observed in every year except 1430,
when two charters are granted to servants for service to the king during his captivity
and in 1432 when he granted exemption from royal dues and services to the members
of St Andrews University.
179
Strikingly, that of Henry V does not appear to be
neglected in any year. The commemoration of two powerful English monarchs may
not have been popular among James?s subjects, as it accorded some status to the men
whom many Scots would have viewed as enemies, although James undoubtedly held
a different view of the English monarchs, particularly Henry V. It is not that
surprising that James would wish to remember two men who were so influential in
his life. It was the English kings who directed his upbringing and lifestyle for

177
CSSR, ii, 167.
178
Yeoman, Pilgrimage, 51; MacKinlay, Ancient Church Dedications in Scotland: Scriptural
Dedications (Edinburgh, 1910), 95.
179
RMS, ii, nos. 147, 148, 199.
289
eighteen years, and who informed many of his ideas regarding politics and the status
of the monarch, as well as court life. The English monarchs thus had a greater
impact on James during his youth than James?s own father, Robert III. This perhaps
gives a further insight into James?s personal devotions.
In a perhaps unexpected contrast, James also apparently observed the feast
day of Louis IX (25/8), the saintly French king. This may only be a coincidence but
it is possible that this was a result of pressure from nobles who still looked to France
and the ?auld alliance?, as opposed to England, for diplomatic ties. Additionally,
Louis had a strong connection to Crusading, having taken the Cross in 1244 and
eventually dying while on Crusade. While he does not give a huge amount of detail
about Louis?s life, Bower does repeat a description of the French king, which
describes him as ?the flower of princes, the glory of the magnates, the nobleness of
the host, the treasure-house of the poor?, suggesting that he held the saintly French
monarch in some regard.
180
Again, however, it is necessary to consider the political
situation. As has been discussed by Balfour-Melville and Brown, Scotland?s foreign
policy regarding relations with England and France was somewhat in flux for much
of James?s reign as the king sought to strengthen ties with his country?s southern
neighbour. There was of course the Franco-Scottish alliance of 1428 that provided
for James to send troops to France to aid in her war effort and also for the marriage
of James?s eldest daughter Margaret to the French Dauphin. However, it was not
until 1436 that this marriage finally took place and the policy became fully settled.
James had, a few years prior to the marriage, shown a willingness to break the
French alliance when England offered the return of Berwick and Roxburgh to

180
Chron. Bower, v, 377. The editors have been unable to trace Bower?s source for this quote, but
state that Bower claims to be referring to several Lives of St Louis for his information on the king.
290
Scottish hands.
181
Two other saints with a French association, St Denis (9/10) and St
Martin (11/11), are also on the list of James?s possible devotional interests, although
in 1425 a charter was issued on the feast day of the latter saint. This further suggests
that it is possible to see the commemoration of the two Henrys, Louis and the others
as part of James?s efforts to keep open the possibility of alliance with either of the
two countries. Additionally, Martin was the patron saint of the cathedral-priory at
Whithorn. It is possible that either Martin influenced an interest in that church, or
vice versa. It is interesting to note that in his youth, Martin was imprisoned for a
time, albeit under different circumstances to James. It is clear from these few
examples that the commemoration of particular anniversaries could have both
political and pious motives, indicating how difficult it is to separate motives in this
period.

vi: Saints and Feast Days
An examination of saints that appear to have been venerated at James?s
court can provide similar insights to those achieved by a study of the anniversaries
that were possibly observed. Saints and their cults were an important part of
medieval religion and the veneration of saints was a central component of religious
practice in this period. Additionally, Diana Webb has argued that ?the exploitation of
the cult of saints was an integral part of the practice of medieval kingship?.
182
The
king was expected to lead by example to ensure the spiritual welfare of his kingdom
and his people and to ensure that God?s favour came to him. Again, devotion to
particular saints could have significant propaganda value. The baptism of Edward
III, for instance, was held to coincide with the feast day of Edward the Confessor,

181
Brown, James I, 152-3.
182
D. Webb, Pilgrimage in Medieval England (London & New York, 2000), 111.
291
linking the monarch to the royal saint. Additionally, during the Scottish campaigns
of the 1330s, Edward associated himself with saints such as Cuthbert, who had a
particular connection to Durham, and to William of York. This was clearly intended
to create support among his northern subjects for the campaign.
183
Scottish kings
were not ignorant of this practice. Robert I, for instance, had a particular interest in
Arbroath Abbey, dedicated to St Thomas Becket, a saint who had been martyred as a
result of his opposition to the English king.
184
Robert also made a pilgrimage to
Whithorn in 1329 to visit the shrine of St Ninian there in an effort to raise support in
the southwest, although the saint?s reputed healing capabilities were undoubtedly a
major consideration for Bruce as well.
185

James appears to have venerated a variety of different saints, several of
whom had a particular connection to Scotland. Obvious examples of this are Fillan,
(19/1)
186
, Columba (9/6), and Queen Margaret (19/6 and 16/11, except 1431 for the
latter), associated respectively with Perthshire, Dunkeld and Dunfermline. Columba
also represents a link to the abbey of Inchcolm, the abbot of which was Walter
Bower, who served in James?s administration and may represent either Bower?s
influence or an attempt by James to reinforce a connection to the important cleric.
This may also be true of Adrian of May (4/3), whose feast also appears and who is
associated with the Isle of May in the Firth of Forth, although Bower was more
interested in promoting the cult of Columba.
187
In contrast, there are saints that have

183
Ormrod, ?The Personal Religion of Edward III?, 859. It is possible that it was merely coincidence
that Edward III?s baptism fell on the feast of the Confessor as baptisms were held soon after birth due
to the high infant mortality rate. However, about 7 weeks passed between Edward?s birth on 13
November and the feast of the Confessor on 5 January suggesting that there was an element of
planning in this.
184
Penman, ?The Bruce Dynasty and Becket?. Information regarding feast days and the lives of the
saints is taken from D. H. Farmer (ed.), The Oxford Dictionary of Saints (Oxford, 1978), unless
otherwise stated.
185
Penman, ?Christian Days?, 251.
186
The Oxford Dictionary of Saints gives 26 August as Fillan?s feast day.
187
Yeoman, Pilgrimage in Medieval Scotland, 64.
292
a stronger connection with England. For instance, the feast date of Swithun appears
(Winchester, 2/7), as do those of Hugh of Lincoln (Carthusians, 17/11) and George
(England, knighthood, 23/4). These saints may appear out of coincidence. However,
there are valid reasons for placing them with the king?s potential devotional calendar,
as his wife?s uncle was bishop of Winchester, his interest in the Carthusians has been
discussed and James was knighted in England on St George?s day.
188

Additionally, universal saints also occur in this extrapolated calendar. Some
examples of these are Agatha (5/2), Joseph (19/3), Benedict (21/3), John the
Evangelist (6/5 and 27/12), Peter and Paul (29/6), Thomas the Apostle (3/7 and
21/12), and Matthew (21/9). The feast of John the Baptist (24/6) and the dates
associated with the Blessed Virgin Mary are all feasts that appear to have been kept
annually.
189
The feast of the Visitation of the Virgin (2/7) and the Octave of the
Visitation (9/7) are also ?free? days, but it is uncertain whether these should be
included as Duffy suggests that the Visitation was not added as a feast day until the
end of the fifteenth century.
190
However, R.W. Pfaff states that this feast was
officially introduced in 1389 and is to be found in the mid-fifteenth century Bute
breviary.
191
It is possible, therefore, that James was an early observer of this
particular date, indicating a particular devotion to this cult. This also applies to the
feast of the Presentation of the Virgin (21/11). Pfaff states that Philippe de M?zi?res,
chancellor of the duchy of Cyprus, introduced this feast in the west in 1372,
persuading Charles V of France and Pope Gregory XI to allow the feast.
192
It is not

188
Brown, James I, 23.
189
The Virgin?s dates are; the Purification or Candlemas (2/2); the Annunciation (25/3); the
Assumption (15/8); the Octave of the Assumption (22/8); the Nativity (8/9); and the Conception
(8/12), though a precept under the quarter seal was issued on the last date in 1427.
190
Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars, 45.
191
R.W. Pfaff, New Liturgical Feasts in Later Medieval England (Oxford, 1970), 9, 40.
192
Ibid. 104; Apparently, a different feast based on the Presentation story, known as the ?Oblacio? was
known in England before the Norman Conquest and was kept, or at least known, at St Augustine?s at
Canterbury from the early fourteenth century, ibid. 105-7.
293
impossible that James was exposed to this feast during his time in England and
France and also through the contact his nobles had with the latter kingdom. James?s
affection for the Cult of the Virgin may also have been influenced by the location of
James and Joan?s marriage. The royal couple were married in what is now
Southwark Cathedral, formerly known as the abbey of St Mary Overy.
193

Clearly, there is a great deal of variety in the saints that appear to have
interested James. However, the apparent lack of particularly ?local? saints may
indicate a weakness in the king?s devotional policy, as it may have led to him being
viewed as out of touch with Scottish interests. It has been suggested that the
fifteenth century saw an increasing tendency towards ?nationalistic? behaviour in
religion in Scotland, but this does not appear to be the whole story as regards James?s
reign.
194
However, as noted, there are some Scottish saints in James?s calendar,
which may indicate some kind of ?nationalism? on James?s part. This perhaps
represents an effort to reconnect with his homeland after his long absence or to
demonstrate to his subjects that he had not been wholly anglicised by his captivity.
James?s nobles may have been concerned about the ?Scottishness? of their returning
king, and devotion to particularly Scottish saints may have been a way to offer
reassurance. Furthermore, among the Scottish saints named there are some that can
be identified as having a particular political benefit both in national terms and
regional politics and this shall be discussed in more detail below. A surprising
omission from this collective calendar, then, is Andrew. It seems odd that the King
of Scotland should not celebrate his country?s national saint. However, further
investigation reveals that only on one occasion did James conduct business on this

193
Balfour-Melville, James I, 99-100.
194
Ditchburn, Scotland and Europe, 52.
294
day, confirming at Edinburgh an earlier charter of Walter, earl of Atholl, in 1429.
195

It is perhaps the case, then, that Andrew?s feast was observed annually, which is a
much more reasonable proposition than that it was ignored. The details of the
confirmation charter are not inappropriate for the date, being a grant for the
sustenance of two chaplains and six boys at Brechin Cathedral, which was dedicated
to the Holy Trinity.
Reinforcing the fact that James did not neglect this national saint is the use
by James of the saltire on his coinage. A coin of James I belonging to the National
Museums of Scotland shows a saltire to the left of the king?s neck and on either side
of his crown.
196
No doubt, this display of patriotism was gratifying to James?s
subjects but it may have had further political implications, by acting as a link to the
Continent. Otto Cartellieri has stated that the St Andrews Cross was the emblem of
the Burgundians during power struggles in France following the infirmity of Charles
VI.
197
Furthermore, Boulton suggests that St Andrew was chosen by the Duke of
Burgundy to be the patron saint of his Order of the Golden Fleece, as the dukes
considered Andrew to be their particular protector.
198
Devotion to this saint would
have provided a common bond between the Scottish king and the powerful
continental duke. This desire for a common bond would no doubt have been
strengthened by the visit of the Burgundian embassy in the latter part of 1425, when
the ambassadors joined the king for Christmas celebrations at St Andrews.
199


