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The Douglases lose control of the King






Following the Battle of Linlthgow (1526) ...


By gifts, which his wealth well enabled him to bestow, the primate of St Andrews effected an apparent reconciliation with Angus; and at the festival of Christmas (1527), he entertained the king, the queen dowager, Angus, and others of the Douglas party, at his castle of St Andrews. There, says Lindsay, he "made them great cheer and merriness, and gave them great gifts of gold and silver, with fair halkneys and other gifts of tacks and steedings, that they would desire of him, that he might pacify their wrath therewith, and obtain their favours. So the king tarried there a while quiet, and used hawking and hunting upon the water of Edin." Angus at length left Fife for the Lothians, leaving the king, who was now residing at Falkland, under the charge of Sir Archibald Douglas his uncle, Sir George his brother, and James Douglas of Parkhead, captain of the royal guard. James had long been disgusted with the usurpation of the earl of Angus, and the Douglases, and a plot had for some time been carrying on, in which the queen and the archbishop were engaged, for freeing him from their control.

About the month of July, Sir Archibald Douglas went to Dundee, and Sir George to St Andrews, for the purpose of concluding a lease with the primate, leaving a guard of 100 men at Falkland, under the command of Douglas of Parkhead, conceiving this to be a sufficient check on the motions of the monarch. The opportunity was too good, however, not to be taken advantage of; and James ordered preparations for a great hunting party, at seven in the morning on the following day. The king pretended to retire early to bed, and the captain after setting watch followed his example, that he might be ready to attend his majesty in the morning. As soon as all was quiet in the palace, however, the king disguised as a groom, and attended by two faithful servants, went to the stables, and speedily mounting fleet horses, they rode off, and reached Stirling, by dawn next day. The gates of the town were shut immediately after his arrival, and retiring to the castle, he took some repose, giving orders that no one should be admitted without a royal order. A council was held the same day, at which several noblemen attended, and proper measures were taken for securing the king and kingdom from the farther control of the Douglases. The flight of James was not discovered by his keepers till the following morning, when Sir George Douglas was awakened by the unexpected tidings of his escape. A messenger was instantly despatched to Angus, and on his arrival they proceeded towards Stirling, but were met on the way by a herald with a proclamation prohibiting any one of the house of Douglas, or its adherents, under pain of treason, from approaching within six miles of the court. Thus was the power of this ambitious house reduced to its proper limits, and chiefly by the determination arid energy of the young king.






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Last modified: Friday, 17 May 2024