Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Stewart, James (1476?-1504)

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STEWART, JAMES, Duke of Ross (1476?–1504), archbishop of St. Andrews and lord high chancellor of Scotland, son of James III, by Margaret, daughter of Christian III of Denmark, was born about 1476, and at his baptism was created Marquis of Ormond. On 23 Jan. 1480–1 he obtained a grant of the earldom of Ross, with the castle of Dingwall (Reg. Mag. Sig. Scot. 1424–1513, No. 1457), and on 5 April 1481 of the lands of Brechin and Navar (ib. No. 1470). On 23 Jan. 1488 he was created Duke of Ross, Marquis of Ormond, Earl of Edirdale, and lord of Brechin and Navar (Acta Parl. Scot. ii. 181). A plot was formed in April 1491 by Sir John Ramsay, earl of Bothwell [q. v.], for the deliverance of the Duke of Ross and his brother, James IV, into the hands of Henry VII, but it came to nothing. In 1498 the duke was appointed to the see of St. Andrews, and went to Rome to be confirmed by the pope. There his appearance attracted the admiration of Ariosto, who in ‘Orlando Furioso’ (canto x.), while describing him as peerless in personal beauty and grace, refers in terms of almost equal but formal eulogy to his dauntless mind. In 1502 he was appointed lord high chancellor of Scotland, and had a grant of the abbacy of Dunfermline. He died in 1504, and was interred in the chancel of the cathedral church of St. Andrews. The title of Duke of Ross was next bestowed on Alexander, posthumous son of James IV, who was born on 30 April 1514, and died on 18 Dec. 1515.

[Reg. Mag. Sig. Scot. 1424–1513; Acta Parl. Scot. vol. ii.; Keith's Scottish Bishops; Crawfurd's Officers of State.]

T. F. H.