195
RMS, ii, no.136. This was an augmentation of an earlier grant by Walter as lord of Cortachy and
Brechin.
196
National Museums of Scotland / licensed via www.scran.ac.uk, 000-100-052-766-C. The saltire
and images of St Andrew had appeared on earlier Scottish coins so the use of this symbol by James is
not entirely innovative.
197
Cartellieri, The Court of Burgundy, 8.
198
Boulton, The Knights of the Crown, 370.
199
Chron. Bower, viii, 255-7.
295
Additionally, James may have chosen particular saints for more intensive
propaganda value. With regards to Adrian of May, this saint was killed on the Isle of
May in the Firth of Forth, a location that by the reign of James IV was a premier
Scottish pilgrimage centre.
200
It is known that James was keen to re-establish royal
authority in central and Lowland areas of the country, particularly around the
Lothians. For James to focus on a saint from this region would be a powerful way of
associating himself with the area. As mentioned earlier, Fillan had a particular
connection to Perthshire, a district strongly favoured by James throughout his reign
and this may have caused him to have some affection for this saint.
201
Also, the
king?s uncle, Walter, earl of Atholl was the chief magnate in that area and it may be
that James was seeking some common ground with his older relative in order to gain
political support. It is also possible, given James?s other actions, that he was perhaps
seeking to strengthen his own ties to the region at the expense of Atholl. A non-
devotional instance of this would be the granting of Perthshire lands to Queen Joan
for her dower lands. Fillan also had a connection to Pittenweem in Fife, an area that
James now had a strong connection to following his annexation of the earldom of
Fife to the crown in 1425. Furthermore, as a saint venerated by Robert I at
Bannockburn, devotion to Fillan would have had national importance as well as
regional, by showing remembrance of a great victory by the Scots over English
forces and also by reinforcing devotion to any cult of Robert I himself.
In addition to Columba, the feasts of Donan (17/4) and Adomnan (23/9)
appear in the extrapolated calendar.
202
These saints had associations with the

200
Yeoman, Pilgrimage in Medieval Scotland, 64.
201
S. Taylor, ?The Cult of St Fillan in Scotland?, in T. R. Liszka & L. E. M. Walker (eds.), The North
Sea World: Studies in a Medieval Context (Dublin 2001), 175?210.
202
How active the cults of these saints were during the reign of James I is not immediately clear.
However, a chapel in Ayr does appear to have been dedicated to Donan in 1404 and Adomnan had
296
Western Isles and veneration of them may have had some role in James?s Highland
policy. By celebrating these Hebridean saints, James may have been hoping to
improve relations between himself and the local inhabitants and make the process of
bringing the Highlands and Islands under royal control a little easier. James would
probably have been aware of this method from Scottish and English examples.
Certainly, Stephen Boardman argues that the early Stewart lords cultivated local
saints while building up power in their western lordship.
203
The veneration of local
saints for propaganda purposes is perhaps also behind the appearance of Blane (11/8,
also known as Bl??n, who was a native of Bute and founded a monastery there) and
Canice (11/10). The former has some association with Dunblane while the latter
gave his name to the Abbey of Cambuskenneth. As already stated, James was
seeking to assert royal authority in the central and lowland areas of his country and
these Stirlingshire saints would have fed into this process.
The presence of Blane (or Bl??n) also suggests that the first Stewart kings
may have influenced James?s devotions. Bute was the historic centre of Stewart
lordship and continued to be so. This is further suggested by the occurrence of
Brendan the Navigator, abbot of Clonfert (16/5). This saint was popular in the
Islands due to the story of his Life that related the seven-year voyage taken by
Brendan in search of the Blessed Isles, which involved him sailing between many
Isles. As Boardman suggests, this would have been attractive for the inhabitants of a
region that was composed of many islands, particularly for the Stewart lords who
were seeking to unify their lordship and increase their dominion over their lands.
204

It was this latter point that Boardman suggests was the key factor behind the growth

two dedications in his name in the first half of the sixteenth century. Database of Dedications to
Saints in Medieval Scotland, DE/EW/5087, DE/JD/5623, DE/EW/3686.
203
Boardman, ?The Gaelic World and the Early Stewart Court?.
204
Ibid, 7-8.
297
of the Brendan cult in the area. Thus, it may be that this saint appears due to an
inherited interest. In addition, James may have been keen to continue this practice as
a means of tying himself to this area for political reasons, much as his ancestors had
done and in the way that he appears to have been doing with other saints. A further
option that should not be discounted is the link that this saint provided to James?s
deceased brother. Bute was the location of the castle of Rothesay, nominal centre of
David?s dukedom. This is a particularly important consideration given the
contention made above regarding James?s promotion of the martyrdom of his elder
brother. The inclusion of both Columba and Brendan in James?s calendar is perhaps
strange given Boardman?s contention regarding the former in the early days of
Stewart lordship. Boardman argues that their political opponents in the Clyde area
used Columba as an anti-Stewart figure, while devotion to Brendan was seen as
tantamount to declaring loyalty to the Stewart family.
205
This latter point may also
explain why James was interested in the saint, perhaps hoping to foster a cult around
it at court to engender loyalty to himself as the latest of the Stewart kings. This may
also have influenced the inclusion of Columba in some way, though of course,
Columba was Scotland?s ?other? national saint, his relics having been carried on to
the field at Bannockburn. However, as a Stewart, James may have hoped to diminish
the memory of Columba?s anti-Stewart past. By venerating both Columba and
Brendan, James was perhaps following a unification policy, seeking to unite all
political factions behind the monarch. Given that his nobles were long accustomed
to running their own affairs without having to answer to a king, this would be a
sensible strategy.

205
Ibid, 10.
298
In addition to the appearance of Queen Margaret?s feasts, James called his
eldest daughter Margaret, which further suggests that James had a particular interest
in this cult, although this was a common name. This choice of name is unsurprising
given that a link to illustrious ancestors could be a significant propaganda
accomplishment. English monarchs used the cult of Edward the Confessor as a
method of legitimising and promoting their own kingship. Even if he had been
unaware of this process from Scottish examples, he would have undoubtedly
encountered it in England during the reign of Henry V. Burden suggests that the
English monarch associated himself particularly with royal saints, reburying Richard
II at Westminster Abbey and being buried there himself.
206
This was in contrast to
the promotion of the cult of Becket undertaken by Henry IV, who established a new
royal mausoleum at Canterbury where he was buried. Burden suggests that this may
have been the result of the particular circumstances of their reigns. Henry IV needed
to establish his own royal identity, distinct from that of Richard II, especially as
Henry?s reign had less than auspicious beginnings. Since Richard had been devoted
to Edward?s cult, Henry needed to separate himself from it. By returning to this cult,
Henry V was seeking to associate his rule with an historical ancestor to increase the
legitimacy of his rule as part of an effort to build support for his campaigns in
France.
James also appears to have had an interest in St Ninian (26/8), whose feast
was observed in every year except 1430. However, the business conducted on this
day related to Whithorn, being a statement by James that the church there should be
considered equal to others in the kingdom in an effort to remove doubt over the
bishopric?s status as ecclesiastically it was considered subject to the English see of

206
Burden, ?How Do You Bury a Deposed King??, 38-9.
299
York.
207
Ninian?s shrine was located in Whithorn, so it is not unsurprising that
James should choose the saint?s feast day to clarify the status of the church
associated with it. Additionally, there was a payment of 13s 4d in 1434 to a chaplain
of St Ninian at Dundonald Castle from the gift of the old king, presumably Robert
III.
208
However, this payment only appears to have been made in one year
suggesting, perhaps, that James was not excessively interested in this saint.
Conversely, the well-known instance in December 1427 of his extension of
protection to pilgrims from England and the Isle of Man wishing to visit the shrine
?in honour of the said saint [Ninian]? does indicate that James was interested.
209
It
should be remembered, though, that Whithorn was part of the Douglas heartland, and
James may have included this saint in his devotional life due to his connection with
the Douglas family. It would have been a way to strengthen the bond between
himself and this family by providing some level of common interest. Furthermore,
Balfour-Melville points out that the then Bishop of Whithorn was Alexander Vaus,
an advisor to the Countess of Douglas, James?s sister, who also controlled the
Lordship of Galloway at this time.
210
In addition, as suggested above in reference to
Fillan and Atholl, James may have sought to utilise an association with St Ninian to
establish himself in this area and to limit the influence of the Douglas family.
Political motives may clearly have played a role in James?s interest in St
Ninian. However, a genuinely pious motive may also be discerned. Ninian was
viewed as a freer of captives so it is highly possible that James did venerate this saint
for largely spiritual reasons.
211
By the fifteenth century, images of Ninian usually
depicted him with chains. John Higgitt suggests that this view of Ninian can be

207
RMS, ii, no.164.
208
ER, iv, 595-6.
209
RMS, ii, no.107.
210
Balfour-Melville, James I, 273-4.
211
Yeoman, Pilgrimage, 35.
300
traced to the fourteenth century, when a Scots life of this saint set during the recent
wars with England tells of a captive freed from violent death by the intervention of
Ninian.
212
It is not difficult to see why James may have had a personal affinity for
this saint, having spent so many years as a captive himself.
Finally, the influence of Joan Beaufort and her family should not be
overlooked due to the Winchester saints that appear in the calendar. The feast and
translation dates of Swithun (2/7 and 15/7 respectively) a former bishop of
Winchester (d.862) are both evident in the calendar, though they do coincide with the
Visitation feast of Mary. However, there is no reason why both could not be
celebrated on the same day. Veneration of Swithun would have been important for
several reasons, not least of which was giving Joan some input into devotional life at
the royal court, helping to integrate her into her new home. Perhaps more significant
politically would have been the link this provided with Joan?s uncle, Cardinal
Beaufort, bishop of Winchester, who was an English royal councillor both during
and after James?s period of captivity and who had played a role in securing James?s
release. Thus James would surely have wished to show his gratitude to this powerful
individual as well as smooth the way for their future relationship. It was the
Cardinal, for instance, who came north in 1429 to hold talks with James following
the conclusion of the Franco-Scottish alliance.
213

The question arises, however, that if James was seeking to use devotions to
Scottish saints in an effort to engender political unity and legitimise his kingship,
why do several saints that have a stronger English connection than a Scottish one
appear in James?s possible devotional routine? Several saints with a connection to

212
Higgitt, ??Imageis Maid with Mennis Hand?. See also, W. M. Metcalfe (ed.), Legends of the Saints
in the Scottish Dialect of the Fourteenth Century, ii, Scottish Text Society (Edinburgh & London,
1896), 304-345.
213
Brown, James I, 111.
301
Canterbury are evident in the calendar. For instance, Peter of Canterbury (6/1),
Deusdedit (14/7), Tatwin (30/7, apparently not kept in 1436) and possibly Theodore
(19/9) all appear.
214
These may of course be coincidences, highlighted due to the
nature of extant evidence, but they are not completely impossible suggestions. The
most important saint with this connection, Thomas Becket, also appears to have been
venerated by James, with both the feast and translation dates of this saint being ?free?
days for the king (29/12 and 7/7, respectively). Additionally, there was a local feast
commemorating Becket?s return from exile, the Regressio de exilio, which was kept
on 2 December, and this date appears to have been kept by James in every year
except 1429. This feast surely had a particularly personal resonance for James.
Undoubtedly, James would have been exposed to the cult of Thomas Becket while in
England, and may have encountered less well-known cults centred at Canterbury at
the same time. James may have developed an interest in Canterbury after witnessing
the level of interest of Henry IV in the cult of Becket, as mentioned above. Henry V
also had an interest in the cult, paying ?160 in the first year of his reign for a gold
ornament in the shape of a man?s head, decorated with pearls and jewels that he
offered to St Thomas?s tomb at Canterbury.
215

However, the fact that Becket was a figure of resistance to the English
monarch may also have been important. As already mentioned, Robert I showed an
interest in this saint for this reason during the Wars of Independence.
216
Perhaps
veneration of this saint was now expected in a Scottish monarch as part of the
national effort to resist English domination. In James?s case, this may have been a
consequence of the uncertain foreign policy that was a feature of his reign.

