Scott, Walter (1490?-1552) (DNB00)

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SCOTT, Sir WALTER (1490?–1552), of Buccleuch and Branxholm, Scottish chieftain, born about 1490, was eldest son of Sir Walter Scott of Buccleuch (d 1504). He was fourth in lineal descent from Sir Walter Scott (1426–1469), who first took the territorial designation of Buccleuch, and was the first to acquire the whole barony of Branxholm, with the castle, which remained the residence of the family for several generations. His mother, Elizabeth Ker of the Cessford family, was attacked in her residence of Catslack in Yarrow by an English force under Lord Grey de Wilton in 1548, and, with other inmates of the tower, was burnt to death.

Walter Scott was under age when he succeeded his father in 1504, and his earliest appearance in history was at the battle of Flodden, 9 Sept. 1513; on the eve of the engagement he was made a knight. In 1515 he joined the party of John Stewart, duke of Albany [q. v.], then appointed regent of Scotland, and he opposed himself to Margaret, the queen dowager; but on Albany's return to France in 1524, Scott was imprisoned in the castle of Edinburgh under the pretext that he fomented disorder and misrule on the borders. He soon escaped from ward and joined the Earls of Angus and Lennox in continued opposition to Queen Margaret and her government. In 1526, in obedience to a letter from James V, then a boy, requesting his aid against the power of Angus and the Douglases, Scott assembled his kin and men, but was completely defeated by Angus, who had the king in custody, in a skirmish near Melrose on 25 July 1526. He was obliged to take refuge in France; but after the overthrow of the Douglases in 1528 he was openly received into the royal favour.

In 1530 various attempts were made to reconcile the feud which had fallen out between the Scotts and the kinsfolk of Ker of Cessford who had been slain in the skirmish at Melrose. Formal agreements were entered into with a view to a pacification, but the result was not permanent (Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, vol. i. p. clvi, ed. 1812). Owing to the influence of the Douglases, who had taken refuge in England, the borders between England and Scotland were at the time more than usually disturbed. Scott's lands suffered severely from the attacks of the English wardens and others, and he retaliated with great effect (State Papers Henry VIII, iv. 625). In 1535 James V, with a view to peace, committed Sir Walter and other border chieftains to ward.

On the death of King James in 1542 Scott joined the party which opposed the marriage of the infant Queen Mary to an English prince, and, though constant overtures were made to him by the English wardens, and he was at one time credited with an intention of delivering the young queen into the hands of King Henry (Hamilton Papers, i. 447), he scornfully refused all offers of amity with the English (ib. p. 467), and at the battle of Ancrum, 27 Feb. 1545, he took a prominent part in defeating the English forces. Scott fought, too, at the battle of Pinkie on 10 Sept. 1547, where the Scots suffered a severe overthrow. As a result his lands lay at the mercy of the invaders, and during the next two or three years he suffered severely at the hands of the English wardens. In 1551 he was directed to aid in repressing the violence which prevailed on the borders, but in 1552 he begged an exemption from some of his official duties on the ground of advancing years. The old feud with the Kers of Cessford still continued, and on the night of 4 Oct. 1552 he was attacked and killed by partisans of that house.

Sir Walter Scott was thrice married: first, to Elizabeth Carmichael (of Carmichael), with issue two sons; secondly, to Janet Ker (of Fernihierst), from whom he was apparently divorced; and, thirdly, to Janet Betoun or Beaton, whose name is well known as the heroine of the ‘Lay of the Last Minstrel,’ and by whom he had two sons and three daughters. She was given to Sir Walter ‘in mariag by the Cardinall [Beaton], his other wif being yet on lif’ (Hamilton Papers, i. 740). Sir Walter Scott's eldest son died unmarried, while his second son, Sir William Scott, predeceased him, leaving a son Walter, afterwards Sir Walter (d 1574), who was father of Walter Scott, first Lord Scott of Buccleuch [q. v.]

[William Fraser's The Scotts of Buccleuch, 2 vols. 1878; Captain Walter Scott's A True History of several Honourable Families of the Right Honourable Name of Scott, &c. ed. 1786; Letters and Papers Henry VIII, Foreign and Dom., vols. i. ii.]

J. A-n.