Stewart, John (d.1526) (DNB00)

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STEWART, JOHN, third or eleventh Earl of Lennox (d. 1526), was the son of Matthew, second (or tenth) earl of Lennox, by Elizabeth, daughter of James, lord Hamil- ton, and a niece of James III [see under Stewart, Sir John, first (or ninth) Earl of Lennox]. On 2 Feb. 1511–12 he had a charter of the lands of Tarbolton (Reg. Mag. Sig. Scot. 1424–1513, No. 369), and on 23 Sept. 1513 he was served heir to his father (killed at Flodden) in the lands of Dumbarton. After the marriage of the queen regent to Archibald Douglas, sixth earl of Angus [q. v.], he joined the party of James Hamilton, first earl of Arran [q. v.], and in 1515 seized the castle of Dumbarton, and expelled from it Erskine the governor, who had held it for the queen regent (Tytler, Hist. of Scotland, ed. 1868, ii. 300; Letters and Papers, Henry VIII, vol. ii. No. 50). After the arrival of John Stewart, duke of Albany [q. v.], he in August 1515 took part in the blockade of Stirling (ib. No. 783), and in the other measures adopted to frustrate the designs of Henry VIII. In 1516 he combined with Arran and other earls against the regent Albany, and on this account was confined in the castle of Edinburgh; but having made his peace he for a time became a consistent supporter of Albany. He was present at the capture of Tantallon Castle from Angus in 1522 (ib. vol. iii. No. 1976), but took no part in the invasion of England in 1523. After the departure of Albany for France in 1524, he joined in the scheme for proclaiming the young king of age, and formed one of the queen regent's escort from Stirling palace to Holyrood, where the king formally assumed the government. But when the queen regent began to show amorous inclinations towards Henry Stewart (afterwards Lord Methven) [q. v.], he left Edinburgh and associated himself with Angus and the English faction. He was one of those deputed in July to communicate with Thomas (II) Howard, third duke of Norfolk [q. v.] (ib. vol. iv. No. 529), and it was deemed fitting that his co-operation with Norfolk should be rewarded (Wolsey to Norfolk, 9 Aug. ib. No. 571). Although he signed a special band to the queen's grace on 3 Oct. (ib. No. 702), he remained faithful to Angus, and seconded him in surprising Edinburgh on the morning of 23 Nov. by scaling the walls and opening the gates for the entrance of four hundred armed followers, backed by whom they proceeded to the lords of the council and desired them to take the government into their own hands (ib. No. 854).

A nominal reconciliation now took place between Angus and the queen regent, the charge of the young king being entrusted to a council of peers; but the queen regent continued to act so imprudently that gradually the real authority became centred in Angus, with Lennox for the time being as his chief lieutenant; and on 18 June Angus, Lennox, and Argyll ratified their alliance by signing a band for maintaining James V, and for mutual support (Fraser, Lennox, i. 355). The conspirators were rewarded by a pension from Henry VIII, Angus, Lennox, Arran, and Argyll receiving 250 marks sterling, with more in ready money (Letters and Papers, Henry VIII, vol. iv. No. 1446). Lennox was one of the members of the privy council under the new régime, and also one of the witnesses to the ratification of peace with England, 10 Jan. 1525–6 (ib. No. 1873).

The young king having on 26 June 1526 made a bond to Lennox by which he engaged ‘to use the counsel of the Earl of Lennox especially and in preference to all others’ (Hist. MSS. Comm. 3rd. Rep. p. 392), Lennox was induced to enter into a plot for his deliverance from the custody of Angus. In the first instance he arranged that Scott of Buccleuch should attack Angus while returning from a border expedition. During the conflict Lennox, who was in the train of Angus, retired with the young king, accompanied by George Douglas and Lord Maxwell, to a neighbouring hill to watch the result of the contest; but Buccleuch was completely defeated. Failing therefore in this secret device, Lennox finally threw off all disguise, and, having leagued himself with the chancellor Beaton and the queen regent, raised a force of ten thousand men to march to Edinburgh for the king's rescue; but he was completely defeated by the combined forces of Arran and Angus, near Linlithgow, 4 Sept. 1526. Having been wounded and taken prisoner by John Hamilton of Bardowie, he was after the battle seized from those guarding him and slain in cold blood by Sir James Hamilton [q. v.] of Finnart, a natural son of Arran. Not long afterwards Sir Andrew Wood, despatched by the king to take measures for the protection of Lennox if he were alive, found Arran weeping beside his body, saying, ‘The hardiest, stoutest, and wisest man that ever Scotland saw lies here slain this day.’ Arran also cast over the body his own scarlet cloak, and caused his men to stand guard over it until the king's servants came and buried it (Lindsay of Pitscottie, Chronicle, ed. 1814, ii. 328).

By his wife, Anne, eighth daughter of John Stewart, first earl of Atholl [q. v.], he had issue: Matthew, fourth (or twelfth) earl of Lennox [q. v.], Robert, sixth (or fourteenth) earl of Lennox, and John, lord Aubigny; and a daughter Helen, who married, first, William, sixth earl of Errol, and, secondly, John, tenth earl of Sutherland. [Reg. Mag. Sig. Scot. 1424–1513 and 1513–1580; Cal. State Papers, Henry VIII, vols. iii. iv.; Lennox Muniments in Hist. MSS. Comm. 3rd Rep.; Sir William Fraser's Lennox (privately printed); Histories by Buchanan, Leslie, and Lindsay; Douglas's Scottish Peerage (Wood), i. 97.]

T. F. H.