214
However, Peter of Canterbury?s feast was kept on 30/12 at St Augustine?s, Canterbury, Tatwin?s
feast was unofficial and Theodore appears to have lacked popularity.
215
Issues of the Exchequer, 321-2.
216
Penman, ?The Bruce Dynasty and Becket?.
302
However, there is further evidence of a genuine pious interest in this cult. From
1426, a ?5 annuity is recorded in the Exchequer Rolls as being paid to a chaplain
celebrating at an altar of St Thomas the Martyr in the parish church of Renfrew,
which may have been a twelfth/thirteenth century Stewart foundation.
217
It is
possible that James was further influenced in his interest in this cult by the presence
of a Becket relic in Glasgow. This was certainly in Scotland during James?s reign,
part of a shirt and a comb of St Thomas being included in a 1432 inventory of the
Glasgow Cathedral treasury.
218
James did visit Glasgow shortly after his return,
stopping there as part of his journey to Ayr in late 1424.
219
This would explain why
a Renfrew church was the recipient of an annuity as opposed to any other location.
In addition, Arbroath Abbey?s abbot, Walter Painter, was among those
granted a safe conduct in 1423 during negotiations for James?s release and in 1436,
along with Bishop Cameron, asked the Pope to send a nuncio to Scotland.
Additionally, in November that year the abbot was granted a confirmation of the
abbey?s regality, implying that James had a long-standing connection with the
personnel of the abbey who may have influenced him.
220
Furthermore, there is a
suggestion that there was an altar dedicated to Becket in St John?s church in Perth.
MacKinlay relates that the New Statistical Account records a chapel dedicated to St
James and St Thomas Becket in the south side of St John?s.
221
However, in
Ecclesiastical Annals of Perth, R.S. Fittis argues that it was only an altar, referred to
as a chapel due to an unusual level of separation from the other altars and this would

217
ER, iv, 427 and passim; Canterbury Cathedral Archive, Register E, f. 127a, nos. 2 & 3. I am
grateful to Dr Michael Penman for this reference.
218
Ditchburn, Scotland and Europe, 57; A.A.M. Duncan, ?St Kentigern at Glasgow Cathedral in the
Twelfth Century?, in R. Fawcett (ed.), Medieval Art and Architecture in the Diocese of Glasgow,
(1999), 11.
219
ER, iv, 398, records the carriage of silver cups and other items to Glasgow for the king.
220
Balfour-Melville, James I, 93, 237-9; Liber S. Thome de Aberbrothoc, ii, 70.
221
MacKinlay, Ancient Church Dedications, i, 242-3.
303
be more in keeping with medieval practice.
222
This was in existence prior to James?s
return to Scotland. If this altar did exist, it may have helped to stimulate the king?s
interest in this saint, by seeing his own name saint juxtaposed with the famous
Becket. The practice of screening off altars to form separate chapels was very
common at this time so the idea should not be taken too far.
Some of the saints of interest to James appear to indicate an interest in
chivalry. St Andrew, in addition to being the national saint, had chivalric
connections, being the patron of the Order of the Golden Fleece, as discussed above.
Furthermore, James may have commemorated the feast of Catherine of Alexandria,
and she was popularised by the Crusaders of the medieval period. Michaelmas, the
feast of St Michael (29/9) is also free, except in 1429, and Boulton suggests that this
saint was viewed as the model of chivalry.
223
Perhaps it may be considered
significant also, that James constructed his new palace at Linlithgow immediately
next to the parish church, dedicated to St Michael. There is not much to indicate that
James was overtly interested in chivalric culture, as discussed in chapter six.
However, these few examples of chivalric saints do signify that James was perhaps
more interested in this area than other records suggest. It would also explain the
appearance of St George in the calendar. The English national saint was perhaps a
strange choice for a king of Scots. However, Boulton argues that by the early
fourteenth century, George was generally regarded as the heavenly protector of
knighthood.
224
Furthermore, James was knighted at a meeting of the Order of the
Garter on St George?s day in 1421.
225
It was therefore appropriate that the Scottish
king mark the feast day of this saint.

222
Referenced in MacKinlay, Ancient Church Dedications, i, 242-3.
223
Boulton, The Knights of the Crown, 12.
224
Ibid. 124.
225
Brown, James I, 23.
304
The feast of St John the Baptist is one that appears to have been particularly
important to James. A petition of 14 April 1431 stated that, motivated by ?special
devotion to St John the Baptist?, the king and queen proposed to erect the parish
church of Linlithgow into a Collegiate church in order ?to praise and glory of God
Omnipotent and of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of St John and all the choir of
Heaven?.
226
James may have been partially following the Forrester family in this, as
John Forrester had obtained permission in 1429 to erect the church of Corstorphine
into a collegiate church.
227
Crucially, James?s liking for Perth also suggests devotion
to this saint, Perth also being known as St John?s Town. This may also have played a
part in James?s choice of location for his Carthusian foundation, Bower identifying
the site with one that was known as St John?s Valley.
228
MacKinlay also asserts that
the Charterhouse was under the invocation of St John as well as Mary.
229
James may
have felt some personal affinity with this saint. St John was apparently born when
his mother was ?comparatively advanced in years? and James?s own mother was at
least forty years old when James was born. Additionally, an angel was said to have
chosen John?s name, which may help to explain the king?s choice of a trio of angels
to grace his coat of arms at Linlithgow Palace, although this probably has more to do
with the idea of a God-supported monarchy. Furthermore, before changing his name
upon acceding to the throne, James?s father was called John, as was his maternal
grandfather, John Drummond. It is also possible, given that the exact date is
unknown, that James?s birthday fell close to the feast of St John the Baptist, perhaps
half way between that feast and that of St James, after whom it is suggested James
was named. John would not have been chosen due to the distasteful associations this

226
CSSR, iii, 140, 176.
227
MacKinlay, Ancient Church Dedications in Scotland: Scriptural Dedications, 321.
228
Chron. Bower, viii, 275.
229
MacKinlay, Ancient Church Dedications in Scotland: Scriptural Dedications, 326-7.
305
name had come to have.
230
John the Baptist was a popular saint in medieval times,
with only saints Mary, Peter, Michael, Andrew and All Saints having more churches
dedicated to them in England than John does.
231
It may be expected that this
devotion would affect James?s itinerary, the king choosing to be in a location with an
association with John the Baptist at the time of this saint?s feast day, the most logical
location being Perth. However, the nature of the surviving evidence makes it
difficult to offer any certain conclusions in this area. As far as can be suggested, it is
possible that James was in or near Perth around 24 June in every year of the reign
except 1425 and 1429. In 1435, the exchequer audit sat in Stirling over the period of
this feast, but it is not impossible that the king may have taken time out for a visit to
Perth.
232

There is also significant evidence suggesting that James had a strong interest
in the cult of the Blessed Virgin Mary. As stated above, James apparently appears
with Mary on the Perth Charterhouse seal and the feast days relating to Mary were
observed by James. In addition, James called one of his daughters Mary, indicating
further interest in this cult, although this was a very common name. The level of
occurrence of a Christian name could be an indication of a saint?s popularity. For
example, Richard Marks states that George was a common Christian name in
Bedfordshire, where there were at least fourteen images of the saint.
233
However,
caution is needed in using given names as evidence of devotion. Swanson argues
that it was more usual in England to name children after their godparents rather than

230
The possibility of a King John was untenable in Scotland by this time due to its association with
King John Balliol. This is evidenced by the fact that John, earl of Carrick, changed his name to
become Robert III upon taking the throne.
231
The Oxford Dictionary of Saints. The recently launched Database of Dedications to Saints in
Medieval Scotland should provide more detail on this for Scotland. A very brief survey indicates 262,
2762, 175, 278, 231, and 325 references to these saints respectively.
232
See appendix 7.
233
R. Marks, Image and Devotion in Late Medieval England (Stroud, 2004), 114.
306
any particular saint. In the early fourteenth century, one couple had to justify their
choice of name for their daughter after it provoked comment in the local community;
they had named her after St Catherine.
234
However, Swanson does go on to say that
the use of ?devotional? names became increasingly popular through time. Thus,
particular given names may be taken as extra evidence of devotion to a saint but not
as proof in and of itself. Additional support for James?s interest in the Mary cult
comes from the Kingis Quair, in which the narrator of the tale invokes Mary to help
him on his journey.
235
Given that this poem is generally held to be autobiographical,
it is possible that James was interested in this saint during his reign as thanks to her
intercession during his captivity. The interest shown by James in Melrose abbey as
discussed above is also indicative of the king?s interest in this cult. Added to this is
patronage given to the abbot and convent of Dryburgh, also dedicated to St Mary. In
December 1429, James and Archibald, earl of Douglas made a supplication to the
Pope that he would confirm their grant of the parish church of Smailholm and the
hospital of Lauder to the monastery.
236

Mary was a hugely popular saint in the medieval period; for instance,
Edward III visited or gave a donation to various locations associated with her in
England such as her shrine at Walsingham, her statue in St Paul?s and the Lady
Chapel in Christ Church, Canterbury.
237
Richard II also showed an interest in this
cult, the Virgin appearing on the Wilton Diptych, and there is evidence highlighting
payments made by Richard on various feasts of the Virgin.
238
Mary was equally
admired in Scotland, with a very popular shrine dedicated to her at Whitekirk in East

234
Swanson, Religion and Devotion in Europe, 168.
235
The Kingis Quair, st.17, l.17.
236
CSSR, iii, 67-8.
237
Ormrod, ?The Personal Religion of Edward III?, 857.
238
Saul, Richard II, 304-5; S. Mitchell, ?Richard II: Kingship and the Cult of Saints? in D. Gordon, L.
Monnas, C.M. Barron & C. Elam (eds.), The Regal Image of Richard II and the Wilton Diptych
(London, 1997), 123-4.
307
Lothian, and later the poet William Dunbar wrote a poem addressed to her.
239
There
is also a fifteenth-century brass chandelier in St John?s church in Perth that
incorporates a devotional image of the Virgin.
240
James was not the only individual
at his court with an interest in Mary and perhaps his own interest was partly
motivated by a desire to fit in with the general trends of medieval piety. In June
1424, for instance, James confirmed a charter of Thomas Somerville of Carnwath
that had established an altar to St Mary in the monastery of St Machutus in
Lesmahagow.
241
Winchester Cathedral had a Lady Chapel with images showing the
Virgin?s miracles.
242
This perhaps adds to the suggestion above that the Beauforts
had some influence on James in this area, although of course Lady Chapels were a
common feature of English Cathedrals. Similarly, the devotion to Mary shown by
Henry V may have been a factor as well; in his will of 1415, Henry stated that a
chantry chapel should be built at his tomb and should be dedicated to the
Annunciation and all the saints.
243
Additionally, Henry?s monastic foundation at
Isleworth was to be a house of prayer, where the help of the Holy Trinity, Mary and
St Bridget could be sought. The English king himself laid the foundation stone on 22
February 1415.
244
As well as highlighting the general popularity of Mary?s cult in
this period, it provides another possible motivation for James?s devotional habits,
namely imitation of English practice, which can be seen in other aspects of his court
life such as architectural endeavours and the composition of his household. It should
be noted that Mary was a popular saint throughout Europe in this period, but it is

239
Ditchburn, Scotland and Europe, 54.
240
Angels, Nobles and Unicorns: Art and Patronage in Medieval Scotland (National Museums of
Scotland, 1982), 116.
241
RMS, ii, no.3.
242
Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars, 17.
243
Allmand, Henry V, 180-1.
244
Ibid. 274-5.
308
likely that it was the English expressions of devotion to this cult that formulated
James?s own habits, due to the lengthy period he spent in that kingdom.
James?s apparent interest in this cult may have provided him with a further
link to his household officers. In a charter dated 10 September 1432, and confirmed
by James in 1434, Sir Walter Ogilvy, a member of James?s household, founded a
chaplainry in the parish church of St Mary of Auchterhouse, for the salvation of the
king and his predecessors and for the deceased Henry Guthrie, parson of the church
of Fettercairn, endowing it with 10 marks annually from lands in the barony of
Lintrathen.
245
This was Ogilvy?s parish church so it is not particularly surprising that
he was keen to offer patronage to it though this may have served as another means of
connecting James to his household. As well as representing patronage to a church
dedicated to St Mary, this further emphasises the custom of having prayers said for
the royal family as discussed earlier in the chapter.
The advantages of participating in one of the most popular cults of the
period are clear. It helped to create a link between James and other important
figures, which would have been politically beneficial. Furthermore, it helped the
king to appear pious in front of his subjects and the appearance of piety was as
important, perhaps even more so, than being genuinely pious. Additionally, courtly
interest in this cult could be used as a model for the role of Queen Joan. Mary?s
associations with motherhood would have been attractive to a king seeking to secure
his dynasty and it may have been to Mary that the royal couple looked to guide the
queen safely through multiple pregnancies. It may also be that the king and queen
sought the intercession of the saintly Queen Margaret in this area. The queens of
James II and James IV both requested to have Margaret?s sark or shirt brought to

