Stewart, Henry (1495?-1551?) (DNB00)

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STEWART, HENRY, first Lord Methven (1495?–1551?), second son of Andrew, second lord Avandale, by Margaret, daughter of Sir John Kennedy of Blairquhan, was born about 1495 [see under Stewart, Andrew, first Lord Avandale]. He supported in 1524 the revolution, by which, during the absence of Albany in France, the queen-dowager, Margaret, widow of James IV, who had subsequently married Archibald Douglas, sixth earl of Angus [q. v.], got possession of the person of the young king, who then formally assumed the government. Immediately afterwards Stewart was appointed treasurer and lord chancellor, and it was soon evident that his influence with the queen-dowager was paramount. Thus Magnus and Ratcliffe, on 3 Nov., informed Wolsey that her chief, indeed her only, counsellor was ‘a young man about her who keeps all the seals and orders everything’ (Letters and Papers of Henry VIII, vol. iv. No. 800); and shortly afterwards Norfolk wrote to Magnus that he was not ‘surprised at the queen's fickleness, her love to Henry Stewart is so great’ (ib. No. 805). Her imprudent conduct led to the return to power of her husband, Archibald, earl of Angus, with whom she was in disagreement; and ultimately he succeeded, notwithstanding her efforts to secure from him a divorce, in compelling her to renounce Stewart's company (ib. No. 2575). But in December 1527 word finally reached her that the divorce had been obtained, and in the following April Stewart became her husband (ib. No. 4134). Not long afterwards Angus compelled her to give him up, and he was placed in temporary imprisonment; but after James V in June made his escape from the tutelage of Angus, Methven and the queen-dowager became the young king's chief advisers. On 17 July he bestowed on them jointly the lands of Methven, Perthshire, and Stewart was raised to the peerage with the title of Lord Methven (Reg. Mag. Sig. Scot. 1513–46, No. 614). He was also made master of the artillery (Lesley, History, in the Scottish Text Society, ii. 206). Subsequently he received other grants of lands, including those of Cockburnspath, Berwickshire, on 20 Sept. 1528 (Reg. Mag. Sig. 1513–1546, No. 840); the lands of Ardety, Perthshire, on 5 Jan. 1530–1 (ib. No. 982); and the lands of Galashiels and Mossilie, Selkirkshire, on 6 Jan. 1535–6 (ib. No. 1535).

In 1537 the queen endeavoured to obtain a divorce from Methven, but the king refused to grant consent (Letters and Papers of Henry VIII, xii. No. 929). Methven continued to retain the favour of the king, from whom he obtained, on 25 July 1541, the lands of Gilgerston in Methven (Reg. Mag. Sig. Scot. 1513–46, No. 2413). Queen Margaret died on 18 Oct. of the same year; and on 5 June 1545 Methven and his new wife, Janet Stewart, had a grant of a third part of the lands of Nether Gorthy (ib. No. 3118), and on 18 Feb. 1547–8 a confirmation of the lands of Methven (ib. 1546–80, No. 184). He died some time after 10 Oct. 1551, when the lands and castle of Methven were given to him anew (ib. No. 639). He is stated to have had by a first wife, one Lady Leslie, a son, the master of Methven who was killed at Pinkie; but the statement lacks corroboration, as also does another, that by the dowager-queen Margaret he had a daughter who died in infancy. By Lady Janet Stewart, eldest daughter of John, second earl of Atholl, and widow of Alexander, master of Sutherland, he had a son, Henry [see below], and three daughters: Johanna, married to Colin, sixth earl of Argyll; Dorothea, to William, first earl of Gowrie; and Margaret, first to Andrew, master of Ochiltree, and secondly to Uchtred Macdougall of Garthland.

The son, Henry, second lord Methven, was born before his father's marriage, but was legitimated in 1551. He was killed by a cannon-shot from Edinburgh Castle on 3 March 1571–2. By his wife Jean, daughter of his stepfather, Patrick Ruthven, he had one son, Henry, who died without issue about 1595, when the title became extinct. On 24 March 1585–6 the lordship of Methven was granted to Ludovick Stuart, second duke of Lennox and duke of Richmond [q. v.] (ib. 1580–93, p. 311).

[Letters and State Papers of Henry VIII; Hamilton State Papers; Reg. Mag. Sig. Scot. 1513–46, and 1546–80; Douglas's Scottish Peerage (Wood), ii. 229–30.]

T. F. H.