Graham, Robert (d.1437) (DNB00)

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GRAHAM, Sir ROBERT (d. 1437), conspirator, was the uncle of Malise Graham, earl-palatine of Strathern, who had been deprived by James I. This indignity embittered Graham agninst the king, and in the parliament of 1435 he expressed his resentment in such language as led to his arrest and banishment. He quitted the court determined on revenge, and came to be the most prominent actor in the conspiracy by which James's life was lost. All contemporary authorities are, however, agreed that the real originator of the plot was not so much Graham as Walter, earl of Atholl, the king's uncle, who aspired to the crown in respect of the supposed superior legitimacy of the second family of Robert II. Despite the repeated benefits heaped on him by the king, Atholl had all along been maturing his designs on the throne, with his grandson Robert Stewart as his accomplice, and Graham as his tool. On 20 Feb. 1436-7 the court were occupying the Dominican convent at Perth. Graham, with a band of three hundred highlanders, burst into the king's chamber, and James, who had taken refuge in a vault under the floor, was discovered, dragged out, and brutally murdered. The necessity of escaping without loss of time alone saved the queen from a similar fate. Graham was followed to the fastnesses of the highlands and arrested by John Stewart Gorme of Atholl and Robert Duncanson, ancestor of the Robertsons of Strowan, who both received substantial rewards. Graham was tortured to death at Stirling. Undaunted to the end, he endured the dreadful torments inflicted on him with fortitude, justifying his conduct on the ground that he had first renounced his allegiance to James.

[The Exchequer Rolls of Scotland (Burnett), iv. lxxxix, cxix-cxxi, v. xli, xlii, 55; Burton's Hist. of Scotland.]

G. G.