245
NAS, Papers of the Earls of Airlie, GD16/6/3.
309
them during pregnancy indicating that this saint had an association with this arena.
246

St Mary?s position in Catholic belief was that of intercessor, that is, she had the
power to intercede with God on behalf of an individual.
247
Mary?s powers were
limited in that she could only intercede, not answer requests herself, due to the fact
that God was all-powerful and could not have His authority intruded upon.
248
This
concept would have been of interest to James who was seeking a political role for his
wife, as evidenced for instance by the order in July 1428 that noble heirs and new
bishops were to swear an oath of loyalty to the queen as well as to James when they
received their inheritances and benefices.
249
However, James was keen to centre
political authority in his own person, following his years of captivity, a time in which
he had been politically powerless.
The use of the Mary cult thus gave Joan a role without lessening James?s
own authority. Bower records three occasions when Joan acted as intercessor
between an individual and her husband. The first two are in August 1429, when she
interceded for Alexander, Lord of the Isles and September 1431 when the earls of
Douglas and Ross (the latter an error by Bower, referring to the Lord of the Isles)
were the recipients of her favour. The final instance, which may be apocryphal, has
Joan and her ladies ?prostrat[ing] themselves on the floor? to prevent James from
cutting off the hand of one man who had slapped another.
250
These incidents,
obviously contrived beforehand, allowed Joan to have an important political role that
augmented and emphasised the power of James without impinging upon it.
The appearance of other ?universal? saints is easily explained by the
necessity of having the king appear to be pious, as well as by some level of genuine

246
Boardman, ?Dunfermline as a Royal Mausoleum?, 147-8.
247
M. Warner, Alone of All Her Sex: the Myth and Cult of the Virgin Mary (London, 2000), 286.
248
Ibid., 286, 288.
249
Downie, ?Sche is But a Womman?, 144.
250
Chron. Bower, viii, 263, 265, 321.
310
piety on James?s part. These saints were popular often because they were seen as
being particularly pious individuals or as being otherwise important to the
development of Christianity. The feast of St Mark (25/4) appears, for example, as do
both feasts associated with St John the Evangelist (27/12 and 6/5). Both of these
saints have had the writing of Gospels attributed to them, making them an important
part of the fundamentals of Christianity. It is thus not unsurprising to find Mathew
(21/9) among the list of saints possible venerated by James I. Luke (18/10) is
probably also there every year. Only in 1431 is there the possibility that this feast
was not kept, as James was in Perth for a sitting of Parliament that week but it is not
necessarily the case that business was actually conducted that day. Thus, four key
figures associated with the Holy Book of Christianity appear in James?s possible
devotional calendar. Other popular and universal feasts that appears to have been
kept are that of All Saints (1/11), commemorating all those now residing in Heaven,
and All Souls (2/11), remembering those who still remained in purgatory. Feasts
such as these would have been an essential part of spiritual life at the royal court,
highlighting James?s participation in the conventional religion of the time,
demonstrating his piety and also helping to mark the progress of the year.

vii: Royal Pilgrimage
One final issue that should be discussed in relation to James?s devotional
activities is the matter of pilgrimage. Unfortunately, there is not a great deal of
surviving evidence that can shed light on this area of James?s life. However, as
stated earlier, James travelled to Glasgow as part of a journey to Ayr where he may
have been exposed to the relics of St Thomas Becket and St Kentigern. This does
not necessarily mean that the desire to make a pilgrimage was the reason for the stop
311
at Glasgow. Diana Webb has argued that a king?s presence at the location of a shrine
does not automatically mean that pilgrimage was a chief motive of the visit.
251
Even
if James did venerate Becket?s relics while in Glasgow it is possible that this was
simply an action of opportunity rather than genuine devotional interest. However,
the reasons for interest in this particular saint have been outlined above, so in this
instance pilgrimage may have been a strong motivator for the visit to Glasgow. As
with the veneration of particular saints, pilgrimage could have strong political
objectives. Webb states that as well as giving the opportunity of honouring saints,
pilgrimage gave the king?s subjects the chance to honour him.
252
Part of the reason
for the visit to Ayr in 1424 was the need to reassert control over the Stewart regality,
lands that James had been given by his father in 1404.
253
Thus the king would have
been keen to display his regal status, efficiently accomplished through a pilgrimage
to the relics of a popular saint. Additionally, there is the apparent pilgrimage to
Rothesay?s tomb described above. It should also be borne in mind that James was at
St Andrews at several times throughout his reign, and may have taken the
opportunity to combine his visits with a pilgrimage to the relics of St Andrew. This
may have been particularly the case in 1425 during the visit of the Burgundian
ambassadors, with the special interest in this saint held by the Burgundian Dukes as
discussed above. James?s interest in pilgrimage to St Andrews may also be evident
in his continued payment of an annuity of ?10 14s 8d for the maintenance of the Tay
Bridge, which formed one of the main routes into Fife.
254
Peter Yeoman has
suggested that maintenance of the road network leading to St Andrews was viewed
as an act of piety, so James?s continuation of this sum could be understood as

251
Webb, Pilgrimage in Medieval England, 124.
252
Ibid. 137.
253
Brown, James I, 55-6.
254
ER, iv, 395, 422, 458, 488, 523, 549, 584, 633.
312
representing his encouragement of pilgrimage to that area. James may also have
personally visited the Marian shrine at Whitekirk, a place he was certainly interested
in as discussed above. In March 1429, for instance, James was in Dunbar and
Haddington, places that were in the vicinity of this shrine and James may have taken
the opportunity to make his devotions there at this time.
255
This would be in keeping
with his interest in this saint, especially as one of the Virgin?s feasts, the
Annunciation, was observed in March. Additionally, as the king was in the area on
his way for a day of truce at Coldingham, a pilgrimage at this time could have a
political as well as devotional motivation.
Further evidence that James at least intended to carry out more extravagant
pilgrimages can be found in the CSSR. In the list of supplications recorded in the
calendar for 20 February 1430 there is one in which James is seeking the right to
have his confessor ?commute all and sundry vows, which [he] cannot conveniently
keep? with the exception of ?vows of pilgrimage overseas to the Saints and Apostles
Peter and Paul and St John in Galicia?.
256
This does indicate that the Scottish king
was interested in making pilgrimages, even if he did not have the opportunity to fulfil
his vow. Even if James had not been particularly interested in this aspect of
Christianity, it may not have been particularly detrimental to his image, as Ditchburn
argues that pilgrimage was not an essential part of devotion in this period.
257

However, the political benefits would again be something James was unlikely to
have overlooked and it does appear as though he participated in this particular ritual.
The king?s failure to fulfil his vow of pilgrimage overseas may have
prompted the separation of his heart from his body after his death and its being sent
on pilgrimage to Jerusalem. A genuinely pious desire to ensure his vow was

255
Ibid., 466, 477.
256
CSSR, iii, 78.
257
Ditchburn, Scotland and Europe, 58.
313
fulfilled, aiding himself in the afterlife, was surely part of James?s consideration.
Furthermore, the choice of Jerusalem is significant, as it was considered to be the
holiest place of pilgrimage. Webb states that Richard I, Edward I and Henry IV were
considered to be the highest form of pilgrims as they had visited the Holy Land,
while Colin Morris asserts that Jerusalem had a special devotional quality due to
being the site of the crucifixion.
258
The desire to be included in such esteemed
company, even if post mortem, could well have influenced the choice of location. In
having his heart removed, James was also mimicking his illustrious predecessor,
Robert I. It is well known that the earlier king?s heart was removed and taken on
crusade by James Douglas.
259
James may have hoped that imitating Bruce would
help to secure his own reputation. There is also the possibility that guilt motivated
James?s decision. Michael Penman has suggested that Robert I?s request to have his
heart taken on Crusade was motivated by the feeling that after his death he would
have to answer for some of his actions in life.
260
Thus it may be that James felt some
pangs of guilt regarding his destruction of the Albany Stewart family and felt a need
to repent for this in order to secure his eventual ascent into Heaven. There is not a
great deal of evidence to suggest that James felt guilt over these actions, which he
assuredly felt justified in taking in the first place, although it is a possibility given the
very real belief in purgatory and Heaven in the medieval period.




258
Webb, Pilgrimage in Medieval England, 115; C. Morris, ?Pilgrimage to Jerusalem in the late
Middle Ages?, in C. Morris & P. Roberts (eds.), Pilgrimage: the English Experience from Becket to
Bunyan (Cambridge, 2002), 141-163, 141.
259
See, for example, G. G. Simpson, ?The Heart of King Robert I: Pious Crusade or Marketing
Gambit?? in B. E. Crawford (ed.), Church, Chronicle and Learning in Medieval and Early
Renaissance Scotland (Edinburgh, 1999), 173-86.
260
Penman, ?Christian Days and Knights?, 252.
314
viii: Conclusions
Clearly, despite the apparent lack of evidence, there is much that can be said
about the possible devotional life of James?s court. Generally, it was entirely
conventional for the period, overlooking none of the key aspects of Christianity such
as alms giving and the veneration of saints. James was conservative in his attitude
towards heresy and showed patronage to religious Orders, most notably of course to
the Carthusians, a popular Order of the time. The king venerated a range of saints,
from the universally popular Mary to those with a more local, Scottish connection.
James also appears to have taken an interest in pilgrimage. In every instance, it is
difficult, if not impossible, to separate pious motives from political ones, which is
not surprising given that this was a time when religion played such a key role in the
everyday lives of every member of society. What is clear from this survey is that
James missed no opportunity to promote his image and his kingship after his return
to Scotland in 1424, which is again not surprising given his transparent desire to
ensure that he alone was at the centre of political power in his kingdom. However,
what is absent from James?s devotional activity is the promotion of a unifying cult,
designed to draw together the king?s subjects in support of him and his plans. There
is nothing here to suggest that James took care to establish a popular ethos in the
devotional atmosphere of his court. This was another area in which James missed an
opportunity to gain popularity and win loyalty. Not even his apparent interest in a
mid-summer celebration centred on commemoration of John the Baptist and
Bannockburn appears to have won over his subjects. As the preceding chapters have
indicated, there was simply too much else taking place in the court and household for
them to put aside their distrust of the monarch and be convinced by his devotional
beliefs.
315
Chapter 8 ? Conclusion: The King Incomplete

Michael Brown?s ultimate conclusion regarding James I and his reign is that
it was these short thirteen years that established the ?confident, internationally
respected dynasty? that was in place in Scotland by the end of the fifteenth century.
1

Additionally, in paraphrasing Walter Bower?s opinions of this first James, Brown
asserts that James I helped to create the ?power and prestige of the Stewart dynasty?.
2

