Janet Kennedy, Lady Bothwell

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Janet Kennedy, Lady Bothwell

Also Known As: "Jane Kennedy", "Janet Gordon"
Birthplace: Dunure, Ayrshire, Scotland
Death: Died in Scotland
Immediate Family:

Daughter of John Kennedy, 2nd Lord Kennedy and Elizabeth Gordon
Wife of Alexander Gordon, of Kenmure
Ex-wife of Archibald "Bell the Cat" Douglas, 5th Earl of Angus and John Ramsay, 1st Lord Bothwell
Partner of James IV of Scotland
Mother of Mary Kennedy; Jean or Janet Gordon, of Kenmure; James Stewart, 1st Earl of Moray; Margaret Stewart and Jane Stewart
Sister of Margaret Stewart; Elizabeth Rattray; Alexander Kennedy; John Kennedy; William Kennedy and 2 others
Half sister of David Kennedy, 1st Earl Of Cassillis; Katherine Kennedy and Lady Margaret Kennedy

Occupation: not married
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Janet Kennedy, Lady Bothwell


Janet Kennedy (c. 1480 – c. 1545), the first daughter of John Kennedy, 2nd Lord Kennedy and Lady Elizabeth Gordon. She became a mistress of King James IV of Scotland.

Through her father, she was a great-great-granddaughter of King Robert III. Janet Kennedy's mother, Lady Elizabeth Gordon, was a daughter of Alexander Gordon, 1st Earl of Huntly.

Originally she was married to the formidable Archibald Douglas, 5th Earl of Angus ("Bell the Cat"), they had a daughter, Mary, together.

She attracted the attention of King James IV around 1497. She bore the King three children. They included James Stewart, 1st Earl of Moray, Margaret and Jane Stewart.

The King had a number of mistresses, but this appears to have been his longest relationship, which continued even after his marriage to Margaret Tudor. After James IV's marriage by proxy, he met Janet at Bothwell Castle in April 1503, then she was sent to Darnaway Castle in August just before Margaret arrived.

It is not clear if she is the same as the "Janet bair ars" who received gifts from the king in 1505–12.

She also had relationships with two other men. Two of her partners died at the Battle of Flodden Field.

  • http://www.thepeerage.com/p10937.htm#i109364
    • [S6] G.E. Cokayne; with Vicary Gibbs, H.A. Doubleday, Geoffrey H. White, Duncan Warrand and Lord Howard de Walden, editors, The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant, new ed., 13 volumes in 14 (1910-1959; reprint in 6 volumes, Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing, 2000), volume I, page 156. Hereinafter cited as The Complete Peerage.
    • [S6] Cokayne, and others, The Complete Peerage, volume II, page 237.
    • [S2] Peter W. Hammond, editor, The Complete Peerage or a History of the House of Lords and All its Members From the Earliest Times, Volume XIV: Addenda & Corrigenda (Stroud, Gloucestershire, U.K.: Sutton Publishing, 1998), page 26. Hereinafter cited as The Complete Peerage, Volume XIV.
    • [S2] Peter W. Hammond, The Complete Peerage, Volume XIV, page 102.
    • [S37] BP2003 volume 2, page 2513. See link for full details for this source. Hereinafter cited as. [S37]
    • [S11] Alison Weir, Britain's Royal Families: The Complete Genealogy (London, U.K.: The Bodley Head, 1999), page 240. Hereinafter cited as Britain's Royal Families.
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Janet Kennedy, Lady Bothwell's Timeline

Dunure, Ayrshire, Scotland
May 10, 1496
Age 16
Age 18
Age 20
Morayshire, Edinburgh, Midlothian, Scotland
August 8, 1503
Age 23
Holyrood Abbey,Edinburgh,Mid-Lothian,Scotland
Age 65