Ultimately, James I set out to alter the balance of power within his kingdom and in
Brown?s view met with significant successes, for example, checking the freedom of
the greater magnates and obtaining the imprisonment of the Lord of the Isles. In
Brown?s political study it is easy to see how this conclusion is reached. James was a
much more politically active monarch than his immediate predecessors, Robert II
and Robert III, destroying opponents such as the Albany Stewarts, passing or re-
enacting large amounts of legislation and perhaps also attempting to make the court a
political and cultural centre within the kingdom, with a Stewart-family affinity at its
centre.
Furthermore, Brown is mostly positive about the king?s choice of location
for his power base, suggesting that it was a foundation for success. Brown?s
assessment is that by focussing on the Central Lowlands, James was able to establish
himself in an area that was not already dominated by his subjects giving the king a
strong and unrivalled power base. To this Brown ascribes the beginnings of a
permanent change in the composition of the Scottish nobility. To an extent, this idea
is supported by the geographical origins of the king?s household officers and
companions, who came predominantly from Lowland areas, particularly around the

1
Brown, James I, 208.
2
Ibid.
316
Lothians, although also to an extent from Forfarshire and Fife. For Brown, the
money spent by James on creating a ?new monarchy? also played a part in the king?s
successes, helping to establish the court as a political, diplomatic and cultural centre.
Indeed, James I did achieve notable successes in the course of his thirteen-
year personal reign. Perhaps the most tangible example of this is Linlithgow Palace.
The building?s direct impact during James?s reign is debatable and the form it would
have eventually taken had James and not his successors completed its construction is
unclear. However, the Palace begun by James I remains an enduring statement of the
elevated status of Scottish monarchs. Significantly, it reveals the change in how
Scottish monarchs perceived themselves and how they wished to be perceived by
their subjects and the world. The Palace was radically different to other Scottish
royal residences and helped to mark the arrival of Scottish monarchs on the
international scene.
Politically, James did begin to change the relationship between the king and
his nobles, particularly in contrast to his immediate predecessors Robert II and
Robert III. James could more fully make the claim that he had been born to rule, as
opposed to his father and grandfather who had come to the throne through the female
line and following the unfortunate death of David II without a direct heir. James?s
efforts to emphasise this by attempting to take back control of the direction of
politics in Scotland exemplifies this. While this did not come to complete fruition in
James I?s reign, it was a policy on which his successors could build. Moreover, the
fact that James was able to marry a Scottish princess to the French Dauphin was a
considerable coup for the kingdom and its ruler. James vacillated somewhat on this
issue and there is some debate as to the strength of James?s position in the
negotiations and eventual conclusion of the marriage between his daughter and the
317
Dauphin.
3
However, it was a notable step up in the world for Scotland?s role in
European politics. James?s assured view of himself was reflected in the luxury
purchases he made for the royal family in Flanders, using the money raised for his
ransom. The rich cloths and jewels that were purchased give a strong indication of a
monarch seeking to set himself and his spouse apart from the rest of the Scottish
nobility in a very visual way. Nowhere is this perhaps more evident than in the
king?s interest in artillery. The purchase from Flanders of the cannon called ?Lion? is
an exemplar of how the Scottish king perceived himself and wished to be perceived
by his European counterparts. James sought to promote himself as a strong military
leader, and the acquisition of the latest military technology was a crucial part of this.
James also appears to have had some success in establishing a culture of
service amongst some sectors of the nobility. Families such as the Crichtons came to
prominence in James?s reign through loyal support to the king. Others, for instance
Walter Ogilvy and John Forrester, appear to have attached themselves even more
firmly to the king, preferring to advance themselves through royal service rather than
through traditional local loyalties. This was the beginning of a change in the balance
of fifteenth century Scottish politics, as hereditary nobles began to see their
traditional positions being threatened. James I was beginning to undermine the
control that this group had exerted within the kingdom, especially during the reigns
of Robert II and Robert III and the Albany governorship.
As important as these successes were, however, they do not outweigh the
negative consequences of James?s actions. This detailed examination of the royal
court and household in this period has revealed a fuller picture of the reign. To a
point, the reorganisation of the household undertaken by James after 1424 supports

3
Downie, ??Sche is but a Womman?.

318
the general view of James as an active and authoritative monarch, who was
attempting to centralise authority in his own person and using the court and
household to do so. By acting so quickly to establish his position in such a basic
aspect of medieval government, James was signalling his intentions regarding his
rule, that is, that he intended to reverse the decline in monarchic power and status
that had been a feature of Stewart rule thus far. The maintenance of a large
household was an important status symbol for any medieval monarch, and this was
especially important for James as he sought to establish his position. By taking
control of the household, James was also able to use it to offer rewards to those who
had shown loyal service, as shown throughout chapters three and four. Yet this was
not sustained by James throughout his reign. The king failed to establish fully a
reorganised household commensurate with those of his European counterparts, which
could thus not be utilised as effectively to the king?s advantage. This is particularly
marked in the latter years of the reign. In terms of the personnel of the household,
contrary to Brown?s view, the limitations of the geographical origins of the king?s
officers and courtiers had a significantly detrimental affect on James I?s reign.
Superficially, choosing officers and advisors from the wealthy Lowlands, and with
whom he had a long-standing connection, was a sensible decision on the part of the
king. Initially, this gave James the strong support base that he needed in order to
begin to exert his authority within Scotland. Establishing himself in the areas in and
around Edinburgh, traditional royal centres, was a key priority for James, and
utilising men that he trusted, with connections to this area was eminently sensible.
Indeed, James did win the support of a core group of men. A notable
example from this group is William Crichton, who came to particular prominence in
the latter years of the reign and who remained significant during James II?s minority.
319
The fact that Crichton remained loyal to Queen Joan suggests that he had been
persuaded by James to tie his fortunes to those of the Crown. John Forrester also
remained in royal government, and James Douglas of Balvenie, who would become
Earl of Avondale, remained with the queen as well.
4
Thus, James?s efforts to make
royal favour dependent on service to the king appear to have been at least partially
successful; some men were encouraged to become and remain loyal to the Crown.
Furthermore, many of those employed by James were from relatively minor noble
families, giving further indication of the insecurity felt by James upon his return to
Scotland and thereafter. These men were more heavily dependent on royal favour to
improve their social and political standings, unlike, for instance, the Earl of Douglas,
whose abilities and status needed no royal sanction to confirm. They thus had more
to gain by throwing their lot in with James and remaining loyal to the Crown and
James could be a little surer of their loyalty. It is clear, however, that this elevation
in status of some noble families was not welcomed by all. The Douglas family
appear to have desired a greater role in the kingdom?s political life, for example, as
shown by their efforts to obtain control during James II?s minority.
5

The men who did support James I for any length of time, however, were
from a limited group, both geographically and socially, and the fact that James
appears to have maintained this pattern throughout his reign led eventually to
disaster. By preventing individuals from a broad range of areas and backgrounds
from becoming close enough to him to implement his policies effectively, James
ensured that he would ultimately fail to gain the authority that he desired. One
notable example of this is the consequences for the relationship between the Crown
and the Lordship of the Isles. Although meeting with some temporary success in his

4
Downie, She is But a Woman, 141.
5
The political events immediately following the assassination of James I and the events of James II?s
minority are discussed in McGladdery, James II, 5-49.
320
efforts to subdue the Lordship, the end of James I?s reign found the Lord in a
stronger position than at its start.
6
The fact that James had failed to establish durable
and useful links with the area through his household placed the crown at a serious
disadvantage in attempting to combat this change. The king had no way of gaining
the knowledge of local politics necessary for establishing royal authority in the north.
James even made the situation worse by failing to take advantage of opportunities
afforded to him for averting this. Although Brown suggests that no noble of the
period could effectively have taken Mar?s place as royal lieutenant in the Highlands,
James was seriously in error in not even attempting to find a man or group of men to
take over Mar?s role in the north and north-east. A case in point is James?s disregard
for the claim of Robert Erskine to succeed to the earldom after Alexander Stewart?s
death. Erskine?s chief Lowland estates were in Renfrewshire and Clackmannanshire
so James thus lost the opportunity to introduce a man with Lowland ties to this
strategic northern earldom, a man who could presumably have been expected to be
grateful for this sign of royal favour. Erskine may not have been able to immediately
replace Stewart in this role. However, he clearly had significant support in the area,
gaining the backing of Alexander Forbes and the burgesses of Aberdeen and also
probably the Earl of Crawford. This would have been a fairly influential local
coalition, and would no doubt have been more acceptable to locals than James?s plan
to insert the Earl of Orkney, whose main landed interest was in the Lothians, as royal
lieutenant in the area.
7
This is a clear example of how James?s over-dependence on
men and families he had been connected to during the years of his captivity had a
detrimental effect on the later events of his reign. Orkney could not fulfil the role of

6
Alexander was styling himself Earl of Ross in charters by the close of James?s reign, and the death
of the Earl of Mar in 1435 removed the only real opposition to the Lord?s influence in the north.
7
The Erskine claim to the earldom immediately following Alexander Stewart?s death and James?s
plans for it are discussed in Brown, James I, 156-60.
321
leader in the north, particularly as he was dispatched to accompany the king?s
daughter Margaret to France in 1436 and was thus not able to even attempt to begin
checking moves by the Lordship of the Isles. By relying on a limited circle of trusted
servants, James was severely limiting the pool of men that he could call on to support
and enforce the royal will throughout the kingdom and abroad.
The household was a two-way street, however, and if James did not use it to
his own best advantage, then he was also denying his nobles regular occasions on
which to use it to their advantage. What strikes the modern eye, and what was
probably equally evident to contemporaries, was the lack of opportunity for large
sections of the noble community to regularly counsel the king or simply be at court.
By taking the bulk of his councillors from lowland areas, and by keeping the great
nobles out of official office, James was cutting many of his subjects off from an
important political forum. Indeed, as shown in the detailed examination of the king?s
affinity, only one family, the Douglases, could really claim to have consistent and
significant access to the king through this arena. It was from this group that James
drew much of his household. Much of this was due to the trust that had been built up
between the king and these men during the years, particularly the latter years, of
James?s captivity. However, while utilising this group of men whom he trusted was
a sensible decision in the years immediately following 1424, the insecurity shown by
James in his continuing reliance on these men had several detrimental consequences
both for James?s reign and for those of his successors. W. Stanford Reid is perhaps
not far off the mark to suggest a strong role for the Douglases in royal policy.
Although charter data does not support the idea that the Earl of Douglas was a
frequent visitor to James?s court, he was perhaps the one major figure who did not
need to be regularly in the king?s presence, as he could act more effectively through
322
the king?s household officers. Of course, these officers did have a stronger
connection to the fourth earl than the fifth. However, the long-standing connection
may have left some residual loyalty to be exploited by the fifth earl after 1424.
These former Douglas advisors continued to have contact with the Douglas earl,
some of them appearing as witnesses to Douglas charters even after they had entered
royal service. This further signifies the extent to which James failed to win the
exclusive loyalty of even his closest servants.
That James I had failed to win the support of nobles for the Crown is also an
indication of his failure to create a popular court, which would have drawn nobles to
him and in support of him. James?s spending in this area did have some set-piece
successes. The most striking example of this is the entourage gathered to escort
Princess Margaret to France in March 1436. The ?distinguished following of
attendants? who accompanied the princess included the Earl of Orkney and Bishop of
Brechin (although these men could not match, for example, the Earl of Douglas or
Bishop of St Andrews in terms of status), as well as a great number of knights and
squires, dressed in matching outfits. These men, along with 1000 soldiers went to
France in ?three splendid transports and six well-tested barges?, and would have
given a significant message regarding the king?s position to all observers, foreign and
domestic, not least due to the expense involved in organizing such an assemblage.
8

This latter point highlights that James?s efforts were not entirely successful. Bower
records that James financed the expedition through voluntary contributions from his
nobles and clergy. While this was an extraordinary expense that James could expect
to receive help for, the fact that this statement is followed by a chapter entitled
?Taxes should not be levied casually? suggests that the contributions were perhaps

8
Chron. Bower, viii, 249.
323
not as willing as Bower would have us believe. Additionally, the fact that Orkney is
the only earl mentioned in the escort perhaps indicates that James could not obtain
the physical support of other earls, despite the fact that the marriage would cement a
popular treaty with the French. However, it should be noted that there were few
adult earls in Scotland at this time: some were captive in England (such as Menteith),
or titles had been annexed to the Crown (such as Mar). While no doubt impressive,
the king?s approach does not appear to have won sustained and significant support
from the major Scottish nobles.
The fact is, despite some successes, the overall ethos of James?s court and
household had failed to unite the nobility behind their monarch. Effectively, there
was no royal court for his nobles to attend, as what James was creating was so
alienating. In terms of his architectural programme, James was building something
that was foreign in style, emphasising that James?s rule itself was alien. Rather than
impressing his nobles with his status and power, James appalled his nobles with his
choices. The level of James?s spending also contributed to this. The Duke of Albany
and both Robert II and Robert III were more restrained in their spending habits and
built less obviously different residences. Even Albany?s castle at Doune was, at its
core, a tower-house, albeit a particularly grand one. James was doing the opposite to
what his subjects had become accustomed to.
At the same time, James was forfeiting subjects on dubious grounds and
using large amounts of customs revenue to finance his building work. This did not
go down well, especially in light of the lack of patronage being directed towards the
Scottish nobility. Also, it may have appeared to the nobility that the money spent on
Linlithgow was being squandered. Supposedly designed as a purpose-built court
setting, Linlithgow Palace does not appear to have been put to great use, even once it
324
was habitable, as there is no real suggestion that large scale feasts and other
celebrations were held there. This is despite the fact that the Palace was clearly
habitable by the end of the reign and was considered suitable for housing French
ambassadors in 1435. This may have changed had James lived longer but the
impression gained from his personal reign is that the king intended to use the Palace
more as a private residence. Of course, James did spend a fair amount of money on
other residences, but the majority of his spending in this area was on the new
construction at Linlithgow. It seems entirely possible that James?s architectural
endeavours were a factor in his murder, as his subjects saw the king spending huge
sums on his new Palace, a Palace that they were not being given the opportunity to
enjoy. This, combined with the lack of royal patronage coming their way, meant that
the nobles probably resented James?s activities. As James does not seem to have
wanted his greater nobles at court, they were perhaps annoyed that he was spending
so much without them gaining a discernible benefit from it. In the final months of
the reign, this was no doubt compounded by the growing risk of open conflict with
England, a situation not helped by the fact that James had long ceased paying his
ransom. Not only were the king?s spending habits not directly benefiting his nobles,
they were actively placing them into peril. But why then did they not go to court to
register their displeasure?
There are again some indications that James attracted his nobles in a limited
way. For instance, Bower records that in Christmas 1425, James was joined at St
Andrews by a large section of the noble community, as well as foreign ambassadors.
However, it is the presence of the ambassadors that may well have drawn nobles to
court. Also, this was very soon after James?s return and is suggestive of his nobles
wanting to gain some knowledge of the king and his plans. The knighting
325
ceremonies conducted at James?s coronation and to celebrate the baptism of his twin
sons in 1430 can also be viewed as limited successes, although problems with the
supposed attendance at these ceremonies were discussed in chapter three.
Additionally, the fact that Bower?s list of those knighted in 1430 is so much shorter
than that of 1424 suggests that court attendance had very much declined by this
point.
The lack of attendance probably had a lot to do with the fact that the nobles
just did not want to be there. There was nothing attractive to the Scottish nobles in
their king?s court. The traditional courtly pastime of tournaments appears to have
been generally ignored by James, apart from what appears to be a token effort in the
1430s, perhaps at a time when James was seeking to try and win some noble support.
The early 1430s had witnessed the collapse of the Highland campaign and the clear
distrust of the king by parliament. James perhaps hoped that showing an interest in a
popular pastime would begin to attract nobles to his court. That there is almost no
information about this tournament is a strong indication that it did not have the
desired effect. A grand, well-executed, well-attended tournament organised by the
king is unlikely to have gone unnoticed in this period, especially by Walter Bower,
who was at pains to portray James as a model king for James II to follow. It is not
difficult to see why James may have preferred to steer clear of tournaments. Despite
Bower?s assertion that James was skilled in this area, it is doubtful that James would
have been in a position to compete with his nobles in this arena. It was, after all, the
fifth Earl of Douglas (while still Earl of Wigtown) who, with the Earl of Buchan, led
a force of Scots to France to help the French defeat the English at Baug? in 1421.
The very real possibility of Douglas further increasing his chivalric reputation,
within the kingdom no less, was something that James probably could not stand to
326
risk. The international reputation achieved by the Douglases is further evident from
the fact that in 1449, the Burgundian knight Jacques de Lalain visited Scotland in
order to challenge James Douglas, brother of the eighth Earl of Douglas, to a joust,
as he had heard that Douglas was a skilled knight. This was a family with a strong
and continuing tradition of chivalric endeavours.
9

The same is also true of the king?s interest in hunting and literary pursuits.
There is little suggestion that he participated in the former, and in the latter, as shown
in chapter six, the king preferred to restrict this to a small circle of his closest
intimates. Even if the king did not want to risk a full-scale tournament, socialising
with his nobles in the course of a hunt could well have served to forge stronger
relationships, yet James did not take this path, at least as far as the evidence suggests.
In terms of literature, the king did produce what is now one of the great surviving
works of medieval vernacular literature, the Kingis Quair. However, this is
essentially a very private work. At its most immediate level, this is a biographical
love story, personal to the king and queen. This exclusivity in literature is also
evident in the use of Latin by James to compose at Inverness. There is nothing to
match, for example, Robert II?s association with The Bruce, a work that celebrated
not only a great king but some of the other key figures during the Wars of
Independence, figures whose successors were prominent in the later fourteenth
century. In a sense, James was faced with a similar issue to his predecessor, that of
attempting to win the support and loyalty of the noble community. Yet James I did
not utilise literature in the way that Robert II had done. Instead, James served to
alienate his nobles further by keeping courtly literature as something exclusive and
personal rather than public and unifying. The contrast may have been all the more

9
Stevenson, Chivalry and knighthood in Scotland, 52-3, 72-6.
327
marked since The Bruce was still a well-known work during James?s reign. The only
aspect of chivalric culture that James can be seen to have participated in with any
regularity was the knighting of some nobles. Even here, though, there are many
indications that James failed to utilise this arena to his benefit. The men who
received knighthoods at the king?s hand were limited in number and in origin and do
not seem to have helped produce a chivalric atmosphere at court.
James also missed the opportunity to create a unifying national ethos with
his religious interests. True, James did attract a good number of clerics to his
service, as discussed in chapter four. However, this may well have had more to do
with the opportunities the king gave them to earn positions in his household that
would enhance their status than any efforts he made in his religious life. Several
servants achieved bishoprics as rewards for loyalty, not least of whom was of course
John Cameron who was quickly elevated to the bishopric of Glasgow. John
Winchester was elected to the bishopric of Moray shortly before James I?s death and
was consecrated as such in May 1437. James also pursued the provision of his
nephew James Kennedy to the see of Dunkeld after the death of Bishop Cardeny in
January 1437. Royal service was thus, as it had long been, a way for churchmen to
gain high clerical office. In spiritual terms, there are clearly signs that James was
attempting to participate in the most popular religious expressions of the fifteenth
century, most notably in his interest in the cult of the Blessed Virgin and in his
decision to found a Carthusian Priory as opposed to one of another order. However,
while James may have hoped otherwise, these conventional aspects of medieval piety
were not enough to win popular backing for his administration, and would probably
at best have only prevented immediate censuring of a king who did not cultivate such
conventions. As with chivalric interests, James appears to have preferred a much
328
more personal and private religious arrangement to a public approach. His apparent
interest in St John the Baptist is testament to this. John was of course an important
saint in this period, but the impression is certainly one of the king preferring him for
personal reasons as opposed to any notion of his cult having a unifying effect
amongst Scottish nobles. There is nothing in the examination of James?s devotional
behaviour to suggest that he pursued popular national or local cults in an effort to
unify his subjects behind the Crown. In the case of St John the Baptist, this is a
prime example of where James failed to make the most of his opportunities. The
king?s preference for Perth and his apparent affection for the Baptist could have
combined to win him strong support from the residents of Perth. Instead, numerous
Perth burgesses colluded in the assassination plot against James.
Michael Brown dismisses out of hand the idea that these men were reacting
to royal debts and demands as there was no precedent for this in medieval Europe.
10

However, the fact that there was no precedent does not make it impossible that this
was at least a partial motivation. James is known to have accrued significant debts
throughout his reign and given the amount of time he spent in Perth it is not
unreasonable to assume that some of this burden was felt by the Perth burgesses. If
the king?s debt was not an immediate spur then it at least did little to deter the Perth
locals from supporting the assassins. Additionally, this would not have been entirely
without precedent. In late 1407, Louis, duke of Orleans, was assassinated by John,
duke of Burgundy.
11
This was predominantly politically motivated but the idea was
circulated that Louis had embezzled state funds for his own expenses, something
James I effectively did with the money raised for his ransom. The strong

10
Brown, James I, 184.
11
Cartellieri, The Court of Burgundy, 36-8.
329
connections between Scotland and Burgundy would have meant that the Scots were
not unaware of this event and the rumours surrounding it.
12

James wanted power. He actively pursued policies which, on the face of it,
should have aided him in this pursuit. He reorganised his household, which could
perhaps have been expected to bring about an increased separation between the
household and the court. However, it was his household officers upon whom the
king relied most heavily and who could be found most frequently in his presence.
James utilised men that he trusted to carry out the royal will, a logical approach, but
he relied on too narrow a group of men. The king spent money to increase the status
of his court and at least gave an appearance of an interest in chivalry and was not
ignorant of the need to present himself as a pious monarch, but failed to produce an
inviting atmosphere at court. In a way, James tried to do all the things which his
upbringing in England would have told him were rational and sensible. Yet the fact
that James?s ethos was not in tandem with that of his nobles meant that the result of
his efforts was the alienation of a large segment of the political elite. The Scottish
nobility had grown accustomed to exercising a significant amount of power in their
localities, free from the interference of a powerful monarch. What James perceived
as a statement of his position and authority, his nobles took as acts of aggression,
evidence that James was seeking to appropriate their position and authority. James?s
court spending would have sent a powerful statement of intent, backed up, for
instance, by the attack on the Albany Stewart family in 1425, and the forfeiture of
March and annexation of Mar in the 1430s.
Furthermore, a recurrent pattern throughout James?s reign is that the king
was far more concerned with his own comfort and interests than he was with how his

12
See for example, Stevenson, ?Medieval Scottish Associations with Bruges?; Ditchburn, Scotland
and Europe.
330
changes would be implemented and how they would function in the long term. This
appears to be particularly true in the latter half of the reign. The number of charters
issued appears to decrease in the last years of James?s reign and this, in combination
with the reduced interest of the king in campaigning in the Highlands would seem to
suggest that James was retreating from public life to an extent.
13
This is further
suggested by the confusion that begins to appear in household organisation as
outlined in chapter two. This highlights that James was no longer as concerned with
such official matters, as does perhaps the lack of Exchequer audits in the later years
of the reign (although this may be due to non-survival of the records). Nevertheless,
what audits were held later appear to have been less structured, at least in terms of
the fact that there were no auditors appointed to oversee proceedings. The decision
to sideline Hay and Keith from the household, particularly in the decision to appoint
Robert Stewart in their stead, also follows this pattern of James seeking a more
private and intimate court life at which his subjects were generally unwelcome. As
king, James could not avoid such official functions entirely, but the pattern does
seem to be fairly consistent. It was by this point also that James had spent the money
raised for his ransom, and was now in possession of many luxury items. This money
was gone, Linlithgow Palace was in a good state of completion, and James was no
longer interested in attempting to placate his nobles in any way. As time passed,
however, James?s desire to increase his own financial resources again came to the
fore, leading to the forfeiture of March and the annexation of Mar. That this period
also saw an increased effort by James to secure the resources of lands in Perthshire
for his wife Joan also points to desire for a more secure financial future. That this
was bound to antagonise the Earl of Atholl (and indeed did antagonise him) seems

13
It should be noted that the reduction in charter numbers in the later years of the reign may be due to
a lack of survival of documents rather than an actual decrease in charters produced.
331
not to have concerned James and this appears to be a clear example of how James
operated throughout his reign: financial need above other considerations. This was
perhaps a consequence of the limited financial resources he had while a captive in
England.
What this study of James I?s court and household reveals is perhaps not
totally surprising. As highlighted at the outset of this thesis, the court and household
were already known to be important factors in medieval kingship, which was what
necessitated that such a study be undertaken for Scotland in the first place. However,
what has become evident is just how crucial it was for a medieval Scottish king to
get this area right and just how dependent the royal court was on the personality of
the monarch. Richard Vaughan argues that the personality of Philip the Good, duke
of Burgundy, dominated life at the Burgundian court in the mid-fifteenth century.
14

This would appear to be the case for James I?s court as well. James?s apparent desire
for a private, exclusive court, populated by a limited circle of confidants, is evident
in every aspect here examined and what has become obvious throughout this study is
just how distasteful this was to other important Scots. Clearly there is a strong case
for conducting similar studies for other medieval monarchs in order to determine just
how the different personalities of other rulers affected the style of the court and the
politics of the reign more generally.
Nonetheless, there are signs in 1436 that all was not lost regarding the
ultimate outcome of James?s reign. The conclusion of the French alliance with the
marriage of Princess Margaret, and the fact that many nobles did obey the royal
summons to campaign to retake Roxburgh does indicate that James was still actively
trying, and to a point succeeding, to retain his position. Yet unlike the nobles who

14
R. Vaughan, Philip the Good: the Apogee of Burgundy (London, 1970), 127.
332

stayed on to fight at Roxburgh after the death of James II there in 1460, James I?s
abandoned the cause, clearly highlighting how unsuccessful the latter was at uniting
his subjects. Despite the opportunities available to him, by failing to make the most
of them, by failing to get the balance right, by living beyond his means and by failing
to fulfil his military role, James succeeded in alienating the very men whose support
was crucial to a successful reign. In the end, James?s personality, his courtly ethos,
was so abhorrent that all he managed to achieve was the hostility and distrust of his
nobles and an ignominious end in a sewer.

?Here this work comes to an end and the author ceases to write.?
15


15
Chron. Bower, viii, 341.
333
Appendix 1 - Household officers/servants of king

Data is from the Exchequer Rolls unless otherwise stated.

1424 (RMS, ii)

Chancellor: William Lauder, bishop of Glasgow
Secretary of King: John Cameron

1425

Auditors: Sir Walter Ogilvy of Luntrethin.
Sir John Forrester of Corstorphine.
Walter Forrester, Bishop of Brechin
Master John Cameron, provost of Lincluden
William of Lauder, Bishop of Glasgow.
William Stephen, Bishop of Dunblane
Sir Robert of Lauder of Bass
Sir David Broun, canon of Chapel Royal

Chancellor: William of Lauder, bishop of Glasgow
Treasurer: Sir Walter Ogilvy
Chamberlain: Sir John Forrester
Deputy-chamberlain: William Currour
Comptroller: David Broun
Steward of Household: James of Schaw
King?s Secretary: Master John Cameron
Keeper of Privy Seal: Master John Cameron
Clerk Register: Walter Forrester
Clerk of Chancery: William of Cadyow
King?s Macer: John Scrymgeour
Clerk of Spices: John of Levingstoun
King?s Chaplain: William of Lany

Other: John Pereson, Servant of King
William Gifford, watchman at Edinburgh
Chaplain at E/b castle, unnamed.
John of Levingstoun, master of Works of Tay Bridge.
Servant named Balgarvy
1426

Auditors: William Stephen, Bishop of Dunblane
Master John Cameron, provost of Lincluden
Sir John Forrester of Corstorphine
Robert of Lauder of Bass
Sir Walter of Ogilvy
334
John, Abbot of Balmerinoch
Master Walter Stewart, Canon of Glasgow and Aberdeen
Patrick of Ogilvy of Auchterhouse.
John Sympill of Eliotstoune
John Scheves.

Auditors (chamberlain account): William Stephen, Bishop of Dunblane
Master John Cameron, provost of Lincluden
Robert of Lauder of Bass
Walter of Ogilvy
Patrick of Ogilvy of Auchterhouse
Master Walter Stewart, Canon of Glasgow
John Scheves, Canon of Glasgow

Treasurer: Walter of Ogilvy
Clerk of Treasurer: Robert of Lyntoun
Chancellor:
Clerk of Chancellor: William Cadyow (RMS, Feb 1425-6)
Comptroller: David Broun
Chamberlain: Sir John Forrester
Deputy-Chamberlain: William Currour
Clerk Register: Master John Scheves
Keeper of Great Seal: Master John Cameron
King?s Secretary: Master John Cameron
Keeper of Privy Seal: Master John Cameron
Clerk of KPS: Master John Wincester
Clerk of the King: Edward Lauder, archdeacon of Lothian (RMS, Feb 1425-
6)
King?s Macer: John Scrymgeour
Clerk of Spices: John of Levingstoun
Keeper of Edinburgh: Sir Robert of Lauder of Bass
King?s Chaplain: William of Lany
King?s Goldsmith: John Landalis
John Spedy
Justiciar of Scotland: Sir Robert of Lauder of Bass (also referred to as Justiciar
South of Forth; Douglas Book, vol.3)


Other: James of Schaw, King?s bailie
John Yule, Servant of King
John of Wellis, Servant of King, before judicial combat
William Giffard, Servant of King
James of Lermonth, Servant of King
Robert of Lyntoun, Clerk of Avery
Walter Masoun, master of works at Edinburgh
John of Waltoun, master of works at Linlithgow
335
Alexander Gulde (later master of works at Stirling)
John of Levingstoun, master of works of Tay Bridge
Marjory Nortoun, Queen?s attendant
Andrew Baxter, later master of King?s ship(s).


1427

Keeper of Great Seal: John Cameron, bishop elect of Glasgow (RMS, Feb/Mar.)
Chancellor: John Cameron, bishop of Glasgow (RMS, from 31/5/1427)
Chamberlain: John Forrester of Corstorphine (RMS)
Justiciar south of Forth: Robert Lauder of the Bass (RMS)
Justiciar north of Forth: Patrick Ogilvy (RMS)
Treasurer: Walter Ogilvy (RMS)
Keeper of Privy Seal: William Foulis (RMS)
Secretary of King: William Foulis (RMS)

1428

Auditors: Master John Scheves
Master William of Foulis, provost of Bothwell.
John Cameron, Bishop of Glasgow
Master John Wincester, Canon of Glasgow
Sir John Forrester
Thomas of Myretoun, dean of Glasgow
Walter of Ogilvy

Chancellor: John Cameron, Bishop of Glasgow
Clerk Register: Master John Scheves
Keeper of Privy Seal: Master William of Foulis, provost of Bothwell
Chamberlain: Sir John Forrester
Comptroller: David Broun
Contrarotulatore: Henry Hervy
Clerk of Spices: Nicholas Kirkdale
Treasurer: Walter Ogilvy
King?s Macer: John Scrymgeour
Keeper of Edinburgh: Sir Robert of Lauder of Bass
King?s Chaplain: William of Lany
King?s Goldsmith: John Landalis
Ad hoc officer: John Wincester

Other: John Ducheman, servant of King (merchant)
John de Camera, Clerk of King?s Chapel
William Giffard, Servant of King
Buchan, Keeper of King?s Horses
John Waltoun, master of works at Linlithgow
336
Alexander Gulde, master of works at Stirling
John of Levingstoun, master of works of Tay Bridge
Janet, wife of Adam Liddale (later Prince James?s nurse).



1429

Auditors: Master John Scheves
John Cameron, Bishop of Glasgow
Sir John Forrester of Corstorphine
Walter of Ogilvy of Luntrethin
William of Foulis, Provost of Bothwell
Thomas of Myretoun, dean of Glasgow
Master John Wincester, Canon of Glasgow

Chancellor: John Cameron, Bishop of Glasgow
Keeper of Privy Seal: Master William of Foulis
Comptroller: John of Spens
David Broun also referred to as Comptroller
Contrarotulatorem: Henry Hervy
Chamberlain: Sir John Forrester
King?s Macer: John Scrymgeour
Treasurer: Walter of Ogilvy
Clerk of Spices: Nicholas Kirkdale
Steward of Household: No name given
Moneyer: Robert Gray
King?s Clerk: Thomas of Myretoun, Dean of Glasgow
Clerk Register: Master John Scheves
King?s Goldsmith: John Landalis
Keeper of Edinburgh: Sir Robert Lauder

Other: John de Camera, Clerk of King?s Chapel
John Strang, Doorkeeper of Exchequer
Alexander Cragi, apothecary
Martin Cuke, King?s brewer
James of Schaw, Servant of King
William Giffard, Servant of King
Nicholas Plummar, Servant of King
John of Wellis, Servant of King
Andrew Buchan (in other years as Keeper of the king?s horses)
John of Waltoun, master of Works at Linlithgow
Alexander Gulde, master of Works at Stirling
John of Levingstoun, master of works of Tay Bridge
Janet, wife of Adam Liddale

337
1430

Chancellor: John Cameron, bishop of Glasgow (RMS)
Chamberlain: John Forrester of Corstorphine (RMS)
Treasurer: Walter Ogilvy (RMS) (also referred to as MKH,
GD150/96)
Thomas Myrton (in CSSR, iii, 142, 11/10/1430)
Keeper of Privy Seal: William Foulis (RMS)
Comptroller: John Spens (RMS)
Clerk of Spices: Nicholas Kirkdale
King?s Goldsmith: John Landalis,
Keeper of Edinburgh: Sir Robert Lauder
Justiciar south of Forth: Thomas Somerville of Carnwath

Other: Robert Coxsell, esquire of King
Dragance Pursuivant
Andrew Baxter, Master of King?s Ship
Erland Loss, Norwegian noble, Servant of King
William Giffard, Servant of King
William Dicsoun, Master of Queen?s Stables


1431

Auditors: Walter of Ogilvy
Master William of Foulis, Provost of Bothwell
John Cameron, Bishop of Glasgow
John Forrester
Thomas of Myretoun, Dean of Glasgow
John of Scheves, Canon of Glasgow

Chancellor: John Cameron, Bishop of Glasgow
Treasurer: Thomas Myrton, Dean of Glasgow
Comptroller: John Spens
Clerk Register: Master John Scheves
Chamberlain: Sir John Forrester
Master of Household: Walter of Ogilvy (also referred to as treasurer ? RMS)
Keeper of Privy Seal: Master William Foulis
Clerk of Spices: Nicholas Kirkdale
John Starhede his servant
King?s Macer: John Scrymgeour
Master of Mint: Robert Gray
Keeper of Edinburgh: Sir Robert Lauder
King?s Goldsmith: John Landalis, annuity
King?s Clerk: Thomas Rule
Clerk of Chancery: Andrew Taillefer
338
Richard Crag (NAS GD20/1/192)
King?s Chaplain: William of Lany

Other: Robert Nory, servant of King?s chamber
James of Schaw, Servant of King
John Spedy, Servant of King
Robert Coxsell, esquire of King
William Giffard, squire of King
Alexander Gulde, Master of Works at Stirling
Payment to James Alamanus
Sir William of Kers, Comptroller of accounts of Linlithgow Palace
Marjory Nortoun

1432 (From NAS catalogue charters, Douglas Book)

Clerk of Chancellor: Richard Crag (RMS)
Chamberlain: John Forester of Corstorphine
Keeper of Privy Seal: William Foulis, provost of Bothwell
Treasurer: Walter Stewart, dean of Moray
Clerk of the Rolls: John Scheves
Secretary: Richard Crag
Master of the King?s Household: William Crichton
Walter Ogilvy also referred to as such (RMS ?
31/3/1432 and 30/5/1432 Rose of Kilravock)
Provost of King?s Chapel, St Andrews: Robert Lany

1433 (Historical MS Comission, 7
th
Report, 11
th
Report, Douglas Book, iii, NAS
GD1/1042/3)

Chamberlain: John Forrester of Corstorphine
Keeper of Privy Seal: Master William Foulis, archdeacon of St Andrews
Master of the Household: William Crichton
Clerk of Chancery: Master Richard Crag
Treasurer: Mr Walter Stewart, dean of Moray
Secretary: John Methven

1434

Ad hoc financial officer: John Wincester
Comptroller: David Broun
Chamberlain: John Forrester of Corstorphine
Treasurer:
Master of Mint: Robert Gray (also master of works at Edinburgh)
King?s Macer: John Scrymgeour (also servant of King?s wardrobe
Keeper of Privy Seal: Master William of Foulis (Red & White Menzies)
Justiciar South of Forth: Thomas Somerville of Carnwath
339
Receiver General south of Forth: Thomas of Cranstoun
Captain of Edinburgh: Sir William of Crichton
Chancellor: John Cameron
Master of Household: William Crichton (Douglas Book, iii)
Clerk: Master Richard Crag

Other: Dragance, Pursuivant

Archibald of Preston, King?s esquire
John de Camera, clerk of King?s chapel
John Waltoun, Robert Weddale and Robert of Levingstoun, masters of
works at Linlithgow
William Valandy, master of works of Tay Bridge
Stephen Clerk, (referred to in Turyne Account as master of bakehouse)
King?s fisher (unnamed), at Doune
King?s gardener (unnamed)
Garitour of Stirling Castle (unnamed)
Mathew, King?s painter
John of St Michael, King?s Procurator Fiscal
Chaplain at Stirling Castle
Chaplain at Edinburgh Castle
Watchers at Dundonald Castle
Stablers at Dundonald Castle
Thomas Pulti, master of King?s barge
William Dicsoun, master of Queen?s stables
Janet, wife of Adam Liddale, nurse to Prince
Martin Tailyour, Servant of King
William Giffard, Servant of King
John Dolas, Servant of King
James of Schaw, Servant of King

1435

Ad hoc financial officer: John Wincester, provost of Lincluden,
Chamberlain: John Forrester of Corstorphine (NAS
GD124/1/136)
Deputy-Chamberlain: Alexander Nairn
Comptroller: David Broun
Treasurer: Thomas of Cranstoun
Keeper Privy Seal: William Foulis (NAS GD124/1/136)
Master of Household: Sir William of Crichton
Moneyer: Robert Gray (also master of works at Edinburgh)
King?s Goldsmith: John Landalis
Steward of Duke of Rothesay: John of Spens, for h/hold expenses, ?11 10s 2d.
Captain of Edinburgh Castle: Sir William of Crichton, ?100.

340
Other:
Earl of Mar, justiciar at Inverness
John Hog, Chaplain of Edinburgh castle
Dragance Pursuivant
Robert of Balmanach, Clerk of King
Lewis, Queen?s Wardrober
John Menzies, his majesty?s armour bearer
Robert of Levingstoun and Robert of Weddale, masters of works
at Linlithgow
John of Peebles, master of works of Tay Bridge
Nicholas Plummar and Walter Masoun, some work at Edinburgh
John, painter
Nicholas Hude, King?s archer
Martin Tailyour, Servant of King
William Giffard, Servant of King
John de Camera, Servant of King
Robert Nory, Servant of King



1436

Chamberlain: John Forrester of Corstorphine (HMC 12
th
report)
Keeper of Privy Seal: William Foulis (HMC 12
th
report)
Master of King?s Household: William Crichton (HMC 12
th
report)

Turyne Account, rendered 1436

Thomas Myretoun, Chamberlain
James Alamanus, physician
Andrew Young, Steward of King?s house
Robert Gray, moneyer
Master John Benyng, secretary of King


Appendix 2 ? Exchequer Auditors


341
Year Date Location Auditors
1426 16 April to 4 May Edinburgh William, bishop of Dunblane
John Cameron, John Forrester
Robert Lauder of the Bass
Walter Ogilvy, John, abbot of Balmerino
Walter Stewart, Patrick Ogilvy
John Sempil of Eliotstoun, John Scheves
1428 27 April to ? May Dundee John Cameron, John Forrester
Walter Ogilvy, William Foulis,
Thomas Myrton, John Scheves
John Wincester
1429 12 to 30 April Perth John Cameron, John Forrester,
William Foulis, Walter Ogilvy,
Thomas Myrtoun, John Scheves,
John Wincester
1430 13 to 27 March Perth Not recorded
1431 16 April to 6 May Perth John Cameron, John Forrester,
Walter Ogilvy, William Foulis,
Thomas Myrtoun, John Scheves
1434 12 Nov 1433 to
12 June 1434 &
27 Dec 1434
Linlithgow Not recorded
1434 5 June Linlithgow Ballivi ad Extra, no auditors recorded
1435 21 June to 20 July Stirling Not recorded
1435 8 to 20 July Stirling Account of contribution from the burghs
No auditors recorded
1435 28 July Stirling Chamberlain?s Account, no auditors
1436 5 September Perth John Turyne?s Account, no auditors
1436 10 December Edinburgh Further account regarding contribution

342
Appendix 3 ? Sienna Fresco




343
Appendix 4 ? Architectural Images



Bothwell Castle: Great Hall, east range, exterior view



Bothwell Castle: Great Hall, north facing, interior view

344


Bothwell Castle: Great Hall, south facing, interior view



Doune Castle, exterior view, north range

345


Doune Castle, entrance passage, in north-west tower



Doune Castle, Duke?s Hall

346


Doune Castle, Duke?s Hall





Linlithgow Palace, Royal Arms above East entrance

347


Linlithgow Palace, Great Hall, south facing, interior view



Linlithgow Palace, Great Hall, north facing, interior view



348


Linlithgow Palace, East Range, exterior view



Tantallon Castle, Interior Courtyard, west facing (Photo: Phil Kerr)

349


Tantallon Castle, Great Hall, east facing, interior view (Photo: Phil Kerr)



Tantallon Castle, Great Hall, west facing, interior view (Photo: Phil Kerr)
350
Appendix 5 ? Devotional Calendar

January February March

4 2 Candlemas 2
6 Peter of Canterbury/Epiphany 5 Agatha 3
16 6 4 Adrian of May
18 8 5
19 Fillan 9 9
21 Agnes 10 Trumwin, bishop of Abercorn 19 Death of Alexander III
24 11 Gregory II 20 Death of Henry IV
26 12 Ethilwald 21 Benedict
28 14 22 James Icaptured
29 16 24 Dunchad
17 25 Annunciation/
19 Inauguration of Robert I
21 26 Coronation of Robert II
22 28 Relase of James I
27 30
28










351


April May June

1 Gilbert of Caithness 2 7 Death of Robert I
3 Richard of Chichester 5 9 Columba
4 Death of Robert III 6 John the Evangelist 13
5 10 15
9 14 17
10 17 19 Margaret of Scotland (tr.)
19 Death of Robert II 19 Dunstan 23 Bannockburn (1)
23 George 21 William of Perth/ 24 Bannockburn (2)
25 Mark Coronation of James I John the Baptist
29 29 29 Peter & Paul
















352


July Augst September

2 Visitation/ 1 Ethelwold 2
Swithun 3 Waldef 3
3 Thomas the Apostle (tr.) 4 7
4 7 8 Nativity of the Virgin
7 Death of Edward II/ 11 Blane 10
Thomas Becket 14 Coronation of Robert III 11 Stirling Bridge
8 Death of Alexander II 15 Assumption 13
11 Birth of Robert I 18 18
13 Inauguration of Alexander III 22 Octave of Assumption 19
15 Swithun (tr.) 25 Louis IX 21 Mathew
20 Margaret of Antioch 26 Ninian 23
23 27 Monica 25
29 31 Death of Henry V/ 28
31 Aidan 29 Michaelmas












353


October November Decmber

1 1 Al Saints 3 Birnius
3 2 All Souls 5 Inauguration of Alexander II
4 Francis of Assisi 4 Birstan 6 Nicholas
7 8 8 Conception
8 Triduana 12 Martin I 11
9 Denis 14 12
10 17 Hugh of Lincoln 19
11 18 21 Thomas the Apostle
23 21 Presentation of the Virgin 23
24 23 25 Christmas
26 Eata 25 26 Stephen
29 27 27 John the Evangelist
31 30 Andrew 29 Thomas Becket

354
Appendix 6 - Death of Rothesay: 25/26 March

1425

12-17 March, Perth Parliament
14 April, St Andrews

1426

11 March, Perth
27 March, Edinburgh

1427

18 March, Edinburgh
26 May, Edinburgh

1428

14 March, Linlithgow
27 March, Edinburgh

1429

10 March, Perth
According to Exchequer Rolls, James was at Haddington, Dunbar, Coldingham,
Edinburgh and Linlithgow during this month.

1430

23 March, Perth (Exchequer audit held at Perth until 27 March)
20 April, Perth

1431

17 March, Perth
19 March, Perth (Exchequer audit started at Perth on 16 March)

1432

20 March, Perth
31 March, Perth

1433

24 February, Linlithgow
355
22 June, Edinburgh

1434

1 March, Stirling
16 March, Stirling
May, Linlithgow

1435

20-26 February, Perth
14 April, Stirling

1436

March, James was at Dumbarton at some point during this month according to
Exchequer Rolls.
356
Appendix 7 - John the Baptist: 24 June

1424

3 June, Perth
10 July, Edinburgh

1425

24 June, Edinburgh

1426

28 May, Edinburgh
18 July, St Andrews

1427

11 June, Edinburgh
1 July, Perth

1428

Records indicate that James was at Linlithgow in June but there are no specific dates.
8 May, Dundee
12 July, Perth

1429

20 June, Edinburgh
23 June, Lochaber
1

27 June, Inverness

1430

16 June, Perth
6 July, Edinburgh

1431

3 June, Linlithgow




1
This date is taken from Chron.Bower, which states that the king?s banner was present at Lochaber on this
date. This does not necessarily mean that the king was himself present.
357
1432

30 May, Perth
1 September, Perth

1433

22 June, Edinburgh
31 July, Edinburgh

1434

Records indicate that James was in Linlithgow in the early part of June. No further data
is currently available.

1435

21 June ? 28 July, Stirling, for Exchequer Audit. James may have been able to visit Perth
during this time, but this is not certain.

1436

Records indicate that James was at Dumbarton during March.
30 July, Edinburgh
358
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Theses

Burden, Joel Francis, ?Rituals of Royalty: Prescription, Politics and Practice in English
Coronation and Royal Funeral Rituals, c.1327 to c.1485? (Unpublished University of
York PhD thesis, 1999)

Downie, Fiona, ??Sche is but a Womman?: the Queen and Princess in Scotland, 1424-
63? (Unpublished University of Aberdeen PhD thesis, 1998)

Grant, Alexander, ?The Higher Nobility in Scotland and Their Estates, c.1371-1424?
(Unpublished University of Oxford PhD thesis, 1975)

Mitchell, S.M., ?Some Aspects of the Knightly Household of Richard II? (Unpublished
University of London PhD thesis, 1998)

Penman, Michael, ?The Kingship of David II, 1329-71? (Unpublished University of St
Andrews PhD thesis, 1999)

Rogers, A. ?The Royal Household of Henry IV? (Unpublished University of Nottingham
PhD thesis, 1966)

Rutherford, Allan Gavin, ?A Social Interpretation of the Castle in Scotland? (Unpublished
University of Glasgow PhD thesis, 1998)

Shenton, Caroline, ?The English Court and the Restoration of Royal Prestige, 1327-1445?
(Unpublished University of Oxford PhD thesis, 1